Create a Triangle of Desire Like Joan Fontaine

I am a big fan of classic Hollywood films and especially the film noir genre. There is something so spectacular about those movies that I just fall under their spell time and time again.  The storylines, costumes, dialogue, and of course the femme fatales are more decadent than a delicious chocolate mousse.

One of my new favorites is the classic film Born to Be Bad with Joan Fontaine, Robert Ryan, and Zachary Scott.  It’s a great movie in which the seemingly naive and innocent Christabel (played by Fontaine) insinuates herself into the relationship of Donna and Curtis. Donna and Curtis blissfully happy before Christabel arrives suddenly start showing cracks until the surface. And before too long, the ‘sweet and helpful’ Christabel has both Curtis and the restless writer Nick played by Robert Ryan both angling for her.

Fontaine’s character, the cool Christabel, knows how to create a triangle of desire by getting multiple men to vie for her affections.  The more she keeps pushing them back and delaying making any real decision, the more she keeps them both on the hook fighting for her. Even after she has stolen Curtis away from Donna, she still keeps Nick on her mind yet pushes him away when she reunites with him.

The Christabel character is an excellent illustration of how someone can get others to think they are more desirable.

When we know someone has other people who desire them, they seem that much more attractive to us. And if others didn’t find our significant other attractive, smart, successful, et cetera then we might tend to question their worthlessness to be with us.

There is certainly a fine line to walk.

There needs to be just enough tension and delay of gratification that it keeps the other person guessing and wanting more.  The longer you are able to do this without pushing them away for good- the more they will build up the value of your desire and want you even more so.

A word of caution though– if you play this ‘game’- you must be prepared that you might on occasion lose to someone in the triangle who doesn’t like playing second or third fiddle in your games.  So wherever you go into things using this concept, be prepared for either outcome in the equation… both position or negative.

This week, how can you channel your inner Joan Fontaine to create triangles of desire in your life?


Melissa Van Oss
Melissa Van Oss
Melissa Van Oss is a MidWest transplant to Washington, D.C. She embraced city life becoming involved in a private underground world that few see inside of, she pushed past her own fears, insecurities, and barriers, and came out the other side transformed into a confident, adventurous spirit… she awoke her aura of Seduction. Melissa is a three-time bestselling author, speaker, human relations strategist, and scholar. She is the author of the Seduction as a Second Language Series. Melissa uses her experiences in the world of Seduction to help others understand Seduction As A Second Language and how it translates into more confidence from the bedroom to the boardroom. When viewed as an intellectual pursuit, understanding Seduction will lead you down a path toward personal transformation, evolution, and higher consciousness. There is a difference between social Seduction and seducing someone in our personal relationships, Melissa shares how to tell the difference between them and how to use them to your advantage. Melissa has been interviewed for Life Altering Experiences on Roku TV as well as being featured in The Hollywood Times. She has also been a guest on the podcasts - “What Every Business Needs to Know Right Now,” “Analytical Chaos,” and “The Guy Who Knows a Guy.” She also recently spoke at the Monetize Your Matter Summit. She works with individuals, high-level executives, entrepreneurs, as well as former professional athletes. Melissa has collaborated on the creation of several live events and spoken at numerous workshops. The Indie film in which Melissa was a consultant won numerous awards as well. Van Oss attended Kent State University, where she graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science degree. She currently lives in Washington, D.C.

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  1. Hello, Melissa.
    You might enjoy – or might not – The Biology of Desire, an intriguing look at addiction.
    Marketing is all about desire, including creating a desire and holding the means for the appearance of satisfaction. For a price.
    Desire comes from discontent, doesn’t it? It depends on the seductive appeal of what we don’t or cannot have, so it feeds the habit of dissatisfaction. If I desire what I already have, I no longer generate itches, so my emotional and spiritual skin is happy and unblemished.
    Born to Be Bad is balanced by The Picture of Dorian Gray, isn’t it? And Oscar Wilde was no stranger to desire.

  2. Dear Melissa,

    A thought provoking essay! I had never viewed such situations as described, but I am now trying to remember such happenings.

    My favorite movie is 1945 ‘Brief Encounter’ staring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard.

    Awfully English! Beautiful accents!

    I do like yiur essay very much. As stated, thought provoking!


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