Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Social Interaction

FLG found this article about politeness interesting.  It's different than the article about male charm FLG was so found of.  Politeness and charm are somewhat overlapping, but ultimately different things.  In fact, some of the most charming people occasionally breach certain norms of politeness.  Or perhaps in a Picasso-esque way, the charming know the rules, so they can break them.   In any case, a few things stuck out.

This passage, considering FLG's focus on time horizons:
She was surprised to see the stubborn power of politeness over time. Over time. That’s the thing. Mostly we talk about politeness in the moment. Please, thank you, no go ahead, I like your hat, cool shoes, you look nice today, please take my seat, sir, ma’am, etc. All good, but fleeting.

But then there's this statement:
One way to be polite is by not touching people unless they specifically invite it. 
And perhaps this is where the politeness versus charm divide is so striking.  FLG thought of the passage from Primary Colors about the handshake:
The handshake is the threshold act, the beginning of politics. I’ve seen him do it two million times now, but I couldn’t tell you how he does it, the right-handed part of it—the strength, quality, duration of it, the rudiments of pressing the flesh. I can, however, tell you a whole lot about what he does with his other hand. He is a genius with it. He might put it on your elbow, or up by your biceps: these are basic, reflexive moves. He is interested in you. He is honored to meet you. If he gets any higher up your shoulder— if he, say, drapes his left arm over your back, it is somehow less intimate, more casual. He’ll share a laugh or a secret then—a light secret, not a real one—flattering you with the illusion of conspiracy.
If politicians are anything, they're charming.  And then there's the Pick-up Artist community, which while not concerned with charm in the traditional sense or for its own sake, is on the other side of the not touching people divide:
Short for kinesthetics, "kino" is PUA language for light touching in order to get a lady in the mood.  

Even after all that, FLG isn't exactly sure of the relationship between politeness and charm, but if he had to be called one, then he'd prefer charming.

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