Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: The Art of Flirting

 

I used to watch Cambodian films from the 1950s to mid-1970s and it always tickled my fancy whenever characters break into songs (not unlike Bollywood but without the dancing). Sometimes, characters would belt out a cheery song in a cheerful scene and a sad song in a sad scene. But when it comes time for the male character to woo the female, he always, and I mean always, breaks into song. One can find the same thing repeated all over Khmer traditional literature such as plays, lyrics, and especially the verse-novels written between the 17th to early 20th centuries. If there is a flirting scene, then there is a song. It even appears in a few epic poems, though curiously enough, only the supporting characters sing.

The most famous scene in Khmer literature is a flirting scene from the verse-novel Tum Teav, where the main characters sing a lengthy duet in their first scene together. You can read the duet near the end of my post here. My all-time favorite comes from The Yaksha with the Magic Finger, a chapter from the epic Ramakerti II (2nd version of the Khmer Ramayana), where the male character upon seeing a woman so beautiful, he bursts into song. She, of course, replies. Here is how the duet goes:

Male:

Come, O dearest treasure! Approach beloved.
I would like a talk with you.
Where are you going? And where have you come from?
I look at you and I want us to be friends.

Female:

You have asked me a question;
I must reply – with warmth, with eagerness, with desire.
I am here to look for a husband. If one pleases me, I will take him on.

Male:

Dear lady, blessed with beauty, you are here looking for a husband, to live together in harmony.
What kind of a man are you looking for, precious love?
Does a man like me please you?

Female:

O handsome young man, I am searching for a husband who can dance.
If you can dance well, I can like you, love you and take you as my husband.

Male:

My treasure, your beauty excels that of all others.
As for dancing the Rae Dance*, whatever the measure, I can perform it.
What’s the difficulty? Dance on my lady.
I shall then follow you and so dance correctly.
Being a man of intelligence, I shall learn all the rules from you, my dear teacher.
Please dance, beautiful lady!

If you are one of those who can’t spontaneously sing or you’re too shy and like to limit your singing to the shower, here is tried-and-true advice to follow when you want to catch her attention: make eye contact and smile.

*Rae Dance is a dance from the Phnong, the indigenous ethnic groups of Mon-Khmer people living in the highlands of Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.

Published in Culture, Group Writing
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  1. JustmeinAZ Member

    Charming!

    • #1
    • February 14, 2020, at 2:24 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  2. Arahant Member

    The world needs more spontaneous song.

    • #2
    • February 14, 2020, at 3:30 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. JoelB Member

    Oh man, @arahant. You had to go and get me started watching all the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers clips.

    • #3
    • February 14, 2020, at 6:56 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  4. Arahant Member

    JoelB (View Comment):
    You had to go and get me started watching all the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers clips.

    It could have been a much worse musical, like The Fantasticks. 😜

    • #4
    • February 14, 2020, at 10:05 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    A very nice post at any time, but especially enjoyable in the immediate aftermath of Valentine’s Day. Thanks, LC!

    • #5
    • February 15, 2020, at 1:40 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    As a poet and a songwriter, I can’t say either was ever directly useful to woo a girl. In most settings, people are less interested in new music than in familiar songs. Poetry is typically encountered in school, so few want to hear it in another context. The setting must be just right to bust out anything so sappy. 

    But I had considered sharing a song on here for Valentine’s. The music isn’t fully fleshed out yet, so hopefully the lyrics stand on their own. It’s one of only two old-fashioned crooner songs I’ve made. It is set on a beach, where people frequently encounter strangers who will be gone within days.

    Lady, if I stare a little while,
    will you turn away?
    If I linger on your smile,
    will it not stay?
    You’re like the sweetest summer breeze.
    I’m just a passing wave.

    Lady, if a star was drizzling down
    from the heavens,
    there would surely be around
    someone to catch it all
    or one piece small.

    I’m sure that you’re just passing through
    and I will see no more of you.
    But there are lifetimes
    and there are dances
    and our romance is this moment all.

    Lady, gulls squawk on the shore
    while the last stars pray.
    But the heron waits in silence
    for the new day.
    When she comes, he flies on
    to not scare her away.

    I’m sure that you’re just passing through
    and I will be no more of you.
    But there are lifetimes
    and there are dances
    and this romance is holding a dream.

    I’m sure this is the final song
    to which we will both belong.
    But there are lifetimes
    and there are dances
    and our romance will be
    a favorite memory.

    • #6
    • February 15, 2020, at 3:41 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  7. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    LC,

    and another version

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
    • February 15, 2020, at 6:06 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I prefer Satchmo:

    • #8
    • February 15, 2020, at 6:49 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  9. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    LC: If you are one of those who can’t spontaneously sing or you’re too shy and like to limit your singing to the shower, here is tried-and-true advice to follow when you want to catch her attention: make eye contact and smile.

    Excellent advice at any time of year. 

    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under the February 2020 Group Writing Theme: “Advice.” Stop by soon, our schedule and sign-up sheet awaits.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #9
    • February 16, 2020, at 8:08 PM PST
    • 1 like