There’s an art to seduction, but it’s not necessarily about strategies encouraged by “The Pick-Up Artist“ or “The Game,” which are ideas and practices that have been recently popularized in the media and online websites. Most women are repelled by blatantly sexist pursuers, but the mating strategies espoused by these sources (which include attempting to isolate women, compete with competitions for her attention, and to tease or actually insult women as part of “the game”) are more likely to be practiced by men who self-report the characteristics that label them as hostile sexists. Makes sense, then, that these men would see the pursuit of a sexual conquest as equivalent to “hunting big game” or “cornering their quarry.”
Animal Kingdom: Who gets the Glory?
Every reproductive species has its own unique mating practice that generally involves the pursuer following particular innate rituals designed to attract the attention and seduce the desired mate. In many animal species, it is the male of the species that appears more colorful, naturally adorned, or attractively attention getting. The male peacock and his beautiful tail feathers, the male lion and his lusciously rich mane, or the strikingly deep red feathers of the male cardinal are all examples of the ways in which this may appear in the animal kingdom. In fact, males of the animal species have been found to court their desired partner when other less richly ornamented males are around (Gasparini et al, 2013). Animals, just like humans, put on their “beer goggles” when closing time is near – the less attractive an individual knows himself to be, the less picky he will be about the mate that he selects. As the number of potential prospects decreases due to his own flaws, the more willing he will be to choose a mate less attractive than the one that he might have hoped to win.
Humankind: Women wear the Crown?
Within contemporary culture, it is women who work hard to ensure their attractiveness and physical features are the most attention getting between genders. Although there’s been a lot of damage done by media-inspired images of beauty through history, even women who are cognizant of the false images of what “beauty” truly should be considered, will participate in rituals of beautification such as use of cosmetics, diets, fashion choices, and so on. However, women still have expectations of the pool of men from whom they might choose a mate.
Most of us know something about the story of Cyrano de Bergerac, the less than handsome, but lyrically poetic, suitor who used his gifts via a proxy to woo the heart of the woman he loved. His proxy was the man that Roxanne was attracted to and it was only at the end of life that Roxanne learns that it was Cyrano’s words and his spirit that she had truly fallen in love with – not the more handsome suitor. It’s not just a handsome face that women want – it’s a man whose qualities include strong intellect and creativity, so that they can help ensure the survival of the species through any potential offspring they may produce.
Erotic Poetry through the Ages: We’ve Always like to Have Someone “Talk Dirty to Us”
Until relatively recently, the oldest known love poem known was The Song of Solomon from the Christian Bible. It’s a sensually charged poem in which suggestive and erotic compliments and loving words are spoken between the lovers as Solomon’s bride notes, “The king has brought me into his chambers.” Even earlier than Biblical times, love poetry was being crafted in a way that beautifully depicted erotic love. In Mesopotamia, in fact, what is believed to be the very oldest love poem was uncovered through an archaeological dig. Its title is The Love Song for Shu-Sin, written around 2000 BCE. This poem is written in the female voice, as a bride to her bridegroom, and it describes her admiration for and captivation by her groom and she entreats him with the lines, “Bridegroom, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber.”
A Tongue of Silver and A Way with Words May Be What’s Needed to Win the Heart
Beyond animal imagery, the ways in which seductive compliments show up in erotically tinged metaphors that probably work as well today to win another’s heart as they did long age. Who wouldn’t want to be wooed with phrases such as, “My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh that lies between my breasts,” “Your love is better than wine;” or “your name is oil poured out”?
In fact, recent studies (Gao, Z. et al., 2017) have offered continuing evidence that women respond more positively to compliments that are spoken with creativity and metaphorical language than a plain old, “You look nice” or “You’re pretty.” In a study with college-aged women, metaphorical compliments (e.g., “Your eyes are bright like the morning dew“) elicited a much more positive response than more literal compliments. In fact, the more novel and creative the metaphor, the more positive the response it evoked.
It is likely that the more creative the compliment we receive, the deeper the hold or stronger the impression we believe we have made on that person. We also want to believe those compliments and the more creative and unique the compliment sounds, the more likely we are to believe that it’s totally all about us and not just a line that gets thrown out when a potential partner’s fishing for a mate.
Go Ahead, Talk Dirty but do it with Style
While many of us like to think that poetry and word art developed as part of human’s increasingly complex cognitive abilities over time, there is also the supposition that poetry and metaphorical language developed as part of the species’ reproductive selectivity behaviors. Your ability to creatively express yourself gives evidence of your relative genetic fitness – and whether or not a person is consciously seeking a potential co-parent of his or her children or whether they are way beyond or way past that particular milestone emotionally or physiologically – the drive for a sound mate persists.
If you want to woo someone, don’t rely on worn-out pick-up lines or “dime a dozen” compliments. Figure out a creative way to get your special someone’s attention with language and imagery that show just how strong your intellect actually is while painting a richly layered visual of just how special you feel this person to be. The more special we are made to feel and the more genuine and creative the compliment we receive, the more likely we are to trust that a person is truly into who we are – not just what we can be used for.
When it comes to creativity and novelty in how you speak to the person you want to know better in a more intimate manner, the advice is simple:
Go big or go home . . . alone.
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