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Seduction skills: @sonya_barber learns to flirt like a screen siren

Posted at 2:15 pm, April 7, 2013 in Fun London
Sonya Barber © David Tett

Everyone wants to be as seductive as Marilyn, we just need a little help with our smouldering glances. Even Blogmistress Sonya Barber…

It takes guts to sign up to a class where the sole purpose is ‘learning to flirt’; you’re basically admitting that you need help making people fancy you. But somehow ‘flirtologist’ Jean Smith manages to attract a class of 30 beautiful women, all prepared to take the old-school approach to seduction and follow in the flirting footsteps of Hollywood’s famous screen sirens.

Confident, charming and alarmingly friendly, Jean Smith herself is the definition of the word ‘bubbly’. But veteran seductress Smith aside, our flirting icons for the evening are Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Katharine Hepburn and Greta Garbo; all strong, confident, gorgeous women. This is a good start. Who doesn’t want to be more like them?

The class begins with a round of questions designed to determine which screen siren you’re most like. After posers such as ‘Are you a party girl or do you prefer to be alone?’ and ‘Do you flirt with a quip or just a look?’ I feel more like a teenager doing a Just Seventeen quiz than a smouldering sex bomb.

Once we’ve all been assigned our icon – apparently I am a ‘Mae’, although I definitely feel more like a ‘Katharine’ – we’re taken through the basic life story of each of the sirens. After our history lesson, it’s time to practise a few key flirtations. We’re told to open our mouths and gesticulate like Marilyn. We’ve only just begun and I am descending into a cringe spiral. Next up is Katharine, a beacon of confidence: we’re encouraged to discuss the things we like about ourselves (cue painful chat about your ‘lovable’ qualities with some total strangers). Moving on to Greta, the queen of the eye gesture, we try expressing our emotions by gazing intensely at one another. Finally, my discomfort hits new levels as we’re forced to share jokes and chat-up lines in a desperate attempt to be as hilarious as Mae.

After an hour of awkward group work, it’s obvious that the tried-andtested ways of flirting still work best: a glass of wine or four would have loosened us all up. Despite the arid sobriety, everyone leaves chatty and rather giggly. But friendship isn’t what we came for. We’re here for ultimate seduction skills, and what have we learned? Short of becoming a slack-jawed, hand-flailing, eyetwitching joke machine, the bottom line is that being attractive is all about confidence. No, this isn’t news to me, but the class was a good reminder, even if it did take me three G&Ts to recover from the evening’s embarrassment. 

For details of upcoming classes visit flirtology.co.uk.

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