"It’s all about turtles and octopuses,"says sexpert Cate Mackenzie
It’s getting colder and the nights are drawing in, which can only mean one thing - the 'big C' is looming. No, not Christmas, it’s cuffing season, the time when singletons abandon their solo status to nestle down with a partner for the colder months.
So, how can you snare a singleton at the most romantic time of the year? We asked flirting guru Cate Mackenzie to be our wing woman.
Step 1: recognise whether you’re an octopus or a turtle
Mackenzie wouldn’t give differing dating advice based on gender but on the individual’s personality traits.
“It depends on whether you’re an octopus or turtle. Octopuses are already out there. They’re the ones who will reach out. Turtles are more shy and they need to feel safe before they do anything. Turtles need to come forward and octopuses need to relax and slow down. Turtles might think ‘nobody sees me’ so they need to learn how to dare to stand out, whilst octopuses need to slow down and recognise how other people feel.”
It’s called feelingisation – when you imagine how would it feel to be with that person.
Step 2: feel the feels before you meet the real deal
Whilst most singletons would jump right into trying to meet someone, Mackenzie believes that there is a key step in romantic rituals that should come first.
“It’s called 'feelingisation' – when you imagine how would it feel to be with that person. Where would this person hang out, where would you hang out with them. Take yourself on a few dates to those places. Once you get into that realm, people show up. You will go and do things that you’ve never done before. All we can do is get ourselves into the zone.”
“When you’re feeling right, you’ll see a different picture, you’ll see people at places that you might not have seen before. Attend the things you like, and you’ll be more likely to meet someone like you.”
Step 3: seek out real-life romance
When it comes to technology, Mackenzie admits that there are some platforms [read: Tinder] that have suffocated the spark.
“We have the benefit of technology now, but then we also have the minus where we have attachments to our computers and phones, they’re emotional items for us now. How do we look into someone else’s eyes when we’re so used to relying on a phone?”
“I encourage people to sit in a café and put all those things away. It’s called active reciprocity, if you’re willing to be open, people can approach you. You need to get into the practice zone of opening up.”
Date a few people so you don’t get obsessed with one
Step 4: try the three-look tease
“Three look tease – look over, look away, look over, look away, if they’re engaging, then there may be a way to connect.”
Step 5: focus on a few
“Prepare for rejection. Treat it as a project that you’re doing as an ongoing thing. Date a few people so you don’t get obsessed with one, say ‘hi’ to a few different people so you don’t get obsessed with one."
"But also, it’s important to take care of our hearts. If you’re feeling vulnerable, then take a friend. It takes practice and its it’s understandable to think that you can’t do that at the start.”
Try asking: is there anyone in your life that would be offended by me flirting with you?
Step 6: ditch the chat up lines
What about those dreaded chat-up lines – should we start conversations with recycled anecdotes about being so good-looking you must have fallen from the sky?
“Everything is better if we’re our authentic selves. But the thing is we’re all essentially shy. So, it can be good to have thought about what you’re going to say.”
“Wear clothes that help people chat to you,” advises Mackenzie. “Wear a flower in your hair or something colourful, it helps people say hello. Make it easier to be approachable. Most people inside are a little bit shy when it comes to dating. People always say ‘Oh I don’t know why my friends are always approached’ – but why do you think? They’re smiling, looking relaxed, confident and approachable. If you have a relaxed, appreciative atmosphere, then people will want to approach you.”
Step 7: it’s not what you say, but how you say it
“A huge percentage of communication is body language, tone and pace. Only a small amount is words. So, a lot of flirting has to do with being in the right state of mind. So, confidence is key.”
It can be very disarming and charming to say ‘I just had to say hello to you – I hope you don’t mind’
“The thing about people is that most people have opportunities that are there, and some people will make the most of it – and those are the people that can make something happen next.”
Cate Mackenzie is hosting 'The Art of Flirting' event at Foundation Coffee House (M1 1JB) on Monday 10th December.
Tickets cost £12 - buy them here Doors: 7pm / Talk starts: 7.30pm