Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It’s Shameless the Way We Flirt

I used to dislike writing at the local coffee shop. I found it too distracting. Bit by bit though, I learned to tune out the mindless chatter and listen to the delicious dialog going on around me in shameless, literary voyeurism.
One thing I learned is I was hardly (scandal!) the only man (and the occasional woman) to flirt with the seventeen to twenty-two year-old nubile baristas.
I love listening to flirting almost as I love flirting itself. Because we are verbal, biological creatures, it is my observation that some of the best saucy dialog comes from flirting. If it’s one thing I do so very much love, it’s saucy dialog.
Here’s some recent dialog from the coffee shop:
“God, I need some coffee, badly.”
“Oh? How badly do you need the coffee?”
“Very badly.”
“I think the price of coffee has gone up today.”
“What? No, it didn’t.”
“Yes, twenty dollars a cup.”
“Get out.”
“Do you want the coffee or not?”
“For twenty dollars, I want a lot of coffee.”
“We have free refills if you drink it at the shop.”
“I bet.”
“Would you like a muffin with your coffee too?”
“Only if it has butter on it.”
“I can melt some butter.”
“I’m sure you can.”
Delicious, I tell you.
In this era of run amok political correctness, some people avoid flirting even when offered the opportunity, and this is a shame. For the barista and her regular customer, the exchange, which descended into thinly veiled innuendo, left each with a smile on their face.
Flirting. Mostly it’s harmless, sometimes it’s not (such as the time I wooed The Wife Unit). I feel flirtatious dialog is sometimes the best dialog. We’re born to flirt. Some of us are good at it, some of us are not, but regardless, a good pair of flirts makes dialog come alive.
Give me flirty dialog!

4 comments:

  1. I'm right with you on the literary voyeurism! I LOVE to sit anywhere and listen to those sorts of interactions! That refraction of demeanor and emotion can be galvanizing to the reader. It can make the story, the relationship between two (or more) people which sometimes has nothing to do with sex.

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  2. I love flirty dialog, snarky dialog, conflict dialog, but my favorite is smartass dialog :)

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  3. Anybody know any novels with really good flirty dialogue?

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    Replies
    1. Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

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