Yep, I am a flirt. No doubt about it. And I am proud of it. My mother would be horrified.
When I was growing up I was not allowed to play with Protestants, read comics, watch cartoons or play with kids who were a little rough around the edges. The television series Dallas was out of bounds because the characters slept in the same bed and were not married. My mother told me that women over 39 should not have long hair and almost fainted once when I said damn. I was not allowed to wear makeup or socialise with boys. Or sleep with my cats. I was only allowed to read the right kind of newspapers. She was working class and she was a huge snob.
As a result I have grown up to be a real flirt. In almost everything….I have never smoked or been much for alcohol (strangely enough they were the only things my mother encouraged me to do!)
I socialise with anybody, I read anything from the sleaziest tabloids to War and Peace. At 52 I had waist length hair and wore a bikini. I can read Pliny the Younger’s eye witness account of the eruption of Vesuvius in his letter to Tacitus – in the original Latin. But I also read Fifty Shades of Grey and even Mills and Boon now and then. I can debate what went wrong with Othello (I am leaning towards his own nature rather than Iago…) until the cows come home but I can also argue up a storm about who the best candidate is to win Project Runway. I love The Vampire Diaries as much as I love Casablanca. I read The Times but I love The Daily Mail because it always gets the news first. I read Heat magazine in front of people. On the train. I buy Yves Rocher from the back page of the Women’s Weekly. I shop at Topshop even though I am older than most of the customers’ mothers. I love Primark as much as I love Proenza Schouler. I can write stiff academic texts on Gramsci’s Theory of Hegemony but I also write racey fanfiction. One of my longterm boyfriends was 13 years younger than me. I have lots of tattoos. I curse like a sailor but only when I am cross. I laugh at stupid jokes and slapstick humour. I collect Filofaxes and hardbound notebooks. I love stationery, wear big jewellery, and don’t hide the fact. I love my pets to a stupid degree. I kiss my cats and they sleep with me every night. I mourn when my plants die. I love Foster the People as much as I love Mantovani. I was around when David Bowie was Ziggy Stardust but I can recognise Cage the Elephant and The Kills within seconds. At the age of 34 I gave up everything I knew and moved across the world to be with the man I loved. At fancy parties full of Names To Know I am just as likely to be gabbing with the catering staff or playing with the kids and pets as I am hobnobbing with the gentry. I treat everyone the same which means that I get on with everyone from the cleaning staff to the CEO of the companies in which I work. I am just as likely to ask a security guard to coffee as I am a government minister.
My point is if you limited yourself to things you have been told you should do, you miss out on a lot. You could learn more from someone under your fridge with a builder’s bum than you would from professors at a top university. If you are happy and comfortable and safe and loved, then it does not matter how you do it or what you do it with. Don’t let society’s view of what you ‘should’ do limit your choices. What you listen to or read, or your accent or your background do not make you a better or worse person. And if you don’t flirt with all the options you will never know what you really like. Don’t let other people make your choices for you. And don’t let your age dictate what you wear or what you read or who you mix with. Let loose and live a little. Don’t worry about what other people think. You won’t be sorry. As long as you are not doing anything to hurt others or to hurt yourself, the sky is the limit. Have a strange hobby? Do you like cute pink girly stickers in your work planner? Like collecting washi tape? Keep a journal? If it makes you happy, does not hurt others or get you into debt, who cares what people think? They are not living your life. Enjoy what makes you happy. If they are your friends they will be happy for you.
And flirt with everything because life goes by very fast!