Book Summaries Psychology

Part 1: The Anti-Seducer (The Art of Seduction)

But if, like the winter cat upon the hearth, the lover clings when he is dismissed, and cannot bear to go, certain means must be taken to make him understand; and these should be progressively ruder and ruder, until they touch him to the quick of his flesh. • She should refuse him the bed, and jeer at him, and make him angry; she should stir up her mother’s enmity against him; she should treat him with an obvious lack of candor, and spread herself in long considerations about his ruin; his departure should be openly anticipated, his tastes and desires should be thwarted, his poverty outraged; she should let him see that she is in sympathy with another man, she should blame him with harsh words on every occasion; she should tell lies about him to her parasites, she should interrupt his sentences, and send him on frequent errands away from the house. She should seek occasions of quarrel, and make him the victim of a thousand domestic perfidies; she should rack her brains to vex him; she should play with the glances of another in his presence, and give herself up to reprehensible profligacy before his face; she should leave the house as often as possible, and let it be seen that she has no real need to do so. All these means are good for showing a man the door.


Greene explains to us what the anti-seducer is, the qualities that repel people away from us. The first has to do with attention.

Being paid no attention is infuriating in the game of seduction but necessary. If taken too far, it will break the seductive spell, and even create hatred. Claudius was insensitive because of necessity. He his ambition among dangerous competitors, but this insensitivity became second nature. Claudius became slovenly, and this had an adverse effect on his marriage. His wife wondered how an ugly guy like Claudius didn’t notice her. No matter what she did – affairs with other men, outbursts of anger – he didn’t care. But Claudius marks the extreme. Most people fall into a spectrum. Often, we seem the seductive charge gone in couples who have been together for years. The inevitable result of this inattention is cheating.

Another anti-seductive quality is presumptuousness.

There is nothing more anti-seductive than feeling that someone has assumed that you are theirs, that you cannot possibly resist them. The slightest appearance of this kind of conceit is deadly to seduction; you must prove yourself, take your time, win your target’s heart. Perhaps you fear that he or she will be offended by a slower pace, or will lose interest. It is more likely, however, that your fear reflects your own insecurity, and insecurity is always anti-seductive. In truth, the longer you take, the more you show the depth of your interest, and the deeper the spell you create.

Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction

If you really want to “anti-seduce,” simply feign these qualities.

Nag; talk a lot, particularly about yourself; dress against the other person’s tastes; pay no attention to detail; suffocate, and so on.

Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction

"A gilded No is more satisfactory than a dry yes" - Gracian

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.