Do you have a question about relationships and flirting?

You can email me about any of your relationship and flirtation questions, and I'll be happy to address them in my blog. Won't that be fun! Its very Dear Abby, but hey...I'm just as good as she is! Just put "Dear Ottis" in the subject. Make sure your letters are annoymous though, to protect you and me. Send all questions to

Monday, October 26, 2009

Good-bye cruel world

So, this week I became subject to the notorious H1N1 virus...also known as the swine flu. I'm not gonna deny it was a beast. As I got sick, I was reminded by several people that this was the cause of death for tens of thousands of people just in the US alone. Well, I did what any normal person would do in my situation and embraced my likely fate. So, I got my Reese's Pumpkins, put Heroes in the DVD player, and got myself ready to pass on to the next life in utter joy and peace. I turned on the TV, put it to the right station, and turned on the DVD player. However, what horror should beset me, but to find that my DVD player isn't working. Oh, the painful agony of it all. Could things get any worse? Was I doomed to such an unfortunate fate? Why was I forced to pay for the crimes of so many in my torment?

So, I just waited for my time to come. As the moment drew near, a peaceful voice entered my mind. No, this is not the calming voice of the spirit preparing me for my parting, rather Winifred Sander's words from the hit blockbuster Hocus Pocus entered my mind:

"This is the end. I feel it. We are doomed. I can feel the icy breath of death upon my neck. Take me to the window, I wish to say good-bye. Good-bye. Good-bye cruel world. Good-bye to life. Good-bye, good-bye. Good-bye to all of that."

As I walked to our window, as per dearest Winifred's instruction, to look out upon the town of Provo, ready to say good-bye that fateful evening, I tripped on my laptop and stubbed my toe on the couch. As I fell to the couch in pain, my back conveniently hit right against the protruding bar coming out of the back of it. Oh, the dire fate that I was becoming subject to that evening.

--Fast-forward 3 days--

Well, the time has still not come. I'm alive and getting better. I guess that it just wasn't my time to go. I can't say that I'm incredibly disappointed or anything. I still have things to do in my life. I have to get back to the top of a certain "funniest people in my life" totem pole. I have to direct the Tabernacle Choir. I have to write and produce an instructional flirting video. I have to get married. I have to get this stupid song out of my head! Ugh.

--More fast-forwarding--

Well, it's now been over a week. I no longer feel the pains of the swine flu. Just some severe head cold symptoms. Nevertheless, I shan't ever forget the sickness that almost took my life. After all, it skipped over my life, and took my weekend, and that's just as bad...pretty much. But, such is life.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dear Ottis,

Let's face it. Most women these days need to be reminded, or taught how to flirt with a man. And you have all the "know how" in that brilliant brain of yours. We are grateful for your willingness to share your knowledge in word, but we want more!

The world is ready for an Ottis flirtation instructional video or at least short lesson segments posted on youtube of this soon to be lost art. What do you think?


~She who shares her best friends name ;)

Dear She who shares her best friends name,

I most certainly agree with you. Flirtation is becoming a lost art. Its being replaced by texts, facebook pokes, chat rooms and instant messenger. Needless to say, I find this development in our culture to be very distressing. Not only is the art of flirtation being lost, but also the art of meaningful, positive, live, personal interactions. As to the idea of a video, I've most certainly toyed around with this idea several times. And I'm assembling my models. I just need someone to film it. If you would like a few pointers, I will be doing a seminar for my ward in November. All are invited!


Monday, October 12, 2009


I make no apologies or excuses for things that appear on this blog. They are what they are and I stand by them...
Dear Ottis,

How long will a guy usually wait to ask you out after date #1?

With much appreciation,

Dear Fork,

I would tend to say that if he doesn't call you within a week, maximum of two weeks, then he probably won't ask again. It definitely depends on the guy, but that is a good average rule to stick by.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Dear Ottis,
I have 5 best friends from my high school days. 1 just started dating her third boyfriend. 2 are dating seriously and 2 are engaged. The only time I have ever been asked on a date was through a text message about a year ago. I go to social events. I talk to men. But I just don't get asked out. So I just want to know, what can I do? I suppose I really just need to know HOW THE HECK DO YOU FLIRT!?!? How do girls get men to ask them out!? Is there some secret that I don't know? What can I do!?

Thank you so much for your help,
Ridiculously Confused

Dear Ridiculously Confused,

Thank you for your letter. This is a rather difficult issue that is not one unique to you. Rather, it is one that many women here at BYU struggle with. I have another letter posted where I outline several things you can do to get into the flirting game. I'd recommend you read it.

In addition to those things, I'd like to tell you a bit about BYU dating culture. I have found that guys here, more so than other universities, need or want to have some clear signs that you're interested before asking you out. This generalization falls slightly short with the freshly returned RM crowd, as they are trying to date as many as they can. But, for the most part, guys want to know that you're gonna be into them before they take the risk. Is that cowardly? Perhaps. That is just the way it is here. Therefore, you really need to become comfortable putting yourself out there, and showing a guy that you're interested. That will possibly help in getting you more dates.

Remember, guys are stupid. They rarely understand when a girl is flirting with them. And women tend to be overly subtle. You can see that this is a disastrous combination. Even I don't always recognize when I'm being flirted with ;). Its a delicate game of give and take.

So, take confidence, and be of good cheer. The more you put yourself out there, the better you're results will be (but don't go crazy, or I will cut you...girl, yes I will). Happy flirting!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Well, this week I was once again made aware of something that I find rather disturbing...and quite surprising. One of the girls in my ward came over with her roommate last night (to steal our pumpkin...even though they deny that) and her roommate came and introduced herself to me and said that she's heard a lot about me. Well, I obviously had a look of utter confusion on my face. She said, ya my roommate ____ has said all sorts of things about you. "Hopefully they were all good things!" I said in my usual politeness when meeting someone new. Inside I was just thinking...what on earth could these people have to say about me? Why on earth do I come up in private conversations? Needless to say, I was dumbfounded. I had no idea what to say after that.

This is merely one example of many where I find out that people talk about me in their spare time. Now, don't get me wrong. This is not an annoyance on gossiping. We all do it. In fact, I often encourage it. But it just is utterly surprising to me that people would discuss me, be it for positive or negative, in their spare time. My cousin Rachelle tried to point out that of all the people in the ward to discuss and tell people about, I was obviously high up on the list. Well, if that isn't just one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard, I don't know what is. Sometimes it makes me just want to shake people and say, you have so much more interesting things to talk about! Talk about John and Kate, talk about healthcare, about Comrade Obama, about Iraq, about school budget cuts, or...oh I don't know, anything! Now, I know some of you are gonna think that this is some kind of pity party or something like thereunto. But, it's not. This is not some kind of roost to get people to say how funny I am and how easy it is to talk about me or what not. And I guess somewhere deep inside its kind of nice to be talked about, but it’s still absolutely shocking to me.

Anyway, this post is going everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. I really don't have anything else to say on the matter. Let's just remember people, idle hands are the devil's playground...but such is life!

Some names have been omitted to protect the innocent...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dear Mr. Ottis,

Here's an exceptionally broad question: How do you flirt? I mean, really? I've always been rather quiet, but I've finally broken out of my shell over the past few years. I thought I was decent at flirting, but I'm starting to think otherwise since I seem to only be considered the friend and not the "friend." Example no. 1: I'm rather attracted to my lab partner in one of my classes and am curious to see if he's interested. There's a small issue...I don't particularly wish to put myself out there in front of the rest of the class, you know? We work together twice a week in our lab and have a good time joking, teasing...but I don't know if he's interested or not. And I certainly don't want to do something that could potentially be exceptionally embarrassing, especially since we're working together in a small room with about 20 other people for the rest of the semester.

Everyone always suggests, "Do the touch, touch, hold," when referring to hand-holding (which will not happen in the classroom, obviously) or "just flirt and see what he does." Or they suggest other things that I feel are simply not helpful. exactly do you flirt?

Here's something that was said between us yesterday in class:
-background--> I missed 2 consecutive lab days due to illness and idleness and when I returned, he proceeded to tease me about missing class and he thought he'd have to work alone the rest of the semester/hated him, etc, etc...

so every time in class (even though it was only 2 days and it happened about 2 weeks the beginning of the semester, yes) he jokes, "I didn't think you'd show up for class today!" And today he said that if he didn't see me in class tomorrow (lecture..HUGE class) he'd call me (which I told him would prove to be interesting since he doesn't have my number...).

(Not that that's really anything to write home about, I just thought I'd share so you have an idea of what he's like, in case that helps with anything??) He's a really cool guy and seems pretty outgoing and we certainly have a good time talking in class about random things.

If you haven't figured out yet, I haven't had the best of luck in the whole "dating scene" mainly because I never really gave the guys back home a second look since I was so focused on doing my own thing. That was the case for the last couple of years at college, so now that I'm really allowing myself to get out there and meet people...what the heck do I do?? How do I show a guy (not necessarily my lab partner) I'm interested and how can I tell if he's interested? I don't want to over-analyze things, but I don't want to just brush something off, either. So help me,'re my only hope!

-Thoroughly Confused Millie

Dear Thoroughly Confused Mille,

Thank you so much for your letter. Indeed, your question is a rather broad one. But, I'd be honored to try my hand at answering it. I have, after all, done a fair amount of research on this very question: How does one flirt? I'm not sure that this is a question that can be fully answered in one letter, but rather something that takes practice and confidence, and small steps.

First and foremost, let me say that flirting is a very natural part of our being. It is in our DNA, and is something that most people do subconsciously. So, honing your flirtation ability is not something to be shy or embarrassed about. Rather, it is a natural part of life. Second, I like to remind people, especially the girls, that men are stupid. Yes, it's true. You may think that you're giving clear signs, but chances're not. This is why confidence is such an important key--you have to have some in order to truly put yourself out there and flirt. Lastly, let me remind you that flirting is merely a fun interaction between members of the opposite sex. It's not worth reading too much into. I'ts simply playful interaction that shows a relative amount of interest. So, how do you do it? Let me go over some very basic elements with you, and we'll proceed from there.

Appearance. Take care to look your best in situations where you'll flirt. Put on the skirt and heels. Men like women that are feminine. Do your hair and wear some conservative makeup. I'd recommend something that brings out the natural redness of your lips and a gloss that makes them look moist. This sends many positive messages to guys. Stand with good posture. This shows confidence. Stand with your feet about 6-8 inches apart, with your toes turned ever so slightly in. This shows some submissiveness that many men also prefer. When sitting, always cross your's attractive. You can take the heel of your shoe off of your foot and bounce the shoe on your toes. This exposes the arch of the foot, and is a good thing. You can also wear something that exposes the neck and collar bones, as this is widely considered one of the most attractive parts of a woman.

Eyes. When flirting, it's a good idea to hold your gaze a little longer than would feel natural. Don't stare, and don't do it in a creepy way. Just hold eye contact for 6-8 seconds before averting your gaze.

Smile. It is the international symbol of friendliness. You should practice in the mirror, because most people don't actually have a very big smile, which can make it harder to perceive. You can also practice a good, coy smile. Anything you do to draw some slight attention to your mouth can be a good thing: biting your lower lip, wearing the darker lipstick (this brings out the whiteness of your teeth when you smile) or even as strong as touching your lips can be good flirtation ideas. Smile often.

Conversation. Good conversation is key to a flirtatious encounter. Make sure that you use his name in the conversation to show that you are interested. Keep conversation light: no politics, marriage, ex-significant other, odd religious conversation, too much mission conversation, or any other conversation that could cause tension. Remember, these are supposed to be light, playful, and fun interactions. Take care to be an active listener. Don't use closed body language. Comment on what he's saying to show participation and attention. Offer sincere compliments. Use open ended questions.

Touching. Touching in a relationship is as important to men as emotional connection is for women. Therefore, you have to get comfortable touching guys. The three places to touch on a first encounter would be 1) shoulder/upper arm/back 2) lower arm/top of the hand, and 3)knee (only go there when sitting...obviously). Touch each place twice before moving to the next. The first should be fleeting (you are testing the waters) and the second more lingering (now you're showing actual interest). This is something you can practice with many people to get more comfortable.

Hopefully some of these techniques and thoughts will come in handy for you. Remember that they are all natural things that merely need to be cultivated into your flirting habits. Be confident and have fun. Remember, you are a creature unlike any other! Happy flirting!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Dear Ottis,

Throughout the entire semester I have become increasingly interested in my TA. I know that I can't pursue anything without breaking policy and jeopardizing myself and him, but I can't help the way I feel. Every time he speaks I melt a little inside. I just can't wait for class to see him. I don't think he has even noticed me and I know that he probably wouldn't act upon feels even if he had them, but I just can't get rid of the ache in my heart. I just think we would go so well together and I don't want to pass up an opportunity to be with a really great guy. What should I do.


Taken by my TA

Dear Taken by my TA,

Thank you for your letter. I would tend to say that this is a familiar situation: falling for a person that may be out of reach due to policy or other issues. Its a sad part of life that sometimes the person that you want is the person that you can't have. I think that the majority of us have had that feeling: knowing that someone could be so perfect for you, and yet knowing that it probably will never happen. It can be devastatingly heartbreaking. Even I, Ottis, suffer from time to time! These situations often vary in complexity, from a good friend or classmate to a coworker or authority figure of some kind, like a TA. Learning to get over these people is one of the great challenges of life, especially when you see them on a regular basis. I would submit that one of the best things you can do is to go ahead and start dating and going out with other guys. Allow yourself to have fun. Let yourself just be friends with the guy your crushing on. It can be a hard thing at first, but as you tell your heart that this is how it's going to be, it has an incredible ability to conform. Don't get me wrong, he may always hold a special place in your heart, and you may always feel closeness to him, but your heart will heal--allowing the relationship with him to continue in a platonic way...unless you don't want to be friends. Some people try the negative approach of pointing out every fault in the person. I don't much agree with this technique (though it works) because you don't want to end up hating him and because it really just brings you down, too. Sometimes the old adage of "time heals all wounds" is the best advice to give. In time, you'll find that you're completely ready to move on and be happy. I hope that you find some kind of help in this letter.