This started out as a discussion about ethics.
Late last night, someone facebook chatted me asking if I thought I could seduce him. I'd never met him before. So I replied, "If you inspired me to, I believe that I could." He then dared me to seduce him, and told me he thought my "techniques" wouldn't work on him. I declined politely, telling him that I had no interest in expending the effort necessary for a seduction on someone who had not yet inspired me. He countered that if I claimed to have a skill set, I should be able to prove it. "The problem with that," I replied, "is that with seduction there is collateral damage. There are ethics involved. If I were a well-trained sniper, would I shoot someone in the head just to prove it to you?" He asked me then if I would tell my students to put ethics before desire.
"You don't understand me," I replied. "The presence of desire is what makes seduction ethical."
There are a lot of great things about being a seduction coach. Everyone wants to talk to you at parties and ask you questions about your work and get your advice on their love lives and it all makes for a lively and exciting time. What's not so great about being a seduction coach -- especially now that I'm single -- is sitting down on a first date with someone you kinda like and getting asked what you do. Trust me, it's an awkward moment. Not only because you get the feeling that you're suddenly being watched, but also because you were right in the middle of trying to establish trust with this person, and now he's looking at you as though you're about to stick a pin in him, put him under a glass case and give him a Latin name. What reason does he have to believe that he's not just another moosehead I'm planning to hang on my wall, or a social experiment I'm planning to blog about later?
The only answer that I have to this is my integrity. My ethics. My reputation.
I've never cheated on anyone, nor do I intend to. I've never broken up a happy relationship. (Come to think of it, I don't think I've even broken up an unhappy relationship -- maybe once? I don't know if I can take credit for that though, seemed like it was coming anyway.) I've never led someone to believe that I felt something about them that I didn't actually feel. I've never offered something I couldn't deliver. Can I always tell how things are going to play out? No. But I do my best to manage expectations and be congruent in my intentions.
In part, my reputation is self-serving. If I were to operate unethically in my seductions, the trail of hurt and anger left behind me would catch up to me very soon. People would have good reason not to trust me, and not to get involved with me. This would then dramatically decrease my number of available targets. Therefore, I keep a polished reputation because it keeps my range of options wider. Yes, self-serving.
But by another turn, my reputation is altruistic. And this is where I get into the main thrust of this blog entry, about seduction being ultimately the gift of oneself.
I watch what I do and how I operate because when I do meet the next person that I fall in love with, I don't want that person to have to be with someone who's done a lot of bad things. I know that I am going to think the world of that person, and I am going to believe that he deserves someone wonderful, someone kind, generous, and loving. Someone who's brought good into the world rather than harm. And that's who I want to be, because that's what I want to be able to offer him.
There's a lot of badassery on the surface of what I do with Sirens. There's a lot of selfishness in the language, about getting what you want, about wrapping men around your little finger, about lining 'em up and shooting 'em down like some sort of Bond girl in a hot catsuit. I joke about being called evil and being called a predator, because hey, if it comes your way, use it. Because in marketing it's always smart to appeal to people's self-interest rather than their sense of generosity. And it's not untruthful -- yes, I can help you attain that skill set, and I guess it's up to you how you use it. But for me -- and maybe for you too, I hope -- at the root of seduction there has always been a deep altruism. (You're going to have to follow me on this one.)
When I love, I love hard. And I believe that the person I love deserves the very best that I and the world have to offer him. And so when I seduce him, when I am essentially offering him the gift of myself, I believe that he deserves to have the very best Arden Leigh possible.
I've been called a narcissist, and there are certainly more inaccurate things that have been said about me. But sometimes I believe that it's this altruism that is at the root of what could be called my self-obsession. Yeah, I worry about whether I'm too heavy or too skinny at times, or I compete a bit too hard in driving myself toward success, or I obsess about how much I've got in the bank, or I agonize over how I'm perceived, or I constantly study myself and search out things about me that could be improved upon. And who knows if it's always healthy, and sure, it's partially self-serving too -- since we only get one go-round at this life as far as we know, why not spend my time on earth as the best me possible, for my own satisfaction? But I can't deny that much of this comes from the drive to offer the person I love the best gift I can possibly give him when I give him myself. Even if I haven't met him yet.
I mean, when love comes knocking at my door, I don't want it to catch me getting fat on the couch in a coffee-stained tracksuit. It's like the parable of the twelve virgins with the oil lamps. (Anyone else go to Catholic school for twelve years?) I want to be prepared. When I meet that person, I want to look great and have amazing things going for myself. I want to have interesting things to talk about. When we go out, I want to know several great restaurants where I can take him and have plenty of great dresses I can wear. I want to know how to be a good listener and how to make him feel understood. I want to be able to understand. When he undresses me for the first time, I want to be wearing spectacular lingerie. When he comes to my house, I want to have my wine rack stocked with the good stuff and eggs in the fridge for breakfast. I want my bathtub sparkling clean and stocked with really good shower gel. I want 600-thread-count sheets on my awesome bed with my killer mattress. And I want to have left any imprints of past wounds or wrongdoings behind me so that I can treat him fairly and be present when I'm with him. I want to greet him into my life in the best way possible. I mean, fuck. Yes. Welcome. I've been waiting.
Why does it matter? Maybe it doesn't, to him. Maybe he'd love me anyway, maybe he wouldn't even notice the difference. But I will. And until he proves otherwise, I will work under the assumption that it's what he deserves, if he's going to one day be the person I love. Because why not be optimistic about it while we're in it? Why not assume that everything's going to go beautifully? And if it doesn't turn out that way, oh well. Better to have been prepared even if the circumstance didn't present itself.
But most importantly, far more importantly than the sheets on my bed or the lingerie I'm wearing, when I love, I want to be able to offer someone the love of a good person. Someone who hasn't gone around breaking hearts just because she can, or slept with scores of people out of boredom, or used the validation of others just to feed her own ego. Someone to whom love, to whom sex, to whom seduction, really means something. If I seduce someone, I want him to think of it as the highest praise he could receive from me. Because like I said, when I love, I love hard.
I don't know, guys. Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age. I sliced my arm open (as you likely read in my last blog) and that sort of outer vulnerability has crept inward like a big metaphor. I feel like a lot of my seduction work lately has evolved into this kind of thing, where it's not just about tiny tactical moves but rather about big things like risk, acceptance, love, transcendence. About kicking fear in the ass and living as big and as fully as you possibly can. About beating the self-sabotage impulse and not letting stupid things like pain or loss get in the way. About embracing it all and coming after the life that you want. I dread going back and reading over my manuscript again -- I've evolved so much since I started writing it two years ago. And maybe the publishing world just wants a book about lingerie and eye-accessing cues and embedded commands. Maybe they're all waiting on me so they can pull on their Bond girl catsuits and run off on a seduction shooting spree. That would be even scarier. Well, we still need the tiny tactical moves, I suppose. It's just about how we use them.
So in the meantime, guys, remember in all your pursuits to actually be the kind of person that you want people to fall in love with. You can go around with your seductress ray gun and take everyone down, but that stuff will stick to you if you don't watch out, and when you meet that person who really matters, it'll come back to haunt you. So make your seduction truly mean something. Seduction is, after all, a gift.