The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Art of Seduction

Overview

You're no idiot, of course. You've heard that oysters are a great aphrodisiac, know that everybody looks better in candlelight, and can wink without making it look like something got caught in your eye. But when it comes to putting these talents together and seducing the one you want, you feel like cupid without a bow and arrow. Don't hang up your wings just yet! The complete Idiot's Guide to the Art of Seduction is here to teach you the tricks of the trade. In this Complete ...

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Overview

You're no idiot, of course. You've heard that oysters are a great aphrodisiac, know that everybody looks better in candlelight, and can wink without making it look like something got caught in your eye. But when it comes to putting these talents together and seducing the one you want, you feel like cupid without a bow and arrow. Don't hang up your wings just yet! The complete Idiot's Guide to the Art of Seduction is here to teach you the tricks of the trade. In this Complete Idiot's Guide, you get:

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780028627380
  • Publisher: Alpha Books
  • Publication date: 12/7/1998
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.41 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet O'Neal, also known as "The Love Coach," counsels clients in the area of relationships. She is the author of the innovative Cracking the Love Code. She resides in Houston, Texas.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 3

Physical Attraction: Looking Seductive

In This Chapter
  • Taking inventory of your physical traits
  • Determining how to make the most of your best,and the least of your worst
  • Gaining realistic expectations for yourself
  • Developing your own personal style

The first element of seductiveness is your physical self. Whatever those enlightened folks may say about how unimportant physical appearance is, let's face it: Your physi-cal being is the first thing people notice when they meet you. Your appearance is going to make an impression, one way or another.

You may think you don't have a lot of control over your fundamental appearance, short of paying a visit to a plastic surgeon. In truth, however, there are plenty of things you can do to enhance the looks you were born with. Accentuating your good points, while minimizing those characteristics you consider flaws, is a common practice, not to mention the basis for a multibillion dollar cosmetics industry. So let's begin build-ing that altar of desire you're going to be.

Is Your Presence a Sensual Delight or a Sensory Assault?

To become as physically alluring as possible, begin with an honest appraisal of your looks. Be thorough but don't be overly critical. The best way to start is to divide your physical presence into two distinct categories: what you like, and what you're not so fond of.

Start by rating your face. This is the first part of you that most people will notice. (In a little while we'll discuss body image and self-appraisal; just concentrate on your face for now.)

1. Stand in front of a mirror and really look at your face. Don't protest that this seems vain; you know very well that when nobody is around, you will gaze into the mirror, testing out new expressions, and making sure that the old ones look the same as they did the last time you checked. At least now you've been given permission, and you're doing it for a real purpose. Look at your eyes, nose, mouth, and the texture of the skin. Pretend the image you see in the mirror belongs to somebody else and that you're evaluating the elements to determine how they look to you.Ask the Love Coach The secret to looking seductive is part physical enhancement,part illusion,and a large measure of attitude.To be seductive,you don 't have to have been born with designer genes;you just need to learn to work with what you have (which is more than you think!).
2. After you're done with the visual appraisal, make your list. Divide it into two columns:"Enhance," which are the features you like; and"Refine," the features you think need improvement. Perhaps your favorite feature is your mouth. You see a deliciously sensuous, sexy, kissable mouth. (And, yes, men and women can both have sensuous mouths, so lighten up, guys.) Your mouth definitely qualifies as an enhanceable element, so write it down on that side. On the"Refine" side, you might write down that you're not fond of your eyes because you wear glasses. Maybe you heard the term"four-eyes" a little too often while you were a kid, or maybe someone you didn't particularly like wore glasses, and you can't quite kick the association. For whatever reasons, the glasses are a bummer for you. So on one side of the list, you've got those eyes that just don't do much for you, but on the other side you have those gorgeous lips.
3. Decide what to do about the items on the"Refine" side of your list. (The features you like, of course, you'll just leave alone. If it works, don't fix it, right?) As was the case in your decision to become seductive, you'll probably find that goal setting will help you make the desired changes in your appearance. In some cases only a short-term goal is necessary, and long-term goal setting won't necessarily apply.
There are some things you can do one time that will make a significant differ-ence. Suppose, for instance, that you don't like your glasses. The short-term goal here is a no-brainer: get contacts. If you can't wear contacts, you can simply buy a better-looking style of glasses. If, however, you want a long-term solution that involves neither contacts nor glasses, you might look into some of the newer and safer surgical techniques for correcting visual impairment. If you and your doctor decide this option is right for you, but you can't afford it now, this could be one of your long-term goals.

I want to share with you the stories of two people I've worked with in the past. We'll call the woman Julia, and the man Harold. Like most of us, Julia and Harold were not entirely happy with their appearances. But by being honest in their self-assessment, and making a series of short- and long-term goals, they were able to recreate them-selves and increase their seductiveness quotient considerably.

Julia:Facing the Trut

Julia assessed her face and decided that her best feature was definitely her mouth. She had pouty, sensuous, Sophia Loren lips. Unfortunately, she wore thick glasses, and always felt self-conscious about them. Finally Julia decided she would break down and get contacts. She had always been afraid contacts would be difficult to put in, but her desire to become the sexiest woman she could be was strong, and getting stronger all the time. So she forced herself to overcome her trepidation over putting her fingers in her eyes, and got fitted with soft contact lenses. She decided to go for blue contacts— deep blue. Yum!27

Julia didn't want to wear her contacts all the time, so she also invested in a pair of very attractive eyeglasses. This brings me to another point: Don't fret if you're one of those people who can't wear contacts; these days you can choose from an endless array of flattering lens and frame styles.

While Julia was analyzing her face, she decided her make-up needed an update. Off she went to a well-known department store, where she met with a make-up consultant who diplomatically let her know that her look was slightly dated. Julia had a complimentary make-up redo, and was delighted with the results. Yet she just couldn't justify spending hundreds of dollars on the upscale cosmetics for sale at the counter. She thanked the cosmetic consultant, and her next stop was the drugstore, where she bought many of the same textures and colors of make-up. Thus she was able to re-create the look at a significantly lower cost.

For HER Eyes Only

Don 't hesitate to seek out expert advice on cosmetics;learn the basic principles of applying color and tex- ture to enhance your looks.If you can 't afford upscale-department- store prices,you can get the same look for much less at a drug or discount store.Or try some of the beauty supply stores that are popping up all over;these stores carry brand-name cosmetics at discount prices.

Harold:Right Hair,Right Now

Harold had a great face, with strong and even features, but his hair really wasn't that attractive. Actually, what was left of it was just fine, except he was losing it at a rapid rate. Lately he had resorted to the tried-but-not-so-true, "comb-it-over-the-shiny-spot" technique, which was highly unsatisfactory.

So, Harold made a short-term goal to get a different haircut. The other options were to invest in a toupee, spend a fortune on hair transplants, smear his head with minoxidil (which is far from 100 percent effective), or try some of that aerosol scalp coloring he'd seen on infomercials. None of these sounded at all appealing to him. Instead, he had his hair professionally styled in a way that didn't try to hide the fact that he was becom-ing bald. In short, he got a newer, snazzier look.

"Someday I may consider hair transplants, or maybe I'll try that new antibaldness pill that they've come out with," Harold says."But for now, I think I've made the best choice, and I'm happy with it."

Grooming and Hygiene

It's nearly impossible to come of age in our odor-conscious culture without knowing the basics about brushing, flossing, daily bathing, and using a good antiperspirant. I won't insult you by implying that you're other than fastidious in this area.

As for grooming, you're probably savvy about the essentials here too. If, however, you're well-groomed but still are not completely satisfied with your look, consider seeking assistance from someone whose profession it is to make people look good—a hairdresser or stylist, for example. These professionals deal with hundreds of different people, each of whom has a unique head shape, face, and hair texture. They can determine which hairstyle will work for you, and they can help devise the proper hair care routine for you.

Between your description of your lifestyle (including how much effort you want to expend on your hair) and the stylist's experience, you should be able to come up with a style that looks great all the time. A stylist might even save you from trying something that looks great on a magazine cover, but would look ridiculous on you. (And guys, more and more men are going to stylists these days, so don't feel self-conscious about it.)

For HIS Eyes Only

Some of the sexiest guys in history, such as Yul Brynner,were bald.In fact,in recent years some of Hollywood 's sexiest,such as Bruce Willis,Keenen Ivory Wayans,and Sean Connery,are balding (or bald) and not afraid to show it.Even Ted Danson has stopped wearing his toupee.These guys look great because they 've found that getting a cut to flatter them (and not hide their baldness)is what works. Remember:confidence is sexy!

For HIS Eyes Only

If your thinning hair is getting you down despite what we 've been saying about how sexy bald men can be,and minoxidil just isn 't for you, check with your doctor about a new antibaldness pill called finasteride (marketed under the trade name Propecia).This is a weaker version of a drug used to treat an enlarged prostate.It 's not a miracle potion, but preliminary results are promising.

Fitness and Health

Everybody has his or her own idea of what an ideal physical body looks like. Some people think anything short of Greek god/goddess perfection is completely unattractive. Other people, however, like the look of a few extra pounds on their love interests. So what level of fitness is right for you? The answer is, quite simply, whatever your personal best is.

Being healthy and fit doesn't necessarily mean being a gym junkie. What it does mean is the following:

  • You are approximately the right weight for your height and body structure.
  • You can function at your preferred activity level without tiring too quickly or hurting yourself.
  • You feel comfortable with your body. It is profoundly disturbing to hear about some lovely young woman who dies as a result of an extreme diet, all because her self-image was so distorted that she always felt that she was too fat.
Yet in our culture, we tend to encourage this very scenario by perpetuating the image of the ideal woman as being svelte, even waiflike. In recent years, critics have lashed out at the"heroin-chic" look of runway models, who look to all the world like strung-out junkies. Equally heartbreaking is the person, be it a man or a woman, who wrecks his body, destroys his internal organs, and develops cancer at a young age, all as a result of taking steroids to"improve" the body's definition.

It's far better to take an honest but kind look at your body as it is (more on that in a moment). Then work toward making it the best it was meant to be, rather than trying to change it drastically and force it into some completely unrealistic image.

For HER Eyes Only

Many women spend a lot of time on their nails;but did you know that extra-long fingernails can be a big turn-off for men?Surveys taken during the time I owned my video dating service revealed that men really don 't care for those brightly colored talons.Better to go for a more moderate look with well- manicured nails,and hands that look hold-able,not hazardous.

For HIS Eyes Only

Many women think beards and moustaches are very sexy,but remember that extra facial hair demands extra attention when it comes to grooming and hygiene. Keep beards and mustaches neatly trimmed,and consider investing in a mustache comb.And do take a few moments to give your face a once- over in a mirror after you 've eaten (you really don 't want your dinner companion to take one look at your beard and know exactly what you had for lunch,do you?).

The key to making your body the best it can be lies in— you guessed it—sound nutrition and some form of exercise. It is beyond the scope of this book to delve into the particulars of your nutrition program or exercise routine, but there are many good books on health, fitness, and nutrition (including, of course, some great Idiot's Guides); check your bookstore. Meanwhile, be good to your body, and the result will be that you'll feel good about yourself.

I

t 's Better than You Think: Adjusting Your Body Image

Let's check in on Harold and Julia again. In their own ways, each of them decided their body images needed some work. Both vowed to themselves to improve the way their bodies looked, but they were savvy enough to know they had to improve in their own eyes first, and then in the eyes of those around them. Similarly, each of us has to arrive at an image of ourselves that we are pleased with.

Like Harold and Julia, we can make a significant change in how we see our bodies by changing something simple and, to outward appearances, insignificant. Apply the"Refine"/"Enhance" list and the goal setting process to your body image, just as you applied it earlier to your face.

1. Stand naked in front of a mirror. (You knew this was coming, didn't you?) Take a good honest look at your body, but remember that honest doesn't mean ruthless.
2. As you did earlier, make a list with two columns:"Enhance" (what you like) and "Refine" (what you don't like).
3. Look at the list and decide what you can do—now and in the long run—to minimize the effect of each item on the"Refine" side of the list. At the same time, take each item on the"Enhance" side, and figure out a way to accentuate it.

Heart Brakes

All the medical reports tell us that dieting is not only ineffective;it is also counterproductive and even potentially dangerous.It 's far better to eat sensibly and get the exercise you need to maintain a sense of vitality,than to starve and exercise yourself to death,just to reach some unattainable goal...
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Table of Contents

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Art of Seduction

Part 1: Becoming a Modern-Day Seductress or Seducer
Chapter 1: Redefining Seduction
A Thousand Years of Good Intent
How Do You Tell the "Good" From the "Bad"?
Nonsexual Seduction: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly
Sexual Seduction: The Sublime and the Squalid
There's No Such Thing As a One-Night Stand: Seduction Has Lasting Effects
General Seductiveness: The Elements of Allure
Ingredients to Cast a Seductive Spell
Chapter 2: Goal Setting: The Proactive Approach to Seduction
Whose Life Is It, Anyway?
Maybe S/he's Born with It...But Probably Not
Short-Term Goals: The First Person You Must Seduce Is Yourself
Long-Term Goals: Attracting Who You Want
You Can Get There From Here: Putting Your Best Self Forward All the Time
Chapter 3: Physical Attraction: Looking Seductive
Is Your Presence a Sensual Delight or a Sensory Assault?
Grooming and Hygiene
Fitness and Health
It's Better than You Think: Adjusting Your Body Image
Even Cindy Crawford Doesn't Look Like Cindy Crawford...
Chiseled or Voluptuous? Achieving Your Personal Best Physique
You Wear It Well
What the Sirens Knew
Knowing Your Style Requires Knowing Yourself
Chapter 4: Intellectual Magnetism: Your Brain Is the Most Erogenous Part of Your Body
What Makes You Sexy? Your Thoughts
Your Intellectual Presence
Curiosity Livened Up the Cat
A World of Things to Be Curious About
Being Genius Enough to Admit to Ignorance
Chapter 5: Emotional Seductiveness: Creating Those Warm, Fuzzy Feelings
What's Your Compassion Quotient?
Feelings...Nothing More Than Feelings...
Learning to Listen: Using Your Ears and Your Heart
Fools Rush In, But Seductive People Listen
Learning How to "Resonate" with Someone
Laughter Is the Best Medicine (and the Best Aphrodisiac to Boot)
To Make Others Like You, Like Them
Emotional Seductiveness Creates a Win-Win Situation
Chapter 6: Spirit or Essence: All the Elements of Seductiveness... and More
What Color Is Your Aura?
Spirit, Essence, or Whatever You Want to Call It: It's What Makes You You
Self-Confidence: Where Does It Come From?
Essential Elements: Character and Intent
Self-Worth: The Reflection of Your Essence
Part 2: Attracting Dates: Casting Your Spell
Chapter 7: The Ultimate Seductress: A Man's Perspective
His Description of a Sexy Woman
The Real Deal
"Drop-Dead Gorgeous" Defined
Seductive Is As Seductive Does
The Spirit of the Enchantress...Making It or Breaking It Without Lifting a Finger
Chapter 8: The Ultimate Seducer: A Woman's Perspective
The Most Important Game You May Ever Play
Focus Makes Her Heart Grow Fonder
Forget the "Strong, Silent" Approach--Open Up!
Cleanliness Is Next to, Well, Her!
Romancing the "Little Woman" Ain't What It Used to Be
Chapter 9: Meeting Attractive People: Matching Your Destination with Your Expectation
Where in the World
Clubs and Bars: Keep Your Eyes Open, Your Head Clear, and Your Boots On
Attention Shoppers! There's a Macarena Contest in the Produce Section in 15 Minutes!
Singles Night at the Local Bookstore/Coffee Bar: Sometimes You Can Tell a Book by
Its Cover
No Matter How Weird It Is, There's Bound to Be a Group for It
Religious Groups: Who's There to Pray and Who's There to Prey?
The Internet: Getting Lucky Online
Personal Ads: Learning to Read Between the Lines
Dating Services: A Viable Alternative
What Are Friends For!
Unexpected Places: It's Not So Much Where You Go As What You Bring
Chapter 10: The Approach: Putting All That Preparation to Work
Like, What's Your Sign? Probably "Stop!"
When Silence Is Golden...and When to Break That Silence
Looking Interested, Not Desperate
What? Ask Him Out?
Platonic Pothole or Road to Romance? You Decide
Popping the Question (No, Not That One, Silly! Asking Someone for a Date)
Chapter 11: Romantic Signals: How to Read Them and How to Give Them
Developing Your "Body Literacy"
Eye Contact: Magic or Menace?
Body Talk: Saying It Without Words
Seduction: It's More than Mental--It's Also a Contact Sport
Chapter 12: Flirting: Tickle, Tease, or Torture
The Flavors of Flirting
Hope for the Flirt-O-Phobe
Testing, Testing: One, Two...Wow!
As God Is My Witness, I Shall Never Flirt Destructively Again!
Flirting As a Prelude to Passion
Chapter 13: A Seductive Guide to "the Big D": The Date
The Beginning: Getting Off to a Great Start
During the Date: Keeping It Fun (and Seductive!)
The End? Going Gentle Into That Good Night...
Rate Your Date
Part 3: A Night to Remember
Chapter 14: Should We or Shouldn't We?
Sex in the '90s and Beyond: A Cautionary Note
When More Than Your Imagination Is Fertile
When Lust Hits, Go Slow
Enjoy the Moment, But Don't Forget to Look Ahead
The Bottom Line: Choose with Care
Chapter 15: Setting the Stage for Seduction
I Had This Dream About You...
Welcome to Fantasy Island
Secrets for the Seductress
Secrets for the Seducer
Chapter 16: Pre-Game Jitters
His Fears
Her Fears
Shared Fears
Primal Fears
Reality Bites Back
The First Three Times Don't Count
Take That Fear and...Transform It!
Chapter 17: Tonight's the Night: Lovemaking 101
Getting Started: When...and How?
Relax! It's Not a Competition
Easing into the Situation
Tips for the Sizzling Seductress
The Sweet Seducer: Not Just the Same Old In-And-Out
Afterplay
Chapter 18: A Seductive Potpourri: Tips and Tricks to Make the Night Complete
Seductive Is As Seductive Thinks
A Lair to Lure Your Love
The Added Seduction of the Unexpected
Clothes Encounters of the Seductive Kind
More Props for Your Passion Play
Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me!
...And Other Oral Delights
I Sing the Body Erotic
Part 4: Seduction Is Forever
Chapter 19: There's Got to Be a Morning After
Got the Morning-After Blues from My Head Down to My Shoes
Encore...or Final Curtain?
Do Unto Others...
Maintaining the Intrigue: Setting the Stage for Next Time
Chapter 20: Keeping It Intriguing: Understanding Needs Beyond the Bedroom
The Laws of the Gender Jungle
You're on a Journey Together, So Don't Forget the Souvenirs
Adventures Along the Way
You Fill Up My Senses...
Let's Get Physical
Chapter 21: Keeping It Spicy: Fanning the Flames with Fantasies and Games
Preventing Fantasy Faux Pas
Sustaining the Spice with Sexy Play
Men's Most Powerful Fantasies
Women's Most Powerful Fantasies
Share and Share Alike
Chapter 22: What's Love Got to Do with It?
When Love Is on the Agenda (Whether You Planned It or Not)
Just What the Heck Is True Love, Anyway?
Love Means Never Having to Say You're Static
So...Where Does Seduction Fit into This?
Can We Talk About Commitment?
Seduction Can Be Forever--Make It So!
Let Love and Seduction Feed on Each Other
Appendices
Appendix A: Resources
Books
Instructional Videos
Appendix B: The Language of Seduction: A Wordplay Glossary
Appendix C: Steamy Seduction Tales
Seductresses at Work
Seducers' Success Stories
Index
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First Chapter

[Figures are not included in this sample chapter]

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Art of Seduction
- 3 -
Physical Attraction: Looking Seductive

In This Chapter

  • Taking inventory of your physical traits
  • Determining how to make the most of your best, and the least of your worst
  • Gaining realistic expectations for yourself

  • Developing your own personal style

The first element of seductiveness is your physical self. Whatever those enlightened folks may say about how unimportant physical appearance is, let's face it: Your physical being is the first thing people notice when they meet you. Your appearance is going to make an impression, one way or another.

You may think you don't have a lot of control over your fundamental appearance, short of paying a visit to a plastic surgeon. In truth, however, there are plenty of things you can do to enhance the looks you were born with. Accentuating your good points, while minimizing those characteristics you consider flaws, is a common practice, not to mention the basis for a multibillion dollar cosmetics industry. So let's begin building that altar of desire you're going to be.

Is Your Presence a Sensual Delight or a Sensory Assault?

To become as physically alluring as possible, begin with an honest appraisal of your looks. Be thorough but don't be overly critical. The best way to start is to divide your physical presence into two distinct categories: what you like, and what you're not so fond of.

Start by rating your face. This is the first part of you that most people will notice. (In a little while we'll discuss body image and self-appraisal; just concentrate on your face for now.)

1. Stand in front of a mirror and really look at your face. Don't protest that this seems vain; you know very well that when nobody is around, you will gaze into the mirror, testing out new expressions, and making sure that the old ones look the same as they did the last time you checked. At least now you've been given permission, and you're doing it for a real purpose. Look at your eyes, nose, mouth, and the texture of the skin. Pretend the image you see in the mirror belongs to somebody else and that you're evaluating the elements to determine how they look to you.



Ask the Love Coach

The secret to looking seductive is part physical enhancement, part illusion, and a large measure of attitude. To be seductive, you don't have to have been born with designer genes; you just need to learn to work with what you have (which is more than you think!).


2. After you're done with the visual appraisal, make your list. Divide it into two columns: "Enhance," which are the features you like; and "Refine," the features you think need improvement. Perhaps your favorite feature is your mouth. You see a deliciously sensuous, sexy, kissable mouth. (And, yes, men and women can both have sensuous mouths, so lighten up, guys.) Your mouth definitely qualifies as an enhanceable element, so write it down on that side.
On the "Refine" side, you might write down that you're not fond of your eyes because you wear glasses. Maybe you heard the term "four-eyes" a little too often while you were a kid, or maybe someone you didn't particularly like wore glasses, and you can't quite kick the association. For whatever reasons, the glasses are a bummer for you. So on one side of the list, you've got those eyes that just don't do much for you, but on the other side you have those gorgeous lips.

3. Decide what to do about the items on the "Refine" side of your list. (The features you like, of course, you'll just leave alone. If it works, don't fix it, right?) As was the case in your decision to become seductive, you'll probably find that goal setting will help you make the desired changes in your appearance. In some cases only a short-term goal is necessary, and long-term goal setting won't necessarily apply.
There are some things you can do one time that will make a significant difference. Suppose, for instance, that you don't like your glasses. The short-term goal here is a no-brainer: get contacts. If you can't wear contacts, you can simply buy a better-looking style of glasses. If, however, you want a long-term solution that involves neither contacts nor glasses, you might look into some of the newer and safer surgical techniques for correcting visual impairment. If you and your doctor decide this option is right for you, but you can't afford it now, this could be one of your long-term goals.

I want to share with you the stories of two people I've worked with in the past. We'll call the woman Julia, and the man Harold. Like most of us, Julia and Harold were not entirely happy with their appearances. But by being honest in their self-assessment, and making a series of short- and long-term goals, they were able to recreate themselves and increase their seductiveness quotient considerably.

Julia: Facing the Truth

Julia assessed her face and decided that her best feature was definitely her mouth. She had pouty, sensuous, Sophia Loren lips. Unfortunately, she wore thick glasses, and always felt self-conscious about them. Finally Julia decided she would break down and get contacts. She had always been afraid contacts would be difficult to put in, but her desire to become the sexiest woman she could be was strong, and getting stronger all the time. So she forced herself to overcome her trepidation over putting her fingers in her eyes, and got fitted with soft contact lenses. She decided to go for blue contacts--deep blue. Yum!

Julia didn't want to wear her contacts all the time, so she also invested in a pair of very attractive eyeglasses. This brings me to another point: Don't fret if you're one of those people who can't wear contacts; these days you can choose from an endless array of flattering lens and frame styles.


For HER Eyes Only

Don't hesitate to seek out expert advice on cosmetics; learn the basic principles of applying color and tex-ture to enhance your looks. If you can't afford upscale-department-store prices, you can get the same look for much less at a drug or discount store. Or try some of the beauty supply stores that are popping up all over; these stores carry brand-name cosmetics at discount prices.


While Julia was analyzing her face, she decided her make-up needed an update. Off she went to a well-known department store, where she met with a make-up consultant who diplomatically let her know that her look was slightly dated. Julia had a complimentary make-up redo, and was delighted with the results. Yet she just couldn't justify spending hundreds of dollars on the upscale cosmetics for sale at the counter. She thanked the cosmetic consultant, and her next stop was the drugstore, where she bought many of the same textures and colors of make-up. Thus she was able to re-create the look at a significantly lower cost.

Harold: Right Hair, Right Now

Harold had a great face, with strong and even features, but his hair really wasn't that attractive. Actually, what was left of it was just fine, except he was losing it at a rapid rate. Lately he had resorted to the tried-but-not-so-true, "comb-it-over-the-shiny-spot" technique, which was highly unsatisfactory.

So, Harold made a short-term goal to get a different haircut. The other options were to invest in a toupee, spend a fortune on hair transplants, smear his head with minoxidil (which is far from 100 percent effective), or try some of that aerosol scalp coloring he'd seen on infomercials. None of these sounded at all appealing to him. Instead, he had his hair professionally styled in a way that didn't try to hide the fact that he was becoming bald. In short, he got a newer, snazzier look.


For HIS Eyes Only

Some of the sexiest guys in history, such as Yul Brynner, were bald. In fact, in recent years some of Hollywood's sexiest, such as Bruce Willis, Keenen Ivory Wayans, and Sean Connery, are balding (or bald) and not afraid to show it. Even Ted Danson has stopped wearing his toupee. These guys look great because they've found that getting a cut to flatter them (and not hide their baldness) is what works. Remember: confidence is sexy!


"Someday I may consider hair transplants, or maybe I'll try that new antibaldness pill that they've come out with," Harold says. "But for now, I think I've made the best choice, and I'm happy with it."

Grooming and Hygiene

It's nearly impossible to come of age in our odor-conscious culture without knowing the basics about brushing, flossing, daily bathing, and using a good antiperspirant. I won't insult you by implying that you're other than fastidious in this area.


For HIS Eyes Only

If your thinning hair is getting you down despite what we've been saying about how sexy bald men can be, and minoxidil just isn't for you, check with your doctor about a new antibaldness pill called finasteride (marketed under the trade name Propecia). This is a weaker version of a drug used to treat an enlarged prostate. It's not a miracle potion, but preliminary results are promising.


As for grooming, you're probably savvy about the essentials here too. If, however, you're well-groomed but still are not completely satisfied with your look, consider seeking assistance from someone whose profession it is to make people look good--a hairdresser or stylist, for example. These professionals deal with hundreds of different people, each of whom has a unique head shape, face, and hair texture. They can determine which hairstyle will work for you, and they can help devise the proper hair care routine for you.

Between your description of your lifestyle (including how much effort you want to expend on your hair) and the stylist's experience, you should be able to come up with a style that looks great all the time. A stylist might even save you from trying something that looks great on a magazine cover, but would look ridiculous on you. (And guys, more and more men are going to stylists these days, so don't feel self-conscious about it.)


For HIS Eyes Only

Many women think beards and moustaches are very sexy, but remember that extra facial hair demands extra attention when it comes to grooming and hygiene. Keep beards and mustaches neatly trimmed, and consider investing in a mustache comb. And do take a few moments to give your face a once-over in a mirror after you've eaten (you really don't want your dinner companion to take one look at your beard and know exactly what you had for lunch, do you?).


Fitness and Health

Everybody has his or her own idea of what an ideal physical body looks like. Some people think anything short of Greek god/goddess perfection is completely unattractive. Other people, however, like the look of a few extra pounds on their love interests. So what level of fitness is right for you? The answer is, quite simply, whatever your personal best is.

Being healthy and fit doesn't necessarily mean being a gym junkie. What it does mean is the following:

  • You are approximately the right weight for your height and body structure.
  • You can function at your preferred activity level without tiring too quickly or hurting yourself.
  • You feel comfortable with your body.


For HIS Eyes Only

Many women think beards and moustaches are very sexy, but remember that extra facial hair demands extra attention when it comes to grooming and hygiene. Keep beards and mustaches neatly trimmed, and consider investing in a mustache comb. And do take a few moments to give your face a once-over in a mirror after you've eaten (you really don't want your dinner companion to take one look at your beard and know exactly what you had for lunch, do you?).


It is profoundly disturbing to hear about some lovely young woman who dies as a result of an extreme diet, all because her self-image was so distorted that she always felt that she was too fat. Yet in our culture, we tend to encourage this very scenario by perpetuating the image of the ideal woman as being svelte, even waiflike. In recent years, critics have lashed out at the "heroin-chic" look of runway models, who look to all the world like strung-out junkies. Equally heartbreaking is the person, be it a man or a woman, who wrecks his body, destroys his internal organs, and develops cancer at a young age, all as a result of taking steroids to "improve" the body's definition.

It's far better to take an honest but kind look at your body as it is (more on that in a moment). Then work toward making it the best it was meant to be, rather than trying to change it drastically and force it into some completely unrealistic image.


Heart Brakes

All the medical reports tell us that dieting is not only ineffective; it is also counterproductive and even potentially dangerous. It's far better to eat sensibly and get the exercise you need to maintain a sense of vitality, than to starve and exercise yourself to death, just to reach some unattainable goal.


The key to making your body the best it can be lies in--you guessed it--sound nutrition and some form of exercise. It is beyond the scope of this book to delve into the particulars of your nutrition program or exercise routine, but there are many good books on health, fitness, and nutrition (including, of course, some great Idiot's Guides); check your bookstore. Meanwhile, be good to your body, and the result will be that you'll feel good about yourself.

It's Better than You Think: Adjusting Your Body Image

Let's check in on Harold and Julia again. In their own ways, each of them decided their body images needed some work. Both vowed to themselves to improve the way their bodies looked, but they were savvy enough to know they had to improve in their own eyes first, and then in the eyes of those around them.

Similarly, each of us has to arrive at an image of ourselves that we are pleased with. Like Harold and Julia, we can make a significant change in how we see our bodies by changing something simple and, to outward appearances, insignificant.

Apply the "Refine"/"Enhance" list and the goal setting process to your body image, just as you applied it earlier to your face.

1. Stand naked in front of a mirror. (You knew this was coming, didn't you?) Take a good honest look at your body, but remember that honest doesn't mean ruthless.

2. As you did earlier, make a list with two columns: "Enhance" (what you like) and "Refine" (what you don't like).

3. Look at the list and decide what you can do--now and in the long run--to minimize the effect of each item on the "Refine" side of the list. At the same time, take each item on the "Enhance" side, and figure out a way to accentuate it.

Even Cindy Crawford Doesn't Look Like Cindy Crawford...

Like so many women, Julia dreamt of looking like a supermodel--specifically, Cindy Crawford. Then one day Julia was fortunate enough to see Cindy, who is admired for her candor, on one of the model's many talk show appearances. Cindy made a comment that provided a near-epiphany for Julia, and which I think should be made into a bumper sticker or T-shirt and handed out to every female over the age of 10: not even Cindy Crawford looks like Cindy Crawford. Even though she acknowledges she's a beautiful woman, she admitted that many of her photos are retouched to remove a little blemish she might have that day, or to otherwise smooth or enhance her image.


For HIS Eyes Only

We know women are continually faced with unrealistic ideals of beauty. But men don't have it much easier. They are bombarded with farfetched media images of the ideal man, and my work with clients has shown me that guys frequently attempt--unsuccessfully--to emulate these images. One client, Tom, groused, "If we're to believe the mass media, the `ideal' guy is a combination James Bond/Brad Pitt/GQ model. Eventually you figure out it's not possible to live up to all those ideals, and you find your own niche." Tom's right. Just like women, men need to be realistic in their expectations of themselves and their perceptions of their role models. Develop your own style; real women will love you for it.


Cindy is not alone in her candor. In another example, actress Morgan Fairchild published a beauty book. This gutsy woman, who presents such a startlingly beautiful public image, included unretouched photographs of herself without make-up. The difference between the Morgan we see and the Morgan who wakes up in the morning is astonishing. Does this make her less beautiful? Hardly. But it does show us that her beauty is not the same as it's presented on the television screen or magazine covers.

The whole point is that you need to have an accurate, realistic image of yourself, and that you need to hold it up to realistic role models for comparison. If you continually strive to look like an image that's computer enhanced or airbrushed, you will always feel short-changed.


Ask the Love Coach

If you envision your body image as a single entity that needs to be changed, the task can seem overwhelming. Instead, break the process down into individual goals to be achieved. Be patient with yourself, be kind to yourself, and you can accomplish more than you ever imagined.


Chiseled or Voluptuous? Achieving Your Personal Best Physique

When Harold and Julia began working on their goals to improve their bodies, one of the first goals they both set for themselves was to become more physically fit. I recommend you do this too. You needn't strive for a perfect body--if such a body even exists. Just aim to be healthy in whatever represents good shape for you.

Julia began to review the exercise programs she had followed in the past. She'd never been a big fan of the gym scene, so she decided to try something different. Since Julia had always been attracted to Latin music, she signed up for some dance classes and started learning the tango and salsa dancing. Now, instead of being an exercise drudge, she finds she is having a great time in the classes. Not only has she gotten in noticeably better shape, she finds that moving with the exotic rhythms and perfecting the steps makes her feel incredibly sensuous.

Julia has discovered another bonus to her new enthusiasm for Latin dancing. Having always been a bit on the voluptuous side, she used to lament that she would never be as thin and willowy as the models she saw in Vogue. Her attractive tango instructor, Raul, has helped change all that. Coming from a culture that appreciates curves on a woman, the flirtatious attention Raul pays her has given Julia a different perspective altogether, and a new appreciation for her own natural beauty.


Ask the Love Coach

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is also in the eye of one's culture. Standards of attractiveness are arbitrary. For years our culture has presented the tall, willowy fashion model look as the ideal for women; but other cultures prefer the voluptuous, earth-mother type. Whether you're curvy, slender, or muscular, learn to love your own body, and it won't matter what the prevailing look is.


Harold had always been a jogger. He liked running, but he didn't really like having a runner's body. Though he was becoming more fit, his body kept getting thinner. He decided to cut down on his running program and chose to supplement it with weight training.

Harold started with an instructor to teach him how to handle the weights properly, and he began lifting a small amount of weight three days a week to improve his muscle definition. He soon found that the blood pumping into his biceps, along with their steady increase in size, made him feel very sexy.

It's Not How You Look; It's How You Feel

In no time, Harold found he didn't even think about the fact that he was losing his hair, and Julia discovered that, when she thought about her eyes at all, she thought of them as an asset instead of a flaw. And although Julia's and Harold's respective self-improvement regimens were certainly making them look better, what was most important--and what made them keep coming back for more--was that they felt better.


Ask the Love Coach

Time and again, I've seen people embark on self-improvement campaigns with the sole purpose of improving their appearance--losing a few pounds, gaining a bit of muscle mass, or some other specific but chiefly cosmetic goal. Often they do improve their appearance in the short run, but sometimes at the cost of their health. Even those who don't compromise their health rarely stick to their new way of life, because in some way their regimen is simply too grueling for them. You can avoid this scenario if your exercise routine makes you feel good as well as look good.


When you adopt a physical-fitness program, the secret to success is to focus on how it makes you feel. Sure, it's wonderful to experience the pleasure of knowing your endeavor is helping you to look great too; but if that's your only reinforcement, you probably won't stick with it in the long run. As Harold and Julia discovered, it's far more rewarding to find an activity that makes your body feel as wonderful as it's beginning to look.

Do What Makes You Feel Sexy and Vibrant

Can you see how Harold and Julia's examples can apply to you? As the two of them did, you can devise a regimen that will help you achieve your optimum physical condition but that will, at the same time, be a source of pleasure all its own.

There are countless activities from which to choose. If you need inspiration, the next time you're out and about, browse the free-publications bins in stores and restaurants. Check out some of the catalogs for community colleges or no-credit classes. In Houston, for example, we have Leisure Learning Unlimited, which offers classes in everything from samba lessons to sky diving. Your town or city probably has something similar. Or try your local Y; there's always something fun going on there.

When you are engaged in some activity you thoroughly enjoy, which also makes you feel better physically, your self-image and your overall sense of well-being will improve dramatically. And believe me, that is seductive. It is truly a win-win situation.

Doing a Double Take

If you've followed the suggestions in this chapter, you have already evaluated your physical attributes. But because you are, after all, a work in progress, and because your perceptions as well as your appearance will change as you continue on your journey, I recommend a periodic reevaluation. Take out your original "Enhance/Refine" list, if you still have it, or make a new one. Understand I'm not suggesting that you turn this into an obsession, but periodically reevaluating yourself is a wonderful way to gauge your progress.

Harold and Julia knew this. After working out for about six weeks, they each decided to zero in on their bodies again, and really take a look at their physical attributes.

Harold thought his growing biceps were definitely his best asset. Then he took a closer look at his face, and decided it was his other best asset. Julia still thought her pouty, sensuous mouth was her best asset, but now her long legs caught her attention too, and she was pleased. Her involvement with dancing had slimmed her thighs and toned her calves.

Just for the record, Harold never gave a second thought to his thinning hair. And Julia, having long since chucked the bottle-thick glasses, was seriously beginning to think her eyes were actually quite captivating. The "Enhance" side of each of their lists was growing, while the "Refine" side was dwindling.

You Wear It Well

The day came for Harold and Julia when they decided it was time to get to work on their wardrobes. They had gained confidence in their looks and felt they definitely deserved better "packaging." Both consulted experts to help them with their new looks.

For evaluating appearance and advising on changes, Harold and Julia had several types of experts to choose from:

  • Image consultants advise clients on hair color, hairstyle, make-up, clothing, and accessories, and may advise on posture, general appearance, and demeanor. Some offer both personal and corporate image consulting services.
  • Make-up consultants advise clients on type, color, and application of make-up.
  • Color consultants advise clients on choice of colors for clothing that will complement their appearance.


Ask the Love Coach

Many image, make-up, and color consultants offer a combination of services. To find one, look in the Yellow Pages under "Image Consultants."


Harold was doing okay financially, but being in construction, he did not have a surplus of money. First he went to a quality department store and spent some time with a fashion consultant there, who guided him toward styles that would look good on him. With a little guidance, Harold got a feel for his correct style, and managed to stay within his budget at the same time.

Julia was a successful advertising executive, and she'd recently received a raise. So she decided to splurge and hire a personal wardrobe expert. This turned out to be a good investment for her. Unlike Harold, who put so little emphasis on clothes that he really didn't have any, Julia had a closet filled with clothes. However, too many of them were completely wrong for her desired image.


Ask the Love Coach

If you're on a limited budget (which most of us are), don't overlook the best-kept secret of celebrities and business people alike: resale shops. I am constantly amazed at the high-quality, good-as-new clothes that end up in resale shops because someone else simply grew tired of them. Such garments, unwanted by someone else, can become real treasures to you. Many famous people shop resale to remain stylish when they aren't rolling in money.


The first thing the wardrobe expert did was to clean out Julia's closets, leaving behind only a bare minimum of the best outfits. Anything that Julia hadn't worn in over a year, or that she truly didn't feel good in, was disposed of. The consultant divided the remaining outfits into three categories: work clothes, party clothes, and play clothes, and told Julia to keep at least three or four outfits in each category that she felt extremely good in. She also took a very good look at Julia's coloring and told her that, while her closet was full of neutral colors, she was an animated person and that brighter colors looked better on her.

What a difference this advice made. Julia found that simply changing from brown to red changed her entire look and color of her complexion. Her overall appearance changed from that of a mousy wallflower who was easily overlooked to that of a striking, dynamic woman who made a statement.

Whether you choose to consult an expert or decide to go it on your own, here are some guidelines for buying clothes:

  • Buy clothes that fit you well and are comfortable. This is one cardinal rule that is every bit as important as style--perhaps even more important. While tight pants may be sexy on a man or a woman, the effect is completely diminished if you have to keep tugging and pulling because they don't feel right, and a "wedgie" isn't sexy on anyone. Better that you buy your clothes a size or two larger, so that you're comfortable in them and they hang properly without your constant attention.
  • Select fabrics that feel good to you. I'm adamant about this point. A sensual person will have nothing touch the skin that doesn't feel delightful. It's better to wear a soft, cotton-blend sweater, than a wooly one that really itches, no matter how good the wooly one looks. You have to feel good in the fabrics.
  • Opt for quality over quantity. Instead of trying to fill your closets, concentrate on buying clothes that fit well, are stylish but not faddish, and fill your senses with delight.

What the Sirens Knew

Have you ever met someone who, at first appearance, was breathtakingly gorgeous, only to have that image completely destroyed the first time he or she spoke? I bet most of us can name a few TV or film stars--male or female--who are extremely attractive physically, but when they speak, their voices are distinctly nonseductive. Of course, many "everyday people" have vocal challenges as well. Here are some common symptoms of an untrained voice:

  • Some women take on a nagging, whiny, complaining tone. A man who hears such a voice will associate it with a woman who's impossible to please. This is definitely not seductive.
  • Some men assume a staccato tone--an impatient, aggressive manner of speaking that can come across as domineering, condescending, or arrogant.
  • Some men and women have a tendency to just drone on and on; their normal conversational tone is expressionless, flat, and dull. Either way, it's a turn-off.
  • Some men and women may have problems with nervous or careless speech patterns: speaking too rapidly or too loudly, mumbling, and so on.


Ask the Love Coach

Voice or diction coaches aren't just for professional singers, actors, or public speakers. A good voice coach can help anybody refine tone and diction, and give general pointers on improving poise and overcoming shyness. Look in your Yellow Pages under "Voice Coaches."


After our physical appearance, our voice is the most predominant feature we bring into our exchanges with other people, so it's important that we learn to sound as attractive as we look.

Both Julia and Harold decided to work on their voices. Julia hired a voice coach. Her coach helped her modulate her voice, eliminating its slightly nasal quality. She also taught Julia various techniques to control her voice when she was nervous--techniques Julia was able to put to use right away when making presentations to clients on behalf of her ad agency.

Since Harold couldn't afford sessions with a personal voice coach, he simply started to record his own voice and play it back, really listening to how he sounded. He worked on playing down his Texas accent and on slightly lowering the timbre of his voice. He also worked on eliminating his monotone speech pattern by trying to add vitality to his voice.

Before long, both Harold and Julia found their voices had become more resonant, more animated, and generally much more pleasant to listen to. As a result, they also found that other people seemed more interested in what they had to say.

To evaluate your own voice, here's a simple exercise to try. Do this whether or not you plan to hire a voice coach.

1. Record and listen to your own voice. Use a tape recorder, or simply listen closely to your voice message on your phone answering machine.

2. Ask yourself if this is the voice of someone to whom you would like to listen. Make a list of the qualities you think you need to improve. If you're not sure, ask someone else whom you feel can give you constructive criticism.

3. Record your voice again...and then again...until you sound "right" to yourself or the friend you've enlisted to help.

You needn't be a supreme baritone or an exquisite soprano, poised to take the opera world by storm. You simply need to enhance the quality of your speaking voice so people will listen to what you have to say without being put off by the sound that carries your thoughts.



Ask the Love Coach

Most people with untrained voices would do well to heed these three words of wisdom from voice coaches: "lower and slower." When people are nervous, they often speak in a high-pitched tone, and/or they speak too rapidly. Voice coaches also say that the fastest way to change the sound of your voice is to change your physiology. A smile on your face puts a smile in your voice.


Knowing Your Style Requires Knowing Yourself

The whole point of all this effort, and all these exercises, is to help you discover and polish your own personal style. You aren't trying to be something you're not, but rather to enhance and improve what you already are. Observe the characteristics you admire in other people, allow them to metamorphose to fit your own persona, and thus consciously develop your own personal style.

Perhaps your style is basic and earthy, perhaps it's glamorous, and perhaps it is constantly changing; whatever your style is, it has to come from substance. It comes from knowing and being comfortable with yourself. Quite simply, you can't have a style of your own, you can't do things that are truly unique to you, until you have developed a level of confidence in and awareness of yourself.

The Least You Need to Know

  • You have more to work with than you may have considered.
  • Reality can be your best friend where self-image is concerned.
  • You want every aspect of your persona to be part of a unified image.

  • Even Cindy Crawford doesn't look like Cindy Crawford; strive to look like the best you, not like some retouched magazine photo.

  • While physical appearance is important, your health and fitness program should focus more on how you feel than on how you look.
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