If your targets become too used to you as the aggressor, they will give less of their own energy, and the tension will slacken. You need to wake them up, turn the tables. Once they are under your spell, take a step back and they will start to come after you. Begin with a touch of aloofness, an unexpected nonappearance, a hint that you are growing bored. Stir the pot by seeming interested in someone else. Make none of this explicit; let them only sense it and their imagination will do the rest, creating the doubt you desire. Soon they will want to possess you physically, and restraint will go out the window. The goal is to have them fall into your arms of their own will. Create the illusion that the seducer is being seduced.
In the early 1840s, the center of attention in the French art world was a young woman named Apollonie Sabatier. She was so much the natural beauty that sculptors and painters vied to immortalize her in their works, and she was also charming, easy to talk to, and seductively self-sufficient— men were drawn to her. Her Paris apartment became a gathering spot for writers and artists, and soon Madame Sabatier—as she came to be known, Omissions, denials, although she was not married—was hosting one of the most important lit- deflections, deceptions, erary salons in France. Writers such as Gustave Flaubert, the elder Alexan- dlversions' and h"rmlity_
all aimed at provoking this dre Dumas, and Theophile Gautier were among her regular guests. second state, the secret of
Near the end of 1852, when she was thirty, Madame Sabatier received true seduction Vulgar an anonymous letter. The writer confessed that he loved her deeply. Wor- seduct'on might proceedby
J 1 J persistence, but true seduc-
ried that she would find his sentiments ridiculous, he would not reveal his tion proceeds by absence. .
name; yet he had to let her know that he adored her. Sabatier was used to . . It is like fencing: one i ,, r. i i r 11 . 1 .,i i u , needs a fieldfor the feint.
such attentions—one man after another had fallen in love with her—but
Throughout this period, this letter was different: in this man she seemed to have inspired a quasi- he seducer [johannes], aar religious ardor. The letter, written in a disguised handwriting, contained a from seeking to close in on poem dedicated to her; titled "To One Who Is Too Gay," it began by prais- her, seeks to maintain his distance by various ploys:
ing her beauty, yet ended with the lines he does not speak directly to her but only to her aunt,
And so, one night, I'd like to sneak, and then about trivial or stupid subjects; he neutral-
When darkness tolls the hour of p^asm^ iZes everything by irony
A craven thief, toward the treasure and feigned pedanticism;
Which is your person, plump and sleek. . . . he fails to respond to any feminine or erotic move-
ment, and even finds her a
Into those lips, so freshly striking sitcom suitor to disenchant
And daily lovelier to my liking— and deceive her, to the t r ,i r point where she herself
Infuse the venom of my spite.
takes the initiative and breaks off her engagement,
Mixed in with her admirer's adoration, clearly, was a strange kind of lust, thus completing the with a touch of cruelty to it. The poem both intrigued and disturbed seduction and creatmg the ideal situation for her total her—and she had no idea who had written it. abandon.
A few weeks later another letter arrived. As before, the writer en- _JEAN BAUDRILLARD
veloped Sabatier in cultlike worship, mixing the physical and the spiritual. seduction, translated by And as before, there was a poem, "All in One," in which he wrote,
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