Singles Groups

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This article was prepared for the April 14, 2004

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

U.S.1 Singles: The Fine Art of Flirting

When Bernadette Smith was a senior at Glassboro High School she was

voted Class Flirt. But she didn’t want the title because she was

dating a boy at another high school and didn’t want him to get

nervous. "I used my flirting skills, charm, and ability to convince

the yearbook staff not to give me the honor," says Smith, pictured at

right, who had also been voted student who contributed most to the

class. "I convinced them it wouldn’t be fair for me to have two

honors. It worked." Her daughter, now at Villanova, was also voted

Class Flirt in high school.

Smith – now a certified life coach with her own company, Empowering

Enterprises (www.mpowering.com) – brings her popular workshop, "The

Art of Flirting" to the Doral Forrestal on Saturday, April 24, at 7

p.m.

"Flirt is a friendly verb," says Smith. The daughter of a salesman and

a nurse, she describes herself as "a very, very friendly person" and

attributes her sunny disposition to her 100 percent Irish roots and an

early childhood spent primarily in the South, the breeding ground for

charm.

She says one of the problems with flirting is that many people have

misconceptions about the real purpose of flirting. "Flirting is a

charming and honest expression of interest in another person. It is

not a tease with hidden agenda. When used with friendly intentions,

it’s a safe, intriguing way to get to hello and beyond."

In her workshop, Smith, who earned her B.S. in psychology from

Glassboro State, focuses on several key points. The first is the

importance of acknowledging the common mistakes that men and women

make when they flirt. "Men are visual," says Smith. "They’re hunters.

How do men get to know women? They think physical – ‘Wow, that woman

looks great in that sweater.’ That’s not flirting; that approach will

set him up for failure. What he should say is, ‘Is there a story

behind that beautiful necklace you’re wearing?’ He needs to put that

visual/ physical element on the sidelines. Awareness is your best

friend."

On the flip side, Smith says women are "more willing to be with you

through the way they feel when they’re with you." They are inherently

emotional and attach a lot of emotional meaning to the words men use,

including, "I’ll call you." (Smith, who herself is single, always

makes a first date promise not to say he’ll call her at the end of the

date.) "Women have to create a space for the man to show up and keep

their emotions on the sidelines. Don’t get bought in by his words."

Smith says her workshop, which she recently presented to a full house

at Downey’s restaurant on South Street in Philadelphia, "is not about

turning you into something you’re not. It’s about putting you in touch

with the natural flirt you already are."

She emphasizes the distinction between good flirting and bad flirting.

"If it’s not fun and friendly, it’s not flirting, it’s something else.

If you see flirting as a leisurely walk down an exciting road, that’s

a fabulous flirt. If you see it as a high speed train to your ultimate

destination, you’re gathering too much information in a short period

of time with too much pressure."

Smith gives workshop participants an awareness exercise to determine

what kind of flirt they are (did you know there are eight kinds?) and

then moves into role playing, which she says everyone always enjoys.

"I have women saying to men, ‘Why don’t men wear cologne like they

used to do in high school. We loved that.’"

The core component of the workshop is what Smith calls her "five tips

for becoming a master flirt," fashioned by using the word FLIRT as an

acronym:

F – Friendly, honest expression

L – Loving eyes

I – Intentional listening ("That’s why we have two ears and one

mouth.")

R – Remember when you smile, the world smiles with you

T – Trust your feelings and your intuition, noting changes in voice

tone, words, and body language.

Smith "tucks in" the workshop with an adage borrowed from veteran

newscaster Peter Jennings. "Always have your exit prepared with a

sincere thank you and good night. People may not always remember what

you say, but they’ll remember how you made them feel," says Smith.

"That is flirting. It’s an art."

"The Art of Flirting," Bernadette Smith, Saturday, April 24, 7 p.m.,

Doral Forrestal, sponsored by Professional and Business Singles

Network. $25 (includes complimentary admission to dance social

directly following the seminar). 800-537-3859.

Professional and Business Singles Network, 800-537-3859. A

30,000-member organization that hosts nearly 50 activities per month

at locations between Philadelphia and Central Jersey. House parties,

dances, seminars. Ages 30s to 60s. Events hotline: 800-537-3859.

Contact: Ralph Israel, 888-348-5544. For a schedule of events, visit

www.pbsninfo.com. One-year membership, $65. Upcoming events: Friday,

April 23, 8-date rotate at the Cranbury Inn, 30s and 40s, 6:15 p.m.,

40s and 50s and 50+, 7:30 p.m., $65 members; $80 nonmenbers, includes

buffet dinner; Saturday, April 24, 7 p.m., "The Art of Flirting, with

Bernadette M. Smith, followed by dance social, Doral Forrestal,

Princeton.

Singles Groups

NEW! Alternative for Singles, 609-750-1910. Romantic house parties –

crackling fire, live piano music, refreshments. Ages 30s through 50s.

Upcoming date: Friday, April 23. Will meet regularly second and fourth

Fridays. Call now for a reservation.

Rhythm and Bugs, Hamilton, 609-252-0502. A community-oriented social

swing dance held on frequent Fridays in central New Jersey. No partner

necessary; 40-50 participants, most of them single. All dances are

held at St. Matthias Episcopal Church, 2200 Genesee Street, Hamilton.

$5. Beginner lindy hop lesson 8 to 9 p.m.; dance from 9 p.m. to

midnight. www.patmedia.net/rhythmandbugs. Upcoming dates: April

23; May 7 and 28.

Book and Movie Club, 609-587-7265. Small informal discussion groups,

biweekly trips to movies, ages 40+, meetings alternate Fridays, 8

p.m., P.J.’s Pancake House, Nassau Street, Princeton. E-mail:

KlassicKorner@aol.com.

NEW! Jersey Jumpers, 609-683-9798. Singles and swing dance. Third

Fridays, beginner dance lessons at 7:30 p.m., swing dance from 8:15 to

11:15 p.m. No partner necessary, all levels welcome. $10; $7 students.

Unitarian Congregation of Princeton, 50 Cherry Hill Road.

Www.jerseyjumpers.org. Upcoming date: April 16.

Mercer County Single Volunteers, a non-profit with the motto: "Connect

by Helping Others." Meetings held first and third Tuesday of each

month at the Hamilton Township Library at 7 p.m. Upcoming date: April

20.

Singles Speak-Up Toastmasters, 908-371-1323. Improve your speaking

skills while having fun, meets first and third Fridays at 7:30 p.m.,

Kingston Presbyterian Church, Route 27, Kingston. Upcoming date: April

16.


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