The Charm Offensive
The Art of Bullying
The charm offensive, this is how the charm offensive works. A guy much bigger than you, comes up to you, intimidating you, working at a subconscious level, his body language and posture tells you I am in control, I am in charge, and just you wait and see what this body will do to yours if you object, and yet he is all smiles and happiness, happy comments, and your natural sense of intimidated self, you feel that it would perhaps be in your best interests, or at least you hope it would be in your best interests to submit to his emotional demands, to his attempts at domination, hoping that tonight all you will be appeasing is the small appetite he has for getting his way in a small tÍte-ŗ-tÍte at the bar, hoping that he wont be too demanding in his needs to secure a sense of well-being from demanding domination, that he wont ask that you buy him a drink, that he wont drag you to another bar, or home, or to bed, that he wont force himself on you at some point, that it will remain convivial, and yet already you feel the force of his hand on your shoulder, a warm hand it seems, and thereís something in you that wants to believe that he is OK, that he is warm and friendly, and yet there is also something in you, whose voice wants to be heard, and youíre not sure if you want to hear it, that tells you, that people who donít want to dominate and humiliate you donít act like this, they give you space, they do not break the social conventions of touch, and you listen to that voice, and you feel that fear in your stomach, and you react, and you know what kind of game this is, and you know that this is a matter of who is in control, so you move to the side, even though you know he is bigger than you, and you softly put your elbow into his arm, levering a distance away, and letting his hand drop from your shoulder, and you put your hand on his arm, so he knows you are prepared to take up the fight, and you smile at him, and you show no response to his emotional demands, and you talk about your own stories, laugh at your own jokes and your own interests, and you show no interest in his, other than to listen respectfully, and you know he is much bigger than you. He gets turned on by this and sees some kind of macho rivalry developing, a sense of camaraderie, and then someone knocks him and he drops his pint, and he stops smiling for a second, and you show no emotional response, cíest la vie, and he realises that if he turns on the aggression you may turn on your aggression, and that whilst he may win, you may damage him, and he continues with his stories, he is relentless, and you want him to go, and he puts his arm around you and smiles, another attempt at domination, and you put your arm around him, but you donít smile because despite your best efforts you feel he is a wanker, and you donít like him, and your face cannot really betray your emotions, and he asks you why you look so stiff and serious, and you say this is my look, and he knows that this moment of mutual seriousness, this stand off symbolises that you are ready to go, and you donít want to go, but you are ready to, and you decide that it is time to leave, and he asks you where you are going, and you say home, and he pauses, but before he has time to think, you take the upper hand and ask him what his name is, showing him you are prepared to be equal about this, and he tells you and you shake hands, and you say you might see him around, and he says you might, and you go, and you walk home feeling mad because you know someone has tried to assault you and you have been chased out of the bar, you didnít really want to go home, you just didnít want to stand up to the bully because he was bigger than you.