Seduction is a skill, not a guffaw or a grope…

Donald Trump’s bulldozing march to the White House took a detour this week to “deal” with the many women, all of a sudden coming forward with accusations of sexual misconduct or harassment. All campaign-long he’s leisurely batted away the slurs, as “just locker- room banter”. But there’s been a tone change recently and on Thursday,  he practically ranted, “These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false,” and promised to present “substantial evidence to dispute these lies.”  On the defensive for now but it’s more likely that, to stay in the presidential race, he’s going to have to find a more conciliatory line… reflecting on his “past behaviour”and even his personal make-up.

 

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Source: www.independent.ie

 

It’s likely not going to be easy for him. Thrice-married Trump, 69, has spent decades cultivating an image as a womaniser; ever since he was in an all-male military school in the 1960s, where he was dubbed a “ladies’ man”.

“I don’t know why, but I seem to bring out either the best or worst in women.”

These words of wisdom and many others are all in Donald’s 3 memoirs;  “Trump: The Art of the Deal” (1987), “Trump: Surviving at the Top” (1990) and “The Art of the Comeback” (1997).  He’s quite forthcoming, you know, writing at length about his personal relationships, his experiences with women in marriage and in the workplace, even his dating life.  A great source for those in need of a Trump quote or two .

Of course Trump is not the first man (or President) to pride himself a woman’s man.  In recent times Warren Beaty, Jack Nicholson, Charlie Sheen, Russell Brand (amongst others) have all claimed to have slept with thousands of women. Casanova (1725-1789), the  legendary real-life 18th century decadent hedonist, probably set the trend.  His story of womanizing and swindling his way across Enlightenment Europe – and  sleeping with his daughter – has been told many a time.  Revisionist views are much kinder on his philandering – calculating he slept with just 122 women (give or take) and he’s now pictured as hopeless romantic more than serial seducer. Small fry then, in comparison to our modern-day celebrity Lotharios. (Lothario was, by the way, a skillful seducer in Don Quixote by Cervantes.)

 

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Byron as Don Juan, with Haidee (1831)

 

There are plenty of other literary figures that have made a lasting impression;  seductive playboys who have coloured intimate relationships from poem, to novel, to film.   From Lord Byron’s  Don Juan in 1819 to Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, F Scott Fitzgeralds’ Jay Gatsby and of course Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

 

 

 

On-screen playboys sprinkle our filmography; Humphrey Bogart (The Big Sleep), Richard Gere (American Gigolo) and, perhaps, the most memorable of all, Michael Caine (Alfie). So what makes a great fictional charmer? “Sex appeal”, intelligence, a sense of adventure, carefree attitude and power – the man must be passionate (Byron), give women his full attention (Aly Khan), be an inquiring listener (Casanova, who also fulfilled every other requirement), make them laugh (David Niven), be a silent listener (Gary Cooper) and, especially, be interesting (Don Juan).

 

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Richard Gere in American Gigolo (1980)

 

Research commissioned by AudioGO, polled 1,000 Brits about their connections with characters in literature.  More than half of women admitted to being attracted to fictional bad boys — with one in ten feeling more intensely for a make-believe male than their own partner! Dorian Gray, Don Juan and Shakespeare’s Romeo were all in the top 10 greatest fictional playboys.

“Fictional playboys’ mix of power and charm ensures they were a hit with both men and women – it’s the air of adventure and charm that make playboys so endearing and part of many great stories…For men, playboys serve as a fantasy role model to try and emulate, while many women are excited by their devil-may-care demeanour.” Rachel Josephson, AudioGO Sales and Marketing Director.

For men, James Bond was the fictional character they’d most like to be, followed by Bruce Wayne (Batman), Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Don Juan.

The larger-than-life playboys of novels and films prove to be just as appealing to women, with 63% saying they find them attractive.  10% of women went even further –  admitting they feel a stronger attachment to their favourite fictional playboy than they do for their boyfriend or husband. (AudioGO.com)

 

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Source: “Party Like a President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery and Mischief from

 

Many a president in the past may have got a way with a peccadillo (or few) but today real-life seductive charmers just aren’t in vogue. In this post-Jimmy Savile, post- feminist time men who overtly praise, or worse paw, women just come across as creepy. Psychopaths even.

This is not good news for Trump. He needs to get with the programme.  We may love our charming seducers in fiction, but we are far less happy to accept women-degrading males, in news-fact.

 

 

 

Read:

Casanova by Peter Kelly (2009).  So much more to the famous seducer in this biography! Here he made and lost fortunes, founded state lotteries, wrote forty-two books and 3,600 pages of memoirs recording the tastes and smells of the years before the French Revolution.  An energy that was dazzling.

Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them by Betsy Prioleau.  A deliciously sexy, erudite read that may help (if it’s not too late for some of us) reveal the elusive qualities of the world’s great seducers. 

Don Juan by Lord Byron who satirized the myth of Don Juan as womanizer into a man easily seduced by women (including Catherine the Great)

 

The Mind of Donald Trump, The Atlantic magazine by Dan P Adams (June 2016)

The Secret History of the White House, Policy Mic (March 2015)

 

Listen:

Casanova, the great seducer, BBC World. Hero or villain?

In Our Time – The Romantics, BBC Radio 4. Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideals, exponents and legacy of Romanticism.

 

Watch:

Casanova (2005)  A fictional spin on the exploits of history’s most rakish seducer of women. As played by Heath Ledger, this Casanova bears no resemblance to Donald Sutherland’s unrepentant portrayal in Fellini’s Casanova, filmed 30 years earlier. Instead, the great ladies’ man of Venice is just biding time by bedding women, waiting for true love (and the return his long-absent mother) to settle down into blissful monogamy.

Alfie (1966) Michael Caine’s Alfie is perhaps the most boorish womanizer on this list: lofty and bullying with his mistresses, depending on his stallion-like physical presence alone to keep him satisfied. The 2004 version starred Jude Law.

Shampoo (1975)  Warren Beatty co-wrote the screenplay and starred as hairdresser George Roundy. The opposite of aggressive bluster, Beatty’s reserved, shy, withholding performance is a lovely tiptoe approach — his whisper is what draws the women closer.

The Pick-Up Artist (1987) Robert Downey is the skirt-chaser who reinvents himself for every new pick-up

 

 

 

 

Featured image: Fellini’s Casanova: http://www.the-tls.co.uk

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