Okay, I'm not so sure I've ever really done a lot of flirting. My parents' voices personalize my superego, and a very efficient job it has done of keeping me meek and restrained over the years. But it took me aback when, back in May, a friend asked me just who I was flirting with these days. Or maybe it was "how many?" he asked.
Did I say "taken aback"? My dears, my friend is a 6' tall good-looking Catholic gentleman... it embarrassed the everliving daylights out of me!
So... I began to do some heavy evaluating.
Actually, this predates the query posed by my friend. For a little less than a year now, I've been in the midst of a major paradigm shift (more on that some other time). I have been holding past relationships up to the Light of the holiest of Christian ideals, ideals explained and illuminated in John Paul II's Theology of the Body and been grieved by the compromises I've been willing to make over the years.
I've also found myself brought back to myself, to my right mind, after years of carelessness and compromise of long-ago ideals. Consequently, I've been motivated to evaluate and modify my behavior so that my future life might be of a different, superior quality than the past.
Simultaneously with the attitude change, I've found myself being shown, through the Grace of the Holy Spirit, memories of conversations that had brought about or contributed to those compromised relationships. Grievously painful, that.
My conclusions are still in process of being fully formed, but here's what I've got so far:
*I have come to believe that flirting is not about friendship or about the cultivation of wholesome comraderie, but is, rather, about sex. It addresses, seeks to appeal to, that more carnal base of operations whereby men and women are superficially attracted to one another.
*If my friend and brother takes himself to "the BOX" (i.e., Confession) and one of the things he has to bring before God is the sin of carnal thoughts...
and if those carnal thoughts found their point of entry into his mind through some immodest or suggestive comment I've made -- or if he is not Catholic but still sins, knowingly or not, in consequence of my provocation --
... then I'm guilty of sinning against my brother, to whom I ought to be devoted to help attain Heaven.
*I also have bought into a worldly view of relationships, particularly dating and courtship relationships, or of attracting and inviting relationships, that I'm no longer complacent cannot be in violation of what I believe as a Christian.
So, for the time being:
I renounce flirting. I'm going to do some more evaluating of the topic and general, and my habits in particular.
Let me know what you think, and I'll let you know how it goes.