October 7th, 2017

Love and Trouble

I recently read—or rather, skimmed—a book I got out of the library entitled Love and Trouble, by Claire Dederer. I’d grabbed it from the library shelf without really studying it because I was in a hurry and the title intrigued me.

But it actually wasn’t about love and it wasn’t so much about trouble, either. It was a slightly-interesting self-description of the life and times of a certain type of person. Call her a sexaholic or whatever the term-du-jour might be these days, but Dederer appears to be someone who is compulsively, repetitively sexual, and who cares little about such niceties as who her partners (one at a time, by the way, at least in her case) might be.

Why would I read such a book? Well, I didn’t know it was about that at first. Then, I kept waiting for the explanation and the insight, because the author (who was in her 40s when the book was written, married and faithful to her now-husband and struggling against the temptation to return to the old ways of her extremely promiscuous single days) is certainly intelligent and a pretty decent writer in terms of technical skill.

But no such luck. It was a puzzling and (to me) somewhat repellent memoir that showed little emotion except depression and even less self-awareness.

So why am I writing about the book? The part of the book I found especially interesting was the author’s depiction of herself as virtually irresistible. No, she doesn’t use that exact word. But time and again she describes how men (and some women) come on to her continually and everywhere–in the street, at parties, in classes.

It seems this forty-something woman can barely leave her home without being besieged by propositions and flirts. It’s as though she’s sending out strong sexual smoke signals, smells or pheromones or some other powerful je ne sais quoi.

This is a phenomenon I believe can happen with some women, because I’ve observed it. Over my lifetime I’ve had several friends and/or acquaintances who describe people as almost universally reacting to them exactly that way. I’ve personally witnessed some of it (not directed at me; my conquests have been a far more modest number). And—as with Dederer, from her photo on the book jacket—these people don’t seem (to me, at least) any more attractive, any nicer, any funnier, any more charming, any more anything I can detect, than most other women. Nor do the ones I know dress provocatively, or even act in an obviously provocative way.

It’s something else, and I’m not sure exactly what, because the ones I know have no distinguishing characteristics I can discern that would explain it.

I once read a biography of Ava Gardner. Now she (unlike the women I’m describing) was absolutely gorgeous. She was also a hypersexual person. And it seems very telling to me that Gardner is quoted as having said, “In bed, I’ve always known I’m on safe ground.”

I don’t think the majority of women would say that about sex in their single years. I don’t even think the majority of men would say it. Women and men may like sex and want sex, but “safe ground”? And with a succession of strangers? That experience of sex with a succession of near-strangers may be many things to many people, but I don’t think most women, anyway, would describe one of those things as a feeling of safety.

But I believe Ava Gardner sincerely felt she could do no wrong in bed and that it was therefore a very very safe place for her. And in her book Dederer describes herself in very similar terms—sex is the thing she’s best at, the place she feels safe and also powerful no matter who’s her bed partner. And she’s drawn to having this experience again and again and again, with a great variety of men.

You might think her story is a simple one, as in, “She’s just a slut.” Maybe you also think her problem is lack of religion. But I don’t see it that way. The vast majority of people without religion don’t act like Dederer, and there are plenty of people who are religious who struggle against the same sort of thing and lose the struggle.

No, I think something else is going on, but reading the book gave me no insight as to what it might be.

47 Responses to “Love and Trouble”

  1. parker Says:

    Perhaps an inner lonliness might account for this behavior?

  2. neo-neocon Says:


    Inner loneliness might be a necessary but quite insufficient explanation, I think.

  3. neo-neocon Says:


    And it certainly doesn’t account for the extreme and constant attraction from other people that Dederer reports. Are people attracted to loneliness? I doubt it.

  4. jvermeer Says:

    “these people don’t seem (to me, at least) any more attractive, any nicer, any funnier, any more charming, any more anything I can detect, than most other women.”
    So where do geeks go for knowledge of life, love and sex? Star Trek. In “Mud’s Women”, Kirk and Mudd make the same observation and conclude that the women currently roiling the ship were irresistible because they thought they were.

  5. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Though achieved ‘artificially’, I personally experienced this effect many times in my 20s. A high libido, intense intellect and the ‘projective focus’ that ‘Pot’ can provide created an effect that women invariably reacted to, the more attractive I found them, the more flattered they were by my approval. ‘Players’ use this, we all want to be appreciated.

    Heightened awareness of others creates a reaction. Intense attraction either attracts or repels. Desire is magnetic. Whether physicality, emotional depth, intellect, wealth, fame or some combination of attractive attributes, for both sexes sexual attractiveness rests upon the subconscious desire to acquire.

  6. steve walsh Says:

    Fascinating. I’ve never known or been around someone like this.

  7. Chris Says:

    I think that jvermeer might be on to something. Some women may seem irresistible because they think themselves irresistible, and that goes for some men as well. I had a roommate in college who was not good-looking at all, yet he always seemed to have beautiful women falling all over him. None of us could understand it, but in retrospect he was supremely self confident and thought of himself as a great looking guy. I think that was his secret.

  8. Ymar Sakar Says:

    It’s more like a Cleopatra.

  9. Ymar Sakar Says:

    No, I think something else is going on, but reading the book gave me no insight as to what it might be.

    Sexual behavior formulation tends to solidify during the teenage and early 20s, physiologically. Thus you’d have to dig up any influential encounters for her back then.

  10. Matthew Says:

    I haven’t read the book and don’t particularly want to but about the main character. She may be what is called a Mary Sue…


  11. NCC Says:

    Woody: Miss Howe? Really? You know, back where I come from, we used to say something about girls like that.
    Carla: What?
    Woody: Let’s date ’em.

    – Cheers, The Last Angry Mailman

  12. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    I used to hang out with a guy when I was young.
    He was black and had that mottled pigmentation on his face.
    Not particularly handsome, but wherever we went, Charley had an effect on the women.
    He exuded self confidence and was totally at ease talking to them. I learned how to pick up women by watching him.
    But I never had the same effect on the opposite gender that he did.

  13. Banned Lizard Says:

    What explains the unusual proclivities and talents of a person – good, bad, or indifferent?
    There is a how and there is a why.

    The how is karma. The why is found in Patanjali’s yoga sutras, wherein he states simply “The seen is only for the sake of the seer.” By which is meant the many varied experiences of many lifetimes are for the purpose of consciousness expansion. The bag of personal karma dictates which types of experiences we have. Fully integrating – or completing – each karmic assignment ultimately gets us to enlightenment.

    Although this applies to everything that happens in life, it is especially so for unusual circumstances that grab our attention and sometimes prompt the writing of books.

  14. Ed Bonderenka Says:


  15. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Ed Bonderenka Says:
    October 7th, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    One of those childish or immature topics you potential Trum supporters wouldn’t get.

    Fully integrating – or completing – each karmic assignment ultimately gets us to enlightenment.

    Which Dharma are you using, the Jain, Buddhist, or Hindu?

    Since karma or purity was slightly different depending on which sect.

  16. Cornflour Says:

    Dogs have always liked me. I never thought to ask why, but now I’m a little worried.

  17. parker Says:

    I think everyone has met people who exuberant and ooze sexuality. Met I few females like that before Mrs. parker. Never interested in those young women. Did not want my plumbing to slip into their plumbing because I assumed many plumbers had joined those pipes before. No thank you, but guess I was a rube who needed an emotional bond before engaging in an intimate relationship.

    Those who fail to realize sex is an extremely intimate joining of two people I pity. No wonder ‘free love’ is a gateway to STDs.

  18. TommyJay Says:

    I read a supposedly true story about Marilyn Monroe. It was during or after her marriage to Arthur Miller and she had become very good friends with some woman who was a friend or relative of Mr. Miller.

    The two women had been having fun in mid-town Manhattan during the day, for at least a couple hours, and the streets were crowded. The friend then asks Marilyn, “How is it that we can be in these crowds, and no one recognizes or bothers you?”

    Marilyn immediately replies, “That’s because I’m just being me. I haven’t ‘put on’ my Marilyn persona… Watch this!” Then without removing the sunglasses or scarf, or saying anything, she began to move and act with her movie-star persona. Within a minute, she had numerous people gathered around her. Her friend couldn’t believe or understand it.

  19. parker Says:


    Dogs, cats, horses, young children, and babies all trust me. Especially babies. True story: we were in a dinner recently seated near a young mother with a fussy babe in arms. She was getting frustrated and upset. I told her let me hold your baby while you eat. She was hesitate until Mrs p said not to worry he can make a baby sleep.

    Cautiously she let me cradle her wee girl. Within a minute the babe was asleep in my arms. Mom was amazed and after she finished eating she asked me how do you do that? Mrs parker responded he does ‘t know how he just does it, he’s a babt whisperer. Cross my heart that is a true story.

    “I believe in moms and dadies, I believe in babies, I believe in love.”

  20. Frog Says:

    I am not sure what Neo means with ” there are plenty of people who are religious who struggle against the same sort of thing and lose the struggle.”
    What is the same “sort of thing”? Unbridled lust? Rampant promiscuity a la Dederer? Who seems to still feel that urge despite her marriage vow? Or just a biological need to get it off once in a while? As in after a vow of celibacy?

  21. MollyNH Says:

    Interesting thought in the title. She calls it , Love and Trouble, whereas to me a more appropriate title would be Sex and Trouble. So right off she misses the mark if every promiscuous encounter qualifies as Love.

  22. Ann Says:

    In a review of her first memoir, Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, we learn that Dederer’s mother “left Dederer’s father when Dederer was six, and hauled her stunned and reluctant children to hippie outposts on the fringes of Seattle”. That could explain a lot about Dederer’s youthful sexual exploits.

  23. Esther Says:

    Sounds icky. Maybe she was somehow traumatized as a child?

  24. Manju Says:

    My favorite in the genre is Pamela Harriman…because here you have a great courtesan mated to world affairs of the highest level…creating the ultimate Vanity Fairish high-low story. I read her bio in one sitting.

    She was born to a British aristocratic family and married Winston Churchill’s son, who was a drunkard. Well, so was Winston but he was to drinking what Babe Ruth was to, well, drinking. It was a Performance Enhancing Drug to these two. But I digress.

    Winston’s wife didn’t like to socialize so Pamela accompanied him to social engagements during WWII, which were like almost every night. (Churchill the younger was away at war). So she spent WWII at the red-hot center of power in Europe. Along the way she had an affair with Edward Murrrow and William Paley, a major US General (I forgot who, I read the book right after she died in 1997) and most notably, W. Averell Harriman, an heir to a great fortune who would become Governor of NY and who had Presidential ambitions.

    After her divorce to Churchill she moved to Paris and had an affair with Gianni Agnelli (Fiat), Prince Aly Khan, and a Rothchild, among others. Eventually she made her way to America and became reacquainted with W. Averil Harriman. The got married. This was during the Reagan years and their townhouse became the meeting-ground for Democrats left in the wilderness of the Revolution.

    Harriman was a Tory, an aristocrat with a sense of noblesse oblige. So the Democratic Party, particularly the DLC wing, really fit her ideology better than Reaganism. At the time, every Brit I knew viewed the US political spectrum as just two ends of the Tory Party. There were no real leftists in America. At least not at the elite governmental level.

    Anyway, circa Bush I, Harriman was arguably the Party’s Kingmaker. Her first choice for President in ’92 was Gore, whose Dixiecrat roots aligned well with her upper-class sensibilities. But he didn’t run. So she turned her eyes to Clinton. The rest is history.

    Why were so many powerful men attracted to her? She was no beauty. But they say when she looked in your eyes you felt like the most important person in the world. Apparently, important men really need that.

  25. Matt_SE Says:

    “But they say when she looked in your eyes you felt like the most important person in the world.”

    That explains my paucity of dates. I think most people are idiots.

  26. neo-neocon Says:


    One of the most interesting examples was Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel, who actually was beautiful but also seems to have had additional charms and married a series of very famous men.

    Likewise, Churchill’s mother Jennie. Alma had a sad life, however, unlike Jennie. Both of these examples were different than the sort of thing I’m talking about in the post, though, because they were beautiful, charming, accomplished, intelligent—people knew why so many men were attracted to them. It was no mystery.

  27. GRA Says:

    Lack of discipline over her sexual desires. Add in a dash of psychopathic symptoms and you get Gardner.

  28. TommyJay Says:

    Neo touches on a variety of angles; the how and why of promiscuity and the how of the initial sexual attraction. I think it is the last that is her primary point or question. Is it something like “pheromones?” Neo says she has seen “it” happen.

    If a normal heterosexual man and woman observe another woman who is or is being seductive, do they see or sense the same thing? If Neo has seen “it” happen, did she see the same thing that a man would have? Did she miss the seductive cues? A man might catch the seduction, but miss the mechanics or calculation of it.

    I’ve been watching film noir movies, and one in the collection is “The Strange Woman” starring Hedy Lamarr. There is a great “seduction at a distance” scene about 14 min. in. Of course Ms. Lamarr is one of the great screen beauties, even though she is playing a 20 year old at the age of 30. And the film is played quite broadly; nothing subtle.

    Hedy Lamarr was a interesting character. She had some tough phases of her early life, was type-cast as a sex-pot, was very intelligent, was married six times, and became quite cynical about Hollywood and America.

    Some of her quotes (IMBD) are funny and perhaps apropos.

    Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.
    If you use your imagination, you can look at any actress and see her nude, I hope to make you use your imagination.
    I must quit marrying men who feel inferior to me. Somewhere, there must be a man who could be my husband and not feel inferior. I need a superior inferior man.

  29. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    I wonder whether Hedley’s, er. Hedy’s husband hopping influenced her invention of radio frequency hopping.

  30. Sergey Says:

    I remember when such obsession was called “nymphomania”. It may be short of real explanation, but this is the same with any other mania.

  31. J.J. Says:

    Charisma. We can’t exactly define it, but we know it when we see it. People with sexual charisma are pretty obvious. I’ve had occasion to meet a few such women in my life time. The first thing you notice is that they seem to admire you even though they don’t know you. Very flattering. The next thing you notice is that they are sending signals that they are available – to you. Very enticing. If they are physically attractive, the temptation is heightened. However, my personality does not mesh well with such signals. Even when I was single I did not want to jump in the sack with just any woman.

    It appears to me that Dederer obtains her self esteem from her sexual exploits. It is the one thing that she feels good at. It seems to give her a sense of being valued or even loved during those moments of passion. She is a human f**king not a human being. Many (most?) of us have the need to accomplish things to justify our self esteem. We are humans doing rather than humans being.

    Sex is very pleasurable experience. If it weren’t, humanity would not have survived. But promiscuous sex it has some major downsides. Unwanted pregnancies and possible abortions with all the negative baggage involved. STDs, some that can inflict lasting health issues. Not being in a stable relationship also has its psychic downsides. I wonder if Dederer has escaped all those consequences of promiscuity?

    As a man nearing the end of my life I don’t remember the good sex as much as I remember all the moments of struggle, grief, joy, and success my wife and I have shared over 61 years.
    At this stage of life waking up in hospital and feeling my wife’s soft, soothing hands on my brow, nursing her through a sixty day convalescence from heart surgery, and planning our next travel experience are the things that make my heart sing and keep my spirits up. Sex is wonderful, but doesn’t last. Love does.

  32. Ann Says:

    From an interview with Dederer in The Seattle Times:

    She traced the start of that [hypersexual] behavior to one night when she was 13, looking at the summer stars from a sleeping bag spread out on the grass near her mother’s house. A man — a friend of her mother’s boyfriend — slipped in beside her and pressed himself, repeatedly, against her thigh….

    Was she still “a horrible girl”? Or was she simply a product of the 1970s, when, she writes, young girls were sexualized by a culture that, at the same time, urged their parents to go off in search of their own bliss?

    “I look at the question of my teen sexuality from all these angles, and at the end of the book, there are two answers.” … “One is, I did it because it felt good and it made me feel better,” she said. “And the other answer is, I did it because I was trying to manage my relationship to men in the world. Both those things are true.” …

    “There is ultimately, at the end of the book, the question: Why was I a gigantic slut?” Dederer said. “The book is about self-perception, and that story about hypersexuality is one that I have been telling myself my whole life. I see every question as a sex question because that was the only answer I had.”

    She goes back to that night in the sleeping bag, an experience that, in retrospect, was much bigger than she allowed herself to believe.

    “I was getting at the heart of where the depression came from, and I chased it all the way back to this childhood thing that happened,” she said. “It didn’t seem like a big deal to me, and all my friends had a ‘no big deal’ thing.

    “The guiding image for me was this idea that all across America, there were ‘no big things’ happening to girls who didn’t know it at the time and didn’t know how to talk about it.”

    In mid-1970s American culture, sexualizing young girls was no big deal. Think Brooke Shields in “Pretty Baby,” Mariel Hemingway in “Manhattan,” Lisanne Falk on the cover of Foreigner’s “Head Games.”

    “It was all so normal,” Dederer said. “It was part of the new idea of sexual freedom, but it overstepped.”

    And it was happening while “Me Generation” parents were being told to go off and find themselves.

  33. MollyNH Says:

    Stunningly beautiful Vivien Leigh ( she resembles Lamarr in my estimation ) suffered from a mental disorder that caused her to behave the same way as Dedere promiscuous sex with whoever was around. ( So some mailman get lucky) Vivien was bi polar I believe, but in her era it wasn’t recognized. Olivier grew disgusted & embarrassed by her behavior. So he bailed on her. As a child (only 7 or so) she was sent to boarding school in England while her parents remained in India. She was an only child and must have felt abandoned & probably felt rejected too by her parents when she was so accustomed to being with them. Children have vulnerable time spans in their development & some wounds to them never heal properly.

  34. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    J.J.: Thank you.

  35. Donna B. Says:

    I think it’s the Marilyn Monroe “persona” thing. Obviously some people always have that part on display without actually knowing it. As others have noted, part of it is confidence.

    I’ve never been particularly attractive, always a little overweight and not well-proportioned. Nice hair, pleasant (if I am content) face, etc. BUT, like Marilyn Monroe, I could turn it on and attract male attention if I wanted to. The last time I consciously did this, I was in my late 40s. And I married him!

    All through our marriage, he used to tease me that I needed to turn that off, because it often happened that I was approached by other women even when he and I were together and obviously a couple. Now whatever THAT is (happened most recently 6 mos ago and I’m now a very overweight mid-60s widow) I don’t know. Though it’s something I had to “activate” to get male attention… well, I don’t know… women are more attentive, attuned? Actually, I don’t want to know.

    Whatever it is, my Dad had the male version. I’ve seen him turn it on and off ever since I can remember. Drove my Mom nuts, but then Dad had a talent for driving her nuts in so very many ways. Maybe I learned it from him, but I didn’t set out to.

    It’s not flirting since being coy, kittenish, teasing, or playful is definitely not part of it. It’s more like projecting the idea that the “target” is a very interesting and worthwhile person…

    Oh my… I used the word “target”.

  36. neo-neocon Says:


    That interview you quote is quite different from what she says in her book, in which she discusses that incident a lot.

    Basically, in the book she says she believes it is not what caused her promiscuity. And she indicates that although she sort of talked about it as though it was a big deal, it really wasn’t. I’m doing this from memory, but my recollection is that the guy was fully clothed and she felt him pressing against her leg (with his clothed genital area) fairly briefly. She liked him and got into the sleeping bag with him voluntarily.

    Now, what he still did was wrong. She was underage. He shouldn’t been messing around with her at all. Period. But most kids would not react by becoming hypersexual. No, there was definitely another reason or reasons, and she makes that pretty clear in her book. She also makes it clear that she really doesn’t know why but that for her it had something to do with having power over people, particularly men but women too (she was somewhat bisexual).

    Plus, whatever she was doing as a young girl in the atmosphere of the 70s doesn’t explain what she was doing—or coming very close to doing—many years later when in her 40s and married.

  37. neo-neocon Says:


    I can’t tell when women have sexual charisma most of the time. These friends of mine who have it have something I can’t detect. I see the effects of it—men being drawn to them—but I can’t see the thing itself.

    Even with Marilyn Monroe, her sexual attractiveness (which is obvious—certainly her physical attractiveness is obvious, and she dresses sexy and walks sexy and acts sexy) seems somehow fake to me. It always seemed like a caricature of sexiness, pretend sexiness.

    Someone like Sophia Loren or Jeanne Moreau seemed to have real sexiness, if that makes any sense. But these friends of mine bear no resemblance to either the Marilyn Monroe type of sexiness or the Loren type. They seem ordinary to me. Maybe that’s because they not interacting with me that way—they haven’t turned on whatever it is until they’re interacting with a man.

    However, there’s a hint in what you say. You wrote:

    …they seem to admire you even though they don’t know you. Very flattering. The next thing you notice is that they are sending signals that they are available – to you.

    I am not a good actress. In fact, I’m a terrible actress. And although I don’t think I’m a snob, there aren’t so very many people who, on meeting them, I find I genuinely admire.

    So random guys at parties are not going to feel either admired by me or flattered by me. I’m not going to be rude or nasty—I try to be pleasant, interested, and interesting, as well as humorous—but in general they don’t get the sense that I’m looking up to them and I can’t fake it because I’m not looking up to them. Plus, as far as being available goes, I’m not available in that way to most people. I’m not looking for random hookups and I doubt very much that anyone has ever gotten the idea that I am. When I really like someone and am attracted, I think they get the idea pretty strongly, but that’s because I really am available—to them.

  38. Ann Says:

    How interesting, Neo, that she seems to have changed her tune about all that now. Maybe some negative feedback about what she said in the book got to her? Strange lady, in any case.

  39. neo-neocon Says:


    Well, maybe I’m not remembering it exactly correctly. But I recall that she kept discussing the incident for most of the book as though it was a formative one, and then in a much longer passage she went back and forth in a very confused way and basically said she doesn’t think it made the difference at all.

  40. F Says:

    I was an extra on a Hollywood film production once in an overseas location – where doesn’t particularly matter to this story.

    The two stars — an A- man and A grade woman whose names I don’t want to share — were nice enough people in real life, and we spent some time talking. At one point during the film the male star said something teasing to the woman, and she turned to him and “turned on the charm.” I was stunned. When I talked to her she was a somewhat mousy woman with no sex appeal at all. But when she turned on the charm with the man the whole room lit up, and even I could feel it. I don’t think there was a man in that room who didn’t feel a little warmth in his loins when she did that. I can’t explain it, and I can not even describe it clearly, but it was so evident I remember it very precisely.

  41. vanderleun Says:

    She’s an “It Girl” as they used to say. Well if you look at a selection photos of her — and you know — then, if you’re a man you’ll know:

    “She didn’t look like no high-school sweetheart.
    She was no obvious beauty queen.
    But she had something every man knows,
    That fire that’s felt not seen.”

  42. ErisGuy Says:

    Toxoplasma gondii or something similar?

    I knew a woman who initiated sex with everyone and had sex with anyone willing. I found her creepy and irritating before I learned that about her. I wasn’t interested, she reminded me of a prostitute who’d accosted me on 6th street one evening. Her touch seemed actually slimy.

    Afterwards I heard stories from everyone telling about how someone else had had sex with her, but omitted their own encounters. Hard leftist, of course. After she ran out of lovers, she moved to another city to start over.

  43. Richard Aubrey Says:

    If you look in the dictionary next to “misses the obvious”, you’ll find my picture.

    I never met, nor sensed that i recall, anything like this. The people I knew who had legions hanging around them were exceptionally and exclusively very, very good looking.
    Some women I knew dialed it back in dress, hair, makeup, and bearing. And they were careful to be barely civil to guys they didn’t know well.
    One woman I knew working in a field project had a self-presentation in public of “don’t even think it”. She was friendly once she was sure you weren’t going to pester her, and possibly relieved and thus even more cheerful and personable. But even in a meeting of colleagues….there it was.
    I knew one guy, not at all prepossessing, who was on his fourth divorce in about thirty years. He had persistence, but it took some effort. Nobody was going after him.
    I believe people can turn it on wrt some one they wish to impress. But broadcast…. Never seen it. If I had felt something, it would have been explained by the other’s physical attractiveness.

    Still, see Crabb, “Men, Women, Enjoying the Difference”
    One item he discusses in detail–others pass by without much emphasis–is that if a woman treats her/a man as if she trusts and appreciates him, he’ll be a bigger man. More assertive, problem solving, take care of business, protective, better in bed, etc.
    If not, whatever the opposite looks like, he’ll be a feckless wimp sitting uselessly on the sofa dreaming things that would make a pron producer blush.
    The guy who is in the first case is going to feel some version of ten feet tall and bullet proof and…he’ll like it.
    Maybe that’s it.

  44. Mike K Says:

    At one point during the film the male star said something teasing to the woman, and she turned to him and “turned on the charm.” I was stunned. When I talked to her she was a somewhat mousy woman with no sex appeal at all. But when she turned on the charm with the man the whole room lit up, and even I could feel it. I don’t think there was a man in that room who didn’t feel a little warmth in his loins when she did that.

    I tread something similar about Marilyn Monroe who demonstrated to a friend how she could “turn on” the sex appeal.

  45. artemptydgr Says:


  46. arfldgrs Says:

    that habit of self-presentation extends easily into answering political questionnaires. What they are doing in answering the questionnaires is normal for them and is probably perceived as virtuous. It requires no special pretence or effort. It is normal. It is a habit to them to misrepresent their aims and thoughts. – John Jay Ray

  47. AesopFan Says:

    The “turning on” phenomenon is not restricted to women.
    I still vividly remember watching it happen with Gene Kelly.
    In those of his films most familiar to me (Singing in the Rain, Brigadoon, and the less-often watched Anchors Aweigh, On the Town) he comes across as a reasonably good-looking, talented dude, but not as — pardon the expression — a “stud muffin.”
    However, there is a scene in “American in Paris” where he isn’t even singing or dancing, just leaning against the wall next to the open door of the leading lady’s apartment, just talking, dressed in a white tee-shirt that showed his muscular arms, and it was suddenly a case of “whoa! who is this guy?!”
    Very powerful, and I’m not even sure the director was aware of the impact.
    Maybe it was just me.

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