The Art of Seduction - by Robert Greene

Seducers are never self-absorbed. Their gaze is directed outward, not inward. When they meet someone their first move is to get inside that person's skin, to see the world through their eyes.

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.

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.

Remember: if no resistances or obstacles face you, you must create them. No seduction can proceed without them.

Make them feel elevated, lofty, spiritual, and your power over them will be limitless.

Hint at something for them to aspire to, reveal your faith in some untapped potential you see in them, and you will soon have them eating out of your hand.

Show calm and self-possession in the face of adversity. Adversity and setbacks actually provide the perfect setting for charm. Showing a calm, unruffled exterior in the face of unpleasantness puts people at ease. You seem patient, as if waiting for destiny to deal you a better card--or as if you were confident you could charm the Fates themselves. Never show anger, ill temper, or vengefulness, all disruptive emotions that will make people defensive. In the politics of large groups, welcome adversity as a chance to show the charming qualities of magnanimity and poise. Let others get flustered and upset--the contrast will redound to your favor. Never whine, never complain, never try to justify yourself.

Never mistake people's exterior characteristics for reality, for the character they show on the surface may be merely a reflection of the people with whom they have been most in contact, or a front disguising its own opposite. A gruff exterior may hide a person dying for warmth; a repressed, sober-looking type may actually be struggling to conceal uncontrollable emotions. That is the key to charm--feeding what has been repressed or denied.

Slips of the tongue, apparently inadvertent "sleep on it" comments, alluring references, statements for which you quickly apologize--all of these have immense insinuating power. They get under people's skin like a poison, and take on a life of their own. The key to succeeding with your insinuations is to make them when your targets are at their most relaxed or distracted, so that they are not aware of what is happening. Polite banter is often the perfect front for this; people are thinking about what they will say next, or are absorbed in their own thoughts. Your insinuations will barely register, which is how you want it.

Should you be an outsider (as most of us ultimately are), turn it to advantage: play on your alien nature in such a way as to show the group how deeply you prefer their tastes and customs to your own.

Understand a primary law of seduction: resistance is a sign that the other person's emotions are engaged in the process. The only person you cannot seduce is somebody distant and cold. Resistance is emotional, and can be transformed into its opposite, much as, in jujitsu, the physical resistance of an opponent can be used to make him fall.

Remember: you have more to fear by boring your targets than by shaking them up. Wounding people binds them to you more deeply than kindness. Create tension so you can release it. If you need inspiration, find the part of the target that most irritates you and use it as a springboard for some therapeutic conflict. The more real your cruelty, the more effective it is.

Understand: it all starts from you. When the time comes to make the seduction physical, train yourself to let go of your own inhibitions, your doubts, your lingering feelings of guilt and anxiety. Your confidence and ease will have more power to intoxicate the victim than all the alcohol you could apply. Exhibit a lightness of spirit--nothing bothers you, nothing daunts you, you take nothing personally. You are inviting your targets to shed the burdens of civilization, to follow your lead and drift. Do not talk of work, duty, marriage, the past or future. Plenty of other people will do that. Instead, offer the rare thrill of losing oneself in the moment, where the senses come alive and the mind is left behind.

No one is born timid; timidity is a protection we develop. If we never stick our necks out, if we never try, we will never have to suffer the consequences of failure or success. If we are kind and unobtrusive, no one will be offended--in fact we will seem saintly and likable. In truth, timid people are often self-absorbed, obsessed with the way people see them, and not at all saintly. And humility may have its social uses, but it is deadly in seduction. You need to be able to play the humble saint at times; it is a mask you wear. But in seduction, take it off. Boldness is bracing, erotic, and absolutely necessary to bring the seduction to its conclusion. Done right, it tells your targets that they have made you lose your normal restraint, and gives them license to do so as well. People are yearning to have a chance to play out the repressed sides of their personality. At the final stage of a seduction, boldness eliminates any awkwardness or doubts. In a dance, two people cannot lead. One takes over, sweeping the other along. Seduction is not egalitarian; it is not a harmonic convergence. Holding back at the end out of fear of offending, or thinking it correct to share the power, is a recipe for disaster. This is an arena not for politics but for pleasure. It can be by the man or woman, but a bold move is required. If you are so concerned about the other person, console yourself with the thought that the pleasure of the one who surrenders is often greater than that of the aggressor.