On a day like this, I mused aloud, one could fall in love. It was a chirpy spring morning, and I was deep in conversation with a pretty young thing at her studio apartment, before COVID-19 hit the global ceiling.

“Yes, one could,” she said, looking at me with interest. “But should one?” I held her gaze for a moment before replying, “No, I don’t think so.” It’s good to be mysterious sometimes. “Nor do I,” she said, almost immediately. She looked up with seriousness and understanding, and with a smile. “I’ve known you for four years.” “But I haven’t been faithful.” I blinked. She laughed. The moment passed. But the declaration had quite plainly been made and in a way accepted. She showed no awkwardness in my continued presence, but rather an increase in warmth.

“Who are you dating these days?” “She’s a model. Very pretty,” I said. “And not as dumb as she looks.” I did not stop there. “It’s interesting, because earlier I was intimidated by women and scared to make the first move. Now there’s no one I won’t approach. Guess, it’s just a mind-set. At the time, I was just a virgin desperate to lose that label.”

“And today, you can run a seduction boot camp, eh?” she laughed. I laughed with her, holding her gaze. “By the way, you are looking fresh and lovely today.” “Thank you,” she blushed, taken aback, and continued. “You know, I agree with you. I know of a guy whose wife was the most gorgeous thing on earth, but without two thoughts to rub together,” she smiled, twistedly. “What happened?” I asked. “Eventually, he got tired of the total vacancy behind the sensational black eyes.” She went on. “I introduced him to a girl who had an IQ on par with him. The last I heard, he was taking her to cloud nine for Lamaze techniques to ease childbirth.”

She was laughing, her face full of sunshine and wonder. “Oh,” I said. An echo of the cocky cleverness came back, a swagger to the shoulders, a curl to the lip. “Dead easy, eh?” I looked across with interest, adding, “Can I say something?” “Sure,” she said, eyes sparkling face glowing, white teeth gleaming. “I have been meaning to say this since we began our conversation,” I said, moving her along the road of seduction. She was curious. I continued. “But I have to say it now.” I was finding my voice and projecting it. It was now or never. “Sure, go ahead,” she said, a little breathless and more anxious. “Can I use your loo?”

The upshot of the story? Anticipation can be a wonderful aphrodisiac. And, it can be a big part of your seduction plan. Because the next time you meet, you can skip the foreplay and get straight into the act. How can you go on this ultimate power trip? By following some ground rules. One statutory warning. It’s all a work in progress…

1. Seek out the right girl. Seducing a woman is not that difficult if she is already on her second or third husband. The added bonus? No marital strings attached. So listen to your instincts…. not the baser ones. Seduction is about the mind, not the body. As Michelangelo once said: a man paints with his brains, not hands.

2. Smile. When your date notices how different and expressive your smile is, like the left crease being different from the right, know that you have the best smile that could make her go weak in the knees, and everywhere else.

3. Don’t ogle or worse, leer. Your date will know if you are ignoring the words coming out of her mouth for her cleavage. Instead, you look at her eye. And then, look at her other eye. Look at her lips and think what it would be like to be kissing. Your date will notice the difference, and things could shift to a more intimate level. Now picture yourself reaching that point, but still not sure if your date is game. Just whisper this into her ear: what would you say if I kissed you right now? It tells her like it is; builds some sexual tension, and if she doesn’t want to kiss you, she can say so anyway.

4. Be different. Yes, they teach you that at pickup schools, if there were any. Distinctive attire is the byword – orange eyeglasses, aqua pants, a fedora – all intended to elicit a second glance. Still don’t know what to wear? Browse through the latest male fashion magazines, visit popular male fashion stores and observe their window displays or even better, copy and improve upon the dress sense of guys who are already successful with beautiful girls. But remember, no cleavage-baring. And stay away from odd colour matching, nerdy haircuts and garish clothes. Now you know why some guys who are just plain looking, broke or even downright ugly have beautiful women doting over them.

5. Getting to her body starts with getting to her mind. Knowing body language helps. But not everyone can be an expert on that. So the best way to read her mind is by texting and chatting with her online before the encounter. My friend Frank clinched one such deal by messaging his office colleague: I know you like me. I am fine, so long as it’s just physical. Game? Her answer was a ‘yes’ and he could skip the other seduction techniques and go straight for the kill.

6. Get fit. To carry off your clothes elegantly, you need to be healthy and somewhat fit. Which is, either too fat or too thin. Walk, jog, lift weights. But first consult a qualified fitness trainer on what best suits your body type. I know a wannabe model who overdosed on protein shots, causing kidney failure.

7. Looks do matter. But remember to turn up freshly bathed and smelling good. And unless you suffer from an overpowering body odour, don’t apply perfumes and deos. It’s better for your enticing scent to be a surprise rather than an assault on the nostrils. But of course, chew gum. Who can stand bad breath? Not even you. Just don’t look like this slick Lothario wearing too much cologne and scanning the room for his next conquest.

8. At a pub, mall or multiplex, take your chances of coming up close and personal to her ears and whispering something. The feel of your warm breath on her, or the touch of your lip on her ear creates butterflies in her stomach, setting the stage for your next move. But you have to be quick. The longer you wait to touch her, the weirder it gets. So first go lightly. Arms, shoulders, hands. Then more intimate.

9. Your driving force should not be the woman you are dating. Talk about a goal or a purpose that is more important to you than a woman’s approval. Women find that insanely attractive. Nothing is more impressive to them than a man with ambition and direction. But don’t talk endlessly about yourself. Engage and listen to her as well.

PS: People might argue that learning the art of seduction is manipulative. But if you don’t already think we are manipulating and being manipulated every day, it’s time to get real.