How to Seduce the Masses: Kevin Kent

Tips on flirting with the object(s) of my desire.

I am high out of my mind when I meet improvisational performer Kevin Kent. A few hours earlier I'd been at the hospital, doubled over in pain with a whopping bladder infection.My doctor prescribed Vicodin, and because he'd instructed me to take one pill that evening, I of course took two.The lead character in Teatro ZinZanni's current show "Quest for a Queendom" proves to be an ideal visual for a high person. In his sequined leotard and six-inch platforms, Kent towers over me like an extraordinary gay Godzilla. In awe, I point at his rose-covered nipple and inquire how the bud stays in place. "Toupee tape," he reveals.Kent starred in the first TZZ production back in '98 and has since been in 21 of the company's shows, both the Seattle and San Francisco branches. In addition to his excellent improvisational and comedic skills, he's known for getting the audience—particularly men—riled up with his flirtatious ways.I could use a couple of pointers from him. It used to be easy for me to meet men. All I had to do was hang out by the keg for a couple of hours until I was drunk enough to make some rather stupid choices. That's how I met three of my ex-boyfriends. In college, this is somewhat acceptable. But in the real world, my method is a surefire way to get an STD, or worse, murdered. I need to learn to flirt sober. Or high on Vicodin. I'm a firm believer in taking baby steps.Kent saunters into the TZZ lobby drinking an olive martini for our lesson. Here we will await exiting audience members and then flirt with them, he explains. My first tip comes in the form of a goateed man. Kent reaches out to stroke his facial hair. "Always find a physical feature to comment on," he instructs me, before demonstrating. "Then touch what you're talking about."It works. "I'd go home with him," goateed guy declares. "But I'm here with my wife."Even heteros fall for Kent's beguiling ways! I watch as a sea of bald men in business suits pass us by. They initially try to avoid eye contact, but Kent swoops in to give each a kiss on the head, leaving them with telltale red lipstick marks. They giggle like schoolgirls. "Every man or woman has a weak spot," Kent explains after they leave. "But you must be gentle with it."Should I look a certain way while engaging in this behavior? Kent says the best combination is to dress demurely but approach directly. However, "If they ask to see your nipples, show them."Hmmm...the latter sounds a little bit like college...Moving along, I notice that during our conversation, Kent varies his attack position. Sometimes he stares head-on at the person of interest. Other times he glances demurely over his shoulder to call out to them. It turns out that while showing the nipples is acceptable, one should evenly divide the time in which the rest of the body's assets are exposed."You shouldn't waste it all on one walk," Kent says. "Some people may call it stalking, but you should pass the potential suitor several times to make sure they see you from four or five different angles."Out of nowhere Kent slaps a stranger's buttocks and I start to wonder if there are any don'ts when it comes to expressing one's desire. Is there anything I should avoid at all costs? I ask Kent if he has a cardinal rule. He pauses to think and then advises, "Anything goes—except flirting with the drunk ones. No good can come of that."You're preaching to the choir with that one, Kevin.ehobart@seattleweekly.com

 
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