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Yesterday, I was talking about a party I went to, where, just before I left, I decided to give the flirting thing one more try. So I went into the other room ... got into a conversation with some married people ... and across the way from me, I heard some guy say he was a blogger for a certain web site that shall remain nameless. So I shouted over to him: "Hey! I'm a blogger too! And I think I need to date another blogger so he'll be cool with it when I write about him. So how about it--want to go out some time?"
"Yes!" he shouted back.
Then I started to blush at my own impulsiveness. The dude probably said YES to be amiable while thinking I was a nut-job. Because, you know, shouting across the room at someone WHOM YOU'VE NEVER SPOKEN TO IN YOUR LIFE, and suggesting that you go on a date with him -- well, yes, even I can admit, that's a LITTLE kooky.
But after a while, myself and the blogger guy maneuvered around so that we were talking to each other. As it turned out, he barely knew anyone at the party, either. And we totally hit off, and hung out forever, sitting off in a corner by ourselves, and talking about music (The Kinks) and poetry (Yeats and Richard Brautigan) and movies (Altman, Antonioni, Cassavetes). It was totally awesome, the kind of conversation where you rush from one topic to the next and can't believe how you just keep ending up on the same page.
When we were ready to leave, I offered him a ride home. (I drove my car over, because I was feeling too sick to bike.) He took me up on the offer ... and the SECOND I turned the car on, he recognized the CD that was mid-song on the stereo. "Sam Cooke!" he said. "Nice!" Duly impressed, I forced him to play a quick round of Name-That-Band, and he was AMAZING: he went three-for-three, getting each new CD I put in -- Big Star, Liz Phair and The Cure -- in under 5 seconds, flat, for each one. It was like some kind of magic trick.
Anyway, suddenly this stranger is my new favorite person in the whole world! We even went to the unbelievably rockin' concert that Edward Sharpe + The Magentic Zeros played at The Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday night, which was super-fun--and I was pretty amazed that he knew more about my new favorite band than I did.
So ... you see what good can come of taking a little risk and forcing yourself to do one more lap at a party?
Today, I'm going to sign off with ...
MY TIPS ON FLIRTING AT A PARTY WHERE YOU DON'T KNOW ANYONE
Talk to strange girls! One of the best things that has come out of this year of living more flirtatiously has been all the new lady friends I've made--in particular, my talking head buddy Mona, and, more recently, the woman described here. (Plus, sometimes they have cute male friends.)
Talk to the gay boys! Because maybe you'll get lucky and meet an invaluable comrade, like I did with Zac. (Plus, sometimes they have cute straight friends.)
Talk to people you barely know. If you have any excuse at all to introduce yourself or say hello to someone--maybe because you recognize them from the local news show, or you've seen them around town--make the most of it.
Be upfront about it! Tell people you are on a flirtation mission and ask if they will help you achieve your goal of meeting someone new.
Be persistent. Sometimes it takes a while for a party to warm up -- and for you to warm up to a party. Give it a little time. Stick around. Eat some pretzels and drink some free beverages. Switch from one room to the other, and back again.
Remember that you'll probably never see any of these people again. So ... I will repeat what seems to be my mantra: What do you have to lose? Put yourself out there! Make the most of it! You may very well discover some wonderful people!
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at Girl's Weekly, Australia