Swoon (Book Review)


title: Swoon – Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them

author: Betsy Prioleau

what you’ll learn: how to enthrall women through their emotions

Why You Must Read It

Have you ever seen an average guy with a beautiful girl? He wasn’t tall or good-looking, and didn’t look rich. You can’t help but turn your head at the odd couple and wonder, “What does she see in him?” What does he have that you don’t?

Over Christmas and New Year, I finished a book, Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them, by Betsy Prioleau that explains why men who can attract a lot of women are not necessarily tall, good-looking, or rich.

Obviously, it helps if you are like the typical alpha ladies’ man. But if you aren’t, it is a waste of time to worry about things you cannot change. If you are not built like Adonis and do not have as much money as a Saudi prince, you can still become a great seducer.

And that is what the book will show you: how to win a lady by appealing to her heart.

Swoon is a bit like Robert Greene’s The Art of Seduction because it backs up its assertions with examples from history (such as Lord Byron and Gabriele D’Annunzio) and from romantic fiction. It goes even a few step further by including tales from modern-day Casanovas, historical love texts (Ovid’s works and Kama Sutra), and various religions.

I wasn’t too fond of the fictional examples, but the historical ones were very well done.

As Edmund Burke said, “In history, a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind.” Human nature doesn’t change. The fashion and trending tastes may change, but the way people fall in love remains constant.

With that being the case, what better way is there to learn about love than to examine the successful seducers of the past?

Prioleau’s featured ladies men varied greatly, from politicians to photographers to authors to rock stars to computer programmers to doctors to many more.

Swoon isn’t a book that teaches you how to get laid. (Although it can lead to that.) It is not a step-by-step manual for finding love. (Although you can learn how to by reading between the lines.) It is deeper than that. It shows you how you can win a woman’s heart. And once you capture her heart, you capture her body, mind, and soul.

The good news is that there are many different ways to seduce women. You do not have to mold yourself into some pre-defined, cookie-cutter shape. You can be a ladies man by being a rugged outdoorsman, a handicapped intellectual, a tortured and creative soul, or anything in between.

(I am reminded of the blind mack on the plane. Despite his handicap and a lower-than-average outward appearance, he did very well with the girl sitting next to him. His secret? The gift of gab.)

You don’t have to change who you are. You just have to become a better version of who you are. What does that mean?

One of the things I noticed about all great seducers in the book was their possession of boldness. They were not afraid to tell the women that they were interested. They had different ways of expressing themselves. Some did it through conversation (which is my forte). Others did it through poetry. Some even did it through music.

None of them were the typical nice guys were who fine being in platonic relationships. They wanted something more and made it known.

Chapter 4 and the first quarter of chapter 5 is the crux of how to seduce. Those couple pages alone are worth the price of the book.

Keep in mind the author is a woman. Thus, the book is written from a female point of view. It criticizes pickup artists and PUA culture with venom. It also considers great seducers men who love women. One of the examples was Casanova who parted with women all on good terms.

But it is easy to get “love” confused with civility, gentleness, attention, desire, and honey-coated words. Most of the seducers have multiple women in their lives and struggled with monogamy. I can think of a couple real-life men who said and did all the right things, won their women’s hearts, and only to betray their “loves” in the end.

Overall, Swoon is a solid, well-researched book. If you are interested in becoming a great seducer and speaking to women through their emotions, you should incorporate this book into your love arsenal.

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Table of Contents

Introduction – Great Seducers: The Men, the Myths

Part I – Anatomy of the Great Seducers

  • 1. Charisma: Lightning in a Bottle
  • 2. Character: The Goods

Part II – The Seducer’s Way

  • 3. Lassoing Love: The Senses
  • 4. Lassoing Love: The Mind
  • 5. Locking in Love
  • 6. Torching Up Love
  • 7. The Great Seducer Now

Choice Excerpt

Sebastian D. knows a thing or two about love and seduction. He has written novels and made movies on the subject, and at age forty, has the reputation as one of the “really exceptional ladies’ men” of today. At the moment, he’s busy promoting his new indie film, but he accepts a lunch date to chat about Casanovas, himself in particular. True, he is stunning — a fine-boned British version of Javier Bardem in a Brioni suit and vintage swing coat. But he exudes something else: a sexy, nervy energy. “I’m not sure what it is,” he says in a cut-glass Cambridge accent. “I mean, I’m fascinated by women constantly, and if you want to get that girl, of course, there are tactics …”

The more he talks, though, the more “tactics” recede. Instead, he riffs on Freud and “fascination,” and reminisces about girlfriends past and present. By dessert, his main strategy is out of the bag: a full-on frontal assault when he “fancies” someone. For instance, he once met a Persian woman at an LA nightclub, and at the end of the evening, turned to her and whispered in Farsi, “Esh-ghe-mani” — You touch my soul. They were together for almost a year. “The important thing,” he writes later, “is that it’s sincerely expressed. We Casanovas fear the wrath of Eros should we misuse that word for cynical, seductive means.” He told the woman, with whom he now has a daughter, on their first date, “I want us to be lovers; I want to make you sigh like no man has made you sigh before.”

Scientists speculate the women’s sex drive may need displays of avid desire for peak efficiency. It takes a greater jolt to “switch on a woman’s libido,” writes University of Nevada psychologist Marta Meana. “Being desired is very arousing to women.” Over half of female fantasies revealed a wish to be sexually irresistible and, in some cases, “ravished.” What a woman craves, explains Meredith Chivers, is a passion so intense that it shatters constraints, fires desire, and allows her to be “all in the midbrain.” An ardent advance is also a “woman’s moment of power,” giving her the high ground of erotic choice.

For millennia men have been hectored to haul out. “Let the man be first to make the approach and entreaty,” Ovid enjoined. “Ask her outright!” The Hindu author of the Kama Sutra directed suitors to take command and confess endless devotion. In the Middle Ages, courtly lovers were expected to storm “the door of love’s palace.” Robert Louis Stevenson, a ladies’ man himself, berated “anaemic and tailorish” men who dithered in desire; a man should be so overcome by passion that he runs out “with open arms” and declares himself. People feel only aversion, wrote psychologist Henry Finck, for lovers who hang fire and are “neither hot nor cold.”

Women may be intrinsically repelled by tepid Romeos. According to cultural psychologist Matt Ridley and others, males are the seducers in 99 percent of animal species and are genetically programmed to take the initiative: “Women may flirt, but men pounce.”

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