How to Pick a Lover

Charm seems to me to be the ability to captivate other people without doing anything about it. The “charm” of it is that one cannot define its ingredients.
—Rudolf Bing of the Metropolitan Opera

Women who desire a man to be tall, dark, handsome, and successful may also add “charming” to their list of ideal characteristics. Some men who have the “happy fierceness” associated with presence have an intrinsic appeal in their manner and presentation. Others, who seem to have it, have merely learned to go through the motions, adopting an appealing persona in much the same way that a good salesman or a good confidence man learns to tailor his responses to what his audience or victim wants to hear.

Brooklyn Museum - The Confidence Man - Guy Pèn...

Brooklyn Museum - The Confidence Man - Guy Pène du Bois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If there was ever a single sentence to alert you to the approach of trouble, it is the apparently innocuous comment: “He can be quite charming, you know.” This may not sound like faint praise, but it is. It is quite different from the comment: “He is charming.” The man who “can be” charming is commented upon, in the first place, because charm is not his natural state and it comes as some surprise to discover that sometimes he has it. Such a reflection also tells you that charm is something which he can deliberately turn on if he wants to, which tells you in advance that he will also turn it off when he is so inclined.

The man who “can be” charming is not only manipulative but is the sort who uses whatever sex appeal he may have as a tool for or a means of manipulation. Rather than feeling warmed and flattered by a woman’s response to him, he is likely to be vaguely contemptuous at her being so easily taken in. Real charm in a man stems from his genuine affection for women; acting charming stems from a well-disguised wish to dominate, manipulate, or deflect.

Hire a charming con man as your top salesman, but don’t make the mistake of falling in love with his superficialities.

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Comments on: "Picking a Lover: The Charming Con Man" (1)

  1. Abusive men are often charming. I agree, do not fall in love with charm.

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