Mystery vs. Intrigue

It’s a rather common — and mistaken — belief that building an air of mystery around yourself will make you more attractive. And it’s easy enough to see how that belief might develop. We know the trope from film and television and Jane Austen novels: a stranger comes to town, he’s handsome (not to mention obscenely wealthy) and the heroine just cannot help herself but to try to find out more about him, to get into his head, to peel back every layer of that mysterious onion, and in the course of learning about our mysterious stranger she falls madly in love with him. Who wouldn’t want to be able to produce that pattern on demand?

The problem is that mystery isn’t the right quality to be building. Guys will hear they’re supposed to be mysterious and immediately they begin withholding every bit of information about themselves. They don’t give their real names, they make up obviously fake jobs, and they seemingly vanish into the aether when they leave the venue.

If done extremely well, this can work. But what doesn’t work when done extremely well? What you want is a plan that works when you’re just reasonably competent, and what happens when you have reasonably competent mysteriousness? You seem evasive, like you have something to hide. And since this isn’t a court of law, your silence can be interpreted as evidence against you. Not to mention you can become very annoying very quickly. It’s a bit like trying to have a conversation with someone who answers every question with a question — not really a turn on.

What you should be trying to cultivate rather than mystery is intrigue. The difference is that mystery is about never letting her see behind the curtain, while intrigue is about inch by inch very slowly pulling the curtain back. Mystery says not to reveal, while intrigue says to reveal but be smart about it.

There’s a saying that the sexiest part of a woman’s body is whatever part it kept just out of view. It’s the next inch above the bottom of a skirt, no matter how long the skirt is. Purveyors of pornography figured this out long ago. That’s why porn doesn’t start with a naked woman, it starts with one who is clothed and who removes her clothing piece by piece. And of course before that lesson they also learned that eventually you’ve got to show the naked lady, she can’t remain a fully clothed mystery forever.

Move Slowly

For many recovering average frustrated chumps, the instinct is to bombard a girl with all of your best qualities as soon as you can. If you don’t, you run the risk of her rejecting you before you’ve finished making your case. That’s just fear and self doubt talking. If she’s already lost interest, telling her you aced the SAT isn’t going to suddenly get her back. But if she is interested, laying all your cards on the table makes the rest of your interactions dull. Part of what makes relationships fun is the exploration, and yanking the curtain wide open puts an immediate end to that.

Hold some cards back. If you’re an excellent cook, resist the urge to invite her over for dinner at your place for a second date.

You also want to speak less. I don’t mean during the approach or when you’ve only been in set for a couple minutes. At that point you really do have to carry the conversation. I mean later on in the interaction, don’t feel like you need to fill up every moment with spoken noise. Make eye contact, kino, and give her the mental space necessary to wonder what you’re thinking.

Be Surprising

If you keep going on the same kinds of dates over and over, even if she’s enjoying them, things will become stale and boring. If you normally go out for drinks or just hang out at your place, invite her to go hiking, or go to the zoo, or to Color Me Mine and paint coffee mugs. Not only is it just fun to have a change of pace, but she’ll realize that there’s a whole other side to you that she didn’t know about before. She’ll want to explore that territory. She’ll also begin to feel excitement as she anticipates what the next surprise will be. That’s free intrigue right there! You haven’t even done the next surprising thing yet.

This is also why you have to hold some cards back. If you use all your good moves up front then you don’t have any moves left.

Have Something Behind The Curtain Worth Revealing

This is the tough part. It’s easy to build suspense and keep her on her toes, but at the end of the day there’s gotta be something back there. If you’ve been going to movies and out for drinks and playing Scrabble in cafes and then invite her over for a dinner you’re going to cook that will surprise and intrigue her. But the intrigue will end when she realizes you’re a mediocre cook. If you cook something unique and delicious though, now you’ve built more interest, she wants to know how you got to be such a good cook and what else you’re capable of doing.

So what can you do to put some good stuff behind the curtain? All the obvious things you’d think of if you tried to answer the question for yourself.

Read more, and something other than self help guides — read some classic novels, literary fiction, memoirs, popular science, whatever you find interesting.

Work on a creative hobby. Yeah, that means playing less video games. If you like playing guitar, really work on it, don’t be content with your current skill level. If you like cooking, start reading Cooks Country to really understand the craft better. Whatever it is, take it seriously.

Get out of the house and go do something. Go to an art museum, go to the zoo, go to a comedy show, or a concert, or a baseball game. Sitting at home watching ESPN doesn’t count. That’s not an experience. Sitting at the stadium is an experience, something you can talk about doing. Even if the girl isn’t in to baseball, she will find it interesting that you go out and experience life. That’s an increasingly rare trait these days. If you try to talk about how you sat on the couch watching the NBA finals you’re likely to bore her to sleep (with someone else).

Lastly, exercise more. You might present a mystery to medical researchers, but within the context of seduction, there’s nothing intriguing about a lifeless sack of raw dough. Someone who is in shape though? It encourages speculation about how you do it, and gives off the general impression of living an active, exciting life, even if your exercise routine is itself boring.

And that right there is really the key to building intrigue. Have something intriguing, then just fine tune your delivery.

Post a comment

You may use the following HTML:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>