The Hook Up: 12-15-2010

I’m 22 and in a relationship with a woman I love and see a future with. We’ve been together for about almost a year and a half, living together for about eight months. She’s my best friend, brightens my every day and we have insanely hot sex! We even got a kitten together (living the lesbian dream!). We’re both on the same page with seeing ourselves together long term with marriage and kids, etc. She’s in her late 20s so that stuff is looking a bit closer than it would if I was dating someone my own age.

Anyway, on the one hand I’m blissfully happy and perusing engagement ring catalogues, but I’m also having a bit of trouble shaking off my natural tendency to flirt. As a single gal flirting was like a drug for me — girls, boys, pets, teachers, bosses, the mailman — if it has the capacity to give a response, I can flirt with it. Since being in a relationship I’ve really reined myself in and even distanced myself from mates with whom the friendship was based on flirting. I recently had a little incident of getting very drunk and quite flirty with my attractive bi-curious teacher. Nothing physical happened and I can honestly say I don’t want to kiss, cuddle or have sex with anyone other than my beautiful girlfriend.

However, my night out gave me such a rush and ego boost and in some ways this woman seems like a “safe” outlet for flirting as she is my teacher and knows about my committed relationship, so it is giving me the thrills of the chase without the risk of it leading anywhere bad. However I suspect/know my lady still wouldn’t be comfortable with it.

Flirty teacher suggested we have coffee over the break. I don’t know if I should go or not. We get along really well and I see a potential for us to be good friends. Can I flirt at all while still respecting my relationship? Can I ever really quit being a flirt or is it a part of me? Will I keep slipping up on the flirt factor my entire relationship/life? Ultimately nothing is worth risking what I have with my girlfriend, but I sometimes feel like I’ve had to kill part of my personality. Is this necessary? — Flirts Anonymous

Anna says: Let me first just say that I love how you even signed your email flirtatiously. You’re good, Kid. Real good. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice a part of yourself, i.e. your flirtatiousness, if, and this is the Big If, you are confident that it really is harmless. It’s not just your behavior you have to consider, Flirts. We must take into account this hot, bicurious teacher’s behavior, for instance. Are you going to be able to draw the line with her if she tries to cross over it? She may seem safe because she knows about your relationship, but well, okay I’m just going to say it: She’s in the market for some lady lovin’, which she must’ve told you because the Committee of Bicuriousness hasn’t even decided on a crest yet let alone a hair style or shoe brand to identify themselves to potential suitors. And you are an experienced lady lover, also known in some circles as prey. I’m not saying that every bicurious girl will look upon you as a potential target, except I am saying exactly that.

Just kidding, I’m generalizing. But just be aware of yourself and the situations you might find yourself in. Good flirting involves boundaries as well as coy arm placements. For instance, does your self-control tend to fluctuate when you’re hanging out with your good friends Margarita and Jack Daniels? Are you sneaking off to send texts with inappropriate references to gherkins? If so, then avoid those situations. If you’re ever in doubt about whether your tongue tangos are crossing the line, then think about if the situation were reversed and it was your partner doing the doe-eyed dance with someone else. Would you be okay with that? WOULD YOU?

I’m a huge fan of flirting. It comes second only to “twirting” and blurting, respectively. It’s a playful form of communication that makes us feel desired and confident. As long as you can keep it clean, you have my permission to flirt promiscuously. Get on that and I’ll get on you.

Hailing from the rough-and-tumble deserts of southern Arizona, where one doesn’t have to bother with such trivialities as “coats” or “daylight savings time,” Anna Pulley is a professional tweeter/blogger for Mother Jones and a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Find her at annapulley.com and on Twitter @annapulley. Send her your Hook Up questions at askthehookup@gmail.com.

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