The Dandy's strength, but also the Dandy's problem, is that he or she often works through transgressive feelings relating to sex roles. Although this activity is highly charged and seductive, it is also dangerous, since it touches on a source of great anxiety and insecurity. The greater dangers will often come from your own sex. Valentino had immense appeal for women, but men hated him. He was constantly dogged with accusations of being perversely unmasculine, and this caused him great pain. Salomé was equally disliked by women; Nietzsche's sister, and perhaps his closest friend, considered her an evil witch, and led a virulent campaign against her in the press long after the philosopher's death. There is little to be done in the face of resentment like this. Some Dandies try to fight the image they themselves have created, but this is unwise: to prove his masculinity, Valentino would engage in a boxing match, anything to prove his masculinity. He wound up looking only desperate. Better to accept society's occasional gibes with grace and insolence. After all, the Dandies' charm is that they don't really care what people think of them. That is how Andy Warhol played the game: when people tired of his antics or some scandal erupted, instead of trying to defend himself he would simply move on to some new image—decadent bohemian, high-society portraitist, etc.—as if to say, with a hint of disdain, that the problem lay not with him but with other people's attention span.
Another danger for the Dandy is the fact that insolence has its limits. Beau Brummel prided himself on two things: his trimness of figure and his acerbic wit. His main social patron was the Prince of Wales, who, in later years, grew plump. One night at dinner, the prince rang for the butler, and Brummel snidely remarked, "Do ring, Big Ben." The prince did not appreciate the joke, had Brummel shown out, and never spoke to him again. Without royal patronage, Brummel fell into poverty and madness.
Even a Dandy, then, must measure out his impudence. A true Dandy knows the difference between a theatrically staged teasing of the powerful and a remark that will truly hurt, offend, or insult. It is particularly important to avoid insulting those in a position to injure you. In fact the pose may work best for those who can afford to offend—artists, bohemians, etc. In the work world, you will probably have to modify and tone down your Dandy image. Be pleasantly different, an amusement, rather than a person who challenges the group's conventions and makes others feel insecure.
Childhood is the golden paradise we are always consciously or unconsciously trying to re-create. The Natural embodies the longed-for qualities of childhood—spontaneity, sincerity, unpre-tentiousness. In the presence of Naturals, we feel at ease, caught up in their playful spirit, transported back to that golden age. Naturals also make a virtue out of weakness, eliciting our sympathy for their trials, making us want to protect them and help them. As with a child, much of this is natural, but some of it is exaggerated, a conscious seductive maneuver. Adopt the pose of the Natural to neutralize people's natural defensiveness and infect them with helpless delight.
Psychological Traits of the Natural
Children are not as guileless as we like to imagine. They suffer from feelings of helplessness, and sense early on the power of their natural charm to remedy their weakness in the adult world. They learn to play a game: if their natural innocence can persuade a parent to yield to their desires in one instance, then it is something they can use strategically in another instance, laying it on thick at the right moment to get their way. If Long-past ages have a their vulnerability and weakness is so attractive, then it is something they great and oiten puzzling
attraction for men's
can use for effect. imagination. Whenever
Why are we seduced by children's naturalness? First, because anything they are dissatisfied with natural has an uncanny effect on us. Since the beginning of time, natural their present surround, , . , , . , ings and this happens phenomena—such as lightning storms or eclipses—have instilled in human often enough—they turn
beings an awe tinged with fear. The more civilized we become, the greater back to the past and hope the effect such natural events have on us; the modern world surrounds us that they wil1 now be able
with so much that is manufactured and artificial that something sudden and to prove ',e,trut, o te ,
° inextinguishable dream of inexplicable fascinates us. Children also have this natural power, but be- a golden age. They are
cause they are unthreatening and human, they are not so much awe inspir- probably still under the
ing as charming. Most people try to please, but the pleasantness of the child spell of their childhood,
which is presented to them comes effortlessly, defying logical explanation—and what is irrational is by their not impartial
often dangerously seductive. memory as a time of
More important, a child represents a world from which we have been uninterrupted bliss.
forever exiled. Because adult life is full of boredom and compromise, we harbor an illusion of childhood as a kind of golden age, even though it can
—SIGMUND FREUD, the stasdard edition of the complete psychological often be a period of great confusion and pain. It cannot be denied, how- works of sigmund freud, ever, that childhood had certain privileges, and as children we had a plea- VOLUME 23 surable attitude to life. Confronted with a particularly charming child, we often feel wistful: we remember our own golden past, the qualities we have lost and wish we had again. And in the presence of the child, we get a little When Hermes was born
on Mount Cyllene his of that goldenness back.
mother Maia laid him in
Natural seducers are people who somehow avoided getting certain swaddling bands on a childish traits drummed out of them by adult experience. Such people can winnowing fan, but he
be as powerfully seductive as any child, because it seems uncanny and mar- grew with astonishing
1 J J J quickness into a little boy, velous that they have preserved such qualities. They are not literally like and as soon as her back children, of course; that would make them obnoxious or pitiful. Rather it was turned, sUpped °ff 1
is the spirit that they have retained. Do not imagine that this childishness is went looking for adventure.
Arrived at Pieria, where something beyond their control. Natural seducers learn early on the value Apollo was tending a fine of retaining a particular quality, and the seductive power it contains; they herd of cows, he decided to steal them. But, fearing to adapt and build upon those childlike traits that they managed to preserve, be betrayed by their tracks, exactly as the child learns to play with its natural charm. This is the key. It he quickly made a number
. , , ,, . , , is within your power to do the same, since there is lurking within all of us a oj shoes from the bark of a J r °
fallen oak and tied them devilish child straining to be let loose. To do this successfully, you have to
until plaited grass to the be able to let go to a degree, since there is nothing less natural than seeming feet of the cows, which he
, hesitant. Remember the spirit you once had; let it return, without self-
then drove off by night aiong the road. Apollo consciousness. People are much more forgiving of those who go all the discovered the but way, who seem uncontrollably foolish, than the halfhearted adult with a
Hermes's trick deceived childish streak. Remember who you were before you became so polite and him, and though he went
as far as fyhis in his self-effacing. To assume the role of the Natural, mentally position yourself westward search, and to in any relationship as the child, the younger one. Onchestus in his eastern, The following are the main types of the adult Natural. Keep in mind he was forced, in the end, . . . , n i i i n i r
to offer a reward for the that the greatest natural seducers are often a blend of more than one of apprehension of the thief. these qualities.
Silenus and his satyrs, greedy of reward, spread out in different directions to track him down but, for a The innocent. The primary qualities of innocence are weakness and mis-
long while, without success. understanding of the world. Innocence is weak because it is doomed to
At last, as a party of them vanish in a harsh, cruel world; the child cannot protect or hold on to its in-passed through Arcadia, they heard the muffled nocence. The misunderstandings come from the child's not knowing about sound of music such as good and evil, and seeing everything through uncorrupted eyes. The weak-
they had never heard ness of children elicits sympathy, their misunderstandings make us laugh, before, and the nymph
Cyllene, from the mouth of and nothing is more seductive than a mixture of laughter and sympathy. a cave, told them that a The adult Natural is not truly innocent—it is impossible to grow up in
most gifted child had this world and retain total innocence. Yet Naturals yearn so deeply to hold recently been born there, to on to their innocent outlook that they manage to preserve the illusion of
whom she was acting as nurse: he had constructed innocence. They exaggerate their weakness to elicit the proper sympathy. an ingenious musical toy They act like they still see the world through innocent eyes, which in an from the shell of a tortoise adult proves doubly humorous. Much of this is conscious, but to be effec-
and some cow-gut, with
which he had Mied his tive, adult Naturals must make it seem subtle and effortless—if they are mother to sleep. • "And seen as trying to act innocent, it will come across as pathetic. It is better for
from whom did he get the them to communicate weakness indirectly, through looks and glances, or cow-gut?" asked the alert
satyrs, noticing two hides through the situations they get themselves into, rather than anything obvi-
stretched outside the cave. ous. Since this type of innocence is mostly an act, it is easily adaptable for
"Do you charge the poor your own purposes. Learn to play up any natural weaknesses or flaws. child with theft?" asked Cyllene. Harsh words were exchanged. • At that
moment Apollo came up, The imp. Impish children have a fearlessness that we adults have lost. That having discovered the is because they do not see the possible consequences of their actions—how thief's identity by observing
the suspicious behaviour of some people might be offended, how they might physically hurt themselves a long-winged bird. in the process. Imps are brazen, blissfully uncaring. They infect you with
Entering the cave, he their lighthearted spirit. Such children have not yet had their natural energy awakened Maia and told or j oj
her severely that Hermes and spirit scolded out of them by the need to be polite and civil. Secretly, must restore the stolen we envy them; we want to be naughty too.
cows. Maia pointed to the Adult imps are seductive because of how different they are from the rest child, still wrapped in his of us. Breaths of fresh air in a cautious world, they go full throttle, as if their impishness were uncontrollable, and thus natural. If you play the part, do not worry about offending people now and then—you are too lovable and inevitably they will forgive you. Just don't apologize or look contrite, for that would break the spell. Whatever you say or do, keep a glint in your eye to show that you do not take anything seriously.
The wonder. A wonder child has a special, inexplicable talent: a gift for music, for mathematics, for chess, for sport. At work in the field in which they have such prodigal skill, these children seem possessed, and their actions effortless. If they are artists or musicians, Mozart types, their work seems to spring from some inborn impulse, requiring remarkably little thought. If it is a physical talent that they have, they are blessed with unusual energy, dexterity, and spontaneity. In both cases they seem talented beyond their years. This fascinates us.
Adult wonders are often former wonder children who have managed, remarkably, to retain their youthful impulsiveness and improvisational skills. True spontaneity is a delightful rarity, for everything in life conspires to rob us of it—we have to learn to act carefully and deliberately, to think about how we look in other people's eyes. To play the wonder you need some skill that seems easy and natural, along with the ability to improvise. If in fact your skill takes practice, you must hide this and learn to make your work appear effortless. The more you hide the sweat behind what you do, the more natural and seductive it will appear.
The undefensive lover. As people get older, they protect themselves against painful experiences by closing themselves off. The price for this is that they grow rigid, physically and mentally. But children are by nature unprotected and open to experience, and this receptiveness is extremely attractive. In the presence of children we become less rigid, infected with their openness. That is why we want to be around them.
Undefensive lovers have somehow circumvented the self-protective process, retaining the playful, receptive spirit of the child. They often manifest this spirit physically: they are graceful, and seem to age less rapidly than other people. Of all the Natural's character qualities, this one is the most useful. Defensiveness is deadly in seduction; act defensive and you'll bring out defensiveness in other people. The undefensive lover, on the other hand, lowers the inhibitions of his or her target, a critical part of seduction. It is important to learn to not react defensively: bend instead of resist, be open to influence from others, and they will more easily fall under your spell.
swaddling bands and feigning sleep. "What an absurd charge!" she cried. But Apollo had already recognized the hides. He picked up Hermes, carried him to Olympus, and there formally accused him of theft, offering the hides as evidence. Zeus, loth to believe that his own newborn son was a thief encouraged him to plead not guilty, but Apollo would not be put off and Hermes, at last, weakened and confessed. • "Very well, come with me," he said, "and you may have your herd. I slaughtered only two, and those I cut up into twelve equal portions as a sacrifice to the twelve gods" • "Twelve gods?" asked Apollo.
"Your servant, sir" replied Hermes modestly. "I ate no more than my share, though I was very hungry, and duly burned the rest.
• The two gods [ Hermes and Apollo] returned to Moun t Cyllene, where Hermes greeted his mother and retrieved something that he had hidden underneath a sheepskin. •
"What have you there?" asked Apollo. • In answer, Hermes showed his newly-invented tortoise-shell lyre, and played such a ravishing tune on it with the plectrum he had also invented, at the same time singing in praise of Apollo's nobility,, intelligence, and generosity, that he was forgiven at once. He led the surprised and delighted Apollo to Pylus, playing all the way, and there gave him the remainder of the cattle, which he had hidden in a cave. • "A bargain!" cried Apollo. "You keep the cows, and I take the lyre.
Continue reading here: Agreed said Hermes Examples of Natural Seducers
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