Corrections or additions?
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
"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
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
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
F – Friendly, honest expression
L – Loving eyes
I – Intentional listening ("That’s why we have two ears and one
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,
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:
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
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
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.