Anti-Seducers come in many shapes and kinds, but almost all of them share a single attribute, the source of their repellence: insecurity. We are all insecure, and we suffer for it. Yet we are able to surmount these feelings at times; a seductive engagement can bring us out of our usual self-absorption, and to the degree that we seduce or are seduced, we feel charged and confident. Anti-Seducers, however, are insecure to such a de- Count Lodovico then gree that they cannot be drawn into the seductive process. Their needs, remarked with a smile:
their anxieties, their self-consciousness close them off. They interpret the " pr°mise you that our
J 1 sensible courtier will never slightest ambiguity on your part as a slight to their ego; they see the merest act so stupidiy to gain a hint of withdrawal as a betrayal, and are likely to complain bitterly about it. woman'sfemr" • Cesare
It seems easy: Anti-Seducers repel, so be repelled—avoid them. Unfor- Gonzaga replied- Nor so
tunately, however, many Anti-Seducers cannot be detected as such at first rememberi 0fs0me repltte, glance. They are more subtle, and unless you are careful they will ensnare whom to spare men's you in a most unsatisfying relationship. You must look for clues to their blushes 1 don t wish: to mention by name. " •
self-involvement and insecurity: perhaps they are ungenerous, or they argue .Well at leat tlll us what with unusual tenacity, or are excessively judgmental. Perhaps they lavish he did," said the Duchess. you with undeserved praise, declaring their love before knowing anything ' Then Cesare continued:
. ~ . 1101 "He was loved by a very about you. Or, most important, they pay no attention to details. Since they . , . . . , great lady, and at her cannot see what makes you different, they cannot surprise you with nu- request he came secretly to anced attention. the town where she was.
t , . . i . ... i. . i.ii After he had seen her and
It is critical to recognize anti-seductive qualities not only in others but . , , ,
° ^ j enjoyed her company for as also in ourselves. Almost all of us have one or two of the Anti-Seducer's iong as she would iet him qualities latent in our character, and to the extent that we can consciously in the time, he sighed and wept bitterly, to show the root them out, we become more seductive. A lack of generosity, for in-
anguish he was suffering at stance, need not signal an Anti-Seducer if it is a person's only fault, but an having to leave her, and he ungenerous person is seldom truly attractive. Seduction implies opening begged her never to forget yourself up, even if only for the purposes of deception; being unable to him' and then he added that she should pay for his give by spending money usually means being unable to give in general. lodging at the inn, since it
Stamp ungenerosity out. It is an impediment to power and a gross sin in was she who had sentfor seduction him and he thought it only right, therefore, that he
It is best to disengage from Anti-Seducers early O^ before they sink shouldnt be involved in their needy tentacles into you, so learn to read the signs. These are the any expense over the main types. journey." •At ths aU the ladies began to laugh and The Brute. If seduction is a kind of ceremony or ritual, part of the plea-
to say that the man sure is its duration—the time it takes, the waiting that increases anticipa-
concerned hardly deserved
,, i „ tion. Brutes have no patience for such things; they are concerned only with the name of gentleman; r ° J J
and many of the men felt their own pleasure, never with yours. To be patient is to show that you are as ashamed as he should thinking of the other person, which never fails to impress. Impatience has have been, had he ever had the opposite effect: assuming you are so interested in them you have no rea-
the sense to recognize such disgraceful behavior for son to wait, Brutes offend you with their egotism. Underneath that ego-
what it was. tism, too, there is often a gnawing sense of inferiority, and if you spurn
—baldassare castiglione, them or make them wait, they overreact. If you suspect you are dealing
THE BOOK OF THE COURTIER, with a Brute, do a test—make that person wait. His or her response will tell you everything you need to know.
translated by george bull
Let us see now how love is The Suffocator. Suffocators fall in love with you before you are even half-
diminished. This happens through the easy aware of their existence. The trait is deceptive—you might think they have accessibility of its found you overwhelming—but the fact is they suffer from an inner void, a consolations, through one's deep well of need that cannot be filled. Never get involved with Suffoca-
bemg able to see and tors; they are almost impossible to free yourself from without trauma. They converse lengthily with a lover, through a lover's cling to you until you are forced to pull back, whereupon they smother you unsuitable garb and gait, with guilt. We tend to idealize a loved one, but love takes time to develop.
and by the sudden onset of
. , Recognize Suffocators by how quickly they adore you. To be so admired poverty. . . . • Another ^ J 1 J J J
cause of diminution of love may give a momentary boost to your ego, but deep inside you sense that is the realization of the their intense emotions are not related to anything you have done. Trust notoriety of one's lover, and these instincts.
accounts of his miserliness, bad character, and general A subvariant of the Suffocator is the Doormat, a person who slavishly wickedness; also any affair imitates you. Spot these types early on by seeing whether they are capable with another woman, even of having an idea of their own. An inability to disagree with you is a bad if it involves no feelings of love. Love is also sign. diminished if a woman realizes that her lover is foolish and undiscerning, or
The Moralizer. Seduction is a game, and should be undertaken with a if she sees him going too far in demands of love, giving light heart. All is fair in love and seduction; morality never enters the pic-no thought to his partner's ture. The character of the Moralizer, however, is rigid. These are people modesty nor wishing to who follow fixed ideas and try to make you bend to their standards. They pardon her blushes. A
faithful lover ought to want to change you, to make you a better person, so they endlessly criticize choose the harshest pains of and judge—that is their pleasure in life. In truth, their moral ideas stem love rather than by his from their own unhappiness, and mask their desire to dominate those demands cause his partner embarrassment, or take around them. Their inability to adapt and to enjoy makes them easy to rec-
pleasure in spurning her ognize; their mental rigidity may also be accompanied by a physical stiff-
modesty; for one who ness. It is hard not to take their criticisms personally so it is better to avoid thinks only of the outcome their presence and their poisoned comments.
of his own pleasure, and ignores the welfare of his partner, should be called a traitor rather than a lover. • The Tightwad. Cheapness signals more than a problem with money. It is a
Love also suffers decrease if the woman realizes that sign of something constricted in a person's character—something that her lover is fearful in war, keeps them from letting go or taking a risk. It is the most anti-seductive trait of all, and you cannot allow yourself to give in to it. Most tightwads do not realize they have a problem; they actually imagine that when they give someone some paltry crumb, they are being generous. Take a hard look at yourself—you are probably cheaper than you think. Try giving more freely of both your money and yourself and you will see the seductive potential in selective generosity. Of course you must keep your generosity under control. Giving too much can be a sign of desperation, as if you were trying to buy someone.
The Bumbler. Bumblers are self-conscious, and their self-consciousness heightens your own. At first you may think they are thinking about you, and so much so that it makes them awkward. In fact they are only thinking of themselves—worrying about how they look, or about the consequences for them of their attempt to seduce you. Their worry is usually contagious: soon you are worrying too, about yourself. Bumblers rarely reach the final stages of a seduction, but if they get that far, they bungle that too. In seduction, the key weapon is boldness, refusing the target the time to stop and think. Bumblers have no sense of timing. You might find it amusing to try to train or educate them, but if they are still Bumblers past a certain age, the case is probably hopeless—they are incapable of getting outside themselves.
or sees that he has no patience, or is stained with the vice of pride. There is nothing which appears more appropriate to the character of any lover than to be clad in the adornment of humility, utterly untouched by the nakedness of pride. ' Then too the prolixity of a fool or a madman often diminishes love. There arc many keen to prolong their crazy words in the presence of a woman, thinking that they please her if they employ foolish, ill-judged language, but in fact they are strangely deceived. Indeed, he who thinks that his foolish behavior pleases a wise woman suffers from the greatest poverty of sense.
—andreas capellanus,"how love is diminished,"
translated by p. g.walsh
The Windbag. The most effective seductions are driven by looks, indirect actions, physical lures. Words have a place, but too much talk will generally break the spell, heightening surface differences and weighing things down. People who talk a lot most often talk about themselves. They have never acquired that inner voice that wonders, Am I boring you? To be a Windbag is to have a deep-rooted selfishness. Never interrupt or argue with these types—that only fuels their windbaggery. At all costs learn to control your own tongue.
The Reactor. Reactors are far too sensitive, not to you but to their own egos. They comb your every word and action for signs of a slight to their vanity. If you strategically back off, as you sometimes must in seduction, they will brood and lash out at you. They are prone to whining and complaining, two very anti-seductive traits. Test them by telling a gentle joke or story at their expense: we should all be able to laugh at ourselves a little, but the Reactor cannot. You can read the resentment in their eyes. Erase any reactive qualities in your own character—they unconsciously repel people.
The Vulgarian. Vulgarians are inattentive to the details that are so important in seduction. You can see this in their personal appearance—their
Real men \ Shouldn't primp their good looks. . . . \ Keep pleasantly clean, take exercise, work up an outdoor \ Tan; make quite sure that your toga fits \ And doesn't show spots; don't lace your shoes too tightly \ Or ignore any rusty buckles, or slop \ Around in too large a fitting. Don't let some incompetent barber \ Ruin your looks: both hair and beard demand \ Expert attention. Keep your nails pared, and dirt-free; \ Don't let those long hairs sprout \ In your nostrils, make sure your breath is never offensive, \ Avoid the rank male stench \ That wrinkles noses. . . . \ I was about to warn you [women] against rank goatish armpits \ And bristling hair on your legs, \
But I'm not instructing hillbilly girls from the Caucasus, \ Or Mysian river-hoydens—so what need \ To remind you not to let your teeth get all discolored \ Through neglect, or forget to wash \ Your hands every morning? You know how to brighten your complexion \ With powder, add rouge to a bloodless face, \ Skillfully block in the crude outline of an eyebrow, \ Stick a patch on one flawless cheek. \ You don't shrink from lining your eyes with dark mascara \ Or a touch of Cilician saffron. . . . \ But don't let your lover find all those jars and bottles \ On your dressing-table: the best \ Makeup remains unobtrusive. A face so thickly plastered \ With pancake it runs down your sweaty neck \ Is bound to create repulsion. And that goo from unwashed fleeces— \ Athenian maybe, but my dear, the smell!— \ That's used for face-cream: avoid it. When you have company \ Don't dab stuff on your pimples, don't start cleaning your teeth: \ The result may be attractive, but the process is sickening. . . .
— ovid, the art of love, translated by peter green clothes are tasteless by any standard—and in their actions: they do not know that it is sometimes better to control oneself and refuse to give in to one's impulses. Vulgarians will blab, saying anything in public. They have no sense of timing and are rarely in harmony with your tastes. Indiscretion is a sure sign of the Vulgarian (talking to others of your affair, for example); it may seem impulsive, but its real source is their radical selfishness, their inability to see themselves as others see them. More than just avoiding Vulgarians, you must make yourself their opposite—tact, style, and attention to detail are all basic requirements of a seducer.
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