07/09/2014 10:42 am ET Updated Sep 08, 2014

Charm Offense

Where has the charm of American women disappeared to? It was a question posed by several male friends over a period of time here and abroad... and they wondered what has happened!

Let's look at the word charm; Webster's Dictionary suggests it is: enchanting, captivating, delightful, alluring, irresistible and fascinating. It is a magical formula, which women and men can possess... it is naturel.

The word charm brings to mind all kinds of interpretations... false, phony, unnatural, inauthentic... whereby it is none of these, nor is it vulgar or abrasive. It is a warm and welcoming embrace of being. It seems that women are fighting on all fronts, competing in the arenas, where men are or used to be. They have taken on the behavior of masculine attitudes, tough, rude, caustic. Men can have charm and it has nothing to do with emasculation. Why can't women? It has to do with a behavioral pattern, with self-confidence, self-respect, self-awareness, yet not constantly self-absorbing, and then again respect for others, women and men. It is an innate joy of being, adding a trust in the joys of seeing the other. Since we live in a time of constant self-reflection, selfies... charm is treated in a most dismissive way. Charm is not a come-on... or a sexual interpretation or harassment. It does have a sensual joy of being and should not be used as a negative weapon.

A compliment given to a woman by a man is today seen as harassment; opening the door is looked upon as a come-on... any look of appreciation of the joy in seeing a beautiful or attractive woman is not appreciated or it is greeted by ignoring it. It's bothersome! All it takes for a compliment is a "thank you" and a smile. This is enough! The fear of these small human encounters is permeating the atmosphere and destroys the wonderful game women and men used to play. It was and is non-judgmental. Think of women and men of bygone times, like Cleopatra, Catherine the Great, Jacqueline Kennedy, men of the past like Thomas Jefferson, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Cary Grant... throughout the ages we read about them, recreate them in our mind's eye, and learn about their lives' philosophy. Then again men of today, a public figure like Charlie Rose, Bernard Henry Levy, George Clooney, women like Christine Lagarde, Katherine, (Kate) the Duchess of Cambridge, Norah O'Donnell (CBS Co-Anchor) have charm.

Surely you know several in your circle of friends and acquaintances.

Since we live in a time of speed and total 'political correctness' let's look at the charm some of our leaders have in public life, women and men. It helps if they speak well, can formulate sentences in coherent ways. We are not talking about a 'smiling idiot' or a woman, who reads her lines haltingly on the prompter. Isn't it more pleasant to look at a woman or man dressed in appropriate attire and someone who has charm and is intelligent too, not speaking fluff or in pastel tones? It also involves 'table-top' dressing; we can imagine them getting up and strolling about... not in torn jeans and scruffy sneakers, but in well-cut pants or skirts, with handsome or beautiful shoes. It's a given! In this case the camera often shows the good and the flaws. The eye is a critical observer, as the ear is in the tone of a voice. Why do I think of the camera, for this instrument also shows the charisma of the presenter... and his or her charm... or lack of it very quickly? No denying there!

Accepting a compliment is not a weakness but a gracious acknowledgment of a given gesture or word. It gives joy to the giver and to the receiver. Let's recapture the natural charm every human being possesses... and it does not cost anything! It is not a selfish attitude but makes life a more pleasant, joyful experience.