Much has been written about what makes a ladies’ man but so far the formula escapes adequate definition. The reason? “Because it tries to be done with words. The purpose of words is to communicate and not to define. For example, all of us have seen a couple who are unquestionably in love but then try, using words, to define that love. Then try happiness!
I recently discovered in my files a book review of Swoon by Larry Getlen authored by Betsy Prioleau.* (http://nypost.com/2013/02/03/secrets-of-a-don-juan/) It deals with the characteristics of irresistible male seducers and why women love and go crazy over them. Judging by its content this is probably the most exhaustive and in depth analysis of this subject. There are 65 pages of footnotes!
Her general description of such men is, “They seduce us out of our skins and catapult us into another world.” Regarding the specific characteristic of these seducers, her list is long beginning on the genetic level claiming they have more female DNA than ordinary men. She writes that women love good dressers, cooks and dancers and particularly guys who are musically talented. They have a quality that would bypass women’s affinity for good looks and wealth. She believes that this quality is located in a specific creative, artistic part of the male brain. It’s probable that Warren Beatty developed this gift of appreciating and understanding females when he was reared “in a hothouse of strong, doting women- sister, aunt and mother…” She ventures into interesting territory by claiming that male seducers have androgynous or bisexual tendencies which women sense sending a message to them that this quality helps the seducer better understand the female mind. Interestingly enough, she singles out Gary Cooper, the tough, courageous Wild West film cowboy character as having this bisexual quality. Male vulnerability or “flawed manhood”, a combination of vulnerability and strength, is high on her list using Jack Nicholson and Richard Burton as examples.
One of Ms. Prioleau’s great seducer characters particularly struck me. It’s the very ugly but very dynamic Italian poet, Gabriele D’Annunzio. His physical appearance was universally considered “repellent” to the women of his day. She described him as , “… a sad physical specimen… short, bald and ugly , with unhealthy teeth, fat legs, wide hips, hooded eyes, pallid lips and thick mottled skin.” I searched for his photo in cyberspace- and the women were correct! But when he spoke and after hearing the sound of his voice and beholding his sensual body language, the women immediately succumbed to his charms; and when he made love to them they went bananas and frequently fell in love. She describes his voice as “soft, subtle and velvety.” Women found him “devastating” and “…following him around Europe pouring out passionate declarations, abandoning families and twice offering him a fortune for his favors.” He was “a Michelangelo of oral pleasure who “fondled eyelids with his tongue” and planted stinging kisses “from the neck to the genitals over long nights where women were sexually overwhelmed by this man.”
Most of you who follow me already know that I would call G for his opinion on the book.
“Mamma mia! Ms. Prioleau really covered the waterfront. Did you know she wrote another book, Seductress? That’s the one I want to read and give to some of the modern women whom I’m meeting!
“First, I was intrigued by D’Annunzio kissing eyelids. I remember one lady asked me to do so but my memory is fuzzy on what happened. But I certainly missed out on that interesting approach. When there’s still time left, and if I’m still capable, maybe I’ll give it a try.
“Let me make some comments some of which may be in the book but not in the review. Regarding why vulnerability attracts women, and I can vouch for that, I’ve thought about that in the past and believe it’s due to the inherent, beautiful female mother instinct. The art of a seducer is to make a woman both relaxed and excited at the same time. In addition, though I’ve never seen it mentioned, an unappreciated crucial factor is to make her very curious. She can’t wait to find out what’s ahead but feels this way only if she’s convinced that he’s sincerely interested in knowing about and being with her. Ms. Prioleau rightly mentions that these men are not misogynists but enjoy being with women. I would go along with that very important observation. The French philosopher and adventurer, Albert Camus, said that he had more women friends than men. I did – and still do-and also learned more from them about the social aspects of life than from men.
“Here’s a huge factor that’s linked to a woman’s curiosity but has a more adventurous quality about it. It’s unpredictability. More than a few women told me that’s one of my, let’s say, alluring traits.
“Lorenzo, I’m running out of gas but here’s one essential ingredient of a ladies’ man. It’s the voice. It’s not only what you say but a la Gabriele D’Annunzio, it’s how you say it.”
I then asked him for a term which describes the seducer but G told me it doesn’t exist. I mentioned to him that we have seen the qualities that make a male seducer and whether all of these are necessary. G answered, “No way. Look, I didn’t kiss eyelids- at least as far as I can remember. There is no term for it. It’s not “chemistry” for that term is usually reserved for a single couple on their way to becoming engaged or already married. Strangely enough, we have names for nymphomaniacs, sadists and all the others but no term regarding the great male seducer whom women love.”
Our conversation ended. I then lighted my pipe, poured myself a martini, had an inspirational moment and smiled. I reasoned that in sexual matters we have names or labels of the condition and the person who performs the act. For example, we have masochism and masochists. This is not so in the with ladies men, and it’s time we do so. How about G-ism and the G-man?
*Every morning I read the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and New York Post. I read journals on public policy, politics, social issues, medicine and science leaving me little time for books. During the past year I read short biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill- two very humbling experiences. Because of the death of J.D. Salinger and curiosity, I also read Catcher in the Rye and wondered about it. Swoon is now on my reading list!