Sexy people converse intelligently

Erika and I had dinner with Johnny Saviour and his girlfriend Sharon recently. When Johnny talks about his career in the movie business, he says things such as, "Most people misunderstand character development. They think of it as a machine in which you input variables to output a product. But it is in fact more akin to a birthing a baby. Some mothers eat little and give birth to skinny babies. These mothers tend to be skinny themselves. But effective character development is a process that takes time. It's something that a development team has to invest themselves in fully. When we financially back a film we look for a writing and directing team that reminds us of fat pregnant mothers."

When Johnny worked as an instructor for me at Charisma Arts I would watch him out in the field talking to girls. I'm not sure if any of them could fully comprehend his vocabulary but they were dazzled by his vocabulary. You could see it on their faces. They met a man who was smart and wasn't afraid to show it. But he was smart in a way that was helpful not arrogant. He would use metaphor so relate his points to their experience.

"It's like when you attend a concert and the opening act it better than the featured act that you came to see," he would say.

"Oh, we get it." the girls would say.

People wanted to be Johnny. Girls wanted to be around him.

A quick story about Johnny. One night Johnny and I are teaching a Charm School Bootcamp in a London nightclub with five clients. Coincidentally everyone in the camp, including Johnny and myself were wearing blazers.

We had just walked into the club when a client said to me, "Those two girls at the bar look cute. I'm going to go talk to them."

The girls were turned facing into each other with their backs to everyone else.

"They look standoffish to me," I said. "I'd probably talk to someone nearby and see if their body language would change first, but sure, sometimes it can be instructive to just go for it."

So our guy walked over to the girls. He said the line which we had suggested earlier as a general opener; "You two look interesting so I thought I'd come over and say hello."

The girls rejected him.

As I sat there watching, each of our clients found these same girls and each were rejected one by one.

Finally Johnny, who'd taken a different taxi to the club showed up. Sure enough, he walks over and talks to the girls. Ten minutes later they're all laughing and the girls are hanging on him.

"What did you say to them?" I asked when he finally took a break from their attention.

"Well," he said. "I walked up and said to them that they looked interesting and I wanted to say hi."

"Oh, how did that go?"

"They were total bitches. They said they just wanted to have a conversation. I smiled at them and said what a coincidence - me too. And that made the one girl laugh. So I said hey I like your smile. You should let that out more often."

"Nice job," I said.

"Thanks. Yeah, I think they want to have a threesome. But I haven't told you the best part."

"What's that?"

"So eventually after they started being nice to me the one girl says, 'Sorry about before. It's just that we'd been approached by five guys all wearing blazers and saying the identical thing as you.' So, I asked them why I was different. She said I was the only one who stuck around."

That story always makes me smile but it's misleading. The real reason those girls liked Johnny was for his intelligent way with words. He has a confidence and aura that descends from his willing use of the language, a powerful presumption that he's dealing with intelligent people and a willingness to speak in ways that people can relate to.

Advice based on this principle:

  • Read more. There are few better ways to build your vocabulary.
  • When communicating in any form, use proper language.
  • Don't talk down to people. Presume they're smart.
  • Use specific verbs and not general verbs. You don't 'get' a taxi, you 'hail' one. You didn't 'go' to Australia, you 'Fly' there.
  • Practice using metaphors that connect with the reality of the people you speak with.

Next page: Sexy People Are Playful >>

Sexy people make other people feel sexy

I'm standing on the Santa Monica 3rd street promenade watching people dance in the street. Fred is the most popular dancer here. He shows up every Sunday. In real life he works for the telephone company. He spends his days climbing poles and crimping wire. He's also a single dad who plays Dungeons and Dragons with his fourteen year old son and his friends twice a week. But here everyone calls him Mr. Cool. You won't notice unless you look for it but there's a queue to dance with Mr. Cool. Women, as they dance with other partners keep an eye on him. If there's a hint of an opening they dash over. Women in their haste sometimes bump into each other. He waits with a smile letting them work it out between themselves.

"I'm sorry."

"Oh no, I'm sorry. You look fabulous in that dress. Is that Vera Wang? Do you mind waiting?"

"Thanks. I was waiting after Carla actually. But you go ahead. Those feathers are to die for."

"Oh these? They're nothing. You are so nice. Are you sure you don't mind? I promise not to wear him out."

"It's okay. Go ahead."

"Thanks."

She turns away. "Fucking bitch."

There's a pecking order when it comes to dancing with Mr. Cool. Grande dames first, then pros, then regulars then everybody else.

Once in a while a 'hussy' will jump the queue. Over the next couple weeks, the rest of the girls will push her out of the group. No one talks to her or shares their baby powder. The faux pas is unforgivable.

Mr. Cool could never be a pro dancer. He doesn't do the things pros do. He's not flashy. He shows up wearing jeans and a Rolling Stones T-Shirt. He's unshaven and doesn't give a damn about accolades.

"It must be exhausting dancing out there," I say to a dancer standing on the sideline drinking water.

"It's fun," she says. "Why don't you give it a try?"

I look down at my feet wondering about their ability to move like the ones attached to the people I see in front of me. They look woefully unprepared. "I might later," I say. "I saw you dance. You move well. I like when you do that thing with your arm above your head."

"That's just style."

"Ah, I see. I thought it was a special move. How about that girl?" I gesture towards the girl dancing with Mr. Cool.

"Her foot's sloppy on her spins. But it's all about having fun, right?"

"Sure. I guess I don't have the eye to spot that. She looks hot to me."

"That's because she's dancing with Fred. He makes her look good."

"Yeah, I noticed he has a way. I might call it sexy."

"Hell yeah. That's why I'm dating him. See how he brings her out of the turn? Nobody does that better. First time he did that to me I knew I had to sleep with him."

I look surprised.

"Sorry," she said. "Didn't mean to put it so crudely. Dancers are like that. We don't have secrets. It's all so physical, you know?"

"No worries. First time I saw my wife open a bottle of wine I knew I had to sleep with her."

"Touche."

"It's amazing watching him. What makes him so good?"

"He doesn't try to make himself look good. His dancing is all about making his partner look good. No one has ever brought their sensual side out like that. He makes them sexy."

Mr. Cool - Fred, brought out his partner's best; their beauty, bravery, animal physicality. The closest thing to a parallel I know is the way fashion models can feel about certain fashion photographers such as Javier Vallhonrat or Aaron Feaver, men able to make those women look even better.

"Does it make you jealous that these women are turned on by your boyfriend?"

She laughed then. "No. "

Mr. Cool held his palm out and smiled to the girl approaching him to dance. "Want to take a break with me?" he said.

She nodded. They walked over near us. He drank water and they laughed at something together.

The woman I was talking with stepped away from me and slipped her arm around Mr. Cool. His sweat ran over her arm. He caught my eye then and smiled.

Advice based on this principle:

  • Try to get out of your own way. If you're so intent on proving yourself to people you leave no room for them to show you their sexy side.
  • Find out what qualities your friends and lovers want to be seen as being sexy for and help bring those qualities out.
  • Reward people abundantly when they take a risk with you. Say things such as, "I like what you did there." or "That was so freaking cool."
  • Talk about the things other people find interesting.
  • Find a way to empower other people in situations where they may feel less than powerful.

A woman asks little of love: Only that she be able to feel like a heroine.  ~Mignon McLaughlin

The end.

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Sexy people move

I'm flawed. I should have been fitted with braces as a teen but my parents took us to Disney World instead. I supported this decision at the time. But now, I'd rather have the perfect smile.

My arms are unnaturally long. My knuckles drag on the ground as I walk. Most people don't notice this because I usually cradle a coffee cup in my hands. There's a clip of me on You Tube as a guest on the British TV show Ready Steady Cook. Move in close to the screen and you may catch it. At one point I reach across the whole of the kitchen for a glass of wine. That wasn't a camera trick.

But I'm tall. Women like tall guys right?

"You're a toothpick," a girl in school told me. "You're too ungainly," said another. "A bean pole."

At the time, manly men were in. I wanted to be Dolph Lundgren.

"You're an attractive boy," my Mom said when I was young.

Parents lie to their children.

"Fine," I said. "But am I sexy?"

"That's not a proper question to ask your mother."

"What's sexy?"

"Tom Jones."

"Seriously."

"Seriously. It's in the way he moves. He's got a lot of soul for a white man."

"Is that why you made dad get a perm?"

"No comment. Now get your stuff off the table and get ready for dinner."

Later that night I propped a mirror up against the wall in my bedroom and tried to dance like Tom Jones. At first I felt silly but then I kinda got the hang of it. I also noticed my arms didn't seem as long when I moved around. Thirty years later I'm still trying to move like Tom Jones.

I'm sure you've noticed, nearly everyone looks sexier when they're dancing or working or exercising or just plain moving around.

Advice based on this principle:

  • Slow down. We spend little actual time at life's destinations but much on its journeys. Start thinking about how you move in everything you do, the way you walk to class, the way you set your coffee cup on the table, the way you make love. Put your attention on your movements. Make them purposeful, not random. Everything that you do in life has a pulse. The sexiest people don't just accomplish a task but find a way to do it with rhythm.
  • Wake up in the morning, put some music on and dance around. With no one watching but your cat or your lovers you'll be free to just have fun and let the music carry you around the flat. This warm up can set your whole to be more rhythmic.

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