A touch of seduction

All too often romance these days consists of text messages and Dutch dates.
Darlings, life these days can be just a little too dull. Maybe that’s why so many women have taken to reading the Fifty Shades of Grey. They crave excitement, fantasy and touch of seduction. However, I don’t believe millions women actually desire lovers who wield whips and are emotionally unavailable.
When women I know talk about the book, what intrigues them is not the kinky sex, but the raw desire with which Christian Grey pursues Anastasia, the heroine. They are fascinated and envious of the romantic gifts and exotic locations the author uses to create her popular fantasy. None of these women declare, “my sex life is so dull, I wish my husband or boyfriend would be as kinky as Christian Grey, or even adventurous in a Fifty Shades of Grey way. No. All of them, especially the young single women, sighed and said, “I wish a man would pursue and romance me like in that book!’
None of these women are gold-diggers. They have careers and go to dinner or on a vacation by themselves. But they crave the thrill of being an “object of desire”. They want to be pursued, romanced, lusted-after, and seduced. Instead they are facebooked, texted, and Dutch-treated. It is enough to drive any red-blooded, romancing craving female mad. What they all want is a little seduction in their lives.
So while the chances – or even the desirability – of a Christian Grey appearing on the scene are slim, the situation is far from hopeless.
In Joie de Vivre: Secrets of Wining, Dining, and Romancing Like the French, Harriet Welty Rochefort shares how French women keep life interesting and remain so seductive.
According to Rochefort, an American who married a Frenchman and has spent most her adult life in Paris, a French woman never makes life too easy for a man. A true Parisienne is always a bit difficult. She is never too easy to please or predict. She is intriguing and presents a challenge that men find irresistible.
Rochefort points out that some French men find Parisian women too difficult and that is why they marry Americans. But in general, most men find women who play hard-to-get are attractive. I think she is right.
Parisian women get away with the hard-to-get routine because, according to Rochefort, they are thin, chic, and self-confident. She points out that a stylish Parisian may not be beautiful or even pretty, but she will know how to make the most of herself with the perfect haircut, discreet but artful makeup, and fabulous shoes.
Confidence, chicness, and unabashed femininity according to Rochefort, is what French women use to stoke the fires of desire. You will never catch a true Parisian pointing out her flaws, whining about her diet, or asking “does this make me look fat?” Instead she will eat small portions of tasty French food and enjoy it, dress to flatter her body, and spend the evening in lively and amusing banter.
Rocheport points out that while French women adore their children they never let motherhood eclipse womanhood. 
According to Rochefort, in France women in top jobs are not afraid to dress like women in the workplace. She reports that all over Paris you will see professional women, from top executive to architects to doctors, in designer dresses and fashionable shoes.
And the French take time for passion and flirtation, too. Rochefort reports that even in the days of 24/7 texting and the email-driven work-world, the French linger in cafes several times a day. Where better to flirt over a glass or a café au lait? If you are married, have your husband meet you there, or prepare an elegant repas a deux at home. Do have I have to tell you that children and seduction don’t mix! There’s another good reason for the French custom of firm bedtimes and a fixed household regime. (And FYI, Rochefort raised her children happily the French way.)
So darlings, if life is feeling a bit flat and grey, why not try it the French way?
Get your hair done. Vow never to leave your home looking less than fab. If French women can do it, so can you.
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“An Education” – Every girl needs one

Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard in an "An Education"An Education is a carefully-crafted film about a young woman’s first seduction. The film was based on British journalist Lynn Barber’s real-life coming of age memoir. It is also a disquieting and seductive Lolita tale.

As the story unfolds one watches as a beautiful and intelligent teenage girl is caught in a web of seduction woven by a con man twice her age. Jenny, played by the incandescent Carey Mulligan, trapped in the dreary, respectable suburb of Trickham. A bright girl she is cramming for admission to Oxford as she plays French love songs and dreams of Paris
An Education is a complex film and at times disturbing to watch. It shows a bright young woman on the brink of womanhood in an era when women were receiving mixed messages. During the war women did all sorts of jobs, from driving ambulances to toiling in factories and working on important intelligence operations. After the war, many meekly headed back to the hearth and home.
Jenny’s father is conventional and status-seeking, but he also urges his daughter to work towards Oxford and academic achievement as way of bettering her life. One of her teachers gives her similar encouragement. The year the film takes place is 1960, right before London becomes the epicenter of the “youth quake” and a new social order.
Jenny’s seducer, David Goldman, a suave con man brilliantly portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard, knows only too well how to impress and beguile her naive, social-climbing father. Jenny looks on, embarrassed and amused, as he flirts with her usually cowed middle-aged mother and chats up her father about art, culture and Oxford. She can hardly believe it as her father waves them on their way.
When Jenny discovers that David is a rogue and a thief, she remains enraptured with the life he is offering. She has been well and truly seduced, swept away by a taste of life she had been able only to imagine. Even the disappointment of her first sexual encounter does not dim her enthusiasm for the posh life she envisions.
A school girl plays with fireThis is a beautiful, brilliantly acted film. The story is compelling and timeless. There is an element of the irresistible in Jenny’s seduction. Most intelligent young women long for art, culture, romance and an  older sophisticated lover to show them the world.
Jenny’s affair with David almost causes her to forfeit her future. Actually, it might have cost her a good deal more than her admission to university had she become pregnant, gotten involved in his criminal activities, caught an STD – or a combination of any or all of the above. Sadly, these things happen to bright young girls all the time. I’ve heard many versions of these tales, albeit, not quite as fraught with drama or style. If only young girls would learn to value themselves more and not toss themselves away on unworthy men. If only bright young things would have more faith that romance and glamour will come in time. How much better to wait a few years and have a glamorous romance with an older man –all of 25!
Some say it’s wrong for young girls to long for a prince. I think it’s inevitable. We just have to make girls smarter about picking them. Jenny’s teacher, who helps her get into Oxford, tells her "Jenny, you’re pretty and you’re clever. You can do anything. Your boyfriend, does he like pretty and clever?"  That’s what we need to teach young women: A true prince loves you because you can do anything.