The Art of the Flirt

I was once told by a friend that I would ‘flirt with a letterbox’ given half a chance… I think he is right.

Flirting with other gay boys is indistinguishable from cruising, whilst flirting with straight boys just looks like a friendly smile, so I figure that I might as well just smile at everyone, because there is nothing to lose, except maybe for my front teeth if a less enlightened hetero-guy takes exception to the attention. Luckily, that hasn’t happened and I still have all my teeth. Well, I don’t… I have two missing at the back of the bottom row, but that was to do with eating too many jelly frogs as a child and nothing to do with flirting.

So anyway, everywhere I go, I radiate smiles in all directions. Miles of smiles. This makes me look like the friendliest person on the planet… or possibly a bit simple.

I walk at a fast pace, so when I am out and about with my partner, he tends to trail a few steps behind (like the Duke of Edinburgh maintaining a subordinate distance behind the Queen on royal engagements, as I like to tell him), which means he always catches the aftermath of my smile/flirt (smirt?). I constantly hear him asking, from over my shoulder, “Why did he just smile at you?” Did you just smile at that guy? Did you smile at that one too? Are you smiling AGAIN?!”

I don’t smirt (I coined it… I’m using it) at every guy though… only the cute ones.

It’s not always possible to get a clear look at the face of all the guys you see, so you don’t immediately know if they are worth smiling at, as they may be turned away or looking down, so I have honed a sure-fire method of getting them to look in my direction. As you approach a potential smile recipient, simply scuff your heal on the pavement. The resulting scraping noise inevitably prompts the subject of your attention to glance up or turn around, primarily to check that they are not about to be hit by a careering bicycle or mugged, but it does the job. Try it… and you’re welcome.

The most sustained subject of my flirtations is an attractive Romanian, who sells fruit and veg in the shadow of St Martin in the Bullring (locally known as the Black Church, because of discoloration from centuries of industrial pollution. It was actually cleaned nearly twenty years ago and now its true golden stonework glows, but the name sticks). I always make a beeline for him when shopping in the outdoor market and we have struck up a nice rapport over the years. A moment in his company makes my heart sing for the rest of the day.

Despite clearly being straight, he doesn’t seem too perturbed by the attention. I think that he is more than aware that he sends me silly and seems to appreciate it. My favouritism hasn’t gone unnoticed by his workmates, which sometimes results in him receiving a mild ribbing from them, but he brushes it off and always looks genuinely pleased to see me. He certainly doesn’t turn down the occasional hot chocolate from me on a cold winter’s afternoon and he has been known to slip me the odd extra banana or two now and again, which sadly isn’t a euphemism.

I had an opportunity to take the art of the flirt to another level while shopping for groceries last week.

It was on the hottest day of the year so far, but I was still surprised to see an equally hot Pakistani lad stroll into a supermarket in Balsall Heath without his shirt on. Being a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood, Islamic modesty means that flesh, male or female, is rarely so blatantly on display, especially not in the middle of Lidl.

This lad was as handsome as a Bollywood idol and buff to boot, with bulging biceps, an expansive chest of dark hair and nipples like a couple of sovereign coins. No wonder he wasn’t bashful about whipping his top off.

I kept subtly cruising around him in the aisles, sneaking furtive peeks. On one sly pass-by, I overheard him ask a member of staff where he would find the fishfingers. As I knew where they were, I took a shortcut and, like the Big Bad Wolf, ensured that I got there ahead of him.

I stood at the wall mounted freezers, pretending to peruse the scallops and battered calamari rings, until he arrived and then accidentally-on-purpose reached for the cabinet’s handle at the exact same moment that he did, ensuring that our fingers brushed.

“Oh sorry,” I apologised and graciously opened the freezer door for him. A bracing blast of cold air cascaded from the cooler. “I bet that feels good,” I commented, nodding pointedly at his bare chest and delivering a textbook smirt. “You should stand here all day.”

“Yeah, it feels nice man,” he sighed.

The next thing, I was slowly opening and closing the freezer door, fanning this Asian Adonis’s naked torso in wafts of icy mist. He responded by closing his eyes and relishing the respite from the summer heatwave. I swear his chest hairs stood on end and those sovereign nipples got decidedly perky.

I don’t know what was going through his mind, but my thoughts could have defrosted those fishfingers!

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