Seduction for Dummies

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Seduction for Dummies by John Bowe


It’s happened exactly once that I walked into a bar and picked up a total stranger. It was an entirely conscious move. Prior to leaving home, I said to myself, “I am going to bring someone home and fuck them.” And then I did.

Other than that, I can’t recall any other successful “pick ups.” As a shy little undergrad, I wrote a few notes that began: “Hey, you don’t know me, but” — none of which led anywhere beyond acute embarrassment. When I have, in fact, gone home with someone, it’s been more of an accident than a plan. Or rather, it’s a matter of two people acting upon a mutual charge, rather than me, sitting back, scoping out a soon-to-be victim, and bagging them unaware.

So when Nerve proposed that I shell out $350 of their money and order the Delux Speed Seduction Home Study Course, “Speed Seduction 2000: How to Create an Instantaneous Sexual Attraction in Any Woman You Meet,” the idea appealed to my funnybone more than my boner. I found the idea curious, but also kind of appalling. After all, some people are obviously better than others at picking people up. But is there a quantifiable formula for creating human attraction?

The kit arrived, containing a video, ten cassettes, two books and a score of flashcards — everything one needs to discover the newest “technologies” for “How to Fake Like You Are Warm and Friendly”; and “How to Take That Bitch Who ‘Just Wants to Be Friends’ and Have Her Begging You to Bone Her ONE MORE TIME.”

Ross Jeffries, a self-described “Skinny, Ugly, Six-Foot Geek from Culver City,” is the man behind the Speed Seduction plan. (Tom Cruise’s “respect the cock” character in Magnolia was loosely based upon Jeffries.) Jeffries’ curriculum is complicated — partly because it’s full of pseudo-scientific jargon, and partly because it’s quite sophisticated, in its own way. Based on something called neuro-linguistic programming (i.e. hypnosis and mind-control, which is also the basis for Anthony Robbins’ shtick), it goes more or less as follows:

1) Tell yourself that you’re cool. Look in the mirror. Remember specific times in your life when you felt cool. Take a deep breath and hold that thought. Tell yourself the following: I make no excuses for my desires as a man. I move through the world without apology.

2) Go out and find someone you’d like to seduce. Tell her a joke. Break the ice.

3) Pose questions that generally begin with the phrase, “Have you ever,” and get her to remember and describe to you experiences in which she’s felt pleasure, or times she’s been really turned on.

4) When she hits a high point in her description, touch her on the wrist. This will develop an automatic, Pavlovian response between your simple touch and her innermost self.

5) Keep repeating steps three and four, while telling stories of “friends” and “things you heard” about people who have had “unexpectedly intense feelings” and “close connections” to [repeat touch on the wrist] people they’ve just met.


The primary NLP aspect of all this is that, as you tell your stories, you’re embedding commands. For example, you might say, “You know, some people find as they listen to someone who’s very fascinating that they can feel very attracted to them.” According to Jeffries, your subliminal prodding is inducing “trance levels” of awareness and suggestibility in her mind, until she’s beyond the grip of morals, fears, worries about what her friends might think, everything that might distract her from having sex with a complete stranger.


The video included footage of one of Ross Jeffries’ group seminars. The participants seemed to consist exclusively of members of a bio-engineered species of People Who Should Never Have Sex: chunky, Adams apple-y guys in shorts and dark socks, nodding dreamily as Jeffries blabs on about “patterns,” “frames” and “submodality locations,” all the while referring to women as “chicks,” “snatch” and “bitches,” alongside testimonials from men who’ve been transformed from virgin dweebs to dudes.





My ironic little foray into speed seduction was starting to look like a depressing venture into a world of yucky people. But surprisingly, the more time I spent with the material, the less I was able to hate it. The Speed Seduction course is intended for an audience which probably deserves pity more than scorn, a group of men who began shy and insecure and have subsequently spent so many years jerking off to porn that they’re traumatized by the very idea of an unstructured conversation with a woman. Is there anything wrong with empowering geeky nebbishes? Would I have the same disdain if the goal was to teach overweight divorcees in their fifties how to convince men to worship them?


Jeffries also concedes a few times that there is more to life than a series of endless flings. He generally takes a chauvinistic tone throughout his course materials, but he also admits that he revs up the anti-woman rhetoric just to get his audience “motivated.” Consoling myself that this might not be evil so much as sad, I embarked on the final stage of my assignment: the field test with real, live women.


I began practicing on the phone with close female friends. “Hey, Darcy. It’s John. Can you describe for me the last time you went on a vacation and felt really good?” or “Hi, Ingrid. Can you tell me about the last mega-orgasm you had?”


I took my fledgling skills out to a company Christmas party. Luckily, it wasn’t my company, and I didn’t see anyone I actually knew. I spotted a woman hanging around by the eggnog, looking like she, too, knew no one. After introducing ourselves — her name was Debbie — I got down to business and launched a “weasel phrase” right out of the book.


“Debbie, did you ever instantly know you were going to like and trust someone for a long long time? Maybe you only knew them for a short while but it seemed that you had known them your whole life?”


She blinked twice. “What?”


I became nervous and forgot my lines, so I cracked one of my books. “Debbie? Have you ever felt a feeling of timeless connection with someone, a feeling of incredible bonding. Can you describe that feeling to me from your own imagination?”


“What is that?” She squinted to read the title of my book. “How to Get the Women You Desire into Bed? Is that what you’re reading?”


“Listen, Debbie, wait.” I whipped out my flash cards. The one on top was Speed Seducer Rule #3: Speed seducing is fun! If you aren’t having fun with it, it isn’t speed seduction. I reached for the next card, Weasel Phrase #10: Invite her to notice.


“Debbie, I want to invite you to notice how the deep, rich warmth of my voice is beginning to spread out . . .”


Debbie wasn’t noticing anything. Debbie was gone.


The next time I went out, I met a woman named Pam, a friend of a friend, at a bar, and we began talking about running. This led, easily enough, to a discussion of what it is that causes pleasure. We compared and filled in each other’s blanks, so to speak. So far, so good: girl + me + discussion of pleasure. Seemed like a perfect moment to whip out some Ross Jeffries, so I did, and poof — the magic died. The line that proved my undoing was, “It’s weird, because sometimes I get an amazing feeling from people. And it doesn’t matter how well I know them. We form a connection that’s just so natural — it’s automatic. Have you ever felt that with someone you hardly know?”


Immediately, she was grossed out. She ended our conversation by saying, “Yeah, that’s how it was when I met my current boyfriend,” before moving off, and I felt sleazy. I think of myself as neither a loser nor a player, but for a moment, even though I knew it was all a game, I could feel that undertow: the queasy wave of rejection that must be like an all-day tsunami in the guys that seek this system out.


Despite my own failure as a Speed Seducer, my hunch is that if I had applied myself for many weeks, memorizing and adapting the approach until it felt natural for me, Ross Jeffries’ techniques would probably work. And I might not even feel so sleazy about it. Because beyond all the oily geekiness is simply the act of listening to someone — and that’s not inherently a bad thing.


But nevertheless, when Ross Jeffries asks, “What if you could play a poker game where you get to pick the cards you’re dealt, you get to see her hand before you bet, and you get to borrow money from her to bet against her?” (Bizarre emphasis his.) I’d have to say no thanks. Jeffries wants to transform the scary, beautiful, potentially horrible seconds that pass between people into a controlled, emotionally risk-proof transaction — like turning a natural wonder into a tourist attraction with ill-flavored Sno-Kones and dopey souvenirs. A sure thing, in other words, that turns out to be nothing at all.



John Bowe and Nerve.com