Channel 4’s Seduction School was peripherally interesting but the programme incurs in the same mistakes as any other TV programme on seduction.
The presenters, who obviously are very conversant with seduction techniques, are trendy, beautiful and confident whereas the poor guinea pigs have traumas, physical issues and little or no experience. The aim of the programme was to get the latter in the position of the former, to convert them into seducers through teaching them general techniques (Kino ((Touching the person you are talking to)), SOI ((Statement of intention, telling someone you want something more that friendship))…).
They approach seduction from a subject’s point of view, how can s/he overcome their fears and whatever usually goes wrong, in order to obtain a “close” (whether phone, instant date, kiss). Instead of overcoming, Fran?ßois Roustang’s excellent analysis of Casanova’s memoirs talk about challenge, reversibility (through magic) and losing oneself. A seducer is a strategist, someone who schemes, who reads situations and has an array of responses to them. Seducers, from Valmont to Don Juan, are usually chamaleonic. I just couldn’t see Casanova, going to Marton and Nanette and thinking how to slip in the word “sexy” into a conversation.
I understand that this may not really be the best or quickest way of teaching someone, on national television, how to get a partner. To be fair to the teachers ((Johnny Saviour and Wayne Elise)), they did get results in 2 of the 3 cases: the fat guy got a phone number, the tall guy, a kiss. But they seemed to be more diven by the competition between each other than by their objects of desire.
Now, whereas I think the aims and intentions of the programme are very virtuous (afterall, they are part of a series called “Shape the Nation”), I don’t think that what they intend to do is seduction. My problem with it is the same I found when I went to see Boucher’s exhibition at the Wallace Museum. Although entitled Seductive Visions, I didn’t feel seduced, not could see Boucher having been seduced. Perhaps representations of seduction had been attempted. But that’s just he best way of making it just go away…
To seduce is difficult. And for one to become a seducer, a few conditions have to be met. Seduction is not necessarily a positive in the first place! But… ah, yes… the word itself seduces, helps to entice, to allure viewers and visitors. That is the trick of Seduction School: we are seduced by the idea. Once we have given up our time to learn about it, we realise we have been led astray and we will not get anything in return.