My adorable and very accomplished young niece Janet, recently accepted a new job in The City with an online "flirting" service in what's sure to be an interesting new cellular endeavor and fascinating job for her.
No, she's not one of the growing list of budding Valentinos, her professional duties include increasing the number of subscribers or "flirtexters" (as I've liberally penned them) by expanding the Internet site exposure of www.Flirtomatic.com. Now, Even the shyest Cyrano has a forum on which to wax poetically (and why not?).
Evidently, more than 1.5 million people flirt this way in the United Kingdom and their numbers are rapidly increasing. Here in the United States, a mere 90,000 hopeful hearts have yet to discover this latest trend which allows one to flirt with total anonymity and complete impunity. So my niece has more than just a bit of catching up to do.
At the risk of "dating" myself (pun intended) I hark back to an era when one was required to flirt face to face. Yes, you actually had to risk getting your feelings hurt . . . but the payoff when your sideways glances were returned sent your heart truly skipping. (Does one experience the same fluttery thrill online? I'm hard pressed to think so but I wouldn't know having courted long before the advent of online dating.)
Which got me to thinking about the demographics of the typical "flirtexter" and while I pondered (a midnight dreary) I had to admit that what I do in the body of these emails isn't so vastly different from those adventurous online Casanovas. While I'm not exactly anonymous (after two years of prospecting, or should I say "Perspecting," as least I hope not) I am in fact, taking advantage of a medium that allows me tremendous freedom to "gently tap upon your door."
And in a sense, when I describe the homes I favor each edition, I am certainly doing my best to spark your interest. If my online missives make me a flirting agent (a "FL-AGENT") - so be it. Either way, I think the best agents do have a bit of "flirt" in them - and so we should. We deal in dreams. ("Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore")
Aside from the business or buying and selling, much of our job as professional Realtors, is about creating a mood and setting a stage; about attracting the buyer with stunning, romantic images of your home and realizing the story it has to tell. The more intriguing and the more beguiling the delivery, the better my chances are at stimulating home-buying curiosity and enticing prospective buyers to visit the property in person ("hesitating then no longer . . . here I opened wide the door").
So a toast to the "flirters" out there in Real Estate and in life - online, on Twitter, on Blogs, (you get the picture - Emoji!). May you find the home (and the mate) your heart desires ("Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning . . .") But don't give up entirely on the personal, tangible real-life meeting. You won't really know you're truly smitten without real interaction. (Only this and nothing more . . .)
Wink, wink! (I'll treat the first 10 readers to a drink of your choice at Mulberry's Market who send in the name and the author of the poem I have liberally borrowed from in today's piece and a treat to those of you who know the published year as well!)
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 17 years and has published more than 650 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.