"Well make sure to build your home brick by boring brick, or the wolf's gonna blow it down..." --Paramore.
Alright, kiddos, it's back to basics tonight. Sometimes I think the basic principles of seduction are so obvious by this point that I can skip over them and concentrate on the finer nuances, but every once in a while I think it's a good idea to go back and make sure we're all on the same page. So tonight I'm going to talk about a very basic concept.
Seduction is, at its most basic level, the act of figuring out what another person needs from you in order to accept you into their lives and assign you importance. Let me say that again. It is the act of figuring out what another person needs from you in order to accept you into their lives and assign you importance. Unfortunately, at the beginning, it is not about your needs. It is about theirs.
I see a lot of women who talk about what they want out of a romantic interaction far too soon -- whether it's that they want a committed relationship, or a guy to support them financially, or a picket fence and ten babies, or whatever -- without giving a thought to whether the guy across from them might want the same sort of arrangement as well. And sure, ladies, your needs are important, but when you foist them upon your targets too early in the game, what you are essentially communicating to them is this: "I don't really care what it is that you want, nor do I really care who you are as a person -- what I care about is whether I can make you fit into this role that I have predefined for the person who is going to play a romantic role in my life, and whether I can project all my hopes and dreams and fantasies onto you so that I can get what I want and feel good about everything." This is not really an appealing proposition to the person sitting across from you.
What really turns me off is when I see someone who assumes immediate compatibility merely because of their own initial desire for their target. This happened to me all the time during the brief interlude I had with internet dating (don't get me started on that). I would receive messages in my okcupid inbox that literally read, "FINALLY!" or, I kid you not, "I think we'd be really compatible because I find you mind-numbingly attractive." For real -- that's the causation right there? We're compatible because YOU find ME mind-numbingly attractive? What about me and what I want? Is our compatibility affected by whether I find you attractive, or do I just not get a say in the matter?
When we foist our desires upon our target too soon, we are essentially telling them that they don't get a say in the matter. We want a relationship, or a house and kids, or whatever it is that we want, and because we are ready for this at this point in our lives, they ought to deliver, and their own needs don't really count. This goes back to Helena von Salome's guest blog for the site from a few months back: it's the same flaw as the guy who said he just called her when he wanted to call her; the only person's desires or feelings being considered were his.
The other reason that it is creepy to project your desires on a target too soon is that he hasn't really earned them. Occasionally someone will walk into our lives at the right moment and appear on the surface to be everything we are looking for, and we say to ourselves, "FINALLY!" But it's foolish to confuse this desire with actual compatibility. We don't really even know this person yet. We don't know if he's really the right person to fulfill all our needs and desires and fantasies, even if he looks like he might be at first glance.
This happened to me several months back: I met someone who, after our first date, appeared to be everything I was looking for in a partner at that time, and it scared the living daylights out of me. It scared the living daylights out of me because I knew, logically speaking, that I really didn't know this person very well yet, but the story he had woven around himself through the actions that he took toward me was so compelling that I couldn't help but hold a sickened, petrified hope in my guts that it would all turn out the way it looked. I didn't tell him about my hopes for us; I just cleared space in my life for him to enter it should he have wished. I'm sure on some level he sensed what I was feeling, I mean, these things broadcast out of us like radio signals even when we try our hardest to suppress them. But at the very least, I tried to take it day by day and at least acknowledge superficially that everything was still very early, that anything could happen, that it could crash and burn, that either of us could get hit by a bus the next day, that it could very well all be too good to be true. That didn't kill the irrepressible hope within me, however, which I can't even say was under my control. On the inside I wanted my story to be true; I wanted him to be every fantasy of mine which he so seemed at first to be.
And then less than two months later it all exploded in my face, and he did something to me that proved that he was not even remotely what he appeared to be during our early interactions. To this day I really can't reconcile the person I dated in December with the person I dated in January. I've given up trying to explain it and simply learned my lesson: Do not try to fit the square peg of the person sitting across from you into the round hole of your romantic aspirations. Wait until that person proves to you that he really is a round peg, that he really is the right person to fulfill you. And don't expect that proof to come too soon -- anyone can play the good guy for a month or two.
It sucks so hard but what I am learning to my great dismay these days is that the people who can play the consummate charmer in the beginning are often doing this as a coping mechanism to compensate for some far deeper character flaws. And one day they'll suddenly reveal to you their inner douchebag, and you'll get hurt by it, hurt so much more deeply because you know that they have the capability within them to make you feel awesome and they are choosing not to utilize it.
Don't give anyone the privilege of being your everything until he's earned it. If you let someone embody that role too easily, you devalue it. Being the person to fulfill you romantically ought to be a privilege, not an obligation or an assumption. Don't give that away to just anyone to sit down next to you at the bar. Make them earn it. Make them prove they're as advertised.
So the lesson here is twofold: One, don't project your needs onto your targets because it's inconsiderate of their own needs, and seduction is about catering to another person's needs long before you set demands regarding your own. And two, don't project your needs onto your targets because the role of the person who is going to fulfill you is far too valuable to give away to just anyone you meet who may seem compelling on the surface.
Instead, maintain your interest in your target and occupy your time getting to know what makes him tick, what sort of relationship he might want in his life, and start doing the little things that will add value, make him happy, bring the two of you closer. If he responds well and starts reciprocating, then you'll know it was worth your time and effort. If, however, he starts to show a few true colors that didn't seem to be there in the beginning, you'll be glad you took your time and didn't allow him to take on such an important mantle in your life from the outset.