An absence, the declining of an invitation to dinner, an unintentional, unconscious harshness are of more service than all the cosmetics and fine clothes in the world.
“Once you satisfy someone, you no longer have the initiative, and you open yourself to the possibility that he or she will lose interest at the slightest whim.” (71)
“Hot and cold, hot and cold—such coquetry is perversely pleasurable, heightening interest and keeping the initiative on your side.”
“The critics were both baffled and intrigued by the coldness of Warhol’s work; they could not figure out how the artist felt about his subjects. What was his position? What was he trying to say? When they asked, he would simply reply, ‘I just do it because I like it,’ or, ‘I love soup.’ The critics went wild with their interpretations…”
There is a way to represent one’s cause and in doing so to treat the audience in such a cool and condescending manner that they are bound to notice one is not doing it to please them. The principle should always be not to make concessions to those who don’t have anything to give but who have everything to gain from us. We can wait until they are begging on their knees even if it takes a very long time.
-Sigmund Freud, in a letter to a pupil
Cold Coquettes create space by remaining elusive and making others pursue them. Their coolness suggests a comfortable confidence that is exciting to be around, even though it may not actually exist; their silence makes you want to talk. Their self-containment, their appearance of having no need for other people, only makes us want to do things for them, hungry for the slightest sign of recognition and favor.” (73)
“A bout of distance engages the emotions further; instead of making us angry, it makes us insecure. Perhaps they don’t really like us, perhaps we have lost their interest. Once our vanity is at stake, we succumb to the Coquette just to prove we are still desirable.” (74)
A man is also challenged by the female Coquette’s independence – he wants to be the one to make her dependent, to burst her bubble. It is far more likely, though, that he will end up becoming her slave, giving her incessant attention to gain her love, and failing. For the narcissistic woman is not emotionally needy; she is self-sufficient. (74-75)
“Do not confuse self-absorption with seductive narcissism. Talking endlessly about yourself is eminently anti-seductive, revealing not self-sufficiency but insecurity.” (75)
“The Coquette must first and foremost be able to excite the target of his or her attention. The attraction can be sexual, the lure of celebrity, whatever it takes. At the same time, the Coquette sends contrary signals that stimulate contrary responses, plunging the victim into confusion.”
“Remember: obvious flirting will reveal your intentions too clearly. Better to be ambiguous and even contradictory, frustrating at the same time that you stimulate.”
“Coquettes are never jealous — that would undermine their image of fundamental self-sufficiency. But they are masters at inciting jealousy: by paying attention to a third party, creating a triangle of desire, they signal to their victims that they may not be that interested. This triangulation is extremely seductive, in social contexts as well as erotic ones.” (76)
“Coquettes face an obvious danger: they play with volatile emotions. Every time the pendulum swings, love shifts to hate. So they must orchestrate everything carefully.” (78)