When once I found myself sharing the back seat of a limousine with a very mature Supreme Court Justice, following a wonderfully chic Arts (with a capital 'A') reception in Manhattan to benefit the UN, I was forced to remind him that there is an enormous difference between Flirtation and Fruition.
Being a chilly evening, and the fact that the car was in fact mine, my options at this stage were either a well placed, yet indecorous knee to his groin, or a gentle reminder that in Europe it is polite to flirt, but to touch is considered very tacky indeed.
(I should also add that any flirting from me in the lead up to this incident was purely delusional on the part of the Judge, as my eye had been rather firmly fixed on a tall and definitely single Swedish diplomat on the right side of 40, with whom I'd been discussing Drottingholm Castle and its revolving ballet stage circa 1700.)
Which leaves me to reflect that is is such a pity that so few men and women outside of France, Italy or Spain, understand the nuance between the 'F' words.
A frisson is created with flirtation, eye contact held just a little longer than necessary, the slight nod of heads from across a room, a half smile and the small, and rueful shrug with no words exchanged or physical contact. Perhaps it's a little intellectual jousting or good natured banter - but all the flirtation in the world does not equal the other 'F' word...... a F**k!
Think Dita von Teese and her tantalising turns - now there is a woman who knows the difference between all the 'F' words.
Fruition is not obligatory ......... it's only the prize ....... the game of Flirtation on both sides can be far more enjoyable, and often holds far less disappointment and heartbreak. A little tachycardia lets you know you're a live.
Off to find Fulfillment with a Ferrero Rocher chocolate with my name on it.
I will be delving into this and other puzzling topics later this month in Sydney, Australia.