Learn How to Seduce, and to Succumb
The MeToo Movement is important for obvious reasons. Bad actors who have gotten away with egregious predatory behavior need to be brought to heel, by the law or public pressure or whatever means are necessary.
But, I hope being woke to the power imbalances that have existed does not rob young people of the art of flirtation, courtship, seduction, and surrender. The idea that people should obtain formal verbal consent before they cross a certain line in the seduction process depresses me.
Of course, if there is any ambiguity at all, the question shouldn’t even be asked. But, if there IS somehow ambiguity, then by all means, ask.
For sensitive people in tune with one another, it should be clear what is taking place. If one or both parties are inebriated, high, or otherwise impaired, then nothing is clear. Consent should be neither requested nor granted. Two people not in their right minds aren’t connecting properly anyway. Even if “consent” is “granted,” of course, it means nothing, since the persons in question were impaired.
Relatively well-functioning people with their wits about them, however, should, in my opinion, be free to flirt, seduce, and allow themselves to be seduced.
I for one do not want someone explicitly asking me for consent. I will make it clear if I want to go forward or back.
My son is 22, almost 23, and my daughter is 19. I fear they’ve been injured by the rancor and devastation, the fallout, of the MeToo Movement. I think there’s a sourness that’s been injected into the relations between men and women.
I worry for my son, and I worry for my daughter.
My son is terrified to flirt. He’s scared to be misunderstood. He’s careful, cautious, nervous, and frozen. My daughter thinks none too highly of men in general.
I could be wrong, but I get the distinct feeling my kids and their ilk are not flirting. They’re not playing, they’re not playful. I get the feeling they’re shut down.
There’s this weird combination of the hookup culture that encourages casual sexual encounters and recent reports that teens aren’t having sex anymore, or are having very little. Which is it?
My son’s experience is interesting. He’s dating online. When he meets a girl he likes, he’s discovered that they seem to want to get physical very quickly, on the first or at least the second date, and then they disappear.
He’s not interested in that. He’s re-thinking his strategy.
My hunch is that these girls have been “trained” — have become accustomed to what most men want and are basically complying. I have a feeling if it were up to them, they would not be behaving in quite such a reckless manner.
My son recently shut down all his profiles again.
My daughter is 19 and not dating at all. She’s never had a committed relationship of any kind. She thinks men are boors.
She also happens to think most of my male friends are “creepy.”
This has hurt me. My neighbor said to me, “You have to honor her feelings. If she thinks they’re creepy, you can’t have them at the house.”
So, I don’t have them at the house. Three close male friends of mine. Poof, gone. They make my daughter uncomfortable.
Of course, I have to honor her feelings, and I do. I have. As I said, these people have been shut out of my family. They don’t understand why. I can’t tell them.
But I suspect that any man that looks at my daughter in a way that acknowledges she is a woman is suspect and will offend my daughter.
It would be one thing if she was 12. But, she is 19, 5'10, with hair nearly down to her waist, and legs that go on forever. Of course they look at her. She is arresting.
I looked at my son’s friends that way once in a while too. I couldn’t help it. One in particular, who was an over-the-top flirt and budding lady’s man. He made me laugh, he made me giggle, he brought out the woman in me, although I fought hard to shut him down and not embarrass my son. Nonetheless, they noticed, and teased me about it.
I guess I didn’t threaten him when I responded to his overtures. The dynamic is different, I can see that.
But, it makes me sad that a sense of play seems to be gone, missing, from these young people’s interactions.
I’m afraid we’ve once again thrown the baby out with the bath water when it comes to relations between the sexes.
We need respect and caring, clear channels of communication, safety for all. Of course. But, we also need mystery, evasion, pursuit, and play. We need seduction. And the sublime feeling of surrendering to an expert seduction.
These are skills to be learned. They do not come naturally. They need to be cultivated and practiced.
I don’t want the dance between men and women to be stomped out, if that is even possible. I want it to remain a dance, somewhat stylized, somewhat predictable. Somewhat (or very!) exciting, and sweet.
It begins with flirtation — trying something, watching closely the reaction, trying something else. It’s an interplay, a weaving, a parrying.
It continues with seduction — using all of one’s powers to get and hold the attention of the desired. An expert seduction is something to behold. To be gradually held in thrall is something no one should miss.
It ends with surrender, when a man or a woman succumbs to the desires of their pursuer. Allowing oneself to slip in as into a particularly delightful bath, to have all of one’s senses engaged, to lose oneself in taste, touch, emotion, in the moment.
Let’s not lose seduction. Let’s hope the pendulum settles at a place where, yes, bad actors are identified and sorted out, but men and women can still delight in the games of flirtation, pursuit, evasion, seduction, and surrender.
I don’t want to live in a world without it!