The rA ake

A woman never quite feels desired and appreciated enough. She wants attention, but a man is too often distracted and unresponsive. The Rake is a great female fantasy figure—when he desires a woman, brief though that moment may be, he will go to the ends of the earth for her. He may be disloyal, dishonest, and amoral, but that only adds to his appeal. Unlike the normal, cautious male, the Rake is delightfully unrestrained, a slave to his love of women. There is the added lure of his reputation: so many women have succumbed to him, there has to be a reason. Words are a woman's weakness, and the Rake is a master of seductive language. Stir a woman's repressed longings by adapting the Rake's mix of danger and pleasure.

The Ardent Rake

For the court of Louis XIV, the king's last years were gloomy—he was old, and had become both insufferably religious and personally unpleasant. The court was bored and desperate for novelty. So in 1710, the arrival of a fifteen-year-old lad who was both devilishly handsome and charming had a particularly strong effect on the ladies. His name was Fronsac, the future Duke de Richelieu (his granduncle being the infamous Cardinal Richelieu). He was impudent and witty. The ladies would play with him like a toy, but he would kiss them on the lips in return, his hands wandering far for an inexperienced boy. When those hands strayed up the skirts of a duchess who was not so indulgent, the king was furious, and sent the youth to the Bastille to teach him a lesson. But the ladies who had found him so amusing could not endure his absence. Compared to the stiffs in court, here was someone incredibly bold, his eyes boring into you, his hands quicker than was safe. Nothing could stop him, his novelty was irresistible. The court ladies pleaded and his stay in the Bastille was cut short.

Several years later, the young Mademoiselle de Valois was walking in a Paris park with her chaperone, an older woman who never left her side. De Valois's father, the Duke d'Orléans, was determined to protect her, his youngest daughter, from all the court seducers until she could be married off, so he had attached to her this chaperone, a woman of impeccable virtue and sourness. In the park, however, de Valois saw a young man who gave her a look that set her heart on fire. He walked on by, but the look was intense and clear. It was her chaperone who told her his name: the now infamous Duke de Richelieu, blasphemer, seducer, heartbreaker. Someone to avoid at all cost.

A few days later, the chaperone took de Valois to a different park, and lo and behold, Richelieu crossed their path again. This time he was in disguise, dressed as a beggar, but the look in his eye was unforgettable. Mademoiselle de Valois returned his gaze: at last something exciting in her drab life. Given her father's sternness, no man had dared approach her. And now this notorious courtier was pursuing her, instead of all the other ladies at court—what a thrill! Soon he was smuggling beautifully written notes to her expressing his uncontrollable desire for her. She responded timidly, but soon the notes were all she was living for. In one of them he promised to arrange everything if she would spend the night with him; imagining it was

[After an accident at sect, Don Juan finds himself washed up on a beach, where he is discovered by a young woman.] *TISBEA: Wake up, handsomest of all men, and be yourself again. 'DON JUAN: If the sea gives me death, you give me life. But the sea really saved me only to be killed by you. Oh the sea tosses me from one torment to the other, for I no sooner pulled myself from the water than I met this siren—yourself. Why fill my ears with wax, since you kill me with your eyes? I was dying in the sea, but from today I shall die of love. -TISBEA: YOU have abundant breath for a man almost drowned. You suffered much, but who knows what suffering you are preparing for me? . . . I found you at my feet all water, and now you are all fire. If you burn when you are so wet, what will you do when you're dry again? You promise a scorching flame; I hope to God you're not lying. 'DON JUAN: Dear girl, God should have drowned me before I could be charred by you. Perhaps love was wise

—tirso de molina, the playboy of seville, schizzano and oscar mandel to drench me before I felt impossible to bring such a thing to pass, she did not mind playing along and your scaling touch. But agreeing to his bold proposal.

your fire is such that even ni-wiii . . . . a i 1

m water I bum • tisbeA' Mademoiselle de Valois had a chambermaid named Angelique, who So cold and yet burning? • dressed her for bed and slept in an adjoining room. One night as the chap-don JUAN: So much fire erone was knitting, de Valois looked up from the book she was reading to is in you. • TISBEA: How a i i , 111 i 1 r weUyou talk• • don see Angelique carrying her mistresss nightclothes to her room, but for some JUAN: How well you strange reason Angelique looked back at her and smiled—it was Richelieu, understand! • TISBEA: 1 expertly dressed as the maid! De Valois nearly gasped from fright, but caught hope to God you ryngo herself, realizing the danger she was in: if she said anything her family would find out about the notes, and about her part in the whole affair. What could she do? She decided to go to her room and talk the young translated by adrienne m. duke out of his ridiculously dangerous maneuver. She said good night to her chaperone, but once she was in her bedroom, the words she had planned were useless. When she tried to reason with Richelieu, he responded with that look in his eye, and then with his arms around her. She could not yell, but now she was unsure what to do. His impetuous words, his caresses, the Pleased with myfirst danger of it all—her head was whirling, she was lost. What was virtue and success, I determined to , , , , , . .,1,1 , i ,

... . ... , her prior boredom compared to an evening with the courts most notorious profit by this happy r r o reconciliation. I called them rake? So while the chaperone knitted away, the duke initiated her into the my dear wives, my faithful rituals of libertinage.

companions, the two beings Months later, de Valois's father had reason to suspect that Richelieu had chosen to make me happy.

I sought to turn their broken through his lines of defense. The chaperone was fired, the precau-heads, and to rouse in tions were doubled. D'Orléans did not realize that to Richelieu such mea-

them desires the strength of sures were a challenge, and he lived for challenges. He bought the house which I knew and which

would drive away any next door under an assumed name and secretly tunneled a trapdoor through reflections contrary to my the wall adjoining the duke's kitchen cupboard. In this cupboard, over the plans. The skillful man next few months—until the novelty wore off—de Valois and Richelieu en-

who knows how to joyed endless trysts.

communicate gradually the heat of love to the senses of Everyone in Paris knew of Richelieu's exploits, for he made it a point the most virtuous woman to publicize them as loudly as possible. Every week a new story would cir-is quite certain of soon culate through the court. A husband had locked his wife in an upstairs being absolute master of

her mind and herperson; room at night, worried the duke was after her; to reach her the duke had you cannot reflect when crawled in darkness along a thin wooden plank suspended between two you have lost your head, upper-floor windows. Two women who lived in the same house, one a and, moreover, principles of

wisdom, however deeply widow, the other married and quite religious, had discovered to their mu-engraved they may be on tual horror that the duke was having an affair with both of them at the

the mind, are effaced in same time, leaving one in the middle of the night to be with the other.

that moment when the

When they confronted him, the duke, always on the prowl for something heart yearns only for pleasure: pleasure alone novel, and a devilish talker, had neither apologized nor backed down, but then commands and is proceeded to talk them into a menage a trois, playing on the wounded obeyed. The man who has r t 1 1 1 , , 1 ,1 ,1 1 , r t . r

vanity of each woman, who could not stand the thought of him preferring had experience of conquests J cj 1 cj nearly always succeeds the other. Year after year, the stories of his remarkable seductions spread.

where he who is only timid One woman admired his audacity and bravery, another his gallantry in

and in lovefails. . . . thwarting a husband. Women competed for his attention: if he did not

When I had brought my 1111 . . ^ . 1

two belles to the state of want to seduce you, there had to be something wrong with you. To be the abandonment in which I target of his attentions became a great fantasy. At one point two ladies fought a pistol duel over the duke, and one of them was seriously wounded. The Duchess d'Orléans, Richelieu's most bitter enemy, once wrote, "If I believed in sorcery I should think that the Duke possessed some supernatural secret, for I have never known a woman to oppose the very least resistance to him."

In seduction there is often a dilemma: to seduce you need planning and calculation, but if your victim suspects that you have ulterior motives, she will grow defensive. Furthermore, if you seem to be in control, you will inspire fear instead of desire. The Ardent Rake solves this dilemma in the most artful manner. Of course he must calculate and plan—he has to find a way around the jealous husband, or whatever the obstacle is. It is exhausting work. But by nature, the Ardent Rake also has the advantage of an uncontrollable libido. When he pursues a woman, he really is aglow with desire; the victim senses this and is inflamed, even despite herself. How can she imagine that he is a heartless seducer who will abandon her when he so ardently braves all dangers and obstacles to get to her? And even if she is aware of his rakish past, of his incorrigible amorality, it doesn't matter, because she also sees his weakness. He cannot control himself; he actually is a slave to all women. As such he inspires no fear.

The Ardent Rake teaches us a simple lesson: intense desire has a distracting power on a woman, just as the Siren's physical presence does on a man. A woman is often defensive and can sense insincerity or calculation. But if she feels consumed by your attentions, and is confident you will do anything for her, she will notice nothing else about you, or will find a way to forgive your indiscretions. This is the perfect cover for a seducer. The key is to show no hesitation, to abandon all restraint, to let yourself go, to show that you cannot control yourself and are fundamentally weak. Do not worry about inspiring mistrust; as long as you are the slave to her charms, she will not think of the aftermath.

The Demonic Rake

In the early 1880s, members of Roman high society began to talk of a young journalist who had arrived on the scene, a certain Gabriele D'An-nunzio. This was strange in itself, for Italian royalty had only the deepest contempt for anyone outside their circle, and a newspaper society reporter was almost as low as you could go. Indeed well-born men paid D'Annun-zio little attention. He had no money and few connections, coming from a strictly middle-class background. Besides, to them he was downright ugly—short and stocky, with a dark, splotchy complexion and bulging eyes. The men thought him so unappealing they gladly let him mingle with their wives and daughters, certain that their women would be safe with this gargoyle and happy to get this gossip hunter off their hands. No, it was not the men who talked of D'Annunzio; it was their wives.

wanted them, I expressed a more eager desire; their eyes lit up; my caresses were returned; and it was plain that their resistance would not delay for more than a few moments the next scene I desired them to play. I proposed that each should accompany me in turn into a charming closet, next to the room in which we were, which I wanted them to admire. They both remained silent.

• "You hesitate?" I said to them. "I will see which of you is the more attached to me. The one who loves me the more will be the first to follow the lover she wishes to convince of her affection. . . ." •I knew my puritan, and I was well aware that, after a few Struggles, she gave herself up completely to the present moment. 'This one appeared to be as agreeable to her as the others we had previously spent together; she forgot that she was sharing me [with Madame Renaud]. . . . • [When her turn came] Madame Renaud responded with a transport that proved her contentment, and she left the sitting only after having repeated continually:

"What a man! What a man! He is astonishing! How often you could be happy with him if he were only faithful!"

— the private life of the marshal duke of richelieu, translated by f. s. flint

His very successes in love, Introduced to D'Annunzio by their husbands, these duchesses and mar-even more than the chionesses would find themselves entertaining this strange-looking man, marvellous voice of this , , , i i . i i i i i 1

,.,,,,, ., and when he was alone with them, his manner would suddenly change.

little, bald seducer with a J 0

nose uke Punch, swept Within minutes these ladies would be spellbound. First, he had the most alongin his train a whole magnificent voice they had ever heard—soft and low, each syllable articu-procession ofenamoured lated, with a flowing rhythm and inflection that was almost musical. One women, both opulent and tormented. D'Anniinzw woman compared it to the ringing of church bells in the distance. Others had successfully revived the said his voice had a "hypnotic" effect. The words that voice spoke were in-Byronic legend: as he teresting as well—alliterative phrases, charming locutions, poetic images, passed by full-breasted

women, standing in his and a way of offering praise that could melt a woman's heart. D'Annunzio way as Boldoni would had mastered the art of flattery. He seemed to know each woman's weak-paint them strings of ness: one he would call a goddess of nature, another an incomparable artist in the making, another a romantic figure out of a novel. A woman's heart pearls anchoring them to life—princesses and actresses, great Russian would flutter as he described the effect she had on him. Everything was ladies and even middle- suggestive, hinting at sex or romance. That night she would ponder his class Bordeaux words, recalling little in particular that he had said, because he never said housewives—they would ^ 1

offer themselves up to him. anything concrete, but rather the feeling it had given her. The next day she nutimnc „„,,„„ ™™ ^ would receive from him a poem that seemed to have been written spe-

— philippe jullian, prince of i i aesthetes: covnt robert cifically for her. (In fact he wrote dozens of very similar poems, slightly de montesquieou, translated tailoring each one for its intended victim.)

by john haylock and francis

king A few years after D Annunzio began work as a society reporter, he married the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Gallese. Shortly thereafter, with the unshakeable support of society ladies, he began publishing novels n short, nothing is so and books of poetry. The number of his conquests was remarkable, and sweet as to triumph over also the quality—not only marchionesses would fall at his feet, but great

the Resistance of a artists, such as the actress Eleanor Duse, who helped him become a re-beautiful Person; and in . . . . . , i t i t-\

that I have the Ambition spected dramatist and literary celebrity. The dancer Isadora Duncan, an-of Conquerors, who fly other who eventually fell under his spell, explained his magic: "Perhaps the perpetuaiiy from votary to most remarkable lover of our time is Gabriele D'Annunzio. And this Vlctory and can never notwithstanding that he is small, bald, and, except when his face lights up prevail with themselves to

putt a bound to their with enthusiasm, ugly But when he speaks to a woman he likes, his face is Wishes. Nothing can transfigured, so that he suddenly becomes Apollo. . . . His effect on women restrain the Impetuosity of is remarkable. The lady he is talking to suddenly feels that her very soul and my Desires; I have an Heart for the whole Earth; being are lifted."

and like Alexander, I could At the outbreak of World War I, the fifty-two-year-old D'Annunzio wish for New Worlds joined the army. Although he had no military experience, he had a flair for wherein to extend my

Amorous Conquests the dramatic and a burning desire to prove his bravery. He learned to fly and led dangerous but highly effective missions. By the end of the war, he

—moliere, don john or ° ° j j '

the libertine, translated by was Italy's most decorated hero. His exploits made him a beloved national john ozell figure, and after the war, crowds would gather outside his hotel wherever in Italy he went. He would address them from a balcony, discussing politics, railing against the current Italian government. A witness of one of these speeches, the American writer Walter Starkie, was initially disappointed at the appearance of the famous D'Annunzio on a balcony in Venice; he was short, and looked grotesque. "Little by little, however, I began to sink under the fascination of the voice, which penetrated into my consciousness. . . .

Never a hurried, jerky gesture. . . . He played upon the emotions of the crowd as a supreme violinist does upon a Stradivarius. The eyes of the thousands were fixed upon him as though hypnotized by his power." Once again, it was the sound of the voice and the poetic connotations of the words that seduced the masses. Arguing that modern Italy should reclaim the greatness of the Roman Empire, D'Annunzio would craft slogans for the audience to repeat, or would ask emotionally loaded questions for them to answer. He flattered the crowd, made them feel they were part of some drama. Everything was vague and suggestive.

The issue of the day was the ownership of the city of Fiume, just across the border in neighboring Yugoslavia. Many Italians believed that Italy's reward for siding with the Allies in the recent war should be the annexation of Fiume. D'Annunzio championed this cause, and because of his status as a war hero the army was ready to side with him, although the government opposed any action. In September of 1919, with soldiers rallying around him, D'Annunzio led his infamous march on Fiume. When an Italian general stopped him along the way, and threatened to shoot him, D'Annunzio opened his coat to show his medals, and said in his magnetic voice, "If you must kill me, fire first on this!" The general stood there stunned, then broke into tears. He joined up with D'Annunzio.

When D'Annunzio entered Fiume, he was greeted as a liberator. The next day he was declared leader of the Free State of Fiume. Soon he was giving daily speeches from a balcony overlooking the town's main square, holding tens of thousands of people spellbound without benefit of loudspeakers. He initiated all kinds of celebrations and rituals harking back to the Roman Empire. The citizens of Fiume began to imitate him, particularly his sexual exploits; the city became like a giant bordello. His popularity was so high that the Italian government feared a march on Rome, which at that point, had D'Annunzio decided to do it—and he had the support of a large part of the military—might actually have succeeded; D'Annunzio could have beaten Mussolini to the punch and changed the course of history. (He was not a Fascist, but a kind of aesthetic socialist.) He decided to stay in Fiume, however, and ruled there for sixteen months before the Italian government finally bombed him out of the city.

Among the many modes of handling Don Juan's effect on women, the motif of the irresistible hero is worth singling out, for it illustrates a curious change in our sensibility. Don Juan did not become irresistible to women until the Romantic age, and I am disposed to think that it is a trait of the female imagination to make him so. When the female voice began to assert itself and even, perhaps, to dominate in literature, Don Juan evolved to become the women's rather than the man's ideal. . . . Don Juan is now the woman's dream of the perfect lover, fugitive, passionate, daring. He gives her the one unforgettable moment, the magnificent exaltation of the flesh which is too often denied her by the real husband, who thinks that men are gross and women spiritual. To be the fatal Don Juan may be the dream of a few men; but to meet him is the dream of many women.

— oscar mandel, "the legend of don juan," the theatre of don juan

Seduction is a psychological process that transcends gender, except in a few key areas where each gender has its own weakness. The male is traditionally vulnerable to the visual. The Siren who can concoct the right physical appearance will seduce in large numbers. For women the weakness is language and words: as was written by one of D'Annunzio's victims, the French actress Simone, "How can one explain his conquests except by his extraordinary verbal power, and the musical timbre of his voice, put to the service of exceptional eloquence? For my sex is susceptible to words, bewitched by them, longing to be dominated by them."

The Rake is as promiscuous with words as he is with women. He chooses words for their ability to suggest, insinuate, hypnotize, elevate, in-

feet. The words of the Rake are the equivalent of the bodily adornment of the Siren: a powerful sensual distraction, a narcotic. The Rake's use of language is demonic because it is designed not to communicate or convey information but to persuade, flatter, stir emotional turmoil, much as the serpent in the Garden of Eden used words to lead Eve into temptation.

The example of D'Annunzio reveals the link between the erotic Rake, who seduces women, and the political Rake, who seduces the masses. Both depend on words. Adapt the character of the Rake and you will find that the use of words as a subtle poison has infinite applications. Remember: it is the form that matters, not the content. The less your targets focus on what you say, and the more on how it makes them feel, the more seductive your effect. Give your words a lofty, spiritual, literary flavor the better to insinuate desire in your unwitting victims.

But what is this force, then, by which Don Juan seduces? It is desire, the energy of sensuous desire. He desires in every woman the whole of womanhood. The reaction to this gigantic passion beautifies and develops the one desired, who flushes in enhanced beauty by his reflection. As the enthusiast's fire with seductive splendor illumines even those who stand in a casual relation to him, so Don Juan transfigures in a far deeper sense every girl.


Keys to the Character

At first it may seem strange that a man who is clearly dishonest, disloyal, and has no interest in marriage would have any appeal to a woman. But throughout all of history, and in all cultures, this type has had a fatal effect. What the Rake offers is what society normally does not allow women: an affair of pure pleasure, an exciting brush with danger. A woman is often deeply oppressed by the role she is expected to play She is supposed to be the tender, civilizing force in society, and to want commitment and lifelong loyalty. But often her marriages and relationships give her not romance and devotion but routine and an endlessly distracted mate. It remains an abiding female fantasy to meet a man who gives totally of himself, who lives for her, even if only for a while.

This dark, repressed side of female desire found expression in the legend of Don Juan. At first the legend was a male fantasy: the adventurous knight who could have any woman he wanted. But in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Don Juan slowly evolved from the masculine adventurer to a more feminized version: a man who lived only for women. This evolution came from women's interest in the story, and was a result of their frustrated desires. Marriage for them was a form of indentured servitude; but Don Juan offered pleasure for its own sake, desire with no strings at tached. For the time he crossed your path, you were all he thought about. His desire for you was so powerful that he gave you no time to think or to worry about the consequences. He would come in the night, give you an unforgettable moment, and then vanish. He might have conquered a thousand women before you, but that only made him more interesting; better to be abandoned than undesired by such a man.

The great seducers do not offer the mild pleasures that society condones. They touch a person's unconscious, those repressed desires that cry out for liberation. Do not imagine that women are the tender creatures that some people would like them to be. Like men, they are deeply attracted to the forbidden, the dangerous, even the slightly evil. (Don Juan ends by going to hell, and the word "rake" comes from "rakehell," a man who rakes the coals of hell; the devilish component, clearly, is an important part of the fantasy.) Always remember: if you are to play the Rake, you must convey a sense of risk and darkness, suggesting to your victim that she is participating in something rare and thrilling—a chance to play out her own rakish desires.

To play the Rake, the most obvious requirement is the ability to let yourself go, to draw a woman into the kind of purely sensual moment in which past and future lose meaning. You must be able to abandon yourself to the moment. (When the Rake Valmont—a character modeled after the Duke de Richelieu—in Laclos' eighteenth-century novel Dangerous Liaisons writes letters that are obviously calculated to have a certain effect on his chosen victim, Madame de Tourvel, she sees right through them; but when his letters really do burn with passion, she begins to relent.) An added benefit of this quality is that it makes you seem unable to control yourself, a display of weakness that a woman enjoys. By abandoning yourself to the seduced, you make them feel that you exist for them alone—a feeling reflecting a truth, though a temporary one. Of the hundreds of women that Pablo Picasso, consummate rake, seduced over the years, most of them had the feeling that they were the only one he truly loved.

The Rake never worries about a woman's resistance to him, or for that matter about any other obstacle in his path—a husband, a physical barrier. Resistance is only the spur to his desire, enflaming him all the more. When Picasso was seducing Françoise Gilot, in fact, he begged her to resist; he needed resistance to add to the thrill. In any case, an obstacle in your way gives you the opportunity to prove yourself, and the creativity you bring to matters of love. In the eleventh-century Japanese novel The Tale ofGenji, by the court lady Murasaki Shikibu, the Rake Prince Niou is not disturbed by the sudden disappearance of Ukifune, the woman he loves. She has fled because although she is interested in the prince, she is in love with another man; but her absence allows the prince to go to extreme lengths to track her down. His sudden appearance to whisk her away to a house deep in the woods, and the gallantry he displays in doing so, overwhelm her. Remember: if no resistances or obstacles face you, you must create them. No seduction can proceed without them.

The Rake is an extreme personality. Impudent, sarcastic, and bitingly witty, he cares nothing for what anyone thinks. Paradoxically, this only makes him more seductive. In the courtlike atmosphere of studio-era Hollywood, when most of the actors behaved like dutiful sheep, the great Rake Errol plynn stood out in his insolence. He defied the studio chiefs, engaged in the most extreme pranks, reveled in his reputation as Hollywood's supreme seducer—all of which enhanced his popularity. The Rake needs a backdrop of convention—a stultified court, a humdrum marriage, a conservative culture—to shine, to be appreciated for the breath of fresh air he provides. Never worry about going too far: the Rake's essence is that he goes further than anyone else.

When the Earl of Rochester, seventeenth-century England's most notorious Rake and poet, abducted Elizabeth Malet, one of the most sought-after young ladies of the court, he was duly punished. But lo and behold, a few years later young Elizabeth, though wooed by the most eligible bachelors in the country, chose Rochester to be her husband. In demonstrating his audacious desire, he made himself stand out from the crowd.

Related to the Rake's extremism is the sense of danger, taboo, perhaps even the hint of cruelty about him. This was the appeal of another poet Rake, one of the greatest in history: Lord Byron. Byron disliked any kind of convention, and happily played this up. When he had an affair with his half sister, who bore a child by him, he made sure that all of England knew about it. He could be uncommonly cruel, as he was to his wife. But all of this only made him that much more desirable. Danger and taboo appeal to a repressed side in women, who are supposed to represent a civilizing, moralizing force in culture. Just as a man may fall victim to the Siren through his desire to be free of his sense of masculine responsibility, a woman may succumb to the Rake through her yearning to be free of the constraints of virtue and decency. Indeed it is often the most virtuous woman who falls most deeply in love with the Rake.

Among the Rake's most seductive qualities is his ability to make women want to reform him. How many thought they would be the one to tame Lord Byron; how many of Picasso's women thought they would finally be the one with whom he would spend the rest of his life. You must exploit this tendency to the fullest. When caught red-handed in rakishness, fall back on your weakness—your desire to change, and your inability to do so. With so many women at your feet, what can you do? You are the one who is the victim. You need help. Women will jump at this opportunity; they are uncommonly indulgent of the Rake, for he is such a pleasant, dashing figure. The desire to reform him disguises the true nature of their desire, the secret thrill they get from him. When President Bill Clinton was clearly caught out as a Rake, it was women who rushed to his defense, finding every possible excuse for him. The fact that the Rake is so devoted to women, in his own strange way, makes him lovable and seductive to them.

pinally, a Rake's greatest asset is his reputation. Never downplay your bad name, or seem to apologize for it. Instead, embrace it, enhance it. It is what draws women to you. There are several things you must be known for: your irresistible attractiveness to women; your uncontrollable devotion to pleasure (this will make you seem weak, but also exciting to be around) ; your disdain for convention; a rebellious streak that makes you seem dangerous. This last element can be slightly hidden; on the surface, be polite and civil, while letting it be known that behind the scenes you are incorrigible. Duke de Richelieu made his conquests as public as possible, exciting other women's competitive desire to join the club of the seduced. It was by reputation that Lord Byron attracted his willing victims. A woman may feel ambivalent about President Clinton's reputation, but beneath that ambivalence is an underlying interest. Do not leave your reputation to chance or gossip; it is your life's artwork, and you must craft it, hone it, and display it with the care of an artist.

Symbol: Fire. The Rake burns with a desire that enflames the woman he is seducing. It is extreme, uncontrollable, and dangerous. The Rake may end in hell, but the flames surrounding him often make him seem that much more desirable to women.


Like the Siren, the Rake faces the most danger from members of his own sex, who are far less indulgent than women are of his constant skirt chasing. In the old days, a Rake was often an aristocrat, and no matter how many people he offended or even killed, in the end he would go unpunished. Today, only stars and the very wealthy can play the Rake with impunity; the rest of us need to be careful.

Elvis Presley had been a shy young man. Attaining early stardom, and seeing the power it gave him over women, he went berserk, becoming a Rake almost overnight. Like many Rakes, Elvis had a predilection for women who were already taken. He found himself cornered by an angry husband or boyfriend on numerous occasions, and came away with a few cuts and bruises. This might seem to suggest that you should step lightly around husbands and boyfriends, especially early on in your career. But the charm of the Rake is that such dangers don't matter to them. You cannot be a Rake by being fearful and prudent; the occasional pummeling is part of the game. Later on, in any case, at the height of Elvis's fame, no husband would dare touch him.

The greater danger for the Rake comes not from the violently offended husband but from those insecure men who feel threatened by the Don Juan figure. Although they will not admit it, they envy the Rake's life of pleasure, and like everyone envious, they will attack in hidden ways, often masking their persecutions as morality. The Rake may find his career endangered by such men (or by the occasional woman who is equally insecure, and who feels hurt because the Rake does not want her). There is little the Rake can do to avoid envy; if everyone was as successful in seduction, society would not function.

So accept envy as a badge of honor. Don't be naive, be aware. When attacked by a moralist persecutor, do not be taken in by their crusade; it is motivated by envy, pure and simple. You can blunt it by being less of a Rake, asking forgiveness, claiming to have reformed, but this will damage your reputation, making you seem less lovably rakish. In the end, it is better to suffer attacks with dignity and keep on seducing. Seduction is the source of your power; and you can always count on the infinite indulgence of women.

Most people have dreams in their youth that get shattered or worn down with age. They find themselves disappointed by people, events, reality, which cannot match their youthful ideals. Ideal Lovers thrive on people's broken dreams, which become lifelong fantasies. You long for romance? Adventure? Lofty spiritual communion? The Ideal Lover reflects your fantasy. He or she is an artist in creating the illusion you require, idealizing your portrait. In a world of disenchantment and baseness, there is limitless seductive power in following the path of the Ideal Lover.

The Romantic Ideal overwhelmed.

—s0ren kierkegaard, the seducer's diary, translated by howard v. hong and

One evening around 1760, at the opera in the city of Cologne, a beautiful young woman sat in her box, watching the audience. Beside her was her husband, the town burgomaster—a middle-aged man and amiable enough, but dull. Through her opera glasses the young woman noticed a handsome man wearing a stunning outfit. Evidently her stare was noticed, for after the opera the man introduced himself: his name was Giovanni Gi- If at first sight a girl does acomo Casanova. not make such a deeP

The stranger kissed the woman's hand. She was going to a ball the fol- the^deai, S

lowing night, she told him; would he like to come? "If I might dare to then ordinarily the hope, Madame," he replied, "that you will dance only with me." actuality is not especially

r-p | r iini 111.1 i desirable; but if she does,

The next night, after the ball, the woman could think only of Casanova.

then no matter how

He had seemed to anticipate her thoughts—had been so pleasant, and yet experienced a person is he so bold. A few days later he dined at her house, and after her husband had usually is rather retired for the evening she showed him around. In her boudoir she pointed out a wing of the house, a chapel, just outside her window. Sure enough, as if he had read her mind, Casanova came to the chapel the next day to attend Mass, and seeing her at the theater that evening he mentioned to her EDNA H. HONG that he had noticed a door there that must lead to her bedroom. She laughed, and pretended to be surprised. In the most innocent of tones, he said that he would find a way to hide in the chapel the next day—and al- A good lover will behave as most without thinking, she whispered she would visit him there after every- elegantly at dawn as at any

other time. He drags one had gone to bed. himself out of bed with a

So Casanova hid in the chapel's tiny confessional, waiting all day and look of dismay on his face.

evening. There were rats, and he had nothing to lie upon; yet when the The lady urges him on:

burgomaster's wife finally came, late at night, he did not complain, but qui- ge°g'iht ¡o, '¿on't etly followed her to her room. They continued their trysts for several days. want anyone to find you

By day she could hardly wait for night: finally something to live for, an ad- here." He gives a deep

venture. She left him food, books, and candles to ease his long and tedious sigh, as if to say that the.

night has not been nearly stays in the chapel—it seemed wrong to use a place of worship for such a long enough and that it is purpose, but that only made the affair more exciting. A few days later, agony to leave. Once uP■ however, she had to take a journey with her husband. By the time she got he does not instantly puU

on his trousers. Instead he back, Casanova had disappeared, as quickly and gracefully as he had come. comes close to the lady and Some years later, in London, a young woman named Miss Pauline no- whispers whatever was left ticed an ad in a local newspaper. A gentleman was looking for a lady lodger unsaid during the night.

Even when he is dressed, to rent a part of his house. Miss Pauline came from Portugal, and was of he still lingers, vaguely the nobility; she had eloped to London with a lover, but he had been pretending to be fastening his sash. • Presently he forced to return home and she had had to stay on alone for some while be-raises the lattice, and the fore she could join him. Now she was lonely, and had little money, and was two lovers stand together by , 111 1. 1 r n 1 1 1 1 .1

depressed by her squalid circumstances—after all, she had been raised as a the side door while he tells her how he dreads the lady. She answered the ad.

coining day, which wil1 The gentleman turned out to be Casanova, and what a gentleman he keep them apart; then he T1 , ™ , . , ^ ^ 1 1 1 1 1 r was. The room he offered was nice, and the rent was low; he asked only for slips away. The lady J

watches him go, and this occasional companionship. Miss Pauline moved in. They played chess, went moment ofparting will riding, discussed literature. He was so well-bred, polite, and generous. A se-

remain among her most rious and high-minded girl, she came to depend on their friendship; here charming memories. •

indeed, one's attachment to was a man she could talk to for hours. Then one day Casanova seemed a man depends largely on changed, upset, excited: he confessed that he was in love with her. She was the elegance of his leave- going back to Portugal soon, to rejoin her lover, and this was not what she oTHfbed, ÏLÏ '¡ZI wanted to hear. She told him he should g° riding to calm down.

the room, tightly fastens Later that evening she received news: he had fallen from his horse. Feel-his trouser sash, rolls up ing responsible for his accident, she rushed to him, found him in bed, and

the sleeves of his court fell into his arms, unable to control herself. The two became lovers that cloak, overrobe, or hunting

costume, stuffs his night, and remained so for the rest of Miss Pauline's stay in London. Yet

belongings into the breast when it came time for her to leave for Portugal, he did not try to stop her;

of his robe and then briskly instead, he comforted her, reasoning that each of them had offered the secures the outer sash—one

really begins to hate him. other the perfect, temporary antidote to their loneliness, and that they

—THE pillow book of sei would be ^^ for life

shonagon, translated and Some years later, in a small Spanish town, a young and beautiful girl named Ignazia was leaving church after confession. She was approached by Casanova. Walking her home, he explained that he had a passion for dancing the fandango, and invited her to a ball the following evening. He was so different from anyone in the town, which bored her so—she desperately wanted to go. Her parents were against the arrangement, but she persuaded her mother to act as a chaperone. After an unforgettable evening of dancing (and he danced the fandango remarkably well for a foreigner), Casanova confessed that he was madly in love with her. She replied (very sadly, though) that she already had a fiancé. Casanova did not force the issue, but over the next few days he took Ignazia to more dances and to the bullfights. On one of these occasions he introduced her to a friend of his, a duchess, who flirted with him brazenly; Ignazia was terribly jealous. By now she was desperately in love with Casanova, but her sense of duty and religion forbade such thoughts.

Finally, after days of torment, Ignazia sought out Casanova and took his hand: "My confessor tried to make me promise to never be alone with you again," she said, "and as I could not, he refused to give me absolution. It is the first time in my life such a thing has happened to me. I have put myself in God's hands. I have made up my mind, so long as you are here, to do all you wish. When to my sorrow you leave Spain, I shall find another confessor. My fancy for you is, after all, only a passing madness."

edited by ivan morris

Casanova was perhaps the most successful seducer in history; few women could resist him. His method was simple: on meeting a woman, he would study her, go along with her moods, find out what was missing in her life, and provide it. He made himself the Ideal Lover. The bored burgomaster's wife needed adventure and romance; she wanted someone who would sacrifice time and comfort to have her. For Miss Pauline what was missing was friendship, lofty ideals, serious conversation; she wanted a man of breeding and generosity who would treat her like a lady. For Ignazia, what was missing was suffering and torment. Her life was too easy; to feel truly alive, and to have something real to confess, she needed to sin. In each case Casanova adapted himself to the woman's ideals, brought her fantasy to life. Once she had fallen under his spell, a little ruse or calculation would seal the romance (a day among rats, a contrived fall from a horse, an encounter with another woman to make Ignazia jealous).

The Ideal Lover is rare in the modern world, for the role takes effort. You will have to focus intensely on the other person, fathom what she is missing, what he is disappointed by. People will often reveal this in subtle ways: through gesture, tone of voice, a look in the eye. By seeming to be what they lack, you will fit their ideal.

To create this effect requires patience and attention to detail. Most people are so wrapped up in their own desires, so impatient, they are incapable of the Ideal Lover role. Let that be a source of infinite opportunity. Be an oasis in the desert of the self-absorbed; few can resist the temptation of following a person who seems so attuned to their desires, to bringing to life their fantasies. And as with Casanova, your reputation as one who gives such pleasure will precede you and make your seductions that much

The cultivation of the pleasures of the senses was ever my principal aim in life. Knowing that I was personally calculated to please the fair sex, I always strove to make myself agreeable to it.


The Beauty Ideal

In 1730, when Jeanne Poisson was a mere nine years old, a fortune-teller predicted that one day she would be the mistress of Louis XV. The prediction was quite ridiculous, since Jeanne came from the middle class, and it was a tradition stretching back for centuries that the king's mistress be chosen from among the nobility. To make matters worse, Jeanne's father was a notorious rake, and her mother had been a courtesan.

Fortunately for Jeanne, one of her mother's lovers was a man of great wealth who took a liking to the pretty girl and paid for her education. Jeanne learned to sing, to play the clavichord, to ride with uncommon skill, to act and dance; she was schooled in literature and history as if she were a boy. The playwright Crebillon instructed her in the art of conversation.

During the early 1970s., against a turbulent political backdrop that included the fiasco of American involvement in the Vietnam War and the downfall of President Richard Nixon s presidency in the Watergate scandal, a "me generation" sprang to prominence—and [Andy] Warhol was there to hold up its mirror. Unlike the radicalized protesters of the 1960s who wanted to change all the ills of society, the self-absorbed "me" people sought to improve their bodies and to "get in touch" with their own feelings. They cared passionately about their appearance, health, lifestyle, and bank accounts. Andy catered to their self-centeredness and inflated pride by offering his services as a portraitist. By the end of the decade, he would be internationally recognized as one of the leading portraitists of his era. . . . • Warhol offered his clients an irresistible product: a stylish and flattering portrait by a famous artist who was himself a certified celebrity. Conferring an alluring star presence upon even the most celebrated of faces, he transformed his subjects into glamorous apparitions, presenting their faces as he thought they wanted to be seen and remembered. By filtering his sitters' good features through his silkscreens and exaggerating their vivacity, he enabled them to gain entree to a more mythic and rarefied level of existence. The possession of great wealth and power might do for everyday life, but the commissioning of a portrait by Warhol was a sure indication that the On top of it all, Jeanne was beautiful, and had a charm and grace that set

sitter intended to secure a her apart early on. In 1741, she married a man of the lower nobility. Now posthumous fame as well.

Warhol's portraits were not known as Madame dEtioles, she could realize a great ambition: she opened so much realistic documents a literary salon. All of the great writers and philosophers of the time fre-

of contemporary faces as quented the salon, many because they were enamored of the hostess. One they were designer icons P1 wi. 11 i.ri p.i

... ,. . .. of these was Voltaire, who became a lifelong friend.

awaiting future devotions. °

Through all Jeanne's success, she never forgot the fortune-teller's pre-

david bourdon, warhol reflecting the figure of a man at twice its natural

—virginia woolf, a room of one's own diction, and still believed that she would one day conquer the king's heart. It happened that one of her husband's country estates bordered on King Louis's favorite hunting grounds. She would spy on him through the fence,

Women have served all these centuries as looking or find ways to cross his path always while she happened to be wearing an

glasses possessing the magic elegant, yet fetching outfit. Soon the king was sending her gifts of game. and delicious power of When his official mistress died, in 1744, all of the court beauties vied to take her place; but he began to spend more and more time with Madame d'Etioles, dazzled by her beauty and charm. To the astonishment of the court, that same year he made this middle-class woman his official mistress, ennobling her with the title of the Marquise de Pompadour.

The king's need for novelty was notorious: a mistress would beguile him with her looks, but he would soon grow bored with her and find someone else. After the shock of his choice of Jeanne Poisson wore off, the courtiers reassured themselves that it could not last—that he had only chosen her for the novelty of having a middle-class mistress. Little did they know that Jeanne s first seduction of the king was not the last seduction she had in mind.

As time went by, the king found himself visiting his mistress more and more often. As he ascended the hidden stair that led from his quarters to hers in the palace of Versailles, anticipation of the delights that awaited him at the top would begin to turn his head. First, the room was always warm, and was filled with delightful scents. Then there were the visual delights: Madame de Pompadour always wore a different costume, each one elegant and surprising in its own way. She loved beautiful objects—fine porcelain, Chinese fans, golden flowerpots—and every time he visited, there would be something new and enchanting to see. Her manner was always light-hearted; she was never defensive or resentful. Everything for pleasure. Then there was their conversation: he had never been really able to talk with a woman before, or to laugh, but the marquise could discourse skillfully on any subject, and her voice was a pleasure to hear. And if the conversation waned, she would move to the piano, play a tune, and sing wonderfully.

If ever the king seemed bored or sad, Madame de Pompadour would propose some project—perhaps the building of a new country house. He would have to advise in the design, the layout of the gardens, the decor. Back at Versailles, Madame de Pompadour put hersell in charge of the palace amusements, building a private theater for weekly performances under her direction. Actors were chosen from among the courtiers, but the female lead was always played by Madame de Pompadour, who was one of the finest amateur actresses in France. The king became obsessed with this theater; he could barely wait for its performances. Along with this interest came an increasing expenditure of money on the arts, and an involvement in philosophy and literature. A man who had cared only for hunting and gambling was spending less and less time with his male companions and becoming a great patron of the arts. Indeed he stamped a whole era with an aesthetic style, which became known as "Louis Quinze," rivaling the style associated with his illustrious predecessor, Louis XIV.

Lo and behold, year after year went by without Louis tiring of his mistress. In fact he made her a duchess, and her power and influence extended well beyond culture into politics. For twenty years, Madame de Pompadour ruled both the court and the king's heart, until her untimely death, in 1764, at the age of forty-three.

Louis XV had a powerful inferiority complex. The successor to Louis XIV, the most powerful king in French history, he had been educated and trained for the throne—yet who could follow his predecessor's act? Eventually he gave up trying, devoting himself instead to physical pleasures, which came to define how he was seen; the people around him knew they could sway him by appealing to the basest parts of his character.

Madame de Pompadour, genius of seduction, understood that inside Louis XV was a great man yearning to come out, and that his obsession with pretty young women indicated a hunger for a more lasting kind of beauty. Her first step was to cure his incessant bouts of boredom. It is easy for kings to be bored—everything they want is given to them, and they seldom learn to be satisfied with what they have. The Marquise de Pompadour dealt with this by bringing all sorts of fantasies to life, and creating constant suspense. She had many skills and talents, and just as important, she deployed them so artfully that he never discovered their limits. Once she had accustomed him to more refined pleasures, she appealed to the crushed ideals within him; in the mirror she held up to him, he saw his aspiration to be great, a desire that, in France, inevitably included leadership in culture. His previous series of mistresses had tickled only his sensual desires. In Madame de Pompadour he found a woman who made him feel greatness in himself. The other mistresses could easily be replaced, but he could never find another Madame de Pompadour.

Most people believe themselves to be inwardly greater than they outwardly appear to the world. They are full of unrealized ideals: they could be artists, thinkers, leaders, spiritual figures, but the world has crushed them, denied them the chance to let their abilities flourish. This is the key to their seduction—and to keeping them seduced over time. The Ideal Lover knows how to conjure up this kind of magic. Appeal only to people's physical side, as many amateur seducers do, and they will resent you for playing upon their basest instincts. But appeal to their better selves, to a higher standard of beauty, and they will hardly notice that they have been seduced. Make them feel elevated, lofty, spiritual, and your power over them will be limitless.

Love brings to light a lover's noble and hidden qualities— his rare and exceptional traits: it is thus liable to be deceptive as to his normal character.


Continue reading here: Keys to the Character

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