Turn on the charm

[In reference to a tweet of mine]

In 1972, Trout lived in a basement apartment in Cohoes, New York. He made his living as an installer of aluminum combination storm windows and screens. He had nothing to do with the sales end of the business–because he had no charm. Charm was a scheme for making strangers like and trust a person immediately, no matter what the charmer had in mind. Dwayne Hoover had oodles of charm. I can have oodles of charm when I want to. A lot of people have oodles of charm.

~Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

Charm is possessing contradictory qualities, thereby rousing a curiosity in others. Didn’t we all know that already? I particularly liked that the article suggested that charm wasn’t innate or exclusively cued by external actions, but rather formed by your circumstances, which ultimately affects your behavior, verbal and non-verbal. Charisma isn’t purely a charade or means for entertainment though, it can be in the authenticity and the honesty. Does that mean anyone can be charming? I’m not sure. Probably.

Then again, what’s charming to me may not be what’s charming to you. What’s charming to you? Also, can you assess your own charm? Charm is so elusive, but so natural. Oh, the contradictions.

I think that makes me charming.

If you’re interested, I just found a podcast with the author on the article from NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

A lot & I’m in charge.

Collectively, as a species, this [refers to a quip about relationships] is our emotional landscape. I met an old lady once, almost one hundred years old, and she told me, “There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who’s in charge?” Everything else is somehow manageable. But these two questions of love and control undo us all, trip us up and cause war, grief and suffering.

From Eat, Pray, Love.