giovedì 5 febbraio 2015

The Art of Seduction

In the year 48 B.C.,one night Caesar was meeting with his generals in the Egyptian palace, discussing strategy, when a guard entered to report that a Greek merchant was at the door bearing a large and valuable gift for the Roman leader. 

Caesar, in the mood for a little fun, gave the merchant permission to enter.

The man came in, carrying on his shoulders a large rolled-up carpet. 

He undid the rope around the bundle and with a snap of his wrists unfurled it — revealing the young Cleopatra, who had been hidden inside, and who
rose up half clothed before Caesar and his guests, like Venus emerging from the waves.

Everyone was dazzled at the sight of the beautiful young queen (only
twenty-one at the time) appearing before them suddenly as if in a dream.

They were astounded at her daring and theatricality — smuggled into the
harbor at night with only one man to protect her, risking everything on a
bold move. No one was more enchanted than Caesar.

According to the Roman writer Dio Cassius, "Cleopatra was in the prime of life.

 She had a delightful voice which could not fail to cast a spell over all who

heard it.

 Her voice, which all writers talk of, was lilting and intoxicating.

 Her words could be banal enough, but were spoken so sweetly that listeners would find themselves remembering not what she said but how she said it".

Such was the charm of her person and her speech that they drew the coldest and most determined misogynist into her toils.

Caesar was spellbound as soon as he set eyes on her and she opened her mouth to speak.

 That same evening Cleopatra became Caesar's lover.

Caesar had had numerous mistresses before, to divert him from the rigors of his campaigns.

 But he had always disposed of them quickly to return to what really thrilled him — political intrigue, the challenges of warfare, the Roman theater.

 Caesar had seen women try anything to keep him un der their spell. Yet nothing prepared him for Cleopatra.

One night she would tell him how together they could revive the glory of Alexander the Great, and rule the world like gods.

 The next she would entertain him dressed as the goddess Isis, surrounded by the opulence of her court.

Cleopatra initiated Caesar in the most decadent revelries, presenting herself as the incarnation of the Egyptian exotic.

His life with her was a constant game, as challenging as warfare, for the moment he felt secure with her she would suddenly turn cold or angry and he would have to find a way to regain her favor.

From Cleopatra we learn that it is a theatrical streak that allows a woman to embody a man's fantasies.

A man grows bored with a woman, no matter how beautiful; he yearns for different pleasures, and for adventure.

 All a woman needs to turn this around is to create the illusion that she offers such variety and adventure.

 A man is easily deceived by appearances; he has a weakness for the visual.

Create the physical presence: heightened sexual allure mixed with a regal and theatrical manner and he is trapped.

 He cannot grow bored with you yet he cannot discard you.

 Keep up the distractions, and never let him see who you really are. He will follow you until he drowns.

  Norma Jean Mortensen, the future Marilyn Monroe, spent part of her childhood in Los Angeles orphanages.

Her days were filled with chores and no play.

At school, she kept to herself, smiled rarely, and dreamed a lot

 One day when she was thirteen, as she was dressing for school, she noticed that the white blouse the orphanage provided for her
was torn, so she had to borrow a sweater from a younger girl in the house.

The sweater was several sizes too small.

That day, suddenly, boys seemed to
gather around her wherever she went (she was extremely well-developed for her age).
 She wrote in her diary : "They stared at my sweater as if it were a gold mine."

The revelation was simple but startling. Previously ignored and even ridiculed by the other students, Norma Jean now sensed a way to gain attention, maybe even power, for she was wildly ambitious.

 She started to smile more, wear makeup, dress differently.

 And soon she noticed something equally startling: without her having to say or do anything,boys fell passionately in love with her.

  A few years later Marilyn was trying to make it in the film business.

producers would tell her the same thing: she was attractive enough in person but her face wasnt pretty enough tor the movies.

She was getting work as an extra,and when she was on-screen -even if only for a few seconds — the men in the audience would go wild, and the theaters would erupt in catealls but nobody saw any star quality in this.

Her voice had always been attractive -it was the voice of a little girl.

But on film It had limitations until someone finally taught her to lower it, giving it the deep, breathy tones that became her seductive trademark, a mix of the little girl and the vixen.

Before appearing on set, or even at a party, Marilyn would spend hours before tne mirror. 

Most people assumed this was vanity — she was in love with her image.
 The truth was that image took hours to create. 

Marilyn spent years studying and practicing the art of makeup.

The voice, the walk, the face and look were all constructions, an act.

 Her deepest need was to feel loved and desired, which made her seem constantly vulnerable, like a little girl craving protection.

She emanated this need for love before the camera; it was effortless, coming from somewhere real and deep inside.

 A look or gesture that she did not intend to arouse desire would do so doubly
powerfully just because it was unintended — its innocence was precisely
what excited a man.

The incarnation of sex and desire, she does not bother to appeal to extraneous senses, or to create a theatrical buildup.

 Her time never seems to be taken up by work or chores; she gives the impression that she lives for pleasure and is always available.

The mix (a touch of  innoncence and vulnerability) is perversely satisfying: it gives the male the critical illusion that he
is a protector, the father figure, although it is actually she who controls the dynamic.

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 Giacomo Casanova.

The stranger kissed the woman’s hand. She was going to a ball the following night, she told him; would he like to come?
 “If I might dare to hope, Madame,” he replied, “that you will dance only with me.”

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

He had seemed to anticipate her thoughts — had been so pleasant, and yet so bold.

 A few days later he dined at her house, and after her husband had 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 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 almost without thinking, she whispered she would visit him there after everyone had gone to bed.

So Casanova hid in the chapel’s tiny confessional, waiting all day and evening.
There were rats, and he had nothing to lie upon; yet when the burgomaster’s wife finally came, late at night, he did not complain, but quietly followed her to her room.

 They continued their trysts for several days.

 By day she could hardly wait for night: finally something to live for, an adventure

She left him food, books, and candles to ease his long and tedious stays in the chapel — it seemed wrong to use a place of worship for such a purpose, but that only made the affair more exciting.

 A few days later, however, she had to take a journey with her husband. By the time she got back, Casanova had disappeared, as quickly and gracefully as he had come.

Some years later, in London, a young woman named Miss Pauline noticed an ad in a local newspaper.

 A gentleman was looking for a lady lodger to rent a part of his house.

 Miss Pauline came from Portugal, and was of the nobility; she had eloped to London with a lover, but he had been forced to return home and she had had to stay on alone for some while before she could join him.

 Now she was lonely, and had little money, and was depressed by her squalid circumstances — after all, she had been raised as a lady.

She answered the ad.

The gentleman turned out to be Casanova, and what a gentleman he was.

The room he offered was nice, and the rent was low; he asked only for occasional companionship.

Miss Pauline moved in. 

They played chess, went riding, discussed literature. He was so well-bred, polite, and generous.

 A serious and high-minded girl, she came to depend on their friendship; here was a man she could talk to for hours.

Then one day Casanova seemed changed, upset, excited: he confessed that he was in love with her.

She was going back to Portugal soon, to rejoin her lover, and this was not what she wanted to hear.

She told him he should go riding to calm down.

Later that evening she received news: he had fallen from his horse.

 Feeling responsible for his accident, she rushed to him, found him in bed, and fell into his arms, unable to control herself.

 The two became lovers that night, and remained so for the rest of Miss Pauline’s stay in London.

 Yet when it came time for her to leave for Portugal, he did not try to stop her; instead, he comforted her, reasoning that each of them had offered the other the perfect, temporary antidote to their loneliness, and that they would be friends for life. 


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.”

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).

 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

The playwright Crebillon instructed her in the art of conversation.

Jeanne was beautiful, and had a charm and grace that set her apart early on.  

In 1741 she married a man of the lower nobility.

Now  known as Madame d Etioles, 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 frequented the salon, many because they were enamored of the hostess.

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

Through all Jeanne's success, she never forgot the fortune-teller's prediction, 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,or flnd ways to cross his path, always while she happened to be wearing an elegant yet fetching outfit. 

Soon the king was sending her gifts of game.

 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, one's own 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 cho sen 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.

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.

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. 


When the eighteen-year-old Rodolpho Guglielmi emigrated from Italy to the United States in 1913, he came with no particular skills apart from his good looks and his dancing prowess.

To put these qualities to advantage, he found work in the thes dansants, the Manhattan dance halls where young girls would go alone or with friends and hire a taxi dancer for a brief thrill.
The taxi dancer would expertly twirl them around the dance nce a son was bom to floor, flirting and chatting, all for a small fee.

 Guglielmi soon made a name Mercury and the goddess as one of the best— so graceful, poised, and pretty.

In working as a taxi dancer, Guglielmi spent a great deal of time around caves In Ms features, it women.

He quickly learned what pleased them — how to mirror them in was easy to trace subtle ways, how to put them at ease (but not too much). He began to pay attention to his clothes, creating his own dapper look: he danced with a called after them too for corset under his shirt to give himself a trim figure, sported a wristwatch his name was (considered effeminate in those days), and claimed to be a marquis.

 In 1915, he landed a job demonstrating the tango in fancy restaurants, and changed his name to the more evocative Rodolpho di Valentina.

 A year later he where he moved to Los Angeles: he wanted to try to make it in Hollywood.

Now known as Rudolph Valentino, Guglielmi appeared as an extra in several low-budget pictures.

He eventually landed a somewhat larger role in the 1919 film Eyes of Youth, in which he played a seducer, and caught on to the Carians, who
women's attention by how different a seducer he was:

 his movements were graceful and delicate, his skin so smooth and his face so pretty that when dear that he could see right he swooped down on his victim and drowned her protests with a kiss, he seemed more thrilling than sinister.

Next came The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in which Valentino played the male lead, Julio the playboy, and became an overnight sex symbol through a tango sequence in which
 he seduced a young woman by leading her through the dance.

 The scene encapsulated the essence of his appeal: his feet smooth and fluid, his poise almost
feminine, combined with an air of control.

 Female members of the audience literally swooned as he raised a married woman's hands to his lips, or happened that she was shared the fragrance of a rose with his lover.

 He seemed so much more tentive to women than other men did; but mixed in with this delicacy was  a hint of cruelty and menace that drove women wild.

 In his movies, Valentino practiced the same gigolo s art of leading passion to possess his a woman on that he had mastered as a teenager on the dance floor — naked beauty, and her very chatting, flirting, pleasing, but always in control.

Seduction was and will always remain the female form of power and warfare.

 It was originally the antidote to rape and violence
The man who employing feminine weapons against a woman; without losing his masculine identity, the more subtly feminine he becomes the more effective the se duction.

 Do not be one of those who believe that what is most seductive is being devastatingly masculine.

The Feminine man has a much more sinister effect.

He lures the woman in with exactly what she wants — a familiar, pleasing, graceful presence.

Mirroring feminine psychology, he displays attention to his appearance, sensitivity to detail, a slight coquettishness — but also a hint of male cruelty.

Women are narcissists, in love with the charms of their own sex.

By showing them feminine charm, a man can mesmerize and disarm them, leaving them vulnerable to a bold, masculine move.

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