How to be a good flirt

“The good flirts of the world seem to convey that the impression that they like other people very much—probably because they really do.” — Seventeen, Nov 1956


In high school, I remember drafting up strategies for flirting with my crushes like I was working on trigonometry homework. In the end, I failed both. I would try to place myself in my crushes—there were always multiple—in the hallway, only to get flustered. And when I was young* getting flustered meant that my face would turn cherry red immediately.

*This actually still might be the case. Can someone confirm?

When you're in high school and your face turns red, the entire hallway knows you're embarrassed and can figure out precisely who you have a crush on. That means the dude you have a crush on immediately knows you have a crush on him, too. Being cool is the best way to attract someone, especially when you're 16 and awkward. Whatever it is that I was doing is the opposite of that.

I was shy and unsure of myself, and had some lingering self-esteem issues that resulted from cutting my very curly hair short as a young teen. Instead of the chic bob I envisioned, I ended up with a very poufy triangle of frizz. At least they matched the aesthetic of my braces and glasses. I came across the only remaining photographic evidence of this unfortunate life stage recently, and I am not exaggerating when I say I looked like a Kristen Wiig parody of an awkward teenage girl on SNL. But…worse?

I'm still not great at flirting, but without the glasses, braces, or triangle of hair, I at least feel a little more self-assured and can look a guy in the eye without turning beet red and/or dissolving into a pile on the floor. Still, I'm not great.

I came across a column in a 1956 issue of Seventeen called, "How to be a good flirt."

If you find [flirting] difficult, look into yourself for hidden reasons: Are you, perhaps, a little scornful of boys—secretly.

Well, yes.

Many a girl may have an attitude like this without knowing it and through no fault of her own.

Oh, I know it!

Or might you be unsure of your attraction for boys?

Well, no, but very progressive for a circa-1956 Seventeen...

This can happen—perhaps from natural modesty; perhaps through having had too high standards set for you by extra-loving and so overcritical parents, or by too demanding teachers; even by loss of esteem through the teasing of rude boys.

Okay, not where I thought this was going.

If it is a question of not liking boys enough, you can simply refuse to be a victim of the past.


If it's not liking yourself enough, you can buck up your self-esteem by the simple logic that you do attract boys. You may find it rather easy to become a good flirt—especially if you keep reminding yourself that to get the boy you want, you must want the boy you get.

Thank u, next.