Ross: Ok. I’m going to tell you something about yourself. You create images in your mind. Very, very vividly. You’re a very vivid daydreamer. And in fact – you’re smiling because you know I’m right – you can look at someone and they can think you’re listening.

Jen: You’re right.

Ross: But if you’re bored, you can be looking right at them, but you could be a million miles away, in your favourite ideal fantasy vacation spot. True?

Jen: You’re right.

Ross: I’m absolutely right. I do a very rare, very unusual – hardly anyone knows about it – it’s a form of hypnosis that involves no sleep. None. I call it ‘Blissnosis’.
Blissnosis? This is a transcript of what took place on a warm, calm afternoon at a Coffee Bean in Tea Leaf, California, where outside a sign even reads: ‘Good coffee. But beware of Casanovas.’ It’s 2000 and Ross Jeffries, the ‘father of seduction,’ is demonstrating hypnotic dating to Louis Theroux as part of his Weird Weekends series.

Ross: Did I understand you on a much deeper level than most people?

Jen: Yeah, I felt it.

Ross: Yeah, and you know what – you know that feeling right there. [He starts to slowly stroke her arm upwards]. Better, better…even better, right now.

Jen: Oh yeah.

Ross: Oh, yeah.
Louis: [Interjects] Am I on planet la la? What is going on? He was just doing some voodoo on your arm. That was just nonsensical.

Ross: Doesn’t matter because she feels good, right?

Jen: Right! I feel great.

At this point, Louis looks positively terrified, and deciding to cut this odd experience short, he thanks Jen, they say their goodbyes and she wonders off blissfully into the distance.

Louis: Was that real?

Ross: Yeah totally real!

Louis: You know, it looked like you hypnotised her.

Ross: I did hypnotise her.

Well, he ‘blissnosised’ her. If a strange man started stroking my arm, repeating ‘better’ in an increasingly excited tenor, I would run for it. But Jen was subjected to a form of hypnosis: a powerful tool used for psychological manipulation. It allows the user to awaken people’s subconscious, inducing “a heightened state of suggestibility in which one will believe almost anything,” writes John Gruzelier, a psychologist from Imperial College, London. This explains why, “under hypnosis, people can do things that ordinarily they wouldn’t dream of doing.”

In 1991 Ross Jeffries founded Speed Seduction, which claims to teach men how “to approach any woman, anywhere, anytime and make her want you now.” Jeffries draws upon theories of neuro-linguistic programming; a system of language patterns, metaphors and figurative devices used to get women in the ‘bedroom mind-set.’ It has been an astounding success. Speed Seduction sells its instructional DVDs for as much as $345, as well as offering a three day ‘Get Laid’ workshop for the more hands-on approach (priced at $895, by the way). Jefferies even sells a book, succinctly titled How to Totally Mind-F*** almost Any Woman in to Screwing Your Brains Out and Make It Seem Like You’re Just Having a Normal, Innocent Conversation!

One could dismiss this guy as a shrewd businessman, taking advantage of impressionable women and desperate men. Yet, what’s odd, and slightly worrying, is that this form of hypnotism can be extremely effective. But it’s hardly anything new. Hypnotism has been used to seduce women for centuries. Over 5,000 years ago, in the old kingdom of Egypt, it was believed that eyes contained magnetic forces that, literally, caused attraction; a magnetic gaze. Indeed, Sigmund Freud noted that people in love, in deep love, have a similar relationship to people under hypnotic influence.

It’s sunny California and we’re back in one of Ross Jeffries’ seminars. “Buzz words”, he states, “like imagine, feel, do, allow, permit, are all words which act as key commands to arouse a woman.” He then performs a demonstration on a girl called Alexis, telling us “she mentioned she liked guys with great hands. I’m going to play off that answer a little bit. You know how quickly, easily and powerfully you see that yellow ball of beautiful colour and good feeling. Okay, watch. I’m going to take some of it, breathe in as it gets bigger, breathe out as it gets smaller. Pour some of it into this hand. Notice how clearly you can imagine my hands soaked in that colour, right?”

Did you spot the buzz words? I’ve counted two.

“Now, look at where she’s looking. I’m looking where I want her to look.” After the repetition of ‘yellow’, ‘soaked’ and ‘bigger’, Alexis does indeed seem dizzy and giddy. “Wow, look at that look on your face! You look like you’ve had three or four drinks…actually, it looks like she’s had three or four orgasms,” he says, with a thin smile creeping across his face.

“Is this for real?” Theroux doubts, understandably so. But it is. Just have a look at the ‘wall of proof’ on Jeffries’ website: “Speed Seduction gets him 16 women, including three in just one weekend!”; “51-year-old man bangs over 90 chicks!”; “420 pound man bags stripper using Speed Seduction!”

Jeffries is essentially using hypnotism to lure women into bed. Not only that, he’s idealising the playboy image and demonstrating to men, perhaps lacking in confidence, that there are ways for them to control the opposite sex.

What happened to good old fashioned conversation? Must we resort to chicanery instead? Jeffries’ techniques may try and avoid the 4 B’s, as he puts it (Bullying, Buying, Begging and Booze), but I’d rather someone talk to me with genuine interest than seduce me with buzz words or relaxing images. Seduction doesn’t have to coincide with manipulation, which is where I believe Jeffries truly loses his ethical battle. He’s not just teaching men linguistic sleight of hand; he’s manipulating them into believing that they should be tricking women into bed. Deceit should not be necessary for one human being to attract another.

Is our future to hypnotise one another? Let’s hope not. So, for humanity’s sake, if you are in a pub, club, or just the Costa on campus and someone uses the word ‘allow’, ‘permit’, or ‘imagine’ whilst stroking your arm suggestively, and telling you to picture a giant yellow ball, then run for it. You are about to be hypnotised.