1. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    168

    Flirting

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Mikmaxs, Dec 12, 2016.

    This is sort of a followup to the 'Female perspective' thread, but more specific in nature.

    My character is at a restaurant for lunch. I want her waiter to flirt a bit, to lighten up an otherwise kind of gloomy chapter. Problem is, I *suck* at flirting. I don't know how to do it, but I want it to seem genuine. Furthermore, I don't want to turn this into a 'My character starts swooning and ignoring the problem at hand' thing, it's mostly meant to be a small highlight, not something that overwhelms the chapter. (If nothing else, it's a way to bring up in the narrative 'Yes, my character is 15, and she is interested in boys, I'm not ignoring that entirely, it just hasn't come up yet and probably won't very much in the rest of the story'.)

    Advice?

    EDIT: Also, my main character is going to come back to this restaurant several times, because it's across the street from a police station that she's trying to stake out. If I can pull it off, I might try and write is so that the waiter mistakes her repeated returns as romantic attention. (Or, heck, I might add some actual romantic attention. I dunno, I hadn't considered it, at least partly because I don't know if I can write that well enough, but if the shoe fits I could add it.)
     
  2. ddavidv

    ddavidv Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    437
    Likes Received:
    310
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    I've used this as self-education in the past:
    You can find dozens of other body language and flirting indicator videos on YouTube. Most are pretty subtle and commonplace.
    Key to remember is as overt as some of these clues may be men, unless schooled in Pick Up Artistry, are frequently clueless about them.
     
  3. NoGoodNobu

    NoGoodNobu Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,402
    Likes Received:
    1,978
    Just: banter

    Playful, complimentary, funny, fun

    Nothing thick or heavy, just playing off the natural conversation and situation. It should always relate to the immediate—otherwise it can feel contrived or like a performance of pre-practiced lines

    It's nice if you can throw one appropriate appreciative or complimentary comment on her physical appearance, but the flirtation shouldn't reside on looks (otherwise it can come across creepy or shallow)

    I tend to flirt with girls whenever I come into contact with one, and unfortunately I'm overly fond of over-the-top gestures of gallantry. Like showing up to a friend hangout with a bouquet of grocery-store roses to present to the other girl coming.

    Personally, if I were a waiter
    and a girl looked like she was perhaps having a bad day (you said gloomy chapter, so I assume it affects the girl's attitude), I would come out with our restaurant's stupid desert with one of those sparking single candles while singing loudly the over enthusiastic not-copyrighted-slightly-differing-replacement birthday song

    And when she looks surprised and confused, and probably says it's not her birthday, I'd say in a conspiratorial whisper "Yes, but you looked a little glum, and I thought it'd be nice if there was something to cheer you up. And nothing tends to amuse our customers more than the servers making utter fools of themselves with that ridiculous little ditty, and being presented with ten tons of decorative whipcream overcompensating for the underwhelming morsel of some spongey substance I am assured by our chef is supposed to be cake."

    "Wow, you really know how to sell a girl on the deserts. Can't wait to hear your take on today's specials."

    "Hey, I risked life and limb to deliver this mediocrity to you."

    "Life and limb?"

    "More like a sudden fiery death. That flashy candle very well could have sent a spark into my luscious locks and set my hair ablaze. Really, you should admire my dedicated gallantry. . . and maybe push that plate a few inches further down the table from you. That bugger's still sparking strong as ever. Maybe make a quick wish, just to be safe, yeah?"

    After she blows it out (on her first or fifth try, whichever), commenting lightly, "I don't know what you wished for, but I seem to have gotten mine."

    "Why, did you wish for the busboy to have to wipe down the table from an inch thick of sticky, sprayed whipcream?"

    "No, no, that's just a bonus. Jimmy clearly had this coming. No, I was just hoping I'd get to see your smile. Sure, it's an impish little thing and I now wouldn't trust you as far as I can throw you—which, despite my seemingly superior physique, I am loathe to admit wouldn't be very far—, but it brightens your eyes, which is a now rather pretty shade of ___. Now don't try to manipulate me with that perfectly timed blush. I can see through your girlish charms. Now I really have to go, because my manager is behind the counter glaring at me sidewise, and I'm pretty sure he's on to us." A wink. "Till our next rendezvous. And tomorrow's special is the chicken salmonella—it's to die for."

    The problem with my type of flirting is that it is 100% over-the-top. And I assume the reason that for me it's okay (and works really well with all our business' customers: I am the most popular & most asked after worker) is because I'm female myself.

    Otherwise it can only be taken one of two ways:

    Too much, and pretty freaking creepy.

    Or really adorable, loveable.

    But either way, it isn't casual flirting.

    You just gotta figure out what sort of character the waiter is, and pick the right sort of flirting style for him from there.
     
    RachHP likes this.
  4. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    168
    This is a bit more overt than I had been speaking of, you're right, but it's still really helpful. I can scale up or down from examples and ideas given, I just want to make sure that I'm shooting at the right target.
     
  5. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    8,100
    Likes Received:
    4,585
    I say this respectfully but a flirting waiter that has no importance in the story whatsoever sounds sort of mundane. As in boring and a waste of the reader's time.
     
  6. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    168
    I say this snarkily but it's my story and I disagree, so I'm gonna do it. I just want advice on how to do it well.
    Firstly, she has to be at the restaurant several days in a row anyways, and I don't want it to be a featureless void with no real existence in the story other than to fill a need for my main character. Adding someone recognizable as a person to the restaurant serves this purpose very well, and if I didn't have a flirty waiter, then I'd need an antagonistic waiter or at least some other kind of waiter with a distinct personality in order to make the 'She sits at a table staring out the window' scenes pop a little bit.
    Secondly, just because his existence won't drastically change the outcome, that doesn't even remotely mean it has no importance in the story. Aside from the reason I just gave (Adding flavor to the restaurant stakeouts,) it also develops my MCs character a bit, develops the setting some, and if I can pull it off well enough might just be fun to read, period. I mean, honestly, if we cut out everything in Harry Potter that wasn't specifically and directly related to the main storyline, most of them would be about five chapters long.
     
    Lifeline likes this.
  7. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    575
    Location:
    The middle of the UK
    I agree with you, but length is one of the defining characteristics of the Harry Potter books, and that's not always seen as a good thing. Let's be honest; the only reason Rowling got away with MG books that long is because they very rapidly became money printers. If they had all been subjected to the trimming that the first one went through (itself rejected a fair deal purely because of length), the series wouldn't be any worse, I don't think.
     
  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    18,146
    Likes Received:
    21,138
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    Off topic but wouldn't a restaurant opposite a police station be full of off duty cops ? ergo the very worst place for a stranger to try and stake out the station from
     
  9. antlad

    antlad Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    96
    Just put yourself in the situation and think about how you would want it to play out for you.
    Maybe he doesn't flirt. Maybe he is a quiet kid at school that likes her and lets her sit in his area. He doesn't have to flirt. He could check on her and a friendship/relationship could grow from it. He could lend a hand later on.

    I certainly hope the waiter is a teen. I also hope this is summer/vacation if kids are hanging out in a diner across from a police station all day.
     
  10. Demetre

    Demetre New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    2
    Being a 15 y/o, maybe have there eyes meet, and then she looks away with a hint of a redness on her cheeks of embarrassment, because of the flirty feel. eye contact and charming smiles are great ways to express first-time-meeting flirts. when i was a waiter, both ways of asking for their number or writing mine on the check were two great ways, after of course the eye contact and hints of attraction. If the subtle facial expressions and flutter of words werent there, then you know it's not a go.
     
    Carly Berg likes this.
  11. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    168
    I forgot to mention, but this isn't a modern setting, it's closer to that of the mid-1800s. They're both pretty much legal 'adults', though they might not be taken completely seriously by older people. What formal education exists in their part of the world is over by now.
    That might work, minus the phone number. (Phones don't exist in this setting.)

    Well, yes to an extent, but my main character hasn't thought of that. It's not a huge force, so they're not coming by constantly, but there will be a run-in with them.
     
    Demetre likes this.
  12. Demetre

    Demetre New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    2


    instead of a phone number, maybe he would suggest a place to meet in the future, or a simple "I really hope to see you again" the waiter says with a very charming smile.
     
  13. antlad

    antlad Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    96
    Ahhhh, maybe do a search for what flirting was like at that time.

    Plus, I must say, if your MC doesn't understand police will eat at a restaurant next to the police station, or if she does not constantly recognize officers coming and going; how will she ever get anything accomplished?
     
  14. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    168
    Well, there's only about a dozen officers in total, they're horribly understaffed and don't have a lot of time to go out to eat.
    As for my MC... She's not stupid by any account, but she IS sheltered. She spent most of her life living on the family farm, and her town experience was a tiny 100-person settlement that didn't even have its own sherrif. It's just not something she's ever had to think about before. (And she will see the officer coming, she just won't have an opportunity to leave with any stealth before he gets there.)
     
  15. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2016
    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    159
    Location:
    England, UK
    I definitely think it would be nice to put this in. Sometimes the little details can really help to make a book lovable. Plus, being the helpless romantic I am, I'd get quite interested every time she set food in that restaurant. I have no idea how people flirted in that time (except that it was probably in a much subtler way than we flirt today) but I think a lot of it will come down to both characters. Confident people flirt very differently to shy, awkward people, if they do at all. To some, merely catching the eye of that waiter would cause them to get flustered. Others would feel nothing at all until things moved along a bit. Others still might feel excited at the thought he might then approach them. So, maybe start out by considering how confident or shy your MC is when interacting with others, and also consider the same for the waiter. Is he going to flirt awkwardly, or is he a smooth, confident lad? Their personalities could alter any potential conversation dramatically.
     
  16. RachHP

    RachHP Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2015
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    162
    Location:
    England
    As well as considering the dialogue involved in flirting (which has always escaped me, appearing either super cheesy or just ineffectual) you may want to use body language/physical expressions.
    There are lots of ways to convey attraction subtly, getting more overt as the situation calls for. There are lots of reference sheets (eg: http://uk.pinterest.com/pin/43347215142813391/) and generic rules you'll find in youtube videos as suggested by earlier posters. My go-to is usually personal space.
    Strangers don't press up against each other, or deliberately lean across someone, or sit with shoulder and hip pressed against each other, unless they're on the Tube. But, if you fancy someone, more than likely you'll touch their arm, nudge their elbow, or generally provoke them physically because you're eliciting a bond and ... not to put to fine a point on it ... sexual interest.

    Good luck!
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice