A seductress casts a spell by making herself very available at the beginning of a relationship so it appears to be less work and less risk for the man. But then, when he has grown used to her attentions and charms, she suddenly makes herself unavailable for a seemingly unbearable period of time -- though always with a reasonable explanation. Whatever her reason, she ensures her object of interest doesn’t feel abandoned, simply aware that by not having pinned her to a commitment, he could very well lose her.
“She is like a skilled fisherman,” says psychiatrist Carole Lieberman. “She lets the bait dangle close to the fish’s mouth, then she pulls it away. Then she lets it dangle, then she pulls it away, with the soft to-and-fro of the current, until the next time the fish sees the bait, he can’t help but swallow it, hook, line and sinker.”
This tactic is something Lieberman calls the “bait-and-switch” and it is one of the many tricks that “bad girls” use to get the guys they want – tricks that so-called “good girls” would do well to learn.
“It’s the bad girls who get all the guys,” says Lieberman. “The good girls are left sitting on the shelf.”
In her book Bad Girls, readers meet the gold-digger, the addict, the sex siren, the sexual withholder, the married woman on the prowl, the commitment-phobe, the husband hunter and trapper, the husband stealer, the ultimate damsel in distress, the cougar, the ball-buster, and the bad girl scorned. After a somewhat Freudian detour into the minds and histories of these bad girl archetypes, illustrated frequently by conjectures about the dysfunctional relationships with their fathers, the reader is given a breakdown of these women’s alluring characteristics and techniques, among them the previously-mentioned “bait-and-switch.”
The self-help book garnered its author a fair share of criticism, but Lieberman is no stranger to controversy. Earlier this year, she told Fox News that video games which connect sexual and violent imagery have the psychological impact of doubling the excitement associated with these two things, thus inciting copycat acts. These statements, coupled with others she made previously calling video games, violent movies, toys, rap lyrics “modern weapons of mass destruction” caused the blogosphere to explode with criticism. She takes such critique in stride; to those who fail to see the good in Bad Girls she points out that such manuals invite self-reflection and this one in particular offers women numerous ways to up their dating game and spice up their existing relationships.
“I interviewed over a hundred men before I wrote the book to find out about their bad girl stories,” Lieberman says. “These interviews were in-depth, at least three to four hours long, and the men I spoke with shared a lot of really intimate details – not only sexually intimate, but personally, emotionally intimate – and for women to read these stories and see what the bad girls did that attracted and kept the men they desired is useful. The last chapter, Bad girls’ Secrets to a Man’s Heart, distills everything they read in the stories steps that women can follow to make themselves as desirable to men as bad girls.”
These steps are divided into different categories in the book.
“I call Kate Middleton a good girl who used bad girl tactics to catch her prince,” says Lieberman. “She wore a see-through dress in a college fashion show and that’s how she got Prince William’s attention. They were just friends before that – not even really great friends, they were in some classes together. She modeled this dress -- which was supposed to be a skirt – over black bra and panties. It wasn’t just sexy – wearing that dress showed she had the audacity to wear this kind of dress. That’s an example of tactics. Later, when they were dating and he wanted to sow his wild oats, instead of running after him crying and screaming and being angry, she let him go and went out on her own and got photographed in clubs with other people. After a while, when he realized he could lose her, he came running back.”
The “bad girls” Lieberman writes about may be destructive and self-sabotaging in their own lives, but she is convinced their tactics could benefit any woman who wants to learn the courtship dance -- without any adverse effects.
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