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by Joe D'Angelo, with reporting by SuChin Pak

Britney Spears sits with her friends at a club VIP table when she spots her mark. He's attractive, maybe a model, dancing with no one in particular. The ladies buzzing around him use an array of assets, from gyrating dance moves to their sweat-moistened cleavages, to try to seize him for themselves.

Eventually stopping for a cocktail, he's not the only one who needs to cool off. Spears sees an opportunity and slyly saunters over, giving him a look that most men have only seen deep in REM sleep. As he turns away from the bar they nearly collide. Startled at first, he recognizes her.

But the guy wasn't anticipating this.

  Britney's Greatest Moments
Photo Gallery

"Hi, ughhh ... Don't I know you from, ugh ... That's a really nice, ummm, shirt ... Got the time?" Britney stammers.

That imaginary scenario isn't likely to happen because Spears won't let it. She's going to work on her ice-breakers before she ever attempts anything like that.

"I need to learn some moves," she conceded recently. "I don't have a cool bone in my body."

Britney Spears has trouble meeting guys.

"I don't really have all the pick-up lines," she said. "You know how some guys just know, and have that [rap]? I don't have that ... It's very weird for me to go up to somebody at a club and be like, 'Oh, hi. What's up?' "

But when the pop princess does make a first move, she's prone to letting her body do the talking, as she explained in "I'm a Slave 4 U," the first single from 2001's Britney. When the mood strikes, she says she's liable to simply dance up on him and let things go from there.

  "I Got That (Boom Boom)"

  "Breathe On Me"



And if he's a bad dancer? "I'll make him a good dancer," she said with a grin. "I'll just sit him there and just kind of ..." She insinuates a bit of the old bump-and-grind.

"I've done that before," she admitted before letting loose a red-faced scream. "I'm embarrassed now, OK?"

Is it hard to believe that Britney Spears, the confident sexpot who prances onstage in next to nothing, who poses half-clothed for photo shoots and moans suggestively all over her new album, In the Zone, is self-conscious and insecure? Not once you understand that the brazen blonde you hear on record and see onstage and in magazines isn't the same person who gets nervous around boys, worries about making a fool of herself and is modest when speaking of her accomplishments. More so than most entertainers whose public personas aren't necessarily in lockstep with their private lives, Britney Spears has two different — very different — selves.

"It's like when you're a little girl, getting on top of your bed, pretending to be ['80s cartoon action heroine] She-Ra," she explained of superstar Britney. "It's that feeling of letting go and expressing yourself. It's like a fantasy, a dream. But then I get offstage and come into me, and I'm very like [sheepishly] 'hi' when I get around people I don't know. I think that surprises people sometimes because they think I'm going to be this star girl, but I'm completely the opposite."

The side of Britney seen on In the Zone is hardly the bumbling mush mouth who doesn't take kindly to awkward situations. Rather, it's one of a self-assured young woman bursting with sexuality. If the throbbing beats and sultry rhythms aren't heated enough, Spears purrs and moans on nearly every track, while continuing in the tradition of using dance as a metaphor for sex. Her breathy conversation with Madonna on the single   "Me Against the Music" might be the precursor to a lesson on the dance floor or perhaps someplace more intimate. Backed by the sensual trip-hop rhythm of "Breathe on Me," she gives her man signs of encouragement, so to speak, with the lines, "It's so hot and I need some air/ And boy don't stop 'cause I'm halfway there." In "Showdown," she offers the fantasy-inspiring line, "I don't want to be a tease, would you undo my zipper please?"

Next: Britney gets 'touchy' about masturbation, and has a very good reason for sleeping with Justin ...
Photo: Jive

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In The Zone

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"I'm A Slave 4 U" (live)
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