REVIEW of Susan Bradley's Flirting Safari:
“How to Flirt Without Looking Like You’re in Heat”
to Flirt Without Looking Like You're in Heat" was definitely not a
subject I was taught in Catholic school. Having your skirt an inch
above the knee proved to be the secret password to the "Scarlet A" club.
Did I mention I also played the piano? Yep, I'm Asian American, too. Flirting, let alone a flirting
convention, was not even part of my vocabulary. Using your body
language to attract a guy was trespassing into territory that belonged
only to the "birds and the bees".
up, the biggest sign of affection I saw my parents give each other was a
pat on the back. I glimpsed a hug goodbye once, but it could’ve been an
accidental casualty from my mom reaching for her keys. Having
un-expressive parents was a history I shared with Susan Bradley, keynote
speaker of the 2010 Bay Area Flirting Convention. But our
similarities ended there. Bradley stood 5’10 inches tall with siren-red
hair that flowed over her coyly placed arm-on-hip. She exuded
seduction, perhaps not embodied it as Marilyn Monroe did, but enough to
have been Christina Hendrick’s archetype. “Mad men” may have well been
Bradley’s chewed-up leftovers.
are you here? “ she asked. Crickets. “Come on, why are you here?”
Bradley urged with a slight inflection that suggested she had an answer
in mind. Not that there was a right answer, but there certainly was a
golden one. Uncharacteristically that answer came from the back
row. Like emerging from an herbal essence commercial, Bobbie Casey, rose
to the front of the class with her bull’s-eye exhale, “To fall in
love.” There was brief pause, suggesting that all the romantics in the
room had repeated the timeless phrase to themselves, while the skeptics
heard the cliché and looked for the closest exit to high-tail themselves
out of there.
matter the smiles, arms folded, legs crossed, eyebrows raised or heads
leaned, Bradley stayed the course. “To fall in love”, she wistfully
recounted. We, and by we, I mean 75 women, sat there seemingly curious
to hear if the first lesson would jettison us into sisterhood, as if we
were at a sleepover reading the latest issue of Cosmopolitan. Of course,
equally if not more probable was the scenario that we would free-fall
into the “8-second later” group, delayed in our individual reaction and
more bewildered than when we first walked in.
and disengage,” she pointedly recited our mantra for the night, with
the same cadence as “bend and snap” from the memorable flirting tutorial in Legally Blonde. Verdict? Cosmos all the way around.
She had it down to a science. Bradley explained, “Within 45 minutes, flirt 3 times using this technique.”
Step 1: Smile for several seconds from afar (engage) and look away (disengage).
2: "Flirt-by" Walk by and comment on what he's wearing - "That is
your color" or " I like your look" (engage) and walk away (disengage).
Step 3: Have a conversation (engage). Within the conversation engage and disengage.
groups of men had joined the conversation by this point, coming close
to equalizing the amount of estrogen and testosterone in the room. By
the eager expressions on their faces- the suits, baggy t-shirts, fedoras
and even bow-ties that walked-in were like guys who just crashed their
sisters’ sleepovers- eager to gather intel and demystify the creation
known as woman. The men we were told do not typically show up until
after the presentation is over, when the mingling begins. Luckily for
us, they didn’t get the memo. Role-playing without a “Ken” would not
have been as entertaining to be sure.
the ice had broken because unlike thirty minutes ago when it was so
quiet you could hear the outgoing texts chiming from the bored person
two rows ahead of you, hands were now raised vigorously waving to
Bradley’s request for volunteers. She needed one man and woman to come
up. Once they were on stage, she asked them to pick a victim from the
opposite sex to join them. Guiding them through a number of scenarios,
Bradley illustrated a few conversation-starters. Some of them were akin
to “If I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put U and I
together.” Included in this tier was her suggestion to cut out a paper
heart and while giving it to our person of interest, say, “This is my
heart. Will you hold it for a while- I’ll be right back.” “Exactly” some
of us probably thought, smiling a stamp of approval, while the other
half was looking for a paper bag to either gag into or scream, “What?!”
dark horse in my opinion was her suggestion to wear a piece of jewelry
with a story of origin, providing a natural segue for a pair to get to
know each other. This resonated with me the most, as men do typically
compliment the necklace I’m wearing, in which I reply with the dead-end
answer of “thank you.” Once I’ve graduated from the “jewelry-wearing”
stage, I may attempt Bradley’s recommendation to stand next to the
person of interest, letting out an exhale, which hopefully will solicit
the question, “Are you bored?” In turn, I’m to respond, “No, I’m just
ready for a vacation,” which supposedly is "flirt" for "please talk to
tricks of the trade include sitting at the edge of your chair, securing
proper posture to cross your legs, and ample pivot range to scan the
room. Standing slightly sideways while talking to your interest is also
apparently much more flirtatious than facing forward.
of the most comical moments of the night was when all of us, men
included, stood up for the “double-take”. In unison we looked over our
shoulder, looked away, then snapped back to look at our mark.
the most over-the top suggestion came in Bradley’s approach to finding
out if the man of the night is married. If a ring doesn’t verify his
marital status, you are to touch an article of his clothing, such as a
tie, and ask, “Did your wife pick this out for you?” If he is in a
group, you could ask, “Which one of you is the troublemaker?” This
supposedly is guaranteed to generate a frenzy-finger-pointing contest,
at which point you are able to weed out the single men by responding,
“It must be the married one.” Either this will be confirmed or denied
and hopefully not neither.
the one sure to be reenacted, if at least in jest, was the same
recommendation that proved most intriguing. Bradley explained how to
overcome your nerves by tricking your brain. When walking into a party
full of strangers, she suggests waving across the room, tricking your
brain into believing you do know someone and, therefore, will feel more
comfortable to converse with people. She allayed those of us who were
cynics ready to protest by leading us through an exercise in which she
asked us to picture a lemon in our hands and after several seconds of
describing it in detail we were to take a bite. “How many of you have
more saliva in your mouth?” she asked. Many, including myself, were
amazed that we were salivating. Tricking our brains into believing we
were about to eat a lemon apparently had triggered our salivary glands,
initializing the digestion process.
even more than the sideway talking, head snapping, brain trickery or
simple smile, “attitude” trumps all. With attitude the sideway talking
is accessorized with a hand on the hip, your head snapping transforms
into legendary hair tossing, the waving doesn’t end up flailing and the
smile can not be mistaken for misdirection.
may ask, what makes Susan Bradley worthy of our attention? Can Bradley,
a prior nurse become the next Dr. Phil? For better or entertaining,
Bradley, was able to disarm and captivate her audience. But do her coaching abilities compel a double-take themselves? I, for one, signed up for the next Bradley event: the flirting safari. Basically through a number of challenges and Bradley’s coaching,
a small group of us will venture into the Golden Gate City and put into
practice what we learned here today. Would I replace my Cosmopolitan
for “How to be Irresistible to the Opposite Sex” or another
Bradley-authored book? I think there’s enough room on my shelf for both.
I was thinking of ending with "I think there's enough room on my shelf
for both, next to my Bible. I even thought of saying NIV Bible to imply
my conversion. ha. if my piece were shorter, i think it would work. but
the way it is, it seems out of place.)
Susan leads seminars on relationships and coaching in the SF Bay Area and other areas of California. Contact her at Susan@MyDramaFreeRelationship.com