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0160 A Flirt

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 160: Flirting.

You’re listening to English as a Second Language Podcast episode 160. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

On today’s podcast, we’re going to do a little flirting. When a boy and a girl are interested in each other, the girl will often flirt. Let’s find out more!

[start of dialog]

Elaine: You look happy.

Jerry: Me? Oh, I was just talking to Ling.

Elaine: Oh, no wonder! You better watch out. She’s a big flirt.

Jerry: What do you mean?

Elaine: Did she make eyes at you and whisper sweet nothings in your ear?

Jerry: Well, yes, she said she’d never met anybody like me before, and by her body language, I think she was serious.

Elaine: Then she’s still using the same old line that she used with Kramer. She had him wrapped around her little finger.

Jerry: Give me a little credit. I know when I’m being snowed and when a girl is really interested in me.

Elaine: I hope you’re right, but she’s quite the heartbreaker. I just don’t want you to get hurt.

Jerry: Thanks, but I think I can take care of myself.

Elaine: Okay. Suit yourself.

[end of dialog]

The title of today’s podcast is “Flirting.” “To flirt” (flirt) is when a man or a woman – or a boy or a girl – try to indicate to someone that they are romantically interested in – that they are romantically interested in them – to get their attention. If you like someone, and you want that person to be your boyfriend or girlfriend, or you want to get to know that person better in a romantic way, then it is very common for people to flirt. So, if we say a girl is “flirting” with a boy, we mean she is sending him messages, signals, if you will, that she is interested in him. And, of course, women do this in many different ways. Men do as well. Women may, for example, smile or they may play with their hair and brush their hair back – these are all, sometimes, even unconscious – you’re not even aware that you’re doing it. Well, in this case, we had a dialog between Elaine and Jerry. And Elaine says, “You look happy.” And Jerry says, “Me?” Notice, of course, that we don’t say “I,” even though grammatically that would be more correct. But no one does that, no one says – in this case, “I?” They would almost always say, “Me?” “Me? Oh. I was just talking to Ling,” meaning I was talking to her a few minutes ago. I was just talking. Notice “just” can have two different meanings. When you say, “I’m just talking to” – “I was just talking to Ling,” you mean I was talking to her a few minutes ago. You can also use “just” to mean I’m only. “I am just talking to Ling” means I’m only talking to Ling. I’m not doing anything else.

Well, in this case, Elaine responds by saying, “Oh, no wonder. You better watch out.” Here, “No wonder” means it’s no surprise, obviously. “Oh, no wonder. You better watch out.” “To watch out” (watch out) – two words – means here to be careful. “You better be careful.” “You better make sure that you are aware of what is going on.” If someone says to you, “Watch out!” they mean be careful. We often use that expression, for example, if you are outside at a baseball game and somebody hits a baseball and it is coming in your direction, they may scream “Watch out!” – means be careful, cover your head. Otherwise, you may get hit by a baseball. I think that’s what happened to me when I was younger. I got hit by a baseball in the head and that’s why I’m so strange today – maybe.

Anyway, in this case, Elaine says, “You better watch out” – that Ling is a “big flirt.” Notice “flirt” here is a noun. It’s a verb – “to flirt” – but it can also be a noun and a “flirt” – when we say a girl is a “flirt” or a woman is a “flirt – or a man is a “flirt’’ – we mean that he or she likes to flirt with men or flirt with women, but it’s considered of a negative term when you use it as a noun. You say, “Oh. She’s a flirt,” means she likes to flirt with men even if she’s not very interested in them. And that’s why Elaine says, “You better watch out. You better be careful.” She may not actually be interested in you. And Jerry says, “What do you mean?” And Elaine says, “Did she make eyes at you?” “To make (make) eyes (eyes) at someone” – that’s the expression – “To make eyes at” means, especially for a woman, that you look at a man as though you are interested in him romantically. So, well, I cannot demonstrate on the podcast here what that would look like, but you probably know. When someone makes eyes at you, they’re showing that they are interested in you.

Elaine also says, “Did she whisper sweet nothings in your ear?” This is actually an old expression and Elaine is using it as a joke. “To whisper” (whisper) means to talk like that, not very loud – to talk very softly, not very loudly. “To whisper sweet nothings” – “sweet” (sweet) and “nothings” – plural – is to say things that are nice. “Oh, you’re so attractive.” “I would love to get to know you better.” “You are the apple of my eye.” “You are the sunshine in life” – these would all – these would all be sweet nothings. And “to whisper sweet nothings in someone’s ear” – notice we say “whisper them in your ear” – means to say nice things to you. Now, Elaine is joking here because this term – this expression – “to whisper sweet nothings in your ear” is a very old one and no one would say that very seriously. They use it sort of as a joke.

Well, Jerry says, “Yes. She said she’d never met anyone like me before.” In other words, Ling told Jerry that she had not met anyone like him before. Jerry says, “By her body language, I think she was serious.” “Body language” – two words – means what you do with your body – your arms, your eyes, your legs – things that you do to show someone that you’re interested in. And, of course, many people think that body language is a better indication than what someone says to you about how they are thinking or feeling.

Elaine responds by saying, “Then she’s still using the same old line that she used with Kramer.” A “line” (line) here means something that you say to someone else to show that you are interested in them romantically. But a “line,” in this case, the old line – means the line she has been using for many years with different men – a line is always a negative expression here. It means that the person isn’t sincere, that they’re not being honest. A man comes up to a woman and says, “Hello beautiful” – that’s a line and by definition, it means he’s not really being sincere. He’s not necessarily really in love with this woman. He’s just trying to get to know her better. And so, a line is something that a man or woman says to another man or a woman to show that they are interested, but it usually means it’s not sincere. “To be sincere,” of course, (sincere) means, to be honest – to be true to that person.

Elaine says that Ling had Kramer “wrapped around her finger.” “She had him wrapped around her finger.” “To be wrapped (wrapped) around your finger” means that she controlled him, that he was so in love with her or liked her so much that she could tell him to do whatever she wanted to. There was a song by The Police – the British rock band, The Police – back in the 70’s or 80’s that was called “I’ll be wrapped around your finger.”

I’ll be wrapped around your finger

Now you know why I am not a professional singer. Well, anyway, “to be wrapped around your finger” means to be controlled by someone and it’s usually a woman controlling a man or a man controlling a woman – having power over them. Because they are so – the other person is so attracted to them, so in love with them. Well, Jerry says to Elaine, “Give me a little credit.” “Give me a little credit” – this means don’t think that I am so stupid as to not recognize this. “Give me a little credit” means you should not think that I am so dumb, not think that I am so stupid, or not think that I don’t know what I am doing. “To give someone credit” can also mean to recognize that they did something. “I give her credit for giving money to the poor.” “I give her credit” means I acknowledge – I recognize what she has done. Here, when someone says, “Give me a little credit,” or “give me some credit” means don’t think that I am so stupid. I am smarter than you are assuming that I am.

He says – Jerry says, “I know when I’m being snowed and when a girl is really interested in me. “To snow someone,” (snow), as a verb, means to deceive someone, to lie to someone. The verb “to snow,” of course, also means that there is snow that falls from the sky – it is snowing outside. But here, when we use it as a verb, in talking about someone – “I am going to snow him,” or “She is trying to snow me” – we mean that they are trying to lie or deceive or be dishonest with you. So, Jerry says, “I know when I’m being snowed.” “I know when I’m being fooled” is another way of saying that. He says, “I know when a girl is really interested in me.” And, of course, to be interested in means that she likes him.

Elaine says, “I hope you’re right. But she’s quite the heartbreaker.” A couple of expressions here that are common – “heartbreaker” – (heartbreaker) is someone who many, for example - a beautiful woman that many men are attracted to. But the woman isn’t very serious with any of the men and she may be the boyfriend or rather the girlfriend of someone and then she’ll leave him and go to another man and be his girlfriend. She’s a heartbreaker means that she breaks your heart. And, of course, “to break someone’s heart” means you hurt them emotionally. When you are in love with someone and the other person is not in love with you, that can break your heart. Well, a “heartbreaker” is someone who breaks someone else’s heart.

The other interesting expression here is “quite the” – “She’s quite the heartbreaker” – that use of “quite the” is pretty common. “He’s quite the athlete.” “He’s quite the podcaster.” “He’s quite the driver.” “Quite the” here means that that person is one of the better ones – someone who is very good at that particular job or task. “He’s quite the pilot” means he’s a very good pilot. “He’s quite the web designer” means that he’s a very good web designer. So, “quite the” is an idiomatic use. Jerry says, “Thanks. But I think I can take care of myself.” And, of course “to take care of yourself” means that you don’t need anyone else’s help. Elaine says, “Okay. Suit yourself.” “Suit (suit) yourself.” When you say to someone, “suit yourself,” you mean okay, I’m not going to help you. You are on your own. Usually we say that when someone disagrees with us. For example, you offer somebody help, and they refuse. They say, “No. I don’t want your help.” If you say, “Suit yourself” – it’s a negative expression. It means, “Okay, well I tried to help you, but you did not want my help. Suit yourself.” So, there’s a negative meaning there when someone says that.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue this time at a native rate of speech.

[start of dialog]

Elaine: You look happy.

Jerry: Me? Oh, I was just talking to Ling.

Elaine: Oh, no wonder! You better watch out. She’s a big flirt.

Jerry: What do you mean?

Elaine: Did she make eyes at you and whisper sweet nothings in your ear?

Jerry: Well, yes, she said she’d never met anybody like me before, and by her body language, I think she was serious.

Elaine: Then she’s still using the same old line that she used with Kramer. She had him wrapped around her little finger.

Jerry: Give me a little credit. I know when I’m being snowed and when a girl is really interested in me.

Elaine: I hope you’re right, but she’s quite the heartbreaker. I just don’t want you to get hurt.

Jerry: Thanks, but I think I can take care of myself.

Elaine: Okay. Suit yourself.

[end of dialog]

The script for today’s podcast was written by Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2006.

Glossary
no wonder – it is not a surprise

* No wonder they were late. Their car broke down on the way there.


to watch out – to be careful; to make sure to avoid danger

* Watch out for the neighbor’s dog. He is very mean.


flirt – a person who is friendly to many different people to get them to like them romantically

* Casey is too much of a flirt. She is always talking and smiling at men she meets.


to make eyes at – to look at someone in a romantic way; to look at someone with romantic interest

* The boss’ wife was making eyes at him across the table all during dinner.


to whisper sweet nothings – to say quietly in someone’s ear romantic or loving things

* As we walked along the beach, Tom whispered sweet nothings in his girlfriend’s ear.


body language – the way that a person communicates uses gestures, hand movements, or facial expressions

* Judging by her body language, Sadie is not enjoying her date.


line – something insincere or not truthful, usually said to get what one wants; words that have been used or practiced many times before, like the words in a play

* Peter tried out his lines on the women at the bar, but none of them wanted to talk to him.


to have (someone) be wrapped around (one’s) little finger – to have someone completely in love with one and for that person to be willing to do whatever one wants to make one happy

* As soon as Joe’s daughter was born, she had him wrapped around her little finger.


to give (someone) credit – to give someone respect; to believe that a person has the ability to do something

* Give me some credit. I know how to fix my own car.


snowed – tricked; fooled

* Dan was snowed by the used car salesman, who told him that the car was in great condition.


to be interested in – to like someone or something; to care about someone romantically

* John really seems interested in you. Do you like him too?


heartbreaker – a person who dates a lot of people and then breaks up with them; a person who hurts other people’s feelings in romantic relationships

* I didn’t realize that my ex-boyfriend was such a heartbreaker. He has had three girlfriends in the past month!


to take care of (oneself) – to be able to protect oneself; to be able to do things without help from others

* Adult children like to think that they can take care of themselves, but their parents always worry about them anyway.


suit yourself – a phrase that means “do what you want” or “I don’t care”

* It’s very cold outside, but if you still want to go for a run, suit yourself.

Culture Note
Help for the Romantically Clueless

To be “clueless” means to be lost or confused, or to not realize something that everyone else around you can clearly see. Many people are romantically clueless. They aren’t very good at attracting a “potential” (possible) romantic partner.

Now there is hope for these “poor folks” (unfortunate people): a few new companies will, “for a price” (if you pay them), give you advice on what to say and do with the man or woman you are interested in dating. “To flirt” is to talk and act in certain way in order to let someone else know that you are romantically interested in them. These “dating coaches” give you personal advice on what to wear, where to go, and what to say to that beautiful girl or handsome boy sitting at the cafe.

For a fee per month, you get “unlimited” (as much as you want) advice by email. The best part of the service, however, may be the ability to “hire” (employ) a wing woman. A “wing woman” is a female “friend” (in this case, the woman you pay) who goes with the male customer to a bar. She doesn’t flirt with you, however, and she’s not your “date” (romantic partner for the evening). Instead, she talks to the beautiful women who may be interested in for you, telling them what a nice guy you are and that you want to meet them. She helps the man connect to the women he wants to meet.

There is similar term, wingman, but this is typically used to describe a man who goes with his male friend to a bar. The wingman and you walk up to two women, and he (the wingman) starts talking and flirting with the girl you are notinterested in, leaving you free to focus on the woman you are attracted to.