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Girl wonders how she can learn to flirt

| Monday, Jan. 24, 2011

Hey, Cherie!

I am a girl in 11th grade and am a hopeless flirt. Well, that didn't come out right. I meant to say that I'm hopeless at flirting. I have absolutely no idea how to do it, what to do, the right time to do it, or any of those things. You should see my flirting attempts. They are pathetic.

Here is an example. I have an after-school job in a cell-phone shop. I am not going to say which one, but we sell cell service cheaper than many of the other guys. I know a lot about the products we sell, both new phones, used phones and different kinds of service. I am known as being the go-to person when there are questions, even though I still am in high school.

So, about a week ago this guy came into the shop. He is really cute, though I never had seen him before. It turns out he goes to a school that we compete with, so he is my age. I sold him a phone. Then, the next day, he came back and I sold him service. Then, the next day, he came back and he bought some accessories. Then, the day after that, he came back and got a screen protector. And then, the day after that, he came back and traded his phone for a different phone. And then, the Monday after that, he came back and traded back for his original phone. Every single time, he wanted me to be his salesperson.

When he left the last time, a girl co-worker came over to me and said that he was a hottie and that he likes me. She asked why I didn't flirt with him.

Cherie, I thought he was cute, too. But I was totally clueless and have no idea how to flirt with a guy.

-- Missed the Hottie

Hey, Missed!

How do you get to be a good flirt• Whoa, baby. I'm not going to touch that with a 10-foot pole -- for fear of unleashing more e-mails than I can handle, mostly telling me to take a 15-foot walk off a 10-foot diving board.

OK. I'll do it. There's harmless flirting, there's I-think-you're-cute flirting, and then there's highly sexualized flirting that I think is a big mistake for almost any girl, even when you take the ick-factor out of it.

In the category of harmless flirting, it would be the kind of flirting that just makes life a little more interesting. Make mild eye contact with a guy. Offer a high-five to a guy at an appropriate moment. Some kind of intimacy of conversation that goes beyond the usual cell-phone-sales chatter. It happens, it's over, and you don't think about it again.

Then, what happens when the hottie comes into the shop• First thing, do not, not, not, not, not violate any workplace rules. Got it• Remember that your boss could be called for a reference sometime. So, you surely did the right thing in not flirting with the customer.

But in a nonwork sitch• You'd be amazed at how a fairly mild compliment paid to any guy's appearance -- "You have amazing eyes," "I love your hair," or "your arms are so buff, do you work out?" -- will give the guy the signal that you like him. Got it• Got it.

Hey, Cherie!

I am in a serious argument with my parents about what language to take next year when we start languages at my high school. They are all into Spanish, because there are so many people who speak Spanish here. I am all into Mandarin, because China is the future. What did you take, and what do you think?

-- China is the Future

Hey, China!

First, the easy part. I took French and was not very good at it. I can't say that my teacher back in Michigan had the best French accent, either. But I digress.

If I were doing it again, I would choose what you want to do, which is to take Mandarin. There are going to be millions of American kids who are perfectly bilingual in Spanish and English, but probably not many that know both English and Mandarin. Mandarin will give you a competitive edge. I'd say, go for it.

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