A seduction contest!

Welcome to the first Midlife Bat Mitzvah readers’ contest!

What do you think is the most effective piece of seduction writing ever?

It can be a poem, song lyric, letter, essay, whatever. But it needs to be seductive — meaning an attempt to persuade, not just a general love poem. And it has to be published and findable (i.e., you can’t nominate that amazing mash note that Joey S. passed you in 9th grade math class).

Engraving of Cyrano de Bergerac, 17th century, from Musee Carnavalet, Paris. There was a real historical Cyrano, but he did not write love letters to a Roxane.

And since you asked, no, I’m not having a midlife crisis and looking for ways to put the moves on my personal trainer. I don’t even have a personal trainer. I was just listening to a pop song in the car (“Down,” big hit from 2009, you’ve undoubtedly heard it even if you don’t know that you have) and thinking what a good seduction song it was.

And then I started thinking about other seduction songs. And then I thought about the


piece of seduction writing ever, and how I don’t have the slightest idea what Andrew Marvell looked like and he has been dead for something like 300 years, but I would let him jump my bones in a nanosecond.

(Well, maybe not. I just looked him up on Wikipedia and saw his portrait. Ewww.)

So — back to the contest. Submit a comment at the bottom of this blog entry with your favorite seduction song/poem/writing. Feel free, if you wish, to say a few words about why you like it.

An expert committee made up of Ilana, Ilana, and Simon Cowell will select the best submission.

The prize will be a homemade CD of great seduction songs (if I get a lot of good submissions), or else a bunch of songs that just make me happy.

And now… to get the ball rolling, here are a few of my own nominations:

Lay Lady Lay — Bob Dylan (boy, did this make me melt when I was a teenager and simply using the words “lay” and “big brass bed” seemed risque)

Let’s Spend the Night Together – Rolling Stones (click this link to see Mick & crew in concert in 1967!!)

I’m Yours – Jason Mraz (if Andrew Marvell was a twenty-something indie songwriter in 2009, this is what he would have written)

and of course

To His Coy Mistress — Andrew Marvell.

Let the seducing begin!


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16 Responses to “A seduction contest!”

  1. Ito Says:

    That’s funny. “Lay Lady Lay” used to freak me out/upset me/disgust me when I was a teenager. I felt like he was talking to a dog and was going to do horrible things to her.

    I just happen to be perusing my iTunes library, burning some CDs for my workplace. Let me see what I find there.

  2. Andrea Says:

    You’ve got me thinking: Were any of those mixtapes I got from boys in high school successful? Hmmm. More to follow, I hope.

  3. Meredith Warshaw Says:

    Drat! as soon as I saw your FB post, I immediately thought of To his Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell (and even found it and read it again, just for the sheer joy of it), but I guess it’s disqualified as an entry.

    For songs, I nominate the Rogers and Hart song “My Funny Valentine” – awesomely beautiful, a perfect marriage of words and music.

  4. susan milligan Says:

    “Nobody does it better” Carly Simon

  5. Melissa Nappan Says:

    Well, it’s definitely NOT “Love Game” by Lady Gaga (“I wanna take a ride on your disco stick.”). Probably not “Let’s Get it On” by Marvin Gaye, either. Maybe “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones? Or Stevie Wonder’s “Knocks Me Off My Feet”…

  6. Judy Pace Says:

    I love SW’s “Knocks me off my feet” but I’d go with “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye. Maybe I’ll come up with something else later . . .

  7. Lisa Brodkey Says:

    The hottest songs for slow-dancing in the days of my bat mitzvah were definitely “My Girl” by the Temptations and “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson Five. But “Sad Lisa” by Cat Stevens had more personal meaning for me and my 9th grade boyfriend. Do you think anyone’s really turned on by “My Life Would Suck Without You”?

  8. Meredith Warshaw Says:

    What about Eliza Doolittle singing “Show Me” in My Fair Lady(Yes, I grew up on showtunes):

    Here we are together in the middle of the night!
    Don’t talk of spring! Just hold me tight!
    Anyone who’s ever been in love’ll tell you that
    This is no time for a chat!

    Haven’t your lips
    longed for my touch?
    Don’t say how much,
    Show me! Show me!

    Haven’t your arms
    hungered for mine?
    Please don’t expl’ine,
    Show me! Show me!

    Don’t wait until
    wrinkles and lines
    Pop out all over my brow,
    Show me now!

  9. Ilana DeBare Says:

    OHHH — and how could I forget


    written by Bruce Springsteen, top 40 cover version by the Pointer Sisters

  10. Ilana DeBare Says:

    and the Bruce stream of consciousness takes me to


    (take me now, baby, here as I am, hold me close try to understand, desire is hunger is the fire I breathe, love is a banquet on which we feed)

    written by Bruce, cover version by Patti Smith

  11. Laurel Says:

    Hi Ilana-
    What a great question, posed perfectly. This poem fragment by Octavio Paz I think sounds less over the top and more musical when in the more lyrical Spanish orginal. Because it’s a translation, two versions of the same section are included.

    Excerpt from Octavio Paz’s “Sunstone”: (Translation version 1)

    I travel your body, like the world,
    your belly is a plaza full of sun,
    your breasts two churches where blood
    performs its own, parallel rites,
    my glances cover you like ivy,
    you are a city the sea assaults,
    a stretch of ramparts split by the light
    in two halves the color of peaches,
    a domain of salt, rocks and birds,
    under the rule of oblivious noon,

    dressed in the color of my desires,
    you go your way naked as my thoughts,
    I travel your eyes, like the sea,
    tigers drink their dreams in those eyes,
    the hummingbird burns in those flames,
    I travel your forehead, like the moon,
    like the cloud that passes through your thoughts,
    I travel your belly, like your dreams,

    your skirt of corn ripples and sings,
    your skirt of crystal, your skirt of water,
    your lips, your hair, your glances rain
    all through the night, and all day long
    you open my chest with your fingers of water,
    you close my eyes with your mouth of water,
    you rain on my bones, a tree of liquid
    sending roots of water into my chest,

    I travel your length, like a river,
    I travel your body, like a forest,
    like a mountain path that ends at a cliff
    I travel along the edge of your thoughts,
    and my shadow falls from your white forehead,
    my shadow shatters, and I gather the pieces
    and go with no body, groping my way, (…)

    Version 2:

    I go among your body as among the world,
    your belly the sunlit center of the city,
    your breasts two churches where are celebrated
    the great parallel mysteries of the blood,
    the looks of my eyes cover you like ivy,
    you are a city by the sea assaulted,
    you are a rampart by the light divided
    into two halves, distinct, color of peaches,
    and you are saltiness, you are rocks and birds
    beneath the edict of concentrated noon

    and dressed in the coloring of my desires
    you go as naked as my thoughts go naked,
    I go among your eyes as I swim water,
    the tigers come to these eyes to drink their dreams,
    the hummingbird is burning among these flames,
    I go upon your forehead as on the moon,
    like cloud I go among your imagining
    journey your belly as I journey your dream,

    your loins are harvest, a field of waves and singing,
    your loins are crystal and your loins are water,
    your lips, your hair, the looks you give me, they
    all night shower down like rain, and all day long
    you open up my breast with your fingers of water,
    you close my eyelids with your mouth of water,
    raining upon my bones, and in my breast
    the roots of water drive deep a liquid tree,

    I travel through your waist as through a river,
    I voyage your body as through a grove going,
    as by a footpath going up a mountain
    and suddenly coming upon a steep ravine
    I go the straitened way of your keen thoughts
    break through to daylight upon your white forehead
    and there my spirit flings itself down, is shattered
    now I collect my fragments one by one
    and go on, bodiless, searching, in the dark….

  12. fs Says:

    …and then there’s always Tom Petty’s “Breakdown.”

  13. Ilana Says:

    My mother-in-law Bert has not mastered the “comments” aspect of blogging but verbally suggests “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You” by Cole Porter.

  14. Teresa Says:

    If movie dialogue counts, this from “Bull Durham,” even if today’s Kevin Costner makes me wince:

    Annie Savoy: What do you believe in, then?
    Crash Davis: Well, I believe in the soul. The cock, the pussy, the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing AstroTurf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. [pause] Goodnight.
    Annie Savoy: Oh my. Crash…

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