German Course in Frankfurt to Teach Elderly How to "Flirt"

Published June 6th, 2018 - 11:15 GMT
(Shutterstock/ File Photo)
(Shutterstock/ File Photo)
During a first-of-its-kind educational course to teach "flirt skill", laughter rises across the classroom located at one of Frankfurt Health Department’s buildings. This room, where around 30 people sit in a friendly atmosphere, is intended for those who are over 60, and attendants are supposed to get acquainted with one another by exchanging praise and compliments. 

"You look attractive," says a woman to a man wearing a suit, and another receives expressions of admiration for her hair.

Christina stands somewhat apart from the crowd, looks around the place and checks the others.

"I'm not afraid to meet new people, I'm not shy," she says. The 70-year-old Christina has a dyed blond hair, wears a crimson scarf to match her lipstick, and has worked in the fashion industry for 50 years.

Christina looks at the other participants in the course and says with regret: "I thought I would meet many great men at this room." The course aims at mixing theoretical instructions with practice, allowing older people to get to know each other in a way that is mostly fun and playfulness, the German news agency reported.

"Do not worry, this course has no harm. It's just for fun," said Claudia Hohmann, a sex education teacher who works for the German Association for Family Planning, Sexual Education and Sex Counseling. She has been running the courses for 10 years with support from the Frankfurt Health Department.

Most people in the course do not seem to need reassurance. People who apply for a flirt course are likely to be intimate, friendly and open to others. However, the most important thing is to learn how to give yourself the necessary appreciation rather than to find a partner, Hohmann explains.

The theoretical part of the course focuses on combating age-related isolation, as well as how to get out of isolation and seek to communicate with other people. Hohmann describes this trend as "a shift to love life and to get rid of grief."

A study conducted in 2014 by the University of Rostock in Germany found that 91 percent of men aged 74 years and 81 percent of women of the same age consider compassion an important part of a relationship with the opposite sex. However, according to Hohmann, many men and women live without a partner with whom they share this feeling as they age.

"This course is supposed to help rekindle their feelings of compassion and affection," she said. "We all have a desire to flirt."

The practical part of the course requires each participant to walk in a circle including the other participants, each presenting himself to the others while listening to light music and jazz.

The sex education teacher explains that one of the important elements in flirt is opening up to the other, and then comes the compliments and praise or the so-called “flirt lines". She also says that each of the elderly walks in a circle and faces each of the other participants, addresses him with words of praise and then receives similar words.

According to Hohmann, the teacher of sex education, many people find it difficult to accept praise. However, participants of this course seem to like listening to these words; one of the men asks with a laugh: "Is there something nicer than flirting and praising a lady?”

There is, however, something striking. There are only four men among the group of about 30 participants. “This rate is unfortunately normal," Hohmann said. One reason is the difference in life expectancy between both sexes.

Moreover, as they age, men are not socially active, such as women, who are often responsible for the continuation and nurturing of their social life, according to Hohmann, adding that many elderly men do not fulfill social duties themselves.

Hohmann explains that many researches show that people are healthier when they have relationships, noting that “these relationships should not be necessarily romantic, but older people need only a little more encouragement to go and look for someone to have a relationship with.”

But, Klaus does not belong to this category of people, as this is the third time this 70-year-old man participates in such course, yet he does not expect to meet any suitable person. "I met at the time such a person, but now I realized that meeting someone would be a great happy coincidence.”

“There are men who can practice flirt well, but most of them cannot," says Hohmann. "However, the four men participating in this course seem to have this skill.” 

At the end of the course, each of the four men stands with his partner in front of the restaurant’s tables and chat excitedly. Christina, who initially expressed surprise at the low participation of men in the course, ends up standing for quite a while with an elegant man wearing a suit.
This article has been adapted from its original source.

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