Saturday, February 7, 2009

Seduction II, in Poetry

A fragment of T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Robert Herrick's Delight in Disorder might illustrate what, for some men, is seductive. Do they?

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .

Delight in Disorder

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse:
A Lawne about the shoulders thrown
Into fine distraction:
An erring Lace, which here and there
Entralls the Crimson Stomacher:
A Cuffe neglectfull, and thereby
Ribbands to flow confusedly:
A winning wave (deserving Note)
In the tempestuous petticote:
A careless shoe-string, in whose tye
A see a wilde civility:
Doe more bewitch me, then when Art
Is too precise in every part.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


“Women always get it wrong.” my husband informs me. And yet, miraculously, the human race has managed to survive and prosper. He assures me that seduction isn’t about fishnet stockings, high heels and face paint (I’ve never been overly fond of the Dynasty image of women, myself).

The Fashion Institute of Technology (or FIT) in New York currently has an exhibit called simply, Seduction. While every era seems to have its own ideas about clothing and physical attraction, are there any prevailing themes that we can discover? Is seduction strictly subjective to each individual? Is it as much about what we conceal as what we reveal? Tell me, what IS seductive in or on a woman?

Corset circa 1903

Jane Régny evening dress circa 1931, France

Red organza evening gown, circa 1950

John Galliano for Christian Dior, black leather circa 2000, France

Sárka Sisková evening dress circa 2008, Czech Republic

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