I was in a video shop the other day, renting The Thomas Crown Affair.

And then I had this little epiphany.

Why was I choosing THIS movie?

I’ve seen it a billion times already ..

I can quote from it freely, and it’s not like the plot is going to reveal any new surprises for me when I watch it this time.

And yet here I was, about to spend 4 bucks of my hard-earned dosh on this particular DVD. So why this one, and not any one of hundreds of other fresh, new titles available for my choosing?

Then I remembered the words of a dude called Frank Kern .. who once said:

“People get addicted to characters who represent their desired outcomes.”

Which is not something I thought about very much .. until recently.

It makes sense, though. We don’t rent movies for the action, the explosions or the sex scenes.

I mean, that stuff might capture our attention on the surface, but unless there’s a meaningful character that’s doing all the action and explosions and the exposing of the flesh, we may still watch it..

..but we won’t be hooked on it, watching the reruns, hiring it over and over on DVD and memorising quotes just so that we can say it in an appropriate moment AS IF WE WERE that character.

So it’s not the activities that grab us – it’s the character.

It’s not the “WHAT” he does – it’s the “WHY” he does it.

But not every characters appeal will appeal to every person – I’m pretty sure there’s a reason why fans of Rocky Balboa do not lose much sleep is they miss an episode of House.

So this is the theory, as it stands for now – the characters you get most addicted to are the ones who represent the qualities you WANT to possess.

Or, to put it more provocatively, the qualities which are missing from your life.

An example?

Take your typical English-speaking geeky male teenager who is in his last year of high school.

To this guy, the world is a confusing, scary place. He probably can’t stick up for himself very well and he has been ridiculed a number of times by “the cool kids”.

He would love some kind of omni-powerful badge of status which would reverse the situation.

What more could you want than being able to stand up to the football jocks with perfectly-timed witty comebacks..

..wield infinite power with your own personal robot, plus get a super-hot girlfriend who you never thought was in your league?

Transformers captured imagination of so many young adults not just because of the CGI or whatever..

..but because Michael Bay knew exactly who has audience was, what they wanted, what they fantasised about at the deepest level, what their biggest aspirations and most enduring frustrations were..

..and he told that tale of “weak becomes powerful” to perfection.

You could extend that argument and say that big movies of the time capture the aspirations of the audiences that they’re made for. They act as balm on wounds of the society’s psyche, if you will.

There’s a reason why Rocky and Commando, for example, would not fly as well today as they did back in the 80′s..

..the characters in those stories fed what was mainly the Cold-War era craving for a belief that the “good” Western man can defeat the ill-defined “bad” other force despite the unfavourable odds.

When the nation is concerned with flexing muscle, demonstrating might and being powerful but not necessarily clever, the heroes of its movies will reflect that.

Dr House, MD is addictive to young, professional college educated people not because they care much about solving medical puzzles..

..but perhaps because he combines an ability to speak one’s mind and stand up for what he believes in with a total lack of concern with “what people think” .. and he seems to get away with it.

In the age when “political correctness” has eroded our ability to essentially be ourselves – especially in professional environments – is it any wonder that House is so addictive to those for whom that repression is most palpable?

Californication .. well, at the centre is a guy who is deeply flawed, doesn’t even try to attract women and yet has beautiful women hitting on him left, right and centre…

…DESPITE his flaws and his apparent lack of interest.

Is it not the dream of a man in his late 20′s or early 30′s – who has been told repeatedly that he has to “self-improve” and “put his best foot forward” around women and people in general…

.. but all he truly wants is to come to terms with his flaws and just relax and not have to prove anything to the world – and yet still have an abundance of women in his life?

What does all this have to do with attracting women, Steven?

Good question.

Here’s what I want to ask now – does all this mean that to make a woman addicted to your “character” you should strive to represent the end desires of a woman you want to attract?

Let’s assume that to be true for a moment..

So, what does the woman of your dreams want .. in life and in a man? What is missing from her life?

Well, if you want to attract a woman who feels incomplete without a high-status man with lots of money, you could spend the next 10 years of your life trying to collect badges of status.

What? You don’t want that woman? You don’t want a needy girl, I hear you say? Hmm, OK. In that case, what do you give to a woman who doesn’t NEED anything?

Well, just because she doesn’t NEED anything doesn’t mean she doesn’t WANT anything.

Perhaps you want a woman who is whole, but who nonetheless WANTS a man who is also whole – and has a life of his own and doesn’t require her to be his mum or a pretty symbol of validation?

Well, if that is the case, then you probably realise that to attract such a woman, the first thing can do is become a kind of man who doesn’t need women to be happy and fulfilled.

Steven

P.S. So what does my addiction to The Thomas Crown Affair say about me? A hidden ambition to become a 42 year old successful loner who “enjoys” women? Who knows ;)

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