Modes of persuasion

I’m a bit of a romantic – some would even say quite a bit – so I’ve always been fascinated by the approaches men take as they set about, as we used to say in Guyana, to “trap a binny”.  And while in the business of love women clearly have an array of subtle techniques they use to attract a man, it is the more aggressive, and sometimes even absurd levels, displayed by men that I’m referring to.

There is the standard “sooting” that young men in the Caribbean use to alert a passing young lady that she is being admired.  I have never witnessed an instance of this approach actually producing positive results, but one has to suppose it works because the practice continues.

 There is also the strategy of getting a mutual friend to tell the young lady that “you like she”, but the danger here is that the messenger may actually end up with the prize and you end up “gettin’ lef’”. There are the standard approaches of the little gift sent to her work place, or the stare across the room with a goofy half smile. Those attempts to persuade fall into the conventional category and are common place, but they still have value – you’re declaring yourself, which can bear fruit or other benefits.

Whatever the approach, there are some fundamental pitfalls to avoid. If, for example, a lady is showing some possible interest in you, and happens to reveal that she has problems with her current boyfriend, never, absolutely never, “bad talk” the fellow.

Pointing out the boy friend’s flaws will imply that she has poor judgement, and she will go straight back and report what you said to vindicate herself; next thing you know that relationship is back on track and she’s blanking you.

Worse yet, if she identifies you to the boyfriend, you could end up with a hard cuff in your mouth, or, worse yet, a kick lower down.

Sometimes, as happened to a chap I knew in St Lucia, it could get as bad as your car being set on fire.

Above all, telling the woman of “all the other women” his current partner had will not only fail to create a break; in fact the information will often cause the woman to want to hold on to this banna who is so attractive to women.  So, in three words, “don’t bad talk.”

There is also the technique used by young men, in the height of Eros, who often set out enthused about the “pick up on the beach” approach. I have yet to see an example of it working except for the tourism “beach boys” in places such as Barbados, St. Lucia, Cayman, etc.

Also, in those cases, we’re talking about a particular product being sought by a particularly urgent market – in essence, the “one-night-and-goodbye” crowd – and that’s not the focus of our discussion here.

The approaches I’m referring to are the ones that come into play when (a) the lady is not responding or (b) when the power of the longing is such that the gentleman is driven to extreme behaviours often leading to close friends asking one another, “Is wha’ rang wid he?

Like he gone off, or wha’?”  I’m talking extreme here, like the fella in Trinidad at a carnival fete who walked up, cold, to this beautiful brown skin and declared.  “All right, I give up.  Ah go lie down right here; come and walk over me. I ain’t care who see. Come! Come!”

On that point of the unusual approach: the English have this reputation, especially in the colonial era, for being reserved, but they are actually the most outlandish people on earth, and while one can image the Italian or the Frenchman being very effusive in the throes of love, the British can be as extreme as anyone when amour seizes them.

While I was living in Grand Cayman, there was an artistic Englishman there – let’s call him George Carstairs – who was having a clandestine affair with the wife of a local businessman: let’s call him Alfred Robertson. Consumed with passion, and frustrated by the furtive liaisons, George appeared outside the Robertson casa late one evening, in formal dress (after all, he was English), shouting at high volume, “Alfred Robertson. Send your wife outside so I can strip her naked and ravish her.  Send her out.

Send her out now, Alfred.  I’m waiting; I’m ready! I’ll do it right here.”  Remember now; we’re talking conservative Cayman, at 2 a.m., in a very respectable neighbourhood, but the Englishman in the arms of Aphrodite was on fire. He kept yelling his intentions at full volume, waking the neighbours, and starting a few dogs barking.

Common sense would tell you that receiving no reaction to his frenzy, he would give up, but Carstairs remained on station continuing his tirade, and it was only the eventual intervention by the local constable that put an end to the outburst; the man was determined to persuade. Furthermore, he repeated the performance outside the Robertson house on two other occasions causing repeat interventions from the constable.

Indeed the final visit led to Carstairs being charged when he substituted the “ravish” euphemism for the more colloquial four-letter verb to describe his intentions.

My previous mention of “beach boys” reminds me of a certain Guyanese I know who swore he had success with pretending to faint away in the hot sun on a public beach.

He told me his premise: “The West Indian girls will just look at you and steups and pass by, but the white girls will come over you, pat your face, prop you up, buy you something to drink, and might  even offer to drive you home.  Then you take it from there.”

On a final note, given that we always hear about women being drawn to men who make them laugh, it might be an idea to take the humourous Trini approach I referred to earlier.

Here’s another example: a voluptuous young lady is standing at a street corner in Port-of-Spain.  A Caroni saga boy, strolls by, tilts down his sunglasses and says, “Yuh fadda does cut cane?  How you sweet so?” I cannot report if the line worked, but I can report that the lady laughed.  So, that’s a start; right?

More in So It Go, Sunday


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