Attraction: The Suitor and the Débutante

Hitch-TV-series-Will-Smith-The first two Archetypes, the Suitor and the Débutante, begin the Story of the Household, a love story. These are the two lost souls who are looking for each other but have not yet met. The interaction between the two revolves around and culminates in their meeting and sharing with each other for the first time, thus I have named their Relationship “Attraction.”

There are three stories of the Architecture of the Human Experience: The Story of the Household, the Story of World, and the Story of the Magnum Opus. There are also three different levels that this Architecture describes: the Inner level, the Inter-personal level, and the Social level. Each of the three stories in the Architecture is played out on each of the three levels, so the Story of the Household, our current story, plays out on all three of the Inner, Inter-personal and Social levels. However, each of the three stories also has a natural level on which it is most prominent. As a love story, the Story of the Household is most prominent on the Inter-personal level. For ease of elucidation, this is where our story begins.

 Archetype #1: The Suitor (Masculine)

Casanova, famous for his success with women, is one of our clearest cultural depictions of the Suitor. Casanova does, after all, tend to get what he wants.

Casanova, famous for his success with women, is one of our clearest cultural depictions of the Suitor. Casanova does, after all, tend to get what he wants.

The Suitor, a masculine Archetype, knows what he wants. His desire is fixated upon the Débutante, a feminine Archetype. Characterized by his invincible will, a determination that impels him forward no matter the cost, he is known in faerie-tales as Prince Charming. Because he knows what he wants and will do whatever it takes to get her, he is also notorious for being courageous, daring, bold, and assertive. The Suitor needs only to approach the Débutante and state his intentions to her and she, struck and enamored by the strength of his desire, will feel compelled to respond “Yes!”

What the Suitor sees in the object of his desire is freedom. Every Débutante that a Suitor desires appears to him as freedom from his troubled state. After all, is wanting what you lack not trouble in itself? The love-sick Suitor might imagine that he was better off in the bliss of not knowing that there existed a woman so attractive and mysterious. But it is only in laying eyes upon her that he discovers just how much he lacks. What he lacks, of course, is the ability to realize his dreams. She is the central figure in his dream and without her his entire life is merely a prelude. In every woman that a Suitor pursues, he sees a vision of who she will be to him and how she will set him free from his loneliness and wandering, how she will finally end his search and give him rest, how she will fill his life with energy and creativity and give expression to his desires. According to the Suitor’s fantasy, she will be the pillar of his focus and purpose and all his actions will be for her.

The Suitor’s crowning achievement and greatest victory is to ask and hear Yes, to be granted entry into her mysterious allure. So until the Suitor informs his Débutante of his intention, his role is unfulfilled. He may spend years fashioning his Proposal, waiting until his will is strong enough to overcome all other obstacles, but the moment the Proposal is made the relationship either begins or is abandoned.

Archetype #2: The Débutante (Feminine)

Beyonce, an exemplary instance of the Débutante , oozes desirability and captivates the attention and desire of Suitors all over the world.

Beyonce, an exemplary instance of the Débutante, oozes desirability and captivates the attention and desire of Suitors all over the world.

The Débutante wants to be wanted. Overflowing with subtlety and attention to detail, she presents herself with a grace that she knows most will not even recognize. The Débutante knows better than anyone else that if she is to attract the kind of Suitor who will appreciate her, then every little detail matters. She reveals only as much of herself as she must to ensure that her Suitor will know when he looks upon her whether he wants her. Every word, gesture, and garment is carefully measured but not planned. The Débutante does not connive; rather, she simply knows. She attends to every detail about her presentation, but she does so according to what feels right, for these feelings are of the utmost importance to her.

The Débutante, as a pure Archetype, does not choose her Suitor. Rather, she chooses the kind of Suitor she will attract based on how she presents herself. She often has a particular man in mind, but if someone else approaches her who is the kind of Suitor she wants, she will gladly forget about the man she had been dressing up for. What she wants is to choose from the Suitors who approach her, to say Yes or No once the Suitor has made his intentions known. Yes, she dressed up so she can attract him, but he must notice her and approach her. He must go out on a limb because he sees in her something he wants.

The Débutante can be anything to the right Suitor—permitted or forbidden, Good or Evil, safe or dangerous, or some mixture of these. She is the physical manifestation of that which lies dormant, awaiting expression. She is aware that the Suitor’s romantic hopes and dreams all hinge upon her, so she sees herself as the guardian at the threshold of mystery. She is the Siren whose irresistible call leads into the depths of the ocean where the Suitor who hears her beckon is lost forever. He either drowns in her refusal or enters her bliss, never returning to the surface.

The Underdeveloped Suitor
This Archetype manifests in us very early, though it is usually an unconscious manifestation that lacks the power and boldness of the Archetype in its fullness. The young and unconscious Suitor, usually a boy, has a hasty crush. The moment he lays eyes on her, his entire world lights up. “Love at first sight,” they call it. Of course, he knows nothing about her—and that is exactly why he must have her. How can he forget about her now that he has laid eyes upon her? He watches her as she passes in the hallway or at work or out with friends. He’s been working up the guts to ask her out for a while now, but his desire isn’t yet stronger than his fear that she will say No. Most men don’t even approach the woman they are afraid will say No, so if he is going to be an exception then he needs to make sure that she really is what he wants.

In our romantic desires, the Suitor is always aware that a new love might be on the horizon. We’ve all noticed an attractive person of our preferred gender in the distance and thought to ourselves, “Ooh, who’s that cutie?” only to discover that the cutie is a friend or coworker we’ve known for a while now: “Oh, it’s just John/Jane.” In this moment of intense fascination, fleeting though it may be, the Suitor is fixating once again upon whatever he finds both novel and attractive. When he discovers that the object of his desire is not novel after all, his interest tends to dissipate. The Suitor wants something unfamiliar, something strange and mysterious, and in the onset of his visceral fixation he suddenly sees this rapturous mystery in her. To him she is a virgin, whether literally so or not.

The Unbalanced Suitor

Unbalanced Negative: The Nice Guy

That he is a little mystified about the whole thing is not lost on him, despite his desire. He doesn’t really even know her. He doesn’t know if he’ll be happy with her, if two months into the relationship (still only an imaginary relationship), he will have any interest left for her at all. So for some Suitors, it is preferable to just want without having, thus avoiding the possible No on the one hand or the possible boredom on the other. He knows he is lonely, but loneliness is familiar and so he is not afraid of it. We call him the Nice Guy. He is dishonest about his intentions and desires because he is afraid that the Débutante will reject him.

Unbalanced Positive: The Desperate Suitor

Other Suitors, however, are far too quick to ask, because the worst she’ll do is say No (hopefully politely). This is the Desperate Suitor. His quickness to ask is simultaneously an aggressive assault on the fear of hearing No (because the more you experience it, the more you get used to it), and a caving in to the fear of being alone. Men who ask any old woman out are typically spurned because they don’t want any one woman especially strongly. To the Desperate Suitor a Débutante is merely a drug. Among all successful persons, the most prominent common trait is determination. Everyone who hears Yes to his deepest desire hears it because he was focused on that desire to the exclusion of all else.

The Social Suitor
A Presidential Debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Here we have two Suitors Proposing to their Debutante (the US populace), by stating and comparing their intentions to each other. The US populace, of course, must say Yes to one and No to another.

A Presidential Debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Here we have two Suitors Proposing to their Debutante (the US populace), by stating and comparing their intentions to each other. The US populace, of course, must say Yes to one and No to another.

Socially, the Suitor is anyone who makes a Proposal. Often, he is a salesman or an entrepreneur, but he may also be a hiring manager who must select someone or a student who must choose a major. As a salesman, his Proposal is his pitch. They say that you are always selling something to someone—and you are. Anytime you Propose something to someone you are the Suitor. What you want when you pitch a Proposal to someone is to finally discharge the burden of searching for your beloved, for here she is and the search is over.

The salesman, when he instantiates the Suitor without distortion, is dauntless and persistent. He has no fear of pitching his Proposal over and over because he knows that every No is a step closer to a Yes. He won’t bug the same person over and over again to make his sale; rather, he’ll hone and refine his intentions with each effort. He knows that if his potential customers could only see the purity and intensity of his intentions, they will want to say Yes, because they believe in him.

The Rambler or Dabbler, on the other hand, has no focus. He is the Unbalanced Positive Suitor on the social level. The occasions when he hears Yes mean little to him because he didn’t really want the Yes that badly. He is merely curious and not yet singularly fixated. He must find a target or a focus for his desire or else he’ll never hear the life-changing Yes that he wants to hear. He has to want it badly enough. Anyone who wants anything at all has to want it badly enough in order to hear a Yes. Hence, the non-profit grant-writer and the candidate running for office are both social Suitors, as is the evangelistic religious enthusiast.

Whereas the Suitor’s primary talent is desire, his primary virtue is focus. The Suitor always has desire and will never be without it, but he must carefully discipline himself in order to gain focus. We call the union of these two determination. This same principle applies to group interactions. Where two groups have competing desires, the more determined group will usually win out. No matter what you are proposing, all you need to do is want it so badly that all of your energy is poured into getting it, and the object of your desire will surely find you.

The Inner Suitor
The Magician is the Tarot card associated with the Suitor Archetype. He points in the direction of his desire, and his wand indicates that he will get what he wants.

The Magician is the Tarot card associated with the Suitor Archetype. He points in the direction of his desire, and his wand indicates that he will get what he wants.

On the inner level, the Suitor is the your unfulfilled Conscious Mind, your Ego’s Will, the vanishingly small and empty “I” that knows only that it lacks. What else is this “I” but a direction, a placement of attention, a focused awareness. If your Ego did not desire to read what I have to say, then your attention would not be on these words right now. The focus of your desire also determines whether these words tell you No or not. If you cannot focus on my words long enough to make sense of them, then I might as well be telling you “No, you are not allowed to know what I have to say.” The trajectory of your Ego’s Will is to fulfill desire, to quench the thirst, to fill the boundless absence of Self and finally achieve rest.

Most of us—especially men, who are naturally inclined to instantiate this Archetype—never find the mythical rest we seek. We are always keenly aware that we lack, but somehow we do not find what it is that is missing. So rarely do we hear the Yes to end all Yeses.

Impotent on its own to be free, the Ego’s Will must rely on the other resources of your inner world in order to realize its desires. Your Ego is only your waking consciousness. It is the ignorant self that has big ideas but no money to spend. Why else would it need to make Proposals? So you want to write a book: Do you ever actually sit down to write it? If so, you have found your resource, but where do those words come from? They don’t come from pure desire; no, desire only activates the source of those words. The source of the words is the Subconscious Mind, the inner Débutante, the Suitor’s opposite and counterpart. Only desire strong enough to locate the Subconscious and offer a Proposal (for the book you’ll write) begins the relationship between the Ego and the Subconscious. Only determination can fashion the key—a Proposal—that will unlock the gate of the Unconscious Mind, allowing the Ego access to her resources.

The Underdeveloped Débutante
The Débutante tends to manifest in young girls as early as the Suitor does in young boys. Considering the continued presence of beauty pageant culture, it’s safe to say we reinforce an underdeveloped version of this Archetype in our children. The underdeveloped Débutante dresses herself up carefully, attending to her makeup, outfit, accessories and hair, as well as her demeanor, stride and even handwriting. Unaware that she has her own unique resources to choose from, she mimics the culture around her, attempting to look like the other girls, but better. Like the undistorted Débutante, no effort is spared to get her Suitor’s attention—save waving at him. But unlike the undistorted Débutante, the Underdeveloped Débutante lacks originality and subtlety.

This young Débutante fantasizes about the life she will make for her Suitor, how she will make all his dreams come true if only he would choose her to be his. She is prepared to say Yes to him—she wants nothing more—but she can’t answer if she isn’t asked. So until she is asked, she continues fantasizing, dressing up, and occasionally appearing in his peripheral vision. Her cues are subtle because she wants him to choose her freely, and because she only wants to attract her Suitor, not every man in the world. If the Suitor fails to notice her, she becomes frustrated, “Doesn’t he think I’m pretty? Why won’t he ask me out?” So she must redouble her efforts, change her makeup, change her outfit, change her mannerisms. She needs to stand out from the other Débutantes that compete for his attention.

The Unbalanced Débutante

Unbalanced Negative: The Spinster

The Débutante who makes no effort to be noticed at all is at peace with her loneliness, at peace with her inability to make a man’s dreams come true. She is the Spinster. She knows that her fantasies of a romance may never be fulfilled, but is comfortable in her loneliness, certainly too comfortable to risk having to let men down when the wrong ones inevitably find her, or worse, to discover that no one is attracted to her regardless of her efforts.

Unbalanced Positive: The Tease

Conversely, the Débutante who overdoes herself and turns every eye is indiscriminate. She wears excessive makeup and tiny skirts. She is the Tease who wants to attract as many Proposals as possible, wants all the men to want her. Like the Desperate Suitor, she is unwilling to face her fear of loneliness, and so avoids it at all costs by making sure that she is too attractive to ignore. She is, however, at peace with the prospect of having to say No many times over in order to achieve her desire. Unfortunately, because she attracts so many Proposals, she rarely meets the Suitor she wants to say Yes to.

The Social Débutante
Tim Tebow, now known for this pose, was once a make-or-break quarterback recruit for the University of Florida, a Débutante who was once showered with Proposals to choose from.

Tim Tebow, now known for this pose, was once a make-or-break quarterback recruit for the University of Florida, a Débutante who was once showered with Proposals to choose from.

Socially, the Débutante is the Rising Star. The Rising Star is the one who carefully attends to presentation, who makes herself as attractive as possible and then awaits opportunity. The Rising Star fantasizes about the day that the opportunity will show itself, the day a talent agent hears her (or his) singing and becomes enamored, the day an executive notices how good her work is and catapults her career. She fantasizes about how she will say Yes to the opportunity, and she even daydreams about what she will be wearing the day her opportunity to say Yes finally comes along. Her greatest fear is that she’ll mess up when all she needed to do was say Yes. Opportunity knocks ever so infrequently.

Once the Rising Star is found, she attracts more and more attention, receiving Proposals from all sides, a common experience for female performers. The Rising Star is a dancer or a singer more obviously, but she is also the employee whose subtle excellence is noticed by upper management or the quarterback recruit who has the size, the arm and the intangibles.

The Rising Star must be seen in order to be noticed. A potential pop-star will never receive a single Proposal if she doesn’t sing in public. And this is precisely why I call her the Débutante. To make a debut is to indicate that you are now taking Proposals from Suitors. The Débutante must be seen or else her dreams will never amount to anything.

The social Débutante, however, does not need to be a Rising Star to be pursued. As the Suitor is anyone who Proposes, so the Débutante is anyone who receives a Proposal. If you walk into your manager’s office to explain why you should get a raise, then you are the Suitor and he is the Débutante. If on the other hand, your manager calls you into the office to offer you a promotion, then you are the Débutante and he is the Suitor.

The Débutante also manifests in groups. She is the business who carefully arranges the packaging of its products, the look and feel of its website, down to the colors and the fonts, all to make itself more attractive to a potential buyer. Whereas the door-to-door salesman is a Suitor, the products lined up on the shelf at the store are all Débutantes, as are the companies who produce them. And yet, when an associate at the store shows up to push a specific product on you, you suddenly cease to be the Suitor and become the Débutante.

The Inner Débutante
The High Priestess Tarot card is the classic esoteric depiction of this Archetype. Her nunnish appearance is best seen as an indication of her mystery rather than her unwillingness to allow the Suitor entry. A Débutante is all the more alluring when much is left to the imagination.

The High Priestess Tarot card is the classic esoteric depiction of this Archetype. Her nunnish appearance is best seen as an indication of her mystery rather than her unwillingness to allow the Suitor entry. A Débutante is all the more alluring when much is left to the imagination.

On the inner level, the Débutante is your Unconscious Mind as yet unknown to the Conscious Mind, the Ego. This unfulfilled side of the Unconscious is what we call Intuition. It is a pure attractive force within the self that puts out subtle cues—emotions, thoughts, dreams and other feelings—indicating that it wants your attention. Intuition does not jump in front of you the way a salesman will. Rather, it waits patiently, hoping that you will notice that it got all dressed up for you. On any given day, you might notice familiar feelings arise in you. Perhaps you suddenly feel nostalgic when you hear a song, or you have a dream that leaves you with the oddest feeling, or you can’t get the name of a book out of your mind, or you think about your brother for no apparent reason. These are the kinds of cues that Intuition will use. The Intuition wants the Ego to notice her, but she doesn’t want it to be obvious that she does herself up just for him. She wants the Ego to figure it out because that amps up the mystery of the situation—and mystery is the whole reason the Ego is attracted in the first place.

If the Ego is what you refer to when you say “I,” then the Unconscious Mind is what you refer to when you say “myself” in the same sentence. Your Intuition is a distant vision of yourself as you could be, of your life as you might be living it. You know within you that you dream of a time when you are finally free of the burden of searching, when you finally find what you are looking for. Your Intuition is the trail of breadcrumbs leading the way to that freedom.

The Inner Dialogue

We are all familiar with the inner dialogue. Whether we do so out loud or not, we speak to ourselves as if there is a part of the self that listens. And there is. We speak to ourselves because the human experience is split into two personalities: the conscious personality and the unconscious personality. The outer human experience, which reflects the inner experience, is likewise split into two sexes. Life as a woman is a very different thing from life as a man, and while we must all respect the dignity of another human being, life as the opposite sex is an almost impenetrable experience to fathom. Certainly more difficult than life in another culture. Despite these parallels and the broad social acceptance of the existence of a Unconscious Mind, we still fail to appreciate the nature of the inner dialogue.

When you speak to yourself about what you want, you are engaging in a conversation between the Suitor and the Débutante. If you are a woman, you may often take the perspective of the Débutante, so locating a firm and focused will can be much more difficult than merely preparing yourself for someone else who has a firm and focused will. Similarly, if you are a man, you may often take the perspective of the Suitor, so finding within yourself the passion and creativity to make your own dreams come true can be much more difficult than merely searching for a woman who already has that stuff.

The inner dialogue, however, is where everything begins. There is no relationship between an outer Suitor and Débutante (a man and a woman, for example) that is not preceded by an inner relationship between Will and Intuition. Whatever you tell yourself is what you will end up telling the outer instances of your Suitor or Débutante, upon whom you inevitably constellate those Archetypes. Whatever you see in yourself is what you will see in your outer Suitor or Débutante. Most of us fail to appreciate the richness of personality within our Unconscious. The Unconscious is a mystery, so the Ego doesn’t know what it has to offer any better than we know what the beautiful man or woman who catches our eye has to offer.

As the Will of the Ego has desire as its talent and courage and focus as its virtues, the Intuition of the Unconscious has passion and creativity as its talents and subtlety as its virtue. The Unconscious, seemingly infinite in the depth and power of its contents, can offer everything the Ego could possibly want to experience, but it must be noticed first. Without the crucial element of the Ego’s attention, the Unconscious is an unused resource of self, a mansion whose many chambers accumulate dust and debris. So Intuition must dress itself up to subtly appeal to the specific set of Ego desires that it wants to give itself to. But this takes effort. The Unconscious, to whom passion and creativity come naturally, must learn through trial and error how to attract the attention of the Ego’s Will.

Relationship #1: Attraction

The following video is an excellent example of a Proposal rejected and a Proposal accepted.

The name of the anxious and exciting relationship between the Suitor and the Débutante is Attraction. The Suitor’s challenge is not only to focus his desire on one woman—a task difficult enough all on its own—but also to muster up the strength and courage to Propose. He must stake a claim, make a declaration about who he is and what he wants. The more firmly he does so, the better his odds of success.

The Proposal must be an expression of the entirety of the Suitor’s intention with the Débutante. He is not at all prepared to make vows, of course—that is for a wedding, not a first meeting—but he is at least prepared to go out on a limb and declare to the Débutante what he wants from the relationship. She deserves that much.

His attraction to her is defined entirely by her ability to symbolize the experience he desires. Does he want a family? Then she must present herself as capable of bearing children. Does he want a partner in crime? Then she must present herself as competent and capable of matching him. Does he want a sex-buddy? Then she must present herself as enticing and non-clingy. Does he want a care-giving woman? Then she must present herself as nurturing.

Because the Débutante is usually showered with Proposals, the power in the Attraction relationship lies squarely in her hands. She is the one who says Yes or No, and a Suitor who does not take No for an answer is foolish. There is no rapport yet between the Suitor and the Débutante—they just met—so the Suitor has no leverage, nothing else to offer the Débutante to make his Proposal more enticing.

These roles are so common that we often play them without realizing we are doing so. Buying a woman a drink at a bar is a Proposal. Stepping into your manager’s office to make a request is a Proposal. Initiating conversation with someone you don’t know is a Proposal. Even initiating sex with your partner is a Proposal. Anyone fascinated with novelty is a Suitor. Your interest in a new musical instrument, Niel Gaiman’s new novel, a philosophy you’ve never heard before, or a TV show you’ve never seen before — these are all moments in which you instantiate the Suitor. Similarly, anyone who wants attention and appreciation is a Débutante. The cologne you wear, the hairstyle you choose, the vocabulary you prefer, and the picture you put on your Facebook profile are all expressions of the Débutante.

In classical archetypal terms, the Suitor is the Hero who must prove his determination through feats of courage in order to win the Débutante. Once his desire for her is proven, she gives herself to him as a matter of course. Although this characterization may smack of stereotype, it is only stereotype if we expect that men and women must always conform to these gender roles in their relationships. In real life situations, we tend to instantiate both Archetypes to varying degrees. A woman who is fixated upon a specific man to the point of denying the affections of other equally qualified men is instantiating the Suitor. Nevertheless, because our birth sex grants us readier access to the associated gendered Archetypes (that is, men tend to instantiate masculine Archetypes and women feminine Archetypes), these Archetypal roles compel us on an unconscious level. A man who demonstrates his desire to a woman through a feat of courage becomes ipso facto desirable to that women, even if she ultimately rejects him for other reasons (such as having a boyfriend).

Mindfulness Is the Virtue of Attraction

And here is the rub. The Archetypal relationship, though simple and clear in its conception, is usually distorted in its instantiation. We who instantiate the Suitor are rarely honest with our Débutantes about our intentions. Just so, we are rarely honest with ourselves (and by “ourselves,” I mean the inner Débutante) about our intentions. If I can’t admit to myself (notice the use of “I” and “myself”) what it is I really want, how can I tell another human being? The Proposal is always made first to the inner Débutante, to the Unconscious Mind. When you declare to yourself what you want, what does your inner dialogue respond with? Does your inner voice shut you down? Does she laugh in your face? Or is she beside herself with affirmation? Only once she accepts your Proposal can you safely make that same Proposal to the outer Débutante.

Just as frequently, we change ourselves in order to attract Proposals. A woman, acting in the role of the Débutante, will often pretend to be what she perceives her chosen Suitor to want in order to make herself an irresistible choice. Employees will pretend any number of work habits in order to make themselves more attractive for promotion. In social environments, we consistently pretend to exemplify virtues that are foreign to us or to care about things that we do not in fact care about, all so that we may be met with social acceptance and the benefits this acceptance brings. “If I pretend to like my boss, maybe he’ll promote me,” such a Débutante will say in the inner dialogue. “If I pretend to be like everyone in my social circle, I will gain their favor and receive lots of Proposals,” she says. “If I pretend to be more unique and virtuous than I am, I will attract more attention,” she may also say.

The Débutante’s greatest desire is to give her world to a Suitor, but the world she would be best served giving is the world she has to offer. An introverted woman who pretends to be an extrovert in order to attract men is doomed to disappoint them when they discover that the world she presented herself as offering was not the world she had to give. So while she must present herself as attractive, she must be honest about it, as the Suitor must be honest about his intentions. Just as the Suitor’s Proposal must face the tribunal of the inner Débutante, so the Débutante’s careful and detailed self-presentation must face the tribunal of the Suitor who will eventually discover whether the promise the Débutante makes in her outward display is one she can keep. On the inner level, any instance of Intuition that attracts your Will with a promise of happiness and freedom but betrays this promise with flimsy addictions is not presenting itself honestly to the inner Suitor. In such cases, your inner Débutante does not know how to offer herself honestly.

And yet we always attract what matches us. Débutantes who are dishonest about their offerings attract Suitors who are dishonest about their desires. Teases attract Desperate Suitors, Spinsters attract no one, and Nice Guys never Propose.

These broad categories fail to appreciate the subtleties of Attraction, though. The Suitor’s desire is not simple. If it were, then the mere fantasy of life with a Débutante would be enough. The Suitor’s desire requires the actual experience in order to hone itself and bring out the many facets of that desire. After I was divorced, I asked out about two dozen women (maybe more), each Proposal based on the desire to establish some kind of romantic relationship. I think it is safe to say I spent some time as the Desperate Suitor avoiding loneliness. And yet to say that I only wanted sex or that I only wanted romance would oversimplify the matter. One woman attracted me because she was wise and spiritual but still sexy. Another attracted me because she was cute and naïve but had a genuine heart. Another attracted me because she was unabashedly nerdy. My fiancée attracted me because she and I had interlocking attitudes on so many different levels that I couldn’t imagine myself with anyone else once I had found her. In all instances, what I was attracted to was what was already within my Unconscious. Except for my fiancée, however, my desire for these women was fairly weak because I only perceived a shallow and vague similarity between the outer Débutante and my inner Débutante. That is, it was not easy for me to constellate the Débutante upon these women.

As stated previously, the virtue of the Suitor is focus, demonstrated through a courageous Proposal; whereas the virtue of the Débutante is subtlety, demonstrated through carefully presenting herself as she is. In both cases, the underlying need is for honesty with Self about Self. The Suitor focuses his desire through becoming more and more honest about what that desire actually is, while the Débutante tunes her ability to attract the right Suitors through becoming more and more honest about what she actually offers. When these modes of honesty are practiced in the reflexive Attraction Relationship, the Suitor and the Débutante carefully observing each other and distinguishing themselves through each other, the end result is what we call Mindfulness.

The Law of Attraction

The Archetypal Relationship of Attraction is what we are referring to when we speak of the “Law of Attraction.” I hesitate to say so, though, because this buzzword often leaves the Archetypal relationship misapprehended. What you get is what you want, of course, but you’ll never get what you want unless you take the time to work out what it is you want and how you are pretending to be someone you are not. In real life (and not the idealized world of Archetypes), the attraction between Suitor and Débutante is usually characterized by a mix of contradictory desires and intentions. The Suitor who wants a long term companion but is afraid of commitment will be attracted to Débutantes who want his company but won’t give themselves to him (trust me, I know). The Débutante who presents herself as more organized and disciplined than she really is will attract Suitors who value effectiveness above intimacy, because a Suitor who valued both would notice her charade.

A Suitor who doesn’t know what he wants will invariably Propose to the wrong Débutantes. Similarly, a Débutante who pretends to be something she is not will invariably attract the wrong Suitors. The apparent falsity of the Law of Attraction is really a consequence of either proposing to the wrong Débutante or dressing up for the wrong Suitor. Until you explore this inner tension, you will not attract what you think you are or what you think want; rather, you will attract what you actually are, which is confused, and what you actually want, which is contradictory.

On the level of romance between a man and a woman, the experience of Attraction culminates in a symbolic (or literal) sex act. The Suitor makes a Proposal. If his Proposal is approved, then he is granted access to her resources: he is allowed to enter and enjoy her. Once he has entered he finds fulfillment in giving her the seed of his intention. Conversely, her fulfillment is to be given that seed to incubate. Hence, while the romantic Débutante wants to make a man’s dreams come true, the family-oriented Débutante wants to find a man who will father her children.

The backfiring of the Law of Attraction reveals the inner characteristics of the Attraction Relationship in sharp relief. I once thought of myself as an extroverted adventurer. Sometimes I really am that, but usually I am an introverted contemplative. The Suitors I attracted (the women who approached me) when I presented myself this way were hardly appealing to me. They tended to be dramatic and completely out of touch with their own desires—just like I was. My self-image was out of sync with with my desires, so my Suitors were confused. My signals were confused, so the results I was getting were unimpressive. Similarly, because I wanted and pursued both companionship and a casual relationship, the Débutantes I was attracted to were usually either put off by my refusal to commit or uninterested in the emotional intimacy I wanted. They affirmed my contradictory desires.

The Inner Alchemy

All confusions must be solved internally before they can be solved externally. How is this done? Through cultivating a romance between your Ego and Unconscious in the same way you would with a romantic partner. The Archetypes have distinct personalities, so the parts of yourself described by the Archetypes inherit those personality traits. Your Unconscious, then, is a personality, just as your Ego is a personality. Moreover, because these two are only elements within a whole human being, they are much simpler than actual human beings who instantiate the Suitor and the Débutante. This is a good thing. Your Unconscious will never deviate from its Archetypal role. Whereas your romantic partner may switch from role to role, your inner Débutante will always be a Débutante. It will always be trying to get your attention, trying to be what you want it to be, hoping that it offers what you are looking for.

How does this make sense? Simple. Your Unconscious is the gateway to your experience. Anything you want to experience on any level (inner, inter-personal, or social) must first pass the executive office of your Unconscious, who will veto anything it doesn’t like. If you have not yet noticed, your unconscious communications, whether body language, vocal tone, word choice, or even selective memory, communicate to others much more strongly that the conscious content of your words. Hence, through these modes of unconscious communication, the Unconscious has the power to sabotage your efforts if your Proposal doesn’t match your desires, but also to bless you with success if it does. A person who is strong-willed and attractive is unstoppable. The Ego that has a working partnership with the Unconscious becomes ever more capable thereby. The more honest I am with myself about who I am and what I want, the more likely I will be to act in ways that manifest my desires.

Intuition, however, does not have a singular appearance. Just as women are stereotypically famous for acting in apparently contradictory ways, so Intuition will present itself sometimes in one way and sometimes in another. Sometimes you will think of yourself as prudish, other times indulgent; sometimes obedient, other times rebellious; sometimes responsible, other times reckless. In each case, an inner Débutante is dressing up for you to see if you will choose her.

The defining characteristic of the Archetypal relationship of Attraction is the uncertainty, the absence that both sides feel without the other. In this relationship, there is not yet any room for a clear ethical attitude, whether Good or Evil. The desire is too intense and too immediate and the object of desire is too mysterious to characterize it in ethical terms. Only after the Attraction has been consummated through the Suitor (the Ego) giving its seed intention to the Débutante (the Unconscious) can the Saga of Good and Evil begin. Only once the seed grows and blossoms can we look at it to see whether it was a Good Seed or an Evil Seed.

Attraction is the first Relationship we experience, and the Suitor and the Débutante are the first Archetypes that children learn how to instantiate and constellate. As such, the virtue of Attraction, which is Mindfulness, is the foundation on which the whole of human experience is predicated. Without Mindfulness, we become automata, mindlessly reiterating the Archetypal roles we are given by our cultures, without any effort at refining their Relationships and expressions.

The Suitor’s honesty about his desires is the Masculine version of Mindfulness. It may be honed by paying closer attention to what you desire. If you take the time to reflect on your desire for a novel experience, you will discover that your desire is unfocused, that its target is much too broad, that you are Proposing to too many Débutantes too indiscriminately. With Mindfulness, your Ego’s Will slowly discovers that what it initially thought it wanted was only a rough approximation of its genuine desire. Mindfulness opens the Ego more and more to the subtlety of its own desires, reducing the possible set of attractive Débutantes to a very small number indeed. In marketing lingo, Masculine Mindfulness is the act of determining and discovering your target niche or audience.

The Débutante’s honesty about her offering is the Feminine version of Mindfulness. Likewise, it may be honed by paying closer attention to how you present yourself. When you carefully examine what you say about yourself, what you promise to do or become, what you know, what you are capable of, you will discover that you are often quite dishonest about these things. It’s not that you intend to be dishonest, but that you simply do not know yourself well enough to state clearly what you offer.

The Inner Alchemy or the cultivation of both Masculine and Feminine Mindfulness is the central subject of the love story that only begins with the Suitor and the Débutante. The next three Relationships are all crucial to the process of honing and perfecting both Masculine and Feminine Mindfulness. This love story is what I call the Story of the Household.