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Hypnotic Power Of Her
by [?]

I have received a letter from Tyler, Texas, propounding the following fateful conundrum: “Can Woman Hypnotize Man?” My correspondent adds that “by answering, the ICONOCLAST will confer a favor on the people of Tyler, decide a bet and settle a vexatious question.”

The affirmative scoops the stakes–wins dead easy, and world without end. The man who puts his doubloons on the negative either never saw a woman until after she was dead, or didn’t know what ailed him when under her hypnotic influence. Perhaps he imagined that he had a chronic case of yellow jaundice, was threatened with paresis or had been inadvertently struck by lightning. Perhaps he’s under the mystic spell of some “wily Vivien” even now, and laying foolish wagers in his mesmeric sleep. “Can woman hypnotize man? “Well, I should snigger. She can hypnotize anything that wears pants, from the prince at his gilded poker game, to the peasant scattering worm poison in the lowly cotton patch and revolving in his think tank the tenets of Populism; and I’m not sure but the clothing store dummies and their brother dudes are simply the physical wrecks and mental ruins of her hypnotic medicine. She hypnotizes because she can’t help it. She’s built that way. The Tyler savants are ‘way behind the times. They are plunging into the shoreless realm of psychology in search of information that was trite in antediluvian times. They are trying to determine whether man is a free moral agent in matters matrimonial, when the sire of Solomon had made answer, and Lillian Russell’s multitudinous husbands settled the “vexatious question” forever and for aye. But perhaps Tyler has been too busy raising politicians to keep pace with the psychological procession. Eve hypnotized Adam and made him cast away the empire of the earth for a scrubby apple, and ever since her fair daughters have been making men imitate their remote forefather’s folly.

Woman does not “operate” as do the professional he- hypnotists. Instead of giving you a bright button or brand- new dime to look at, she puts her dimples in evidence– maelstroms of love in a sea of beauty. She dazzles you for a moment with the dreamy splendor of her eyes, then studies the toe of a boot that would raise a Kansas corn- crop for Trilby or supply Cinderella with bunions. She looks down to blush and she looks up to sigh–catches you “a- comin’ an’ goin’ “–and you’re gone! You realize that the linchpin is slipping out of your logic, but you let ‘er slip. You suspect that your judgment has taken unto itself wings, and that you couldn’t tell whether you’re a red-licker Democrat or a hard-cider Prohibitionist; but you don’t care. You simply bid farewell to every fear and give the “operator” your undivided attention. She plays with a skilled hand on all your senses, until the last one of them “passes in music out of sight” and leaves you a mental bankrupt. She makes you drunken with the music of her voice and maddens you with the low, sweet melody of her skirts. She permits you, quite accidentally, of course, to catch a glimpse of an ankle turned for an angel, and, as she bends forward to chastise you with her fan, your vagrant gaze rests for a fleeting moment on alabaster hemispheres rising in a billowy sea of lace, like Aphrodite cradled in old ocean’s foam. You are now far advanced in the hypnotic trance, and very fond of it as far as you’ve got. Her every posture is a living picture, her slightest movement a sensuous symphony, her breath upon your cheek a perfumed air to waft you to the dreamy but dangerous land of the lotus-eaters. You drift nearer, and ever nearer, like a moth revolving in narrowing circles around an incandescent light, until you find yourself alone with her in some cozy nook, the world forgetting if not by your creditors forgot. Being naturally industrious, you seek employment, and she gives you her hand to hold. Of course, she could hold it herself, but the occupation pleases you, and she doesn’t mind. Besides, you make more rapid progress into the realm of irresponsibility by taking care of it for her occasionally. You conceive that what is worth doing at all is worth doing well, and freeze to that little fragment of pulsing snow like a farmer to his Waterbury in a camp-meeting crowd. She rewards your devotion to duty by a gentle pressure, and a magnetic thrill starts at your finger tips and goes through your system like an applejack toddy, until it makes your toes tingle, then starts on its return trip, gathering volume as it travels, until it becomes a tidal wave that envelops all your world. You are now uncertain whether you have hit the lottery for the capital prize or been nominated for justice of the peace. You have lost your identity, and should you chance to meet yourself in the middle of the road would need an introduction. The larger the supply of brains you sat into the game with, the less you have left. You begin to talk incoherently, and lay the premise for a breach of promise case. You sip the hand-made nectar from the rosy slot in her face, harrow the Parisian peach bloom on her cheek with your scrubbing-brush mustache, reduce the circumference of her health-corset with your manly arm, and your hypnotism is complete. Right there the last faint adumbration of responsibility ends and complete mental aberration begins. You sigh like a furnace and write sonnets to your mistress’ eyebrow–you cut fantastic capers before high Heaven for the divertisement of those who don’t yet know how it is themselves. The “operator” may break the spell by marrying you, in which case you will return by easy stages to the normal and again become a sane man and useful member of society; but if she lets you down with the “sister” racket, your nervous system is pretty apt to sour. When a woman loses her hypnotic power she either straddles a bike, becomes a religious crank or seeks surcease for her sorrow among the female suffragists.