Hopeful hotties vie for flirting championship 

If you’ve moved beyond "Do you come here often?" then San Mateo may be the place to test your skills — not to mention pickup a few pointers — this weekend.

From a "drive-by" or "zinger" to a full-on "safari" flirt, relationship and flirting expert Susan Bradley will dish the latest advice on flirting when the world’s first Flirting Convention and Bay Area flirting championship returns to its roots in the Bay Area on Friday.

First held in San Francisco in 1994, the Flirting Convention has spread all over the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and been featured on "Oprah," convention sponsor and Director of ThePartyHotline.com Rich Gosse said.

"The winners will be the man and the woman who collect the most home telephone numbers by the end of the night," Gosse said.

Rob Grant, who has attended past flirting events put on by Gosse’s organization and plans to attend Friday, described the convention as a singles event with a theme. And while he hasn’t competed, he does what he can to take a few numbers home, he said.

"I took my inclination to flirt out of my local Safeway on Saturday night and to the Flirting Convention, a place where it is ‘licensed,’" said Grant, a San Francisco resident.

Grant, now 55, has been flirting ever since his divorce 18 years ago. Perhaps not surprisingly, he unabashedly encourages women to use their lashes to their advantage, including to avoid being ticketed for speeding.

"That should be happening more often; it adds a human dimension to what is often just a commercial transaction," Grant said.

Bradley, author of "The Art of Flirting" and other books, believes everyone has an inner flirt, and they only have to "let it out for a while."

"I’m going to teach even the most shy person to flirt and find their soul mate," said Bradley, who will be the keynote speaker at the convention, which precedes the competition itself.

From a quick "drive-by" flirt, to a "zinger" that lets that one special person know who you’re interested in, Bradley wants to bring out everyone’s flirt and teach them to flirt repeatedly to avoid missed opportunities.

To get beyond such washed up lines as "Do you come here often?" or "What’s your sign?" Bradley, now 49, started holding "flirting safaris" in the 1990s, undercover teaching sessions for the shy or curious on how to walk up to a stranger.

Outside the realm of relationships, flirting creates a confidence that can transfer to other parts of people’s lives, making them a better salesperson, manager or help them to get better customer service, Bradley said. "Flirting can actually transform your life."


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