Seduce them by the book
A new book promises to help you master the much sought after art of seduction. EDDIE LENNON spoke to the author of this seductive tome.
When it comes to seducing the person who is the object of our desire, we all have our own theories on the best way to go about it. And we all have our stories - some with the happy ending of devilishly clever romantic accomplishment; others with the success that somehow and mysteriously slipped away.
When mood and atmosphere conspire, each of us has our own seductive technique, and it's usually learned from varying degrees of experience. After all, translating the thrill of the chase into romantic triumph isn't something you can learn from a book.
Or is it? A new book enticingly titled The Concise Art of Seduction, by Californian writer Robert Greene, claims to help you turn on the most elusive, subtle and effective form of human power that exists - the power to seduce. The author studied the methods of history's most powerfully charismatic seducers, from Casanova to Errol Flynn, Cleopatra to John F Kennedy.
The book is a short version of a larger work by Greene on seduction. With less emphasis on the history of seduction, and more on its psychology, it claims to be no less potent or instructive, for both men and women. Having repeatedly discovered nine distinct seducing 'types', in the course of his research, the author homed in on their successful romantic strategies and pre-bedside manner.
Greene says there are several classic mistakes people make that ruins their chances.
"The biggest turn-off is not necessarily something you do; it's insecurity and lack of confidence. It infects the other person. So if you're awkward and you don't feel comfortable about yourself, or you're worried about how you look or what you say, the other person catches the mood. The opposite is true if you're confident and smooth - it lowers the other person's inhibitions. The biggest mistake people make is not being able to disguise their insecurity."
And how are would-be Lotharios and femmes fatales to do that, exactly? "You need to recognise yourself in one of the nine seducing types. Almost everybody has something in their personality or character that is seductive. It could be that you're spontaneous and child-like; that you're really interested in your image and in clothes; that you're rebellious; that you're a charmer and know how to please people. Seduction is about bringing out that natural trait - it's not seductive to be seen to be trying. It's something inside that makes you different. It's a question of being conscious of that, accentuating it and knowing how to put it into play."
Greene says the book "has a lot to do with the soft-sell approach to influencing people." His basic premise is that humans are perverse, stubborn creatures who, by their very nature, will rarely do what you want. So the best way to bypass the natural resistance of the object of your affection is to hit him or her at their weakest spot - their desire for pleasure. Stir such desires, pleasantly confuse and lead them astray (the origin of the word 'seduction' is the Latin for 'to lead astray') and - bingo! - the eagle has landed. One sure way of dramatically improving your chances with the object of your affection, says Greene, is to send mixed signals.
"At the beginning, where a person perceives you as being a certain way, you send them a signal that shows them another, contradictory part of your personality. For example you may seem really quiet and gentle, but if you send a signal that shows a slightly evil side to you, you create a mystery.
A brilliant seductress in Napoleon's time, Madame Recamier, was thought by everyone to be an incredible angel. She was so sweet and dressed beautifully. When she played the harp at concerts, she would throw a man a look, just for a second, that was extremely naughty and rude. The combination of her being so angelic and that one split-second lewd look made men go nuts over her."
Greene says that would-be seducers are usually too obvious, talking and showing their qualities far too much. "It's really about mixing it up a little so people don't really know you at first. If they don't know you too well, it makes them think about you when you're not there. If a person you are attracted to starts thinking about you in that way, you've got them pretty much hooked."
Another sure-fire strategy for netting your romantic quarry is appearing to be an object of desire - seeming to be popular with the opposite sex. "It stimulates the competitive juices," says Greene, adding that he has used the trick to good effect himself.
"It works particularly well on women, but also on men. The woman senses other women like you. It could be part of your rakish past where there have been a lot of other women; or it could be at a party where you're surrounded by four beautiful women, which is what I did with my girlfriend when I first met her. It's a very devastating strategy."
Greene, who is 44, and a former editor of Esquire magazine, says he has always been fascinated by seduction.
"I was bit of a rake in my twenties. I lived for the chase. I've always been fascinated both by people who are great seducers and the whole literature of books on seduction."
When asked what his current romantic status is, Greene says in a rather deadpan way, "I am involved with a woman". When pressed, he adds (no less enigmatically) that the relationship is a long-term one.
And what does she think of her boyfriend's inordinate interest in how to seduce? "She is very excited about it," says Greene. "She did some of the research for me, and read some of the hundreds of books written on seduction. She loved the subject; most women are really fascinated by it. She knows about my rakish past, and finds it very amusing."
The Concise Art of Seduction is published by Profile Books, ?10.05
So what's your type?
THE SIREN Supremely confident and alluring female, using her raw physical sexuality to make men melt in her presence.
She cultivates elusiveness, danger and a little vulnerability in order to be chased more feverishly by her rapt admirers. Heightening her femininity through make-up and perfume and subtly erotic, dazzling clothes channels a quick route to men's primal desire.
Occasionally she flies off the handle to reinforce a wild, and ultimately unobtainable, aura. Generally, though, the Siren's voice is calm and unhurried, her manner and movement languorous. Just as her voice lulls, her image dazes - a woman of dramatic and therefore irresistible, contradictions.
THE RAKE A serial heart-squeezer, bed-hopper and promiscuous master of seductive language, the Rake is a disloyal and deceitful cad.
This Don Juan unashamedly mixes the whiff of danger (making no effort to hide his rakish reputation) with the allure of pure pleasure.
He overwhelms his prey with his devil-may-care desire and playful, flamboyant affections. His all-consuming attentions are the perfect emotional camouflage; for him, hesitation is a sign of diluted passion.
The Rake rejects rejection, and resistance inflames him more as he appears to lose all control in his fever to possess. Carefully conveying a thrilling sense of risk and even darkness, the Rake chooses words to entrance and infect, and gives them a lofty, spiritual flavour to elevate desire.
THE IDEAL LOVER Not a cynical or deceitful bone exists in the Ideal Lover's body - he or she is a danger-free zone, an emotional sure thing.
Or rather, that's what they want you to think. The truth is that the Ideal Lover is an emotional prostitute, deftly identifying your disappointments and then selling you the fantasy that you have somehow found the emotional super-glue that will seamlessly mend the heartbreaks of the past.
Patiently and attentively attuned to your desires, the Ideal Lover slowly but inexorably becomes irresistible to you, slyly blending an aura of innocence with the intoxication of sensuality.
Dainty gifts, flowers and other acts of old-world chivalry appeal to your higher senses, while the Ideal Lover's real ambitions are decidedly lower in aspiration.