Ask her out, already!

Young people don’t realize how short life is.

I swim a lot at my local YMCA. Much of the staff there are high school and college students. They’re all amazing, and I’m really impressed by their desire to be able to pay for their education at a time when those costs are outrageous and unfair. But the bottom line is, they’re still young. This means I get to witness a lot of angst that I otherwise would have forgotten from my youth. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I just know that it’s a fact.

The other day a young man was our lifeguard. He sat perched high above us on his lifeguard chair, and ours was the closest lane to him. In the next lane out was a young woman who was swimming laps. Or pretending to. Actually, she was mostly treading water and talking to him. We were kind of stuck in the middle of their conversation whether we liked it or not.

Through their talk, I learned that she’s a swim instructor. So they have a lot in common. They clearly knew each other, too, because their conversation lasted the length of our half hour session.

She was acting like she wasn’t comfortable with certain swimming strokes, such as the butterfly. She said she’d be embarrassed to try them. But when she did, after much encouragement from him, she was obviously quite adept. I longed to tell her that acting stupid and incompetent does not, as a general rule, make you more attractive to others. It was quite clear she was attempting to attract our lifeguard.

She also giggled a lot, and blushed. She pulled compliments out of him, which he was more than happy to give. I remember pulling that crap when I was about 13. I look back at it with a certain level of mortification. Acting like a wounded bird doesn’t bring saviors out of the woodwork. Instead, it attracts predators.

For his part, he kept pulling off his mask so she could hear what he was saying in the large, echoing room. In the process, he was spraying us with his aerosol, which I didn’t appreciate. But who am I to stand in the way of true love? Thank God I’ve been vaccinated and had the ability to move further down my lane.

Watching them play their little courting game was both fascinating and irritating. Young people don’t realize just how short life really is. It took everything in me not to say to both of them, “Do you have a girlfriend? No? Do you have a boyfriend? No? She likes you. He likes you. Ask her out, already!”

But then I realized that these stupid games are practice for life. Hopefully someday they’ll both be able to move past them. And let’s face it, they didn’t ask me for my advice, and heaven knows nobody gave me any shortcuts at their age. So I just rolled my eyes in my mind and exercised on.

Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book!



I learned a new word today. I enjoy enriching my word power. But I fear that in this case my opportunity to use this term is rapidly diminishing.

sphallolalia     “sfa-lO-‘la-lE-a


  1. Flirtatious talk that leads nowhere.


From the Ancient Greek σφάλλω (sphallō, “to stumble”) and λαλιά (lalia, “talking”).

I do love to flirt. There was a time when I couldn’t get through the day without at least one good flirt. But I was younger then. Thinner. And the range of flirt-worthy men seemed much wider.

But I have always made an effort to avoid being inappropriate with my flirting. It’s all about context. I would never flirt at work. I never flirt with someone who is subordinate to me in any way. I never want to intimidate anyone or give them the creeps. I only flirt if I’m certain that at the very least it would be taken as a compliment.  If I knew you were in a relationship, I’d give you a wide berth. Unlike Trump, I’d never grab anyone. That’s not acceptable. Ever.

Flirting was fun. But I’m starting to feel that the older I get, the more awkward it becomes. That, and I’m getting pretty gun shy after years of rejection.

So I’m entering a new life stage. Henceforth I won’t be initiating sphallolalia. That’s probably for the best. In retrospect it kind of sounds like a disease. But if you hit me with some sphallolalia, I’ll most likely respond in kind. Fair’s fair.


Gratitude is even better than flirtation! Give the gift of gratitude today!



I used to like to say that I couldn’t get through the day without at least one good flirtation. I’ve had to scale that back considerably in the past year, because now that I’ve moved to Seattle without knowing a soul, the vast majority of my human contact is with coworkers. Flirting with coworkers is a bear trap I absolutely refuse to step into.

But slowly, agonizingly slowly, I’m starting to meet people outside of the workplace. So the other day, I blew the dust off my flirty self and let her come out to play. What a rush. I was actually much more bold than I’ve ever been before. Making up for lost time? Dealing from a deck of frustration and boredom and loneliness? Nothing ventured, nothing gained? Probably some combination of all of the above.

Actually, ever since my recent epiphany about loneliness (which was yesterday’s blog entry), I haven’t really been feeling lonely at all. Maybe that has liberated me to flirt with impunity. If you don’t feel lonely when you flirt, you won’t be inhibited by fears of rejection. The flirt becomes the thing, rather than the other person’s reaction to that flirt. You can’t really go down in flames if you’re not that heavily invested.

So I just had fun being slightly wicked and playful. And I suspect the recipient of my attention was more than a little experienced with flirtation as well, because his response left me rather uncertain as to his thoughts on the subject. Positive, I think, but I’m  not at all sure. That kind of makes it fun, too, because it means I might, or might not, have something to look forward to.

That makes me smile.

[Image credit:]
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