I’ve had my share of women flirt with me. I figure it’s because women don’t really go for those slim muscle bound fellows, but rather men of substance (big boys). Picture me as a grizzly that has just had his fill of honey and salmon. Who could resist that?
Quite a few actually.
But there have been women who flirt with me occasionally. As a younger man, I was vain enough to think it was me, but I’ve learned it usually has more to do with them. When a woman flirts with me at church, I’ve learned to look for troubles in her marriage. It can mean she’s unhappy with her husband and she wants out. If so, she’s probably not just flirting with me.
I remember one particular woman who would flirt outrageously with me and then spend the next week saying mean things about me to others. I learned to look for knives when she batted her eyes at me.
The flirts are not dangerous or tempting to me.
It’s the women who come for counseling where I use some caution. Most of the people who come for counseling are women. To share personal things with an accepting man makes it easy to develop feelings toward him. And I could toward them, too, because intimacy is a shared thing.
However, part of the trust factor in pastoral counseling requires my not taking advantage of another’s vulnerability.
We in the biz call that a sin. I take it pretty seriously.
It can be seductive. If I had a fight with my wife that day and people were mean to me during the week, then a vulnerable woman who thinks I’m a wonderful helper can be a temptation.
I usually steer the talk down a more productive road. “What are you going to do about your situation?” I’ll challenge gently, which reminds her that I’m not there to rescue her, but to show her how to take responsibility for her life. That’s almost always all it takes to put the relationship in the right place.
They don’t flirt with me much anymore. And they don’t fall in love with me either. It’s probably because I’m a more effective minister and has nothing to do with my being old, fat, and gray.