July 3rd, 2013


It's charming when I do it

Wow. I just got a notification that someone has updated their MySpace. I didn't realise that people still even used MySpace. Although, hipsters might. Hmm..

Anyway, rivet posted this thing yesterday. I don't know how many of you read it, but it's about charm - more specifically, the seeming lack of it in modern society. The article claims that men in particular have lost their charm - or that charm is a learned method of social interaction and that nowadays men do not seek to gain.

I struggle a bit with the gendered nature of that claim. The article suggests that women tend to be more charming as a social strategy, because charm requires creating space for another to shine rather than focusing on oneself and this is something that women are socially conditioned to do. I'm not sure I necessarily agree.

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And yet, when I look around me, I'm not seeing these ideas played out in real life - at least, not the gendered aspect of them. I can still only think of that one person who I think is truly charming. And I wonder if people really were any more charming Back In The Day than they are now, or if as Dr Wheel says, the depiction of charm in movies is related to the contrived nature of visual stories before the advent of method acting, and was only ever a fantasy created for us by those who seek to extract our money by delivering wish fulfilment fantasies?

Which is something of a cynical perspective, but I can definitely see its point - lots of things from bygone days get this rose-coloured-spectacle treatment, and without context it is possible to see a Cary Grant flick as an accurate depiction of real life back then, you know? But my Dad, who was Grant's contemporary, would give you a very different picture of the interactional norms of the time, you know?

Anyway, I'm curious what y'all think about this. Do you know anyone you'd consider to be charming? What do you think charm entails? And is the version we get in 1940s movies really the only way to see it?