Swoon bookSwoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them, by Betsy Prioleau. Published in 2013. 288 pages.

I don’t know if Thomas, the man whose return slip indicated he checked this library book out before me, is the same reader who rudely took notes inside the book, but if he is, I can’t help but wonder if he found anything within its pages that might help him on whatever quest inspired him to check it out in the first place.

Swoon, Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them, by Betsy Prioleau is a long-winded journey on the road to a well-known conclusion. Namely, that when it comes to being popular with women, some men have “it”, others don’t, and the characteristics of the men who do have it are too widely varied to be easily quantified. In other words, there was no new information to be found here.

That isn’t to say that the book wasn’t filled with interesting or even fascinating historical references and narratives of men throughout history who were known to be famously, and sometimes infamously, “popular”. Some of them in our modern age would defy credulity, such as Benjamin Franklin. Others, such as Casanova, hardly need to be explored as their stories are so familiar.

The one thing this book made perfectly clear however, and I tend to agree with the author on this if not much else, is that the men who have the greatest success with women tend to be men who genuinely like women, finding us fascinating and interesting, even if they are well acquainted with our flaws and weaknesses. Interestingly, despite a questionable encounter with a woman which might call into doubt Prioleau’s analysis, the late Sam Cooke, whose music I enjoy listening to for hours on end, was seducer for whom this author had little to offer other than glowing praise.

What I didn’t like about this book was born entirely of my own moral code. Despite my usual ability to set aside any demands that an author acquiesce to my view, it bothered me Prioleau offered no moral judgement –only awe or praise ever- against the character of men who used their *gift* for swaying women in questionable ways. She seemed convinced that the fact that they were often amiable, likable men absolved them of responsibility for the way they plowed through women. Pun fully intended.

To her credit she noted, and there is a strong ring of truth here, that those men who are honest about who and what they are with the women in their single lives are usually just as honest, faithful and true in the event that they decide to settle down. And some of them do.

In the end, this book was more historical references smattered with opinions than anything offering insight. There was never an answer which indicated *Why* the men in her book elicit the titular female reaction, which is fitting. What’s more, there was a wholesale dismissal of men such as rappers, gamers, or others she deemed low class as well as the types of women who respond to them. The implication was that they are an almost sub human class of people not numerous or smart enough to be included as real samples in her exploration. The lady doth protest too much, or perhaps is just a snob.

Men whose seductive prowess are wielded in ways which didn’t offend her sensibilities are good and worthy to be emulated, regardless of the lack of character their behavior implies. Others, not so much. The veneer of subjectivity Prioleau attempted to portray here is wafer thin, and doesn’t hold.

The end effect of Prioleau’s approach to the subject is a book which is at times entertaining, but is sunk by her intellectualism, inability to set aside her class biases, and honestly discuss the things about women that make them susceptible to certain kinds of men, whatever their social strata or background.

This book never provides a sufficient rejoinder to the subject its author promises the reader she will demystify.

Grade: C, and that because there was some entertainment value in it.

8 thoughts on “Swoon

  1. Elspeth says:

    This book, like so many of the books I read randomly, is one that I happened to run across while perusing the featured non-fiction books shelf at my local library. Hence the category, “Tales from the local library”.-

    They have some wild stuff on that shelf!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robyn says:

    “… is that the men who have the greatest success with women tend to be men who genuinely like women, finding us fascinating and interesting, even if they are well acquainted with our flaws and weaknesses.”

    1) I find books like this (wherein the author doesn’t really nail down a question or purpose that can help with its own answering) but rather, tends to ‘meander’ in a few different directions. Which is what I felt you were saying.

    2) I find men generally fall into one of the 2 categories: Those that have great success with women (relationships) because they see females as different — intriguing. These ‘differences’ are often revealed through conflict, which is welcomed as an ADVENTURE OF DISCOVERY. They view ‘female’ as a positive force in their lives; as you said “fascinating and interesting.” The other group; those not so successful with relationships with the ‘ladies’, see these female differences like they would approach conflict, as PROBLEMS TO BE SOLVED … eliminated, so that life is routine; seamless — they view female as the negative force in their lives.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Elspeth says:

    I like your expansion of my thoughts, Robyn! I think you have a good point.

    I’ve spent my life around men who find women fascinating and interesting (and not a little bit amusing) and have seen my share of men who just view everything about their woman as something to be fixed and every challenge as an assault on their manhood, and the latter group is usually frustrated and angry towards women.

    That isn’t to say that the former group refuses to challenge women, because they do. And aren;t afraid to. As it happens, I have a story, LOL:

    My guy often takes calls in his home office off the master on speaker because he; has to look at the screen while talking to whomever he;s on the phone with.. Last week he’s talking to this woman who was being unreasonable, and he told her -in a direct but disarming way that she was being unreasonable and that he was not going to be able to accommodate her unreasonableness. They laughed off the moment. He tells her, “I’ll email you the [whatever] and just reply when you get it.”

    At my husband’s company the standard is that you’re supposed to put your picture at the bottom of your email near the signature, and like a good rebel, he’s steadfastly refused to do so over the 5 years since the policy was announced.

    5 minutes later the phone rings, and it’s this woman: “I got the email, but your picture isn’t in it. I was hoping to see what you looked like…” *facepalm*

    After he told her she was being unreasonable and kind of a prima donna. He hadn’t done anything to make her think he was available. He just laughed off her silliness as so much silliness rather than think she was trying to be a ball buster.

    I’ve explained to him that there is a point where the charm is too much.

    To continue your line of thought, viewing the feminine as a negative thing rather than just a different thing is kind of hard to hide. Even when it isn’t obvious, we just kind of know it’s there. And eventually, it rears its head. I’ve felt a pang for the couple of women I have known whose men saw them as problems to be fixed rather than a fascinating creature who just might need a little help and guidance.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Robyn says:

    I’ve signed up to follow hearthie’s blog numerous times! It’s a glitch, I guess. I get it on my wordpress feed but not through my email account … it’s a puzzler for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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