Seduction, like grace in Calvinism, is a sorting machine. In the most common learning experience in the world, I learn that I am not always desired by those I desire, loved by those I love, and that I enter this universe as a potential reject. A wallflower: the range of this expression is not limited to ballrooms and parties. Some people are wallflowers all their lives, while others are adored from the start and don’t know how to deal with all their admirers. The miracle of being preferred: a favor that fulfills us and excludes everyone else. Being attractive is as inexplicable as being unattractive; why do some people follow us around while others hardly deign to look at us? (Sade resolved the problem in his own way: everyone who attracts us has an obligation to grant us his favors immediately, just as we have an obligation to grant ours to those who desire us. For him, desire was a debt, while for Fourier it was a gift that attractive people agree to grant the rest of humanity.)
The success enjoyed by a writer like Michel Houellebecq, with his combination of black humor and pessimism, can be explained in this way: he has created a sort of international federation of losers in love, and revealed the lie of hedonism, which is one form of feudalism among others. He has provided a voice for those without a voice, just as Woody Allen had done in his early films that show the unattractive taking revenge on playboys. Contrary to a boastful expression, in love we cannot “have whomever we want,” but only whomever we can or whoever is willing to have us. When the two coincide, it is a miracle. But “everything precious is as difficult as it is rare” (Spinoza). Some people think themselves irresistible and are convinced that they have mobs of admirers following them around, so that they interpret your refusal as an error of judgment, almost a lack of taste.
Everyone is supposed to have fun amid Dionysian crowds, but the bids are so high that they often look more like punishments. In this great fair of narcissisms, some people get excessive exposure because others, who are in the majority, applaud them.
Consider exclusive clubs and night clubs: selecting their clientele on the basis of notoriety or youth, they are temples of the stock market in bodies.....