More on Seduction

Detail of The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

Slow down for a moment.  Forget all those things that you absolutely have to do in the next 30 minutes.  Allow yourself the pleasure of getting lost in this painting.

Why is it so widely loved?  Is it the complexity of pattern, the way that the background flows into his garment, which flows into hers without clear demarcations?  Is it the abundance of rich gold, contrasted against the traces of bright blue, red and green?  Is it the slightness of her body pressed against the dominating mass of his body?  Is it the precise molding of her face, the glimpse of her shoulder?

Whatever the magic of this painting, copies of it have hung on the walls of countless dorm rooms and apartments and fueled the fires of equally countless fantasies.

So why have I pulled this image out of my memory bank, hot on the heels of the tale of Chet’s failed attempt at seduction (The Poetry of Seduction)?  Because a poet whose work I admire, and who I met one Sunday afternoon in Paris, has a radically different interpretation of this painting.  Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem is going to challenge those of you who love The Kiss  to look at it in an entirely different light.

He expresses so accurately my reaction to Chet that lovely fall evening in this excerpt from his poem, Short Story on a Painting of Gustav Klimt.  The setting and words were so right.  Chet was so wrong.

And he holds her still

                                so passionately

            holds her head to his

                        so gently so insistently

            to make her turn

                                    her lips to his

Her eyes are closed   

                        like folded petals


   will not open


                           is not the One


2 thoughts on “More on Seduction

  1. Ah seduction. It is, after all, an art form; one that I believe is being lost in the 21st century. From many of the previous posts, we have seen that men and women do have vast differences in regards to love. Today’s male tends to think that the 30 minute drive to pick up his date should be considered part of fore- play. It is this environment of “friends with benefits” and “hooking-up’ that is driving the art of seduction to oblivion. If seduction were to be a part of the female/ male bonding issue, we wouldn’t see signs hung from fraternity house windows at Ivy league colleges that read ” Here at XXXX house, no means yes and yes means anal.”
    Georgia, a question for your female readers. When was the last time a man or woman truly tried seduction in the dating process??\\Thanks,


    • Hi Big Fan: You may remember that Reggie in his posting One Man’s Viewpoint also referred to the “friends with benefits” concept. What I’m about to say may be another example of the difference between male and female thinking: I have vastly different feelings about my friends and my lovers. One person can’t fill both roles.

      Oh, and that sign on the frat house window – some of the men at my college may have harbored that thought, but they would never have considered, for a minute, that they’d get away with flaunting it publicly, because they knew it would be socially unacceptable.

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