Search This Blog

Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


What is charisma? How do you recognise it? Are you born with it? Can you gain it?

The first person in my life who had real charisma was my Uncle. He was a magical creature - talkative, opinionated, difficult sometimes but always entertaining. We would visit him regularly in Shepherd's Bush and if he did something, it exuded glamour for me. So I have a love of busts because he had one (not man boobs but a classical head and shoulders thingy) and like Pears soap because he did. He had a drinks globe and silver tray for yet more bottles. Later, I became aware he had a drink problem but as a child just loved his sense of adventure and possibility. The flat was so Seventies looking back with one of those flexible sofas ideal for parties. At his funeral, I heard that as well as a career as a tap dancer, he had also trained as an accountant later in life. Not bad for the lad from a Northern working-class town. When I was 17, there was a family falling out and I did not see my uncle again. So in a way, he is crystallized in time for me and I never knew some of the troubles that his huge character could bring if you knew him in adult life. Charisma of my uncle - he walked in the room and made something happen.

My older brother has charisma in heaps. He is tall, dark and good-looking. He left the same town as my uncle with just one o-level to his name. After trying priesthood and being kicked out (dont go there!), he did various jobs. He had the ability to walk into a potential workplace with no qualifications or experience and convince them to take him on. So he has worked in a posh Soho restaurant as a chef telling them his mother was a famous Northern chef. (Reality - Mum was a good home cook and a schools and hospital cook on occasion). He also charmed his way into a managerial position in Harley Street. Later he ended up at the top of a retail fashion chain. Approaching 60 years of age now, he can enter a room and everyone looks round and fawns over him. He can actually get away with the open shirt and gold medallion look should he choose. He likes the best things in life and has them in abundance.

A colleague of sorts had charisma for me. He turned out to be gay too so maybe there is a connection between gay and charismatic? He spoke silkily and always made you feel like you were the most important person in the room. That has to be a very special skill, don't you think?

Obviously, recent posts reveal the fellas I found charismatic but fancying is a different thing and you can convince yourself all sorts of creatures have charisma when actually they just spark something in you for a period in your life. Does not mean that they really have it. Which leads me to wonder if charisma is objectively there as a given or is a subjective opinion.

Who are the charismatic women? People have banged on about Princess Diana and Mother Theresa as having "it". I remember a teacher who I felt had charisma and this was largely based on the fact that she was happy to make her own choices even if we thought they were odd. An example would be that she did not have a television.

You can like people loads without them having any charisma as such or not what I mean by it anyway. So it is not necessary. Overall, I think you probably either have it or you don't and that it cannot be learned. Would you want it? I confess I would love to have that ability to have an immediate impact on people and a positive one at that.

Funnily enough, in recent days, I have been described as fierce, weird and a bunny boiler. I guess I will have to wait till next time round to be charismatic. Maybe I will invent a very charismatic heroine for that romantic novel of mine and call her Kate. She will keep bees, ice cakes and listen to Bach. She will wear orange and purple. Maybe, I shall write the novel on here and hope an agent happens across it

So I ask again, what is charisma? Do you have it? How do you recognise it in others?

1 comment:

  1. I like the sound of your heroine - have you finished the novel yet? ;))
    As for charisma, i wouldn't know where to start in describing it, I think you just "know" when you are faced with it. I have recently met someone with it in shed loads, it's very alluring. The Pied Piper comes to mind!