Banter on a Mission

Deanna Kimberly Burrell considers flirting to be an art. At a workshop last Friday in the Listenbee Collection Art Gallery, she bestowed upon eager attendees a variety of flirting tips, like the importance of setting up a hypnotizing rhythm when sending out romantic signals. She encouraged ladies to twirl their hair. Men can swirl a straw in their drink. Though Burrell’s combination of light touches and flirty laughter are indeed artful, she reminded potential flirters to never lose sight of their goals.

“Flirting is all about getting your heart’s desire.”

Burrell is a polished woman, wearing a knee length blue dress with beaded tear-shaped cutouts. Her nails, toenails, and understated bracelet are expertly coordinated. She appears confident and engaging–not too surprising for someone in her profession.

Burrell seems to be a walking embodiment of the characters in her book–young, successful, and armed with a romantic plan. Her novel, “Single Girl Summer,” the impetus for her workshop at Listenbee, is semi-autobiographical. “Single Girl Summer” features a recently divorced woman struggling to find her footing in the dating world. Burrell herself began the story after a painful divorce, and this experience doubtless informed the novel. Like Burrell, the three main characters all have successful careers. One is a lawyer; another owns her own restaurant. Though the novel appears to have more than its fair share of romantic-novel clichés and unrealistic moments, it has an empowering core–strong, successful women, taking control of their emotional and romantic lives.

Many in the crowd at Listenbee last Friday already knew and loved Burrell’s book for this reason; others who wandered into the gallery during the course of their Second Fridays art walks were just hearing of “Single Girl Summer” for the first time. The crowd nodded attentively as they listened to Burrell speak. In the this post-Mad Men era, it may be commonsense that a woman can be successful, independent, and unabashedly flirtatious all at the same time. Still, every now and then it’s nice to have a reminder. This is such stuff as dreams and book tours are made of.