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Back by popular demand…
In the last installment, I analyzed the game Rhett runs on Scarlett. This time it’s the game Paul Newman, in the character of Hud, uses to seduce Alma (Patricia Neal).
This scene is between Hud and Alma, his family’s housekeeper, and it’s the first time in the movie Hud makes a pass at her. Hud is a classic badboy in this movie, and Alma does a good job resisting his devilish charms. My comments are in bold.
HUD: Got a cigarette?
[alpha body language straight from the get-go. slow, heavy steps on the approach. both his arms up and hands leaning against the door frame. forceful tone of voice. this is the entrance of an alpha. a woman will know she’s not about to suffer the entreaties of a beta.]
HUD: I wish you wouldn’t keep me hanging around on the front porch make me feel like I’m selling something.
[first qualification. with a dash of playful humor, he lets her know he’s unimpressed with her rudeness for not promptly inviting him into the room. really, any excuse will do to qualify a woman.]
ALMA: All right, come on in. They’re a little squashed.
HUD: It’s all right. They’ll do. I see you got things fixed up some.
[betas are overly attentive. alphas are distracted. hud glances around the room as he grabs the cigarettes from her.]
ALMA: I try.
HUD: Looks pretty good, except your sweet potato plant over here has got the blight.
[compliment, followed immediately by mild criticism. remember that formula.]
ALMA: I can’t seem to get one started.
HUD: They need a lot of tender loving care, honey, same as the rest of us.
[an alpha gets the conversation rolling in a sexual/sensual manner sooner rather than later.]
ALMA: I’ll keep it in mind. Could I have a match?
[notice he doesn’t rush to fulfill her request. she walks to him to get the match, and he almost flings it into her hand. DHV.]
HUD: Well, what have we got here? “Jiffy Portable Hairdryer.” “Triple screen.” Automatic toaster. So what’ve you been doin’, a little rustlin’ down at the five and dime?
[NEG #1. making fun of her stuff.]
ALMA: I go in for those prize contests. “How Shinette Shampoo changed my life,” in twenty words or less. They give free two week trips to Europe. But I end up with the fountain pens and the binoculars.
HUD: Won me a turkey raffle once, but it was fixed. I got to be pretty friendly with one of them gals picking the numbers.
[if you can’t physically demonstrate social proof and preselection by women, the next best thing is to offhandedly hint at it in conversation. the way to do this is to ground your verbalized social proof with a backstory so it sounds natural and unforced.]
ALMA: It figures.
HUD: How much you take the boys for tonight?
[notice the change of voice tone. hud lowered the volume and pitch of his voice while he’s distractedly (and seductively) fondling a flower. women are not the only ones who can flirt with the use of props. also: CONTRAST IS KING. playing with a flower is femme, but hud is dripping with so much masculinity that the flower intensifies his allure.]
ALMA: Twenty dollars and some change.
HUD: You’re a dangerous woman to have around.
ALMA: I’m a good poker player.
HUD: You’re a good housekeeper. You’re a good cook. You’re a good laundress. What else you good at?
[when alma says she’s a good poker player, the typical beta, because he is bereft of interesting things to say or the confidence with which to lead a conversation in new directions, would have jumped at the “beta bait” and attempted to capitalize on her measly offering by asking her about her poker skills. an alpha, otoh, uses what a woman says as a springboard to talk about whatever the fuck he feels like talking about. it’s the art of riffing. here, hud challenges her. the challenge is part of the stage of attraction known as “male to female” interest. instead of proving himself to her, he’s coaxing her to prove herself to him. and all with a sly smile.]
ALMA: At taking care of myself.
[nice IOD. this chick is not going to be steamrolled.]
HUD: Shouldn’t have to, a woman looks like you do.
[if you’re going to compliment a woman’s looks, this is a good way to do it — in context. and he’s got his lips on that flower like it’s a labia.]
ALMA: That’s what my ex-husband used to tell me, before he took my wallet, my gasoline credit card and left me stranded in a downtown motel in Albuquerque New Mexico.
HUD: What you do to make him take to the hills? You wear your curlers to bed or something?
[NEG #2. this could come across harsh, which is why it helps to say it with a shit eating grin, as hud does here.]
ALMA: Ed’s a gambler. He’s probably up at Vegas or Reno right now, dealing at night, losing it all back in the daytime.
HUD: A man like that sounds no better than a heel.
ALMA: Aren’t you all?
[she plays the game well.]
HUD: Honey, don’t go shooting all the dogs ’cause one of ‘em’s got fleas.
[nice. hud nips her pity ploy in the bud by turning it around on her with a mild rebuke. a beta would have vigorously agreed with her and given her a david alexander-style soft hug and a shoulder to cry on. btw, “honey” is a great way to address a woman when the moment is right. it’s a subtle dominance maneuver that chicks eat up.]
ALMA: I was married to Ed for six years. Only thing he was ever good for was to scratch my back where I couldn’t reach it.
[pause. hud looks her up and down. doesn’t matter if she notices or not. an alpha does these little behavioral things for himself as much as for the woman.]
HUD: You still got that itch?
ALMA: Off and on.
[hud: grin, draw on cig, flower sniff, grin more. nothing is rushed in alphaland.]
HUD: Well, let me know when it gets to bothering you.
[pause. pause. pause. tension. tension. unbroken eye contact. tension building up to the edge of discomfort. unwavering smile half-hidden provocatively by flower AKA labia petals, then… BOOM… hud lowers his smile and flower instantly and — this is important — EXITS FIRST. no lingering for a response. no needy anticipation for her reaction. no goodbye. just gets up off the bed and leaves her to be washed away in the cascading torrent of her lube deluge. that was the money shot. the killer move that greases the skids for a future seduction.]
Next week: How to game Cigstache.