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Advice on Flirting for the Elderly

January 28, 2011

*I guess I got too lazy to use quotation marks, despite the fair amount of dialogue.

I had the most interesting conversation with an elderly Kuwaiti man (maybe late 50’s early 60s) recently in Starbucks at the Marina Mall.  It began with him wanting my help in looking up a word for him in what he called a “theesa”, but seeing the piece of paper he had with him saying Thesaurus made me understand what he meant.  This is really the boring part of the story – over ten minutes of me trying to help him look up words on my lap top (words I think he already knew the meaning to)…don’t ask me…I was there and I couldn’t understand what he really wanted, a complete language barrier impediment.

When I thought the conversation was over he challenged me with a different question, one that was far more interesting.  He explained to me that he comes to this particular Starbucks almost everyday.  And often he sees this beautiful, mid-twenties American woman come in with her dog and sit near him.

His question for me was what does it mean if this beautiful woman says hi to him?  I said, she’s probably just being nice.  I could tell he really wanted me to say, well she’s likes you and she wants to get to know you better.  His other question was, What should I do if she says hi again.  (You say hi back, duh.  That’s not how I said it to him.)  I think he was confused over this whole notion of just “being nice”.  I think he felt that if she says hi to him, then she should “want” something from him.  He said, If she says ‘hi’ and she doesn’t want anything from me, then khalas (finished) I shouldn’t say hi to her.  Then I told him, Well you would be mean to her if she said hi and you did not say hi to back to her.

At some point in the conversation he said – and take this how you want – he said, If she’s being nice to me, I can be nice to her.  We can be friends and I can give her things.  If I had a response to that, I don’t remember what it was.  But I really wanted to be helpful because he seemed sincere.  And I admired his starting a conversation with complete stranger that’s clearly not Arabic.

I told him I really don’t know what this American woman is thinking.  He was hoping that since I told him I’m from America I could really help him understand her thought process on this whole cafe discourse.  He really wanted to know what else he should say if she were to say hi to him.

He came back to what he should do if she comes again.  Should I say hi, he asked.  I said, It depends on what she does…If she says hi, then you say hi…If she doesn’t, you don’t…But if she gives you eye-contact, then you can say hi…But if no eye-contact, then I would not say hi. He said, ahhhh…okay, I understand.

Keep this in mind…this is a 50+ year-old Kuwaiti Man in winter Dishtasha and all talking with this Filipino-American about advice on…how to talk to women.

The next thing he said gave me more faith in the genuine-quality of people – plus it was funny.  He described to me, more or less, that it is very hard for him to ignore this girl because,  “She comes in here and….” he hesitantly mimed his hands as if they were on the hips of a woman, “she’s always wearing this beautiful thing.  You know what I mean?”  I laughed, and said, Oh, I know what you mean.  At that moment, we could be two guys from any culture talking about beautiful women, laughing our hearty laughs, and perhaps clinking two foaming beers below a hi-five given a different setting.

I concluded it by giving him no specific or explicit thing to say.  That saying hi is common for Americans to say to strangers.  But if he really wanted to he could start an innocent conversation asking about her dog she always brings into the cafe.  He understood that he probably shouldn’t just ask her if he could join her at her table.

By the end of this 25-30 minute conversation he was very grateful.  He asked me if I wanted a drink, but told him I had to get going.  He told me that he is always at this Starbucks at this time, and if I ever want to sit and talk with him I’m more than welcome.

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