54 Flavors of Fun

Kindly Fun

by Bernard De Koven on September 25, 2013

Twenty, maybe thirty years ago, my friend, colleague, and paragon of academic playfulness, Brian Sutton-Smith, wrote this about my book:

The Well-Played Game focuses on a kind of fun that is unfortunately not normally associated with games, and certainly not with sports. I like to think of it as ‘kindly fun’ — like the fun that families share when they are enjoying each other, or the fun that children share with each other when they are feeling safe and free from supervision. The book is remarkable, because it demonstrates that kindly fun is not only something that people experience, but something that can be nurtured and extended throughout an entire community.

I’ve been very proud of his endorsement, but only today did I notice that in so doing, Brian identified yet another flavor of fun, the one flavor that has made fun so delicious for me all these many years: kindly fun.

So consider this post a testament to this man’s gifts: to me, and to the world – but most of all to our understanding of yet another, extremely precious kind of fun: fun of the kind kind.

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playful flirting

by Bernard De Koven on September 6, 2013

“The joy of flirting is the discovery that someone might be willing to play, and laugh, and roll around ecstatically in the earth with us, spontaneously. Or at least, they would were it not for the judgement our society imposes on such behaviour and the baggage and expectations it brings, and which we bring, along with it. The tragedy is that in our modern culture it can never be otherwise. We can only imagine.” – Dave Pollard

Purientlessly searching the web for playful things and wisdom to complement my meditations on the theme of The Same Old Us, I find myself drawn to articles about flirting and teasing.

Truth be told, I have been thinking a tad or two about these phenomena and their integral connections to fun and playfulness, thanks, in no small part, to the whole body, intensely playful, loving energy of friends like Natalie Kinsey who teach, and manifest the central truth that “play is sexy.”

So, I found myself reading this article in Psychology Today, discussing the connections and distinctions between teasing and flirting:

…the underlying motive(s) behind flirting seems mostly related to having fun. It’s sort of impromptu play: a “sport” indulged in not just for the amusement of the flirt—typically a young, coquettish woman, but at times a libidinous male, or “player”—but also for the person being flirted with.

…As a “tease,” ultimate sexual consummation is unlikely, and may be frankly impossible—although occasionally flirtations that start out innocent enough end up in the bedroom. But the game, or objective, is mostly titillation. It’s amorousness for its own sake—without, that is, serious intent. However superficial, playful, or uncommitted, it’s an expression of sexual interest in, and possible affection for, the other party.

Light-hearted and mischievous, flirting is one way that adults have fun. There’s more or less an implicit understanding between the two parties that what might happen—what could happen—in all probability isn’t going to happen. But, nonetheless, isn’t it erotic fun to at least imagine its happening? In fact, one or both parties might be constrained by another romantic relationship, or (just as likely) a conjugal one. Still, both parties are interested, so that even if they can’t fool around for real, they can at least “play” at fooling around. And this, of course, allows for a certain level of physical arousal and ego gratification that can be mutually entertaining and enjoyable—while involving minimal risk to another relationship, which may finally be more important or meaningful.

- Leon Seltzer, Ph.D.

And then, shortly after that, this surprisingly spiritual-like musing about the art of Conscious Flirting:

Conscious flirting is not a sexual come–on, nor is it manipulative. There is no agenda, no goal other than to playfully acknowledge and delight in one another’s innate nature with words, eyes, body language and respectful touch. Conscious flirting can be by fulfilling in and of itself and is deeply respectful of self and others. It is a safe way of interacting with our erotic innocence in a playful, nourishing way, and is a delightful way to honor the essence of another through acknowledging and appreciating another human being.

Flirting lights us up. It is liberating, invigorating and enriching. Conscious flirting is a way to keep the juice flowing in our lives, while freeing us from the dry way we have been conditioned to interact. Through the act of conscious flirting we have a way to “enlighten” people around us. It is energizing to see the delight on the face of another…

There is an etiquette to conscious flirting that primarily is centered on our intention to be appropriate. Flirting romances the part of us that desires to be acknowledged through the conscious recognition of the dance of life meeting our visual awareness. Conscious flirting invites us to appreciate the beauty of the soul and spirit in another. If more of us knew how to flirt successfully, we would experience less sexual tension. The natural sexual energy we all embody would have a safe and easy way to express itself in our lives. When our sexual energy is blocked, it may express in sexual neurosis and inappropriate behaviors.

In its most transpersonal aspect we can explore who is actually doing the flirting? When we are in an awareness of The Oneness, our ‘small I’ steps aside and allow consciousness to flirt with itself. The way we see it, the name of this masterful game is to surprise, delight and love each other as perfectly as we can. We are no longer focused in the personal, but are now watching Radha and Krishna; Shiva and Shakti interacting in a timeless manner. We are dancing the dance of life in a way that enriches us personally through our cosmic awareness. As we conscientiously bring our loving juicy attention and positive spicy regard to each other, we help grow one another’s succulent aliveness, bright wit, and zesty intelligence. It’s fun to feel really alive, and what better way than to honor our natural flirtatious, playful, spiritual self?

- The Art of Conscious Flirting: Playful Interactions in the Dance of Life

…all of which led me to explore a divinely delicious, and somehow profoundly spiritual flavor of fun called “flirting” – yet another invitation to the dance.

- via Natalie Kinsey

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A Playful Path photoA playful path is the shortest road to happiness.
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August 16, 2013

This is one end of the Serpent Slide at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.     This is the other end. “The serpent slide, located in the zoo’s Australia area (Wallaby Walkabout) is named for a long tube slide that twists in and out of the huge Yagga tree. The serpent’s “mouth” (the slide entrance) is […]


just plain fun

May 16, 2013

Of all the many flavors of fun I’ve so far tasted, there’s one that doesn’t seem to have any particular flavor at all. Plain fun is what you might call it. Just plain fun. Fun with no particularly redeeming quality: not necessarily community-building, or body-building, or brain-building; not especially spiritual or transformational or educational; not significantly rational, or […]



March 26, 2013

There’s a certain sense of adventure that seems to accompany you when you are on the playful path. Not all the time. It is yet another flavor of fun, that taste, that feeling of being on a journey through uncharted (at least by you) territory. Territories of the imagination. Hidden territories. Unexplored, dangerous territories. Aboriginal […]


braving the game

March 15, 2013

One of the things I only managed to hint at when I wrote about the playfulness/trust connection: it takes bravery to play a game. Like it takes bravery to love someone. Bravery, because the more deeply you do either, the more completely you give yourself over to the other. It’s what you have to do […]



March 5, 2013

There’s something fun about beauty. Something that touches us deeply enough to bring us from wherever we are into the very center of the moment. Unlike other kinds of fun, beauty doesn’t invite play. Rather, like awe, it invites presence. Like fun, beauty transforms us. We are struck by it, moved, transported, caught in it, […]


scholarly fun

January 22, 2013

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January 21, 2013

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Fantasy Fun

January 8, 2013

It’s fun to fantasize. It’s even fun to fantasize about fun. It’s an art, don’t you know. Something you get better at. You can fantasize all by yourself. You can fantasize with other people. When you fantasize with other people it can feel at least as real as it feels when you fantasize alone. And […]