Think of seduction as a world you enter, a world that is separate and distinct from the real world. The rules are different here; what works in daily life can have the opposite effect in seduction. The real world features a democratizing, leveling impulse, in which everything has to seem at least something like equal. An overt imbalance of power, an overt desire for power, will stir envy and resentment; we learn to be kind and polite, at least on the surface. Even those who have power generally try to act humble and modest—they do not want to offend. In seduction, on the other hand, you can throw all of that out, revel in your dark side, inflict a little pain—in some ways be more yourself. Your naturalness in this respect will prove seductive in itself. The problem is that after years of living in the real world, we lose the ability to be ourselves. We become timid, humble, overpolite. Your task is to regain some of your childhood qualities, to root out all this false humility. And the most important quality to recapture is boldness.
No one is born timid; timidity is a protection we develop. If we never stick our necks out, if we never try, we will never have to suffer the consequences of failure or success. If we are kind and unobtrusive, no one will be offended—in fact we will seem saintly and likable. In truth, timid people are often self-absorbed, obsessed with the way people see them, and not at all saintly. And humility may have its social uses, but it is deadly in seduction. You need to be able to play the humble saint at times; it is a mask you wear. But in seduction, take it off. Boldness is bracing, erotic, and absolutely necessary to bring the seduction to its conclusion. Done right, it tells your targets that they have made you lose your normal restraint, and gives them license to do so as well. People are yearning to have a chance to play out the repressed sides of their personality. At the final stage of a seduction, boldness eliminates any awkwardness or doubts. In a dance, two people cannot lead. One takes over, sweeping the other along. Seduction is not egalitarian; it is not a harmonic convergence. Holding back at the end out of fear of offending, or thinking it correct to share the power, is a recipe for disaster. This is an arena not for politics but for pleasure. It can be by the man or woman, but a bold move is required. If you are so concerned about the other person, console yourself with the thought that the pleasure of the one who surrenders is often greater than that of the aggressor.