Why are improvisers so Attractive?

That certain ‘je ne sais quoi.’ Effortless Charisma. Radiant Charm. That feeling that certain people give off that just makes you want to be around them. What is the thing that makes someone smoking hot (or not)? 

 

According to clinical psychologist Randi Gunther, there are 10 underrated qualities that make a person sexy. Want to hear the good news? Improvisers already know how to do most of them. So here’s 5 ways that improv makes you sexy. 

 

Lack of Attachment

 

According to Randi (a perfect name for a sex psychologist if ever there was one), attractive people are not attached to outcome and they know how to ‘invite’ and ‘let go.’ This reminds me of one my favourite improv adages ‘Hold on Tightly, Let go Lightly.’ As improvisers we are adept at making offers and also equally willing to let those offers be changed according to what comes back from our stage partner.

I like the balance of this statement too – Improv talks alot about supporting your partner but that can all too often be mistaken for waiting around to see what the other improviser does. Support can come from being the first one to make the move, say the first line or put their idea out there just as much as being the responder. Randi says ‘The outcome, therefore, is determined by the process, itself, and not plotted out ahead of time. People who are not attached to pre-set goals offer their partners uncontrolled time and energy to explore possibilities’. That is a great description of improv if ever I heard one. 

 

Mischievousness

 

There have been various studies conducted about why having a sense of humour makes a person attractive but more than that, Dr Gunther suggests that attractiveness is about being playful and the connection that comes from that. She says that this ‘love of whimsy, fantasy, and magic make [sexy people] willing to immerse themselves in a “whatever happens—I’m having fun” offering that lets another make his or her own decision whether to join in the game or not.’

This reminds me of David Pasquesi’s quote “Own your choices and enjoy the ride.” or Susan Messing’s much more profane version. I certainly believe improv makes you playful, and is one of the few opportunities we have as adults to practise the art of play. Play is also a great way to get to know other’s unique sense of humour and that has certainly forged many of my friendships and relationships over the years.

 

Empathy

 

Following on from this Dr Randi says a quality of attractive people is that they “Get” the other. 

She says that sexy people know what their partners want and need. But how, I hear you cry? Sexy people are not magical mind readers but incredible listeners who are also full of empathy. As improvisers, Listening is the number one skill we need in order to be able to step out on stage with someone. With no script, we need to pick up and respond to everything we hear there and then. Not just the words that people say, but also their tone, their body language, anything that can help us decipher the character and story in the moment.

Listening has so many benefits to all aspects of human relationships. Get ready for this doozy of a quote from David W. Augsberger “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” I hope that us improvisers are out there spreading the love with our dedication to really listening.

 

Risk Taking

 

Another key teaching of improvisation is the ability to make mistakes without fear. In some schools of improv thought to even celebrate failure. It certainly seems that this quality is one that is essential for attractiveness. Randi says that ‘Sexy people, even when playing the waiting role, are not passive. They know that people are the most alive when they are the initiators of connection but that their “prey” must never feel fear of being hunted down’ As improvisers, we train ourselves to be vulnerable and share ideas and thoughts freely. However, much like the lack of attachment mentioned earlier, we try to do this without ego and can laugh off ‘rejection’ when things go wrong or do not go any further. 

 

Curiosity

 

I like to think that there is a huge crossover between improvisation and being curious. In an artform where we do not know what is coming next we need to remain open to all possibilities and flexible to change. From Dr Gunther again ‘[Sexy people] love to move, to experience, to seek, and to explore. The world is an enticing place to them, and that attitude spills over to the people they meet. Everything and everyone are openings to expand and to grow’ Similarly, we improvisers build an imaginary world every time we step onstage. And through accepting and building on the offers of our team mates (yes and anyone?) We expand and grow our imagination and if we’re lucky, we take the audience with us.

 

In Summary

 

Whether or not improv can make you irresistible remains to be proved, but one thing is for sure; The qualities that make someone sexy do have a lot in common with good communication skills, many of which we learn in the practice of improvisation. It seems to be no coincidence that many people meet lifelong friends and partners through improv, myself included. Improv requires connection with others, even if just for one exercise. 

 

When Dr Randi Gunther said

‘They know and accept that life only exists in the moment in which their experiences are happening. All else is just memory and possibility’

She could easily have been talking about improvisers.