I attended a going away party this past Thursday night.
We gathered at a bar. Naturally.
There was a lot of drinking involved. Naturally.
After the obligatory tequila shots, I watched as a friend proceeded to flirt with most of the men there. I've worked with this girl for a while now and have come to know her fairly well. She's rather introverted (I think I know a little something about that) and definitely comes out of her shell with the aid of alcohol (I might know a little something about that, too).
As she happens to be married (her husband wasn't in attendance), I have mixed feelings about her behavior. To each his (or her) own, certainly... but I was intrigued and couldn't help but watch her throughout the evening.
Well, as much as I could while I went back and forth between the restroom where our guest of honor paid homage (if you know what I mean) and the outside patio where my favorite couple proceeded to pick a fight with each other. (And, let me tell you, the fight? It was like getting an unexpected glimpse into their innermost secret life together, a glimpse I was never meant to see. It was disturbing.)
But I digress. The flirting. It was so interesting. (I really need to get a life.)
As time ticked away, there was one man with whom she flirted with more and more. There was eye contact, a lot of smiling, playful teasing. There was no touching and, from what I could overhear, nothing inappropriate was said. They talked about work, some sports, his upcoming move to San Francisco.
Then it was midnight and, after more eye contact, he left and she approached me with a perturbed expression.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"Men. They're so stupid."
No shit. "What happened?"
"I told him he should stay and have another cocktail and he kept saying 'you have a husband at home.' Over and over. 'You have a husband at home.' I told him to stay and have a drink! Not come home and go to bed with me!"
"He's a man," I said, "I'm pretty sure all he heard was 'let's have sex.' Especially with those eyes you were making at him."
"It was flirting! What's wrong with a little harmless flirting?"
And, really, I do believe it was harmless. They weren't huddled up alone in a corner together. They were definitely mingling with other people, but frequently throughout the evening they'd find themselves in another conversation, making jokes, poking fun, laughing.
It got me thinking (seriously, it's been three days and I can't let it go) about what's appropriate and what isn't. I have incredibly mixed feelings on the subject, so... I'm doing the only thing that makes sense to me. Opening the topic to discussion.
What do you think? When you're in a relationship, is flirting okay or not? How far can you go before you cross a line?