The Anti-Seducers by Robert Greene

I continue with The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene but then I stop because otherwise he could blame me for too much putting online excerpts of his book (even if it makes him some publicity). In short, all that to say that I a little recognized myself in the “vulgarian” and that it doesn’t suit me. I was not like that before but by losing a lot of social pressure, I  became TOO “I don’t give a shit of anything”. It’s funny but well. I must rectify. And you ?

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Seducers draw you in by the focused, individualized attention they pay to you. Anti-Seducers are the opposite: insecure, self-absorbed, and unable to grasp the psychology of another person, they literally repel. Anti-Seducers have no self-awareness, and never realize when they are pestering, imposing, talking too much. They lack the subtlety to create the promise of pleasure that seduction requires. Root out anti-seductive qualities in yourself, and recognize them in others—there is no pleasure or profit in dealing with the Anti-Seducer.

Typology of the Anti-Seducers

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 selfabsorption, and to the degree that we seduce or are seduced, we feel charged and confident. Anti-Seducers, however, are insecure to such a degree that they cannot be drawn into the seductive process. Their needs, their anxieties, their self-consciousness close them off. They interpret the slightest ambiguity on your part as a slight to their ego; they see the merest hint of withdrawal as a betrayal, and are likely to complain bitterly about it.

It seems easy: Anti-Seducers repel, so be repelled—avoid them. Unfortunately, however, many Anti-Seducers cannot be detected as such at first glance. They are more subtle, and unless you are careful they will ensnare you in a most unsatisfying relationship. You must look for clues to their self-involvement and insecurity: perhaps they are ungenerous, or they argue with unusual tenacity, or are excessively judgmental. Perhaps they lavish you with undeserved praise, declaring their love before knowing anything about you. Or, most important, they pay no attention to details. Since they cannot see what makes you different, they cannot surprise you with nuanced attention.

It is critical to recognize anti-seductive qualities not only in others but also in ourselves. Almost all of us have one or two of the Anti-Seducer’s qualities latent in our character, and to the extent that we can consciously root them out, we become more seductive. A lack of generosity, for instance, need not signal an Anti-Seducer if it is a person’s only fault, but an ungenerous person is seldom truly attractive. Seduction implies opening yourself up, even if only for the purposes of deception; being unable to give by spending money usually means being unable to give in general. Stamp ungenerosity out. It is an impediment to power and a gross sin in seduction.

It is best to disengage from Anti-Seducers early on, before they sink their needy tentacles into you, so learn to read the signs. These are the main types.

The Brute. If seduction is a kind of ceremony or ritual, part of the pleasure is its duration—the time it takes, the waiting that increases anticipation. Brutes have no patience for such things; they are concerned only with their own pleasure, never with yours. To be patient is to show that you are thinking of the other person, which never fails to impress. Impatience has the opposite effect: assuming you are so interested in them you have no reason to wait, Brutes offend you with their egotism. Underneath that egotism, too, there is often a gnawing sense of inferiority, and if you spurn them or make them wait, they overreact. If you suspect you are dealing with a Brute, do a test—make that person wait. His or her response will tell you everything you need to know.

The Suffocator. Suffocators fall in love with you before you are even halfaware of their existence. The trait is deceptive—you might think they have found you overwhelming—but the fact is they suffer from an inner void, a deep well of need that cannot be filled. Never get involved with Suffocators; they are almost impossible to free yourself from without trauma. They cling to you until you are forced to pull back, whereupon they smother you with guilt. We tend to idealize a loved one, but love takes time to develop. Recognize Suffocators by how quickly they adore you. To be so admired may give a momentary boost to your ego, but deep inside you sense that their intense emotions are not related to anything you have done. Trust these instincts.

A subvariant of the Suffocator is the Doormat, a person who slavishly imitates you. Spot these types early on by seeing whether they are capable of having an idea of their own. An inability to disagree with you is a bad sign.

The Moralizer. Seduction is a game, and should be undertaken with a light heart. All is fair in love and seduction; morality never enters the picture. The character of the Moralizer, however, is rigid. These are people who follow fixed ideas and try to make you bend to their standards. They want to change you, to make you a better person, so they endlessly criticize and judge—that is their pleasure in life. In truth, their moral ideas stem from their own unhappiness, and mask their desire to dominate those around them. Their inability to adapt and to enjoy makes them easy to recognize; their mental rigidity may also be accompanied by a physical stiffness. It is hard not to take their criticisms personally so it is better to avoid their presence and their poisoned comments.

The Tightwad. Cheapness signals more than a problem with money. It is a sign of something constricted in a person’s character—something that 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.

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 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.

Symbol: The Crab. In a harsh world, the crab survives by its hardened shell, by the threat of its pincers, and by burrowing into the sand. No one dares get too close. But the Crab cannot surprise its enemy and has little mobility. Its defensive strength is its supreme limitation.

Uses of Anti-Seduction

The best way to avoid entanglements with Anti-Seducers is to recognize them right away and give them a wide berth, but they often deceive us. Involvements with these types are painful, and are hard to disengage from, because the more emotional response you show, the more engaged you seem to be. Do not get angry—that may only encourage them or exacerbate their anti-seductive tendencies. Instead, act distant and indifferent, pay no attention to them, make them feel how little they matter to you. The best antidote to an Anti-Seducer is often to be anti-seductive yourself.

Cleopatra had a devastating effect on every man who crossed her path. Octavius—the future Emperor Augustus, and the man who would defeat and destroy Cleopatra’s lover Mark Antony—was well aware of her power, and defended himself against it by being always extremely amiable with her, courteous to the extreme, but never showing the slightest emotion, whether of interest or dislike. In other words, he treated her as if she were any other woman. Facing this front, she could not sink her hooks into him. Octavius made anti-seduction his defense against the most irresistible woman in history. Remember: seduction is a game of attention, of slowly filling the other person’s mind with your presence. Distance and inattention will create the opposite effect, and can be used as a tactic when the need arises.

Finally, if you really want to “anti-seduce,” simply feign the qualities listed at the beginning of the chapter. Nag; talk a lot, particularly about yourself; dress against the other person’s tastes; pay no attention to detail; suffocate, and so on. A word of warning: with the arguing type, the Windbag, never talk back too much. Words will only fan the flames. Adopt the Queen Victoria strategy: nod, seem to agree, then find an excuse to cut the conversation short. This is the only defense.

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