Students experiment with the awkward art of amour

Clueless: the word and feeling that characterizes the vast majority of teenagers when it comes to relationships. What do I say? No clue. How do I start the conversation? No clue. What am I to do? You guessed it, no clue. We the people of Chantilly, in order to find our way out of the sea of awkwardness, learn what does and doesn’t work through extensive trial and error.


“The most awkward thing is when a girl comes up and just touches my arm; I don’t know what to say to that,” junior Michael DeLeon said. “She’ll say ‘Hey, I’ll say ‘Hi,’ and then I don’t know what to do.”


The ‘arm touch’ is a common sign of flirtation among women. The simple act is seen in the media, and seems easy to pull off. The context in which we usually see the move is in a bar or restaurant in both TV shows and movies; it looks smooth and suave. However, the location in which we actually see the ‘arm touch’ take place is in the hallways and cafeterias we teenagers call home. As such, it is awkward and uncomfortable.


“[The weirdest flirting I’ve received is] too much physical contact,” junior Lachlan Hudson said. “[For example, if I get] a hand on my shoulder without knowing the person, I always feel weird accepting the contact without objection.”


Girls receive more than their fair share of flirtation. If the lucky lady happens to be speaking with her teenaged mid-pubescent Prince Charming, it won’t matter what he says or does. The flirtation will be successful. But if she is, in a more likely scenario, speaking with some other guy who she doesn’t really know it may turn into a fiasco of unwanted advancements coupled with subtle-but-not-so-subtle hints to leave. The flirtation will fail.


“There’s a guy on my dance team [who asked me out. One day,] he said ‘I can help you dance even better,’ and I, [unsure,] said ‘okay, cool,'” freshman Raina Vij said. “He said, ‘I’ll meet you next Saturday night for dinner, and then I’ll teach you how to dance,’ and I was like, ‘okay, please don’t talk to me.'”


Unfortunately, as we all know too well, advancements are sometimes less a well-meant compliment and more, for lack of a euphemistic term, sexual harassment.


“A guy slapped my butt once,” freshman Melissa Weinstein said.


Thankfully, many people won’t experiment with aggressive tactics like that, though it is still important to recognize that sexual harassment, regardless of the rarity of occurrences, is inappropriate and unacceptable. However, many teens find it difficult to determine whether or not a peer welcomes and shares their interest. Advances can be shot down, and a conversation can drop dead, both without the conversation starter ever knowing what is going on.


“When I try to start a conversation, it doesn’t last because the girl won’t carry it on,” junior Kevin Euerle said. “Then, it seems like it’s my fault.”


Confusing miscommunications such as this are commonplace amongst teens trying to figure out the art of flirting. Regrettably, there is little advice that can be given to abate the difficulties of flirting. However, there is a set of basic rules that must not be broken: keep it mutual, and, more importantly, keep it ‘PG.’ Stick to these guidelines, and flirt as much as you want. Eventually, you will have enough failures and successes to find for yourself what works and what is comfortable.


“Just do it,” Euerle said. “Do whatever you want because who cares. Live life freely.”