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View to a Kill

[whitespace] Ross Jeffries is only the latest in a long line of seduction salesmen

By Kelly Luker

SEX HAS BEEN PROFITABLE since Gork the caveman etched a wall with stick drawings of folks doing the nasty, then charged his fellow Cro-Magnons a mastodon tusk or two for a gander. Porn's always been a big moneymaker, but the real gold mine is in teaching men how to find their own honey pot. Potions, voodoo rites, magic formulas and, now, warmed-over '70s psychobabble--they all promise instant success in getting the gal of your dreams into the sack.

The 18th and 19th centuries saw the rise of "gentlemen's guides," but it was the 20th century and its loosening of Victorian mores when seduction tips found a fertile market of desperate men. The advent of men's magazines like Playboy, Hustler, Penthouse and Gallery provided a perfect place to advertise books and pamphlets teaching guys the perfect come-on lines.

Now there's the Net and a new breed of Romeos like Ross Jeffries. Webster's dictionary defines seduction as the art of influencing by attraction or charm. William Perkins advertises his self-published book, How to Pick up Women in the '90s, on his Web site. Besides chapter overviews, Perkins also posted a couple of articles that he's written on the subject of seduction. The one titled "The Mistakes Men Make" caught our eye, offering up insightful tips that proved Perkins had studied long and hard on the mystery that is woman.

"Don't belch or fart in public ... don't interrupt her or hog the conversation ... don't have bad breath, body odor or long hairs growing out of your nose or ears" are some of the listed surefires that work for us.

Reached by phone at his office in San Francisco, Perkins says that it was Ross Jeffries' book that inspired him to write his own.

"When my roommate got Jeffries' book," Perkins says, "I thought it was a schlock job--it was terrible." The professional writer spent the next two years interviewing "hundreds" of women, as well as experts in the field of communication.

"Though the title is How to Pick Up Women, it's really about communication," Perkins explains. "Seduction and intimacy is really about communication skills."

Besides finding out that women don't much care for farters, belchers and nose-hair farmers, Perkins made another breakthrough discovery--men and women are different.

"We're different biologically, and we're programmed with different needs," Perkins figures. "Women are focused on relationships and emotional connection, while men are more focused on ambition, ego, power and domination of others."

Unlike Jeffries, who admits to having had a bit of a hard time getting action before he cooked up the neurolinguistic programming approach, Perkins says he always did pretty well with the ladies.

"I'm a good-looking guy, and I have personality," he says simply.

Perkins says he finds some of the Speed Seduction approach unethical but admits he understands the appeal of salesmen like Ross Jeffries.

"He's appealing to our frustration and our confusion," Perkins says. "Men feel used by women. Women can go out and get laid almost any night of the week. But a guy, if he wants to have sex, is gonna have to jump through hoops."

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From the August 13-19, 1998 issue of Metro.

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