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Seduction 101: Arden Leigh shows you how

Posted by Karyn Polewaczyk  February 10, 2014 03:52 PM

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It's Valentine's week, which means the competition for over-the-top shows of love and affection begin now; or in the case of my neighborhood CVS, they began sometime around January 8. Are you ready to duke it out over the last box of Ferrero Rocher? (Don't answer that.)

But being sexy—and seductive—is not about Hallmark holidays, or even strategically-placed underpinnings from Victoria's Secret. According to Arden Leigh, female pickup artist, relationship coach and author of The New Rules of Attraction: How to Get Him, Keep Him, and Make Him Beg for More, seduction is about finding happiness with yourself first, a tool necessary for self-improvement. Seduction also doesn't require the addition of a significant other (though if you're waiting around for a date in time for Friday, here's a hint: inaction will lead to more waiting), but as her book, and every other worthwhile advice book I've read and reviewed here has said, you'll need to put yourself out there to find one.

Are you ready to become a cooler, more confident you, with a better dating life to boot? It’s possible—if you’re willing to put in the work. Here’s how to get started.

Thumbnail image for New-RulesFINALcvr.jpgCredit: Arden Leigh/Sourcebooks

What inspired you to write your book?

I wrote the book out of necessity, born out of my frustration with dating in my early 20s. I discovered the pickup artist (PUA) community in 2007—read the books, watched the shows about it. I went to any events I could. I met Neil Strauss [author of The Game] at one of his book signings, and we became friends. When people asked where the book was for women, I knew I had something on my hands.

You mention in your book that you’re not keen on using the term “date.” Why is that?

I think it’s more about maintaining what’s called plausible desirability the first few times you’re out with someone. You can hang out as friends, and keep the flirty tension. That’s what keeps it fun and exciting. That way, you’re not putting pressure on someone; you can focus on being charming, and get comfortable. After there’s been a kiss, per se, then you can call it a date. You want to give time and space for things to escalate.

What’s your method like now?

My game has gotten smoother and quicker over the years. I’m more confident in relaying my interests right up front; I also feel like there’s less of a stigma for women to initiate. When you’re first engaged in the art of seduction, there’s less of a chance of rejection up front. Then you can set your hooks. Lately I’ve been asking out people pretty boldly. It comes from a place of abundance. When you’re already seeing a couple of people, there’s no scarcity in your life. You can toss something out there and see if it sticks. If I write a book again, I’d explain more about how it works, why it works and in what context, and give some other options as well.

Do you think women are too obsessed about titling things up front, i.e. “Is this a date? Is he my boyfriend?”

There are people who rely on labels. What’s your goal? You’re basically making your relationship a full-time job. If you’re truly looking for an authentic relationship, the relationship is only as good as what’s inside the box. I’ve seen a lot of relationships where people have Facebook, photos, and they’re miserable. I think there’s certainly a point where, if you’re seeing a guy and he’s being sneaky and doesn’t want to call you his girlfriend, it’s certainly a time to question and ask if you’re getting the short end of the stick. Don’t assume having the label is going to fix everything. I’ve seen men make the mistake, too, so I don’t think it’s all that gender specific.

The other mistake is overanalyzing. What does every little text message or Facebook post mean? What I like to encourage is for people to look at the overall picture. Are you getting your needs met? Is he treating you well? That’s what matters more than a label.

What do looks have to do with seduction?

My book got flack for women cultivating appearances. The only reason I wrote about that is because my book is for women. I’d tell men the same thing. On the subway, walking down the street, I see guys who look exactly the same. The same button-down shirt and khaki pants. They look like carbon copies of each other. It’s not inspiring. I think it’s funny because I put so much energy into it [my image] myself and into creating this authentic expression of my values and the things I’m passionate about, and I aim to be inspiring to other people as well. When you care about your looks, you’re putting something out there for people to appreciate and admire. If you don’t, it’s selfish; you’re not inspiring anything. We it owe it to ourselves and the world around us to put the best version of ourselves out there.

There’s lots of complaints about East Coast dating—it’s tough, it’s cold, it’s hard. Your thoughts about that?

The best way to address it isn’t a quick fix. It’s all about developing your social circle, having hobbies and places to go. I’m meeting new people through those things all the time. I take Parkour classes. I wanted to do something different and fun, and I’ve met a lot of people through that, too. They say you’re most likely to make work or career connections through your weak ties. Who’s the person who’s going to give you your next job? A former roommate, a cousin might do that. People who are maybe two or three degrees removed from you. It’s just as true of relationships. You won’t date an immediate friend, but people who are their friends, and friends of friends, are fair game and potential partners. If you’re someone who works a 9-5 job, goes the same bar, goes home and goes to sleep, it’ll be hard to meet new people. If you have someone stuck in that daily routine, I recommend things like Tindr or online dating to shake it up and meet people you’ve never met before. I’m ambivalent about online dating, but it can certainly work if someone doesn’t feel they have the time to expand their interests and social circles.

What about getting back into the saddle after being in a relationship?

There’s a learning curve. Maybe you’ve just gotten out of long-term relationship and you’ve let your social life drop off a bit. I’ve been in that position. All of a sudden, you’re faced with a gap in your schedule. I’ve let friendships drop off. You do have to let things happen organically and not put pressure on the other person. The more you keep going out and having fun, the easier it gets. Be genuinely interested and invested in your interests and hobbies. I made friendships through Parkour, but I started classes because I genuinely wanted to learn a new skill set. The more you keep doing that, you get better at it.

How can someone approach and seduce if they’re out with friends?

In terms of going out with friends, you need the kind who understand the goal of the night is to go out and meet new people. You gather your wingwomen and you go out and meet and new interesting people. You make approaches yourself. You focus on being approachable. Angle your body out toward the room rather than in toward each other, which signals you’re closed off. There are times you go out with friends, and it’s strictly a girls’ night. It’s insular, and that’s okay. But you do want to make sure the women you go out with also want to meet people. Talk about guys you want to approach.

What if someone's never approached a guy before, or is afraid of rejection?

If you see someone, make it happen. It doesn’t mean I always do the actual formality of asking out. If there’s someone I want I’ll approach them one way or another. I might flirt, or start a conversation with that person’s friend; maybe have them introduce me. But I always feel like I’m engineering it in some way. Men come to me for pickup advice and I can tell them according to the methodology I’ve studied. Women are the one doing the choosing and picking. I think I like it that way. That way, you choose who you’re attracted to and pursue that person rather than hope.

Share a few tips for someone who’s interested in becoming more seductive.

1. Work on your personal brand. Build up your identity so that it becomes an authentic expression of your own interest. It’s the confidence that comes with being happy to be yourself, and translates to the world.
2. Work on your social circle. Do fun things, join Meetup groups, cultivate hobbies. Be an interesting person. We all say we wish we had the time to do it—so start small. Try it once a week for now. The key is to start.
3. Don’t be afraid to approach someone you’re interested in. You can try it out by approaching people you want to be friends with. That way, you can develop the skill set needed for romantic pursuits.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About this blog

Karyn Polewaczyk lives and writes in Boston, and believes that heading out into that good night, like any adventure, begins with the first step. Let's Go Out is a conversation about dating and nightlife in our notoriously chilly city, with first-hand tips from the trenches. Karyn's writing, which focuses largely on women's lifestyle topics, has appeared in the Weekly Dig, Jezebel, xoJane, Northshore Magazine and More.com, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @KarynPolewaczyk.

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