Charming People

BY CAROLE SAWO

Somewhere in the dusty markets of India, the squatting snake charmer plays his mysterious pipe to a reptile swaying from a basket in a seemingly hypnotised trance.  It’s the same trance-induced behaviour observable in dating, where the handsome, suave gentleman tempts with his come-hither eyes sparkling over his wine glass, to a lusty maiden hopeful that her prince charming may fertilize both her phantasies and her eggs.  But to cut to the quick and announce the number 1. red flag from my observations in forensic psychology, beware the charming people.

In definition, ‘charm’ is of Latin origin, it means a ‘song, verse or incantation’, all methods for alluring the listener into behaviour wanted by the charmer, or an entity other.  In it’s even darker descriptions, charm means to seduce, a spell or a talisman, a tool for bewitching the innocent by one who is not.  It’s the root stem of charisma, the quality that may appear in both men and women, that influences and induces others to follow them.  

Notice that in both scenarios provided, the charmer sits well out of biting distance, as they play their merry pipe, just far enough to have an influence, and yet not be caught in the dance themselves.   We might wonder what Freud would say of the symbolism of the dancing pipe, but we could probably guess. The omnipotent wand that emits its influence, or libidinal force onto the unsuspecting novice.  In mythology, we find Pan, the half-goat, half-man God of the shady glens, teaching the magical powers of pan flute to his following young mortals.   

Oh little lambs, it is the single, lost and lonely that are at the highest risk of the charmer, although anyone not in full possession of their own conscious awareness, either temporarily or otherwise, can be duped by the hypnotic deity.   All that swaying, smiling, lulling, lustful promises are enough to tempt the hormones, lower the defences, outwit the intellect and reach into the mind under the perceptual radar, with their tentacles of audible seduction.  

Charming people, smiling, of course, have hoodwinked many, single or not.  We become their target for one reason.  It boils down to us having something they want.  That thing, in some shape or form, is one of the most basic desires of man, power – achieved through the influential tunes of attention, sex, and money.  Underneath is deeply hidden their truer unconscious motivations, even from themselves, is the unobtainable drive to satiate their greed.  Tis’ not the listener but the player that has the pipe envy.

An African proverb warns that ‘the rat smiles as it bites you’.   Having exposed the piper for the tune he plays, perhaps we may consider when encountering a charming person in future, that whilst it might be enjoyable to hear the tune, one must always listen to the music.


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