When it comes to being successful in life — financially, professionally or carnally — the most important quality anyone can have is charisma. Stemming from a Greek term meaning “favored by God,” charisma is that mystical combination of intelligence, charm and wit that allows those who possess it to achieve the unthinkable. Charisma is the one common trait linking virtually all presidents, CEOs, movie stars and rock icons throughout history, and charisma is, more often than not, the answer to the question, “Why is she with that guy?”
In an evolutionary sense, both men and women are drawn to those with charisma because the blessing that the universe has bestowed upon them tends to have a trickle-down effect, one that increases the chances of survival and reproduction for everyone in their immediate vicinity.
For instance, to make a convoluted analogy, the male lion who is the biggest, fastest, strongest and most cunning will be the best provider of delicious, freshly-killed gazelles and giraffes, or whatever the hell lions eat. Therefore, he’ll quickly ascend to a leadership position within the pack, where he’ll have his choice of hot female lions looking to mate with him so that their offspring might inherit some of his genes. But what about a weaker male lion in the same pack? He lacks the physical prowess to out-muscle the alpha male, and he’s not nearly as gifted a hunter. Thus, his best bet is to align himself with that alpha male, rather than compete with him. This way, he’ll still occasionally get a chance at fresh gazelle meat and, when the stronger lion is worn out from banging slutty lion chicks and just wants to take a nap under a palm tree, the weaker lion could potentially be next in line if one of the female lions comes strolling over after eating too many fermented coconuts and really wants to hook up with someone.
Unlike our animal brethren, however, we as humans are not solely driven by the quest for food. Look around you. Chances are, there are handful of perfectly-acceptable restaurants (and probably even a McDonald’s or two) within a stone’s throw of wherever you are at this very moment. I think it’s safe to say that the days of a hungry tribe of hunters traveling days across the plains in pursuit of a herd of buffalo are pretty much over.
Also over are the days when the most physically-gifted among us — those most adept at stalking and killing that evening’s meal — are automatically put on a throne and, as a reward, given their choice of nubile young women. Quite frankly, it’s been a long time since anyone got laid solely because they were good with a crossbow and, as the human race has advanced beyond our hunting and gathering days, the equation for impressing women and luring them into your bed has changed dramatically.
Will the biggest and strongest guys still get laid? Sure. There are a lot of chicks who are drawn to biceps and abs, if only based upon instinct. At our most basic, we are all animals, and above all else, our reptilian brains drive us to survive and reproduce. For these women, the sight of a guy with bulging muscles sparks a message from the deepest recesses of her brain that says something like, “Mate with him, he looks like a fierce warrior who’ll be able to protect you from invading tribes.”
But thousands of years ago, a male fitting this criteria — like Ronnie from Jersey Shore, for instance — would’ve led armies and conquered entire continents. Nowadays, however, he’s merely a retard getting berated by his wet blanket girlfriend on MTV. Could he beat you up? Probably. But in this day and age, does it matter? Not one bit.
Instead, the doors (by which, of course, I mean “vaginas”) have opened for any male who can separate himself from the pack. Muscles will still get you laid. So will good looks. So will fame. Money helps immensely, but even those with Ferraris and Manhattan penthouses need to put forth some effort here and there. Intelligence alone probably won’t get you laid (after all, no girl in history has ever cared about the technology behind the teleporters in Star Trek: The Next Generation). But combine intelligence with conversational abilities and add a dash of humor, and you’ve got charisma… the key to the art of seduction in the 21st century.
Luckily, even if you haven’t been “favored by God” since birth, charisma is a talent that can be learned and honed with practice and repetition. Here are some common traits of charismatic people, and how you can work them into your repertoire…
1) Positivity. Should you find yourself in a conversation with a female you’re hoping to sleep with, don’t ever talk about how much you hate your job. Or your parents. Or your ex-girlfriend. In fact, don’t talk about anything you even slightly dislike. Nobody wants to be around someone who’s miserable. Everyone already has enough misery and stress in their own lives. They don’t want to hear about yours. So put forth the illusion that you are the happiest, most go-luckiest person on the planet. This is what others are drawn to.
2) Warmth. Everyone, especially the average female, already has a little self-doubting voice in the back of their head that they wish they could silence. Humans are largely driven by a need to overcome their own dark insecurities. While the theory of “negging” (i.e., “I like those shoes… I just saw another girl wearing the same pair”) does have its merits, sometimes people merely want to be told that what they’re doing in life is good and that they are valuable in one way or another. Don’t go overboard; no one likes an ass-kisser. But being nice and saying “please” and “thank you” to hard-working waitresses won’t fucking kill you, and saying something along the lines of “Nice job dealing with that angry customer… you handled that a lot better than I would’ve” to a co-worker will make them feel good about themselves. No harm can come of that.
3) Intelligence. There are two kinds of intelligence one can possess. The first kind is the type that allows one to acquire knowledge, retain that knowledge, form one’s own opinions based upon that knowledge and be able to explain those opinions to interested parties. The second kind of intelligence is the type that enables one to analyze a situation and know when to shut the fuck up. For instance, do you have an encyclopedic knowledge of Spider-Man comic books? Well, guess what… most people don’t give a shit about the origin of Venom, so don’t try to shoehorn that knowledge into every conversation. Just file it away until the day when it comes in handy. Learn everything you can about everything you can, then stash it all away in the filing cabinets of your mind. You’ll probably never need 99% of the things you know or learn. But maybe someday, you’ll meet a girl who is impressed that you own a copy of Secret Wars #8 and you’ll be able to say to her, “You should come over to my place sometime to check it out.”
4) Compassion. You know what girls enjoy doing more than anything else? Talking about themselves. So if you’re conversing one and she starts to veer into a story about her adorable cats or her father’s drug habit, just sit back and patiently listen. Nod along as needed. Furrow your brow when necessary. Ask insightful questions if the opportunity presents itself. When she concludes her story, if she’s thinking to herself, “Wow, this guy really cares,” you’ve done well, sir.
5) Humor. Every chick says she loves a guy who can make her laugh. In fact, we’re on a streak of 87 consecutive Playboy centerfolds who listed “sense of humor” as a turn on. Of course, the fact that roughly 82 of them later dated hockey players might make one wonder if they’re full of shit. But that’s neither here nor there. Fact of the matter is, every time a girl smiles or laugh, a bit of serotonin is released into the bloodstream, and even though she may not realize that it’s chemically-induced, she will come to associate being happy and in a good mood with being around you. So, yes, a sense of humor is helpful. Unfortunately, not everyone is naturally funny. Most people, in fact, are quite dull. If you are one of these people, you’re not going to amaze anyone with your quick wit or your clever puns. But there’s nothing stopping you from learning how to tell a joke. Just one joke will suffice. Learn it, memorize it and, like a jazz saxophonist, add a few flourishes and make it your own. And whenever you find yourself in a rough spot in an awkward conversation, whip it out. Maybe your audience will laugh, or maybe they won’t, but even if you can only get them to crack a smile, you’ve done your job. Let the serotonin do the rest.
As a gift to you, dear readers, I present you with the joke I told roughly 3,800 times during my twenties. It was literally the only one I had memorized well enough to tell. And tell it I did. Over and over again, at bar after bar, every time there was a lull in the conversation. And now I pass it along to you. Enjoy…
So there’s this penguin, right? And he’s driving cross-country in this rusty old Buick. And he’s driving along I-10 through Arizona in the middle of the afternoon when, poof, all of a sudden, smoke starts pouring out from under the hood. So he pulls over to he side of the road and, thank god, there’s an exit ramp up ahead, so he cruises slowly off the highway and manages to stumble upon a little town. And, lo and behold, right down the street is a mechanic. So the penguin pulls his rickety car into the parking lot and the mechanic comes out and says that he’ll be able to look at it in about an hour. The penguin says “Okay,” and decides to stroll around the town for a bit. But it’s hot out, and that Arizona sun is beating down on him and after a few minutes, he’s sweating like crazy. So when he sees the little ice cream stand on the corner, he figures that’ll definitely hit the spot. He gets himself a big double-scoop vanilla ice cream in one of those waffle cones, and he just digs in and devours the whole thing. By the time he’s done, he’s got ice cream all over his fins, his beak, everything. Right around that time, he glances at his watch, sees that it’s been about an hour and heads back to the mechanic’s place. And, when he gets there, the mechanic walks out, glances at the penguin and says, “Well, it looks like you blew a seal.” And the penguin says, “No, no… that’s just ice cream.”