Attraction is a Reflex

By Charisma Arts

Feeling physically attracted to someone is a reflex. It's like when the doctor taps your leg under the kneecap and your shin kicks out.

There's no reason to suppress your reflexes.

Just the other day we met an Australian girl. "You're very pretty," we said. "We're charmed by you. We're under your spell."

She blushed.

We were not hitting on her. We were expressing our attraction.

Hitting on someone is the act of trying to make something happen. People usually think of showing attraction as the equivalent of hitting on someone. But we are free to separate them if we want.

"By the way. We're not hitting on you. We wouldn't do that unless we knew your situation."

"What would you want to know?" she'll ask.

"The works. If you were in a happy relationship we'd suggest something different than if you were completely single or just broken up last weekend."

"Oh. How would you hit on someone in a happy relationship?"

"We would go for the friend close. 'We think it would be excellent if we were to be friends'. That's what we would say."

"But that is after you have hit on me."

"No. It's before. Showing attraction isn't the same as hitting on you. We haven't hit on you because we don't know yet how to hit on you."

"I see. And if I were single?"

"This must be tailored of course. Everyone's version of single is different."

"Yes. But what sort of thing would you say to hit on me?"

"We may suggest making our way back to our flat and spending the night making love."

"All of us?"

"Oui."

"And does this work?"

"Work? What do you mean? When we say it, it is the right thing for the right person at the right time. There can be nothing better. We know this so we can put our soul behind it. We can go 'all in'."

"And is this always accepted?"

"It's pondered very well."

"And now what?"

"We find you beautiful, but what of your life? Where are you at? Who has your loyalty?"

"I'm loyal to myself and no other. I'm free to travel, seek adventure."

"Then let us be about adventure. Going somewhere and pretending we are characters and perhaps end up at our place with a glass of wine. You are single and life is short. We want to give you pleasant memories to look back on when you are one day not so free."

"This sounds inviting."

"It's mutually beneficial, given your situation."

"You make a good case."

"Take our hand then and let's see what can be done."

"I feel nervous."

"That's normal when you face your desire."

"Okay. I'm ready. Let's make some memories."

Girls and dogs and coffee

By Wayne EliseBob and I step out the door, carrying our coffee - in as sexy way as we can manage, which is probably not very sexy.

The sun hits our faces. We pause to reconnoitre.

Two girls are sitting, leaning in toward each other, at a sidewalk table, talking. Their foreheads nearly touch. They fit my target demographic: young, trim, smart looking, likes to drink coffee.

I wink at Bob. "Watch and learn." I strut like a cat toward the girls. You can imagine the music playing in the background: suave, bumpy, possibly by Elle Varner.

Strut, strut, strut, adjust the brim of my fedora, strut, strut, strut. Okay, I wasn't really wearing a fedora, but I think it helps the picture here.

I'm anticipating popping their perimeter bubble: As I walk towards them, they'll look up to make a sort of friend-or-foe visual check. This is a reflex we can anticipate in a number of social situations.

Plan A.

When they look up, I'll seize the moment by reacting to their eye contact and then rapidly build the interaction from there. File this one under Mind Trick. Hit the timing right and the effect feels seamless. After five minutes of conversation I'll often ask a person how the conversation began. They can't trace it back to its origins. "Well, we were… No. I asked you… That's not right. I'm not sure. Feels as if we've been talking always."

I walk towards them, anticipating my moment. They can't miss me. I'm a tall guy dressed in primary colors and pretending he's a cat. But as I get in range, nothing happens. No look up. No eye contact. No perceptible acknowledgment of my existence. They're locked in conversation - and The Universe, rotating around them, can get fucked.

Plan B.

I stop and pretend to throw a pretend ball to the German Shepard mix lying at their feet. But he ignores me too. He'd rather watch the line of ants stream past his nose carrying the disassembled remnants of a black hawk down.

This is so embarrassing. But these things happen.

Go to Plan C.

We divert to the next table trying to make it seem as if that was our intention all along. "Yes, this place looks like where we want to be my friend. We shall sit at this table here."

Two dudes out at the cafe staring at each other quietly. Real normal. Not suspicious at all.

But the girls don't seem to notice our awkwardness. Their talk continues unabated.

Bob raises his eyebrows at me. I shrug.

I like to have a rep of social calibration. I've learned to trust my instincts. We could interrupt verbally but that doesn't feel right here. Besides, the nonverbal approach openers are how granddad did it, that's how I do it, and it's worked out pretty well so far.

We will wait, be patient and something will come up.

But nothing does.

The girls talk. And talk. And talk. Actually, it feels as if they're in an episode of The Girls. They're talking about hipster Brooklyn stuff that I'm sure they got off Lena Dunham's Twitter feed. I know, because that's where I get my hipster Brooklyn stuff.

Plan D. Heck, I didn't even know there was a Plan D.

I spot a couple of old swingers sitting nearby who have a beagle lying their feet which is the most friendly breed in the world. No beagle has ever mauled anybody. That's why they make lousy guard dogs. They'll be more than happy to lick a burglar's face and point out where you stash your valuables.

Bob and I abandon the girls and walk over to the people with the beagle. The beagle people smile and nod.

I throw down some dog mime. "I like your dog. He's just sitting there acting cool. But I bet he's planning a caper."

The man laughed. "Maybe. His name's Duke. He loves two things in this world - people and fried chicken."

Duke nuzzled my hand.

"That's a tough sounding name for such a friendly dog."

"He strives to live up to it, but fails miserably."

"Is it okay to pet him?"

"It sure is."

"Ow wow. He feels soft."

I look over and one of the girls is watching us. I react to this by smiling, waving and calling over to her. "I hope your dog isn't jealous."

"She might be," says the girl. "She gets jealous easy."

"Wait a second. Your dog's a girl dog? Duke here's a boy dog. Perhaps they should have a doggy date." I look up to the man. "Mind if I take Duke over to socialize."

He laughed. "Okay by me if its okay by him."

I pick up the leash and lead Duke over to the girls. The dogs lick each others' faces. The people smile sheepishly at each other but slowly open up.

The girl with the dog looks at me as if she knew what I was up to all along. But then she smiles and says, "It's wonderful meeting you. I couldn't help noticing the way you were carrying your coffee earlier."

Find out the relationship situation or die

In my opinion Dan is a wonderful instructor for Charisma Arts. Check out the messages his clients sent me after last weekend's Charm School Bootcamp in New York City. But it hasn't always been a smooth path for Dan. Here's a story about what happened a few years ago when Dan and I were out together and encountered trouble. I hope you enjoy it.

A girl smiled at Dan. Let's call her Belle.

Dan walked over. "What's a girl like you doing sitting on a stool in a place like this?"

"Waiting for you to come talk to me," Belle said.

She batted her eyelashes at him. He flexed his bicep for her. She laughed at that joke he always tells that makes me gag. Soon they were gazing into each others' eyes.

Referring to Dan, someone once told me, "He's a budget George Clooney,"

Yes, take away the Hollywood career, the villa on Lake Como, give him a Midwest American twang, and George Clooney is Dan - unstoppable charm at a reasonable price.

But not on this day. Unbeknownst to Dan he was being watched by more than just me.

I'm not saying, if something seems too easy to be true, then it is. That would be cliché. But if something's good then you better watch your back. Someone could be lurking - ready to take it away from you.

Cruella swept in with Kung Fu on her mind.

"What's going on?" she said to Belle.

"I've made a new friend," Belle said.

Cruella smiled the way super-villains do while petting their cat and sending your ass to the laser-shark tank.

"That's nice. But why don't you come back and join us." She gestured toward their group.

The group waved back. One burped. Another smacked the first on the back of the head. "The princess don't need none of you acting out none." he said.

I understood the situation. It's a familiar story. Hot girl seeks adventure - she has to leave the short-sighted village behind to pursue it with a handsome stranger. Never mind that he's old enough to be her father.

Dan forced a smile towards Cruella. "Hi," he said. "I'm Dan."

I've seen Dan do this before. It's simple, but genius in its execution. He lathers his greeting with earnest goodwill. It takes a cold heart to resist.

Cruella made a sour face and kept her eyes on Belle. "She has a boyfriend." she said.

Belle huffed at Cruella.

"What's his name?" Dan said. "I'd love to meet him."

Uh oh, I thought. Dan's usual unshakeable demeanor is wearing off. That was a weak response. This could get ugly.

"I'm okay." Belle said to Cruella with her mouth. But her eyes said, 'Let me fucking flirt with this budget George Clooney guy."

"Fine," Cruella said. She walked away to the bar where she ordered whiskey.

Meanwhile I walked over and addressed the villagers. "You guys look like fun people. Mind if I join you?"

"Sure, sit down." the one with the most teeth said. "You being a wingman for your buddy over there? Getting to know the friends is a gravy move me thinks. From your look, I say I gotcha. But heck, I don't care none. You can stay as long as you want."

Fuck me. These people are smarter than they look.

"Thanks," I said. "So what's the story with Belle?"

"She's making faces with your friend, yessiree. But she got herself a boyfriend."

"Where is he?"

"Some place called Van-coooo-fer."

"Ah. That's far away in Canada."

"Is it? Never been there myself. I heard it was full of Chinese people. Anyhows, your friend better be careful. That girl over yonder," he indicated Cruella, "That's her boyfriend's sister."

"I see."

"She's a fucking dangerous bitch."

I saw three empty shot glasses next to Cruella and she was throwing back another.

I looked over to Dan and Belle. They were laughing together with their backs turned to everyone else.

I used my Vulcan mind powers to transmit a warning to Dan.

His mind returned a busy signal.

Cruella banged down a final shot glass onto the bar's counter and turned around. The bar tender ducked behind the bar with just his eyes and hat showing.

Cruella threw down a few dance steps to that Run DMC song Walk This Way, and headed toward Dan and Belle.

Cruella came up behind Dan as he was taking Belle's hand in his. Belle was looking at Dan's ring. Neither saw Cruella coming.

Cruella slid her sword out of it's sheath. Dan's an old guy. His model didn't come with collision avoidance software.

I tried to call out. But it was too late.

She sliced Dan's head off.

"Oh shit." said the guy next to me.

"Fucking awesome," someone else said.

A hipster passed out. He fell forward, spilling his Fat Tire beer over the table. His friends jumped back and screamed at him.

Dan's body slumped off the chair and fell to the floor. Blood pulsed out of the neck onto the linoleum.

Cruella reached out and seized Belle's wrist. She pulled her off her chair and hauled her out of the bar. As she passed the bartender, Cruella tossed him a coin. "Sorry about the mess," she said.

I carried Dan's head and body back to his apartment. The next morning he was feeling better. I'm amazed at that man's powers of recuperation.

"How're you feeling?" I asked.

"Not bad brother - considering. My neck's a little sore where she cut me."

Over breakfast at Snooze we talked about what happened.

"Sorry I wasn't a better wingman," I said.

"Well I think I needed to learn a lesson," he said.

"Yeah, that's what I was thinking."

"Next time I'll ask about her relationship situation in front of her friends."

"That's probably best. Mutual knowledge and all. Then they probably would have left her alone with you. They would have thought you'd be safe."

"Yeah. She would have gone off with me alone I bet."

"Maybe. She might only have wanted to flirt and not hook up. But in any case you'd have found out. More people need to know this. It's like a neutron star. You gotta collapse it before blowing it apart."

"I never did understand that metaphor bro."

"No worries. It needs polishing. Let's get that hot waitress over here and get some more coffee."