Where are the Rhett Butlers? The Casanovas, the Don Juans? The guy that Ryan Gosling played in The Notebook? (Don’t groan, that guy was a man!)
And I’m not just talking about romance. I think that romance has changed in today’s culture (I’m so sad to admit that, I’m a sucker for romance. I’m quite sad that old fashioned romance has fallen by the wayside). I mean, where are the great seducers? Then men with swagger and confidence that saw a woman and said to themselves that they wanted that one, and would do whatever it takes to woo her.
I’m not talking about the asshole guy that pursues women like they are conquests. The type of man that I am referring to is a different breed. He loves and respects women. He gets pleasure out of making women light up. It’s a natural quality that I haven’t come across in a very long time.
I have had a brush with one such man in my life. He was an actor, performing at the theater where I was interning. As an actor, I heard he was a pain- he didn’t memorize his lines precisely and sometimes made up his own cues. The play was an emotional and physical challenge, and every actor was exhausted without the added challenge of wondering what this guy was going to do. As a man, he had a reputation. He was in his late fifties maybe early sixties. He was Eastern European and often got roles as a Russian villain in movies. He was known for always being out with a different woman. To be honest, i didn’t find him remotely attractive. He was pretty disheveled looking.
I never understood. Until one night after a performance I happened to be in the same bar as him. He was with a date, I was with a friend from college. We had just seen the performance from the third row. I worked closely with the actors as a part of my job, and I loved this show, I think it was my fifth time sitting through the emotional three hour performance.
I can’t remember if I approached him to introduce my friend, who was trying to make a living as an actor. Or did he approach me? But I remember what he said.
He leaned in, looked me in the eye and locked eye contact. He said “You are not allowed to sit closer that seven rows In the audience of the show. I can see you very clearly. Your smile is incredibly distracting.”
I literally went weak in the knees. Oh, I get it now!
This kind of man is so incredibly rare. The book Swoon by Betsy Prioleau examines this type of man. she writes that the great seducers are not necessarily the type that evolution would choose for a ladies man. He may not be the most attractive or fit, he may not be stable or faithful. But he has that je ne sais quoi. You can’t put your finger on it.
While this type of man may be incredibly rare, I do believe that today’s man has a lot to learn from him. Yes, a lot of the charm of a ladies man is natural and instinctive and hard to replicate. But he holds himself with such confidence that it is impossible to overlook him. He doesn’t care what anyone this of him, he holds his head high and smiling with a devilish twinkle in his eye.
A confident man is incredibly hard to resist. You’ll be hard pressed to find a woman to argue with that!
But where has he GONE? Is it because today’s culture is so focused in technology and metro sexuality that he has just lost touch with seduction? Is it that I’m living in the wrong city and Baltimore has too many self-indulgent hipsters and not enough men? Are there parts of the world where the men are actually men and not boys? Please, tell me there are.
From where I sit I meet a lot of grown up boys. Not many men. There is a distinction. Is it because women fight so hard for equality that men don’t understand their role anymore? So the lines and distinctions get blurred because they don’t know how to show chivalry if we are insisting that we open our own doors, make the same amount of money, but he also has do do household chores and help raise the children? Is this the problem? Gender equality? As women are redefining their role in society, men just don’t know what to do?
Does that really affect how a man looks at a woman, how he takes care of her, how he stands up for himself? Did seduction, wooing, and courting really have to fall to the wayside? What caused this, and is it too late to bring it back? Do women really feel less equal if a man tries to woo her? Is there a feminist woman that would not enjoy being wooed?
There are studies out there, but like they pointed out in the Times this weekend correlation does not equal causation. All the studies in the world can show us what has changed, but what really caused it? If anyone has ideas I would love to hear them. I’d love to hear your experiences with men and boys, and fellas if you could weigh in on this I would love some insight. Help me out! Help me understand!