Dialogue Part 7
The Gigolo and Lounge Lizard
Previous entries in this Dialogue series are found here:
(which has been updated with more posts).
This entry is not about the SHOWTIME TV Series The Gigolo, but in a way it is in that general direction.
A Gigolo is a paid Escort for a rich woman (which may include sex) who attends formal Events. A Lounge Lizard is an out of work Gigolo who is looking for a woman to hire him.
In either situation, the writer is faced with the task of writing the Gigolo's dialogue -- the pick-up line, and the long, smooth stream of lies he utters as part of his job.
A Gigolo is a professional liar.
So see the entry on Liar Dialogue:
...and for a discussion of The Misnomer
This post is a dialogue writing lesson, exercising the writer's ability to come up with "snappy dialogue" and "retorts" and "one-liners" but above all, the specific line a character says to another character that makes the reader understand how the character who believes a lie could be taken in by such a transparent gigolo.
The bald truth is that the writer generally does not nail the gigolo or lounge lizard dialogue on the first try.
Great dialogue is usually produced on rewrite, maybe the 5th rewrite. But somewhere in that first-draft blurt-the-story-out attempt at dialogue will be a line, a word, a dynamic moment of CONFLICT that has to be preserved.
Usually the problem embedded in first draft is pacing.
Very often an editor will return a manuscript with a marginal notation that says this dialogue is not PLAUSIBLE -- or I DON'T BELIEVE THIS -- or MAKE ME BELIEVE IT -- or IT'S UNCLEAR WHY THIS CHARACTER BELIEVED THIS.
Editors see a manuscript from one perspective, writers from another, and readers from yet another.
When all 3 see a solid product, it's a 3-dimensional image and none of the 3 views show the whole thing.
And yes, the touchstone that makes great dialogue work is THEME. I know you're weary of hearing me say that, but it's nevertheless true. Most of us have to conform our dialogue to the theme in rewrite.
Conforming dialogue to theme not a random process, not a matter of "taste" and not just characterization or description, nor of the writer's "voice" nor of just how you feel at the moment. There is a systematic structure behind dialogue, and it can be learned. Some writers have a talent, an "ear" for dialogue. Others have to learn it.
Good dialogue is a necessary but not sufficient condition for making a sale.
Dialogue is such a complex skill that showing you have that skill on page 1 or 2 can hook an editor.
If you demonstrate you have all the skills that are woven together in good dialogue, an editor is more likely to assume you are able to take editorial direction.
So if your Romance Novel starts with a Lounge Lizard approaching your heroine with a pick-up line, maybe rescuing her from a sticky social situation to demonstrate what an exemplary Escort he is, you have an immediate, conflict-fraught, instance of off the nose dialogue, oblique references subject to misunderstandings in layers.
If the guy is just looking for a paying gig with this richly dressed woman, and ends up falling in love with her -- (after he seduces her into hiring him, or when she flat refuses to hire an Escort) -- you have conflict on all levels.
If you set your story on, say, a Cruise Boat, (where they can't escape each other), you can ratchet up the tension and suspense because there is a fixed time when the cruise will be over.
From there, you have many choices for complications to your plot -- cruise boat mechanical failures, bad navigation leaving them in a terrible storm, hijackers forcing them to port in a terrorist held country, -- you choose the list of complications that arise via the theme you have chosen.
You can do that plot on a Space Ship -- a cruise ship or say, a military vessel on a mission, or a cargo vessel, or a hospital ship (Research that by reading James White novels), or a Colony (lost or otherwise). Each setting shapes the plot, and explicates a different theme which then shapes the Relationship between Gigolo and Rich Woman.
But the dialogue technique is the same, regardless of location, regardless of the subject of the discussion, regardless of the character of the characters.
The substance, the content, of the dialogue differs with theme, but the method of creating dialogue out of the speech you hear in your head is pretty much the same.
There are differences depending on what the characters are doing. If they're breathless in the middle of a sword fight, separated in a loud gun-battle, or suffocating as a space ship loses air, they will speak in shorter bursts, but the trick of creating that dialogue is the same, regardless.
Master this single technique and it will serve you in almost any genre or format.
It's often taught as, "Don't Speechify."
Don't make your characters speak in long paragraphs flowing from subject to subject, even if the logic behind that line of thought is vital for the reader to grasp.
Don't write SPEECHES -- like a Presidential State Of The Union Address!
Dialogue is not a newspaper article explaining a whole incident all at once.
Dialogue is not speech, and it's not speeches.
Dialogue is not an essay. Dialogue isn't even a letter you'd send to a friend.
Dialogue is more like texting than it is like school essay writing.
If you read some science fiction written in the 1930's and 1940's when all those writing science fiction were beginning writers, well educated and well versed in explaining science -- but not in portraying relationships -- you will find dialogue that today is called STILTED.
Stilted dialogue makes the characters sound self-conscious - as if they know the reader is listening.
In stagecraft, the technique you must master is called "the fourth wall" -- the wall between the audience and the stage, so the characters are unconscious of the audience. Yes, Greek Plays use the narrator, the chorus, etc. addressing the audience directly.
This evolution of storytelling from the shaman around the campfire to Showtime streaming video episodes of Gigolo.
Another indication of that 4th wall effect, of the characters being unaware of the audience watching is the choice of "Person" in which to tell the story. The 3rd person (he, she, etc) and past tense (he said, she howled) creates that 4th wall and makes it both transparent and firm. That allows the audience to "identify with" the characters, but there are many skills necessary to make that effect work.
Beginners almost always grab for the much easier First Person (I couldn't believe it when my Date for the Prom turned into a wolf right before my eyes.)
It is so much easier to write First Person -- to BE the character, and reach out and talk directly to the audience (like the Greek Chorus and narrator), to make the drama of immediate and engaging concern to strangers that you now see a flood of novels using this format.
That's a trend, a style, and it will turn again, so if you intend to launch a career that spans many trends, become facile with all persons and tenses for storytelling. Master point of view and it will hone your dialogue skills.
Why does point of view (and "person") matter to dialogue?
Because the Identity of the speaker is fleshed out by not only choice of vocabulary, but also by how and whether that character waits for the other character to finish speaking, by what "go-stop" cues the character will accept or respond to.
How patient is this character?
You can TELL NOT SHOW easily by saying to the reader in the narrator's voice, Tom was an impatient man, a type-a personality on the hoof. Or you can SHOW NOT TELL that same information by how Tom interrupts people who are speechifying at him.
Relationships can be defined in SHOW rather than TELL by the rhythm of the dialogue, by what's left out, by finishing each others' sentences (or not even bothering) -- about how well or poorly the two people communicate with each other, and how the weave a third person into the conversation.
One of the stark changes in society over the last century (no, I'm not that old; I read a lot) is the art of conversation. Today people communicate but they don't converse much or often.
If you're building a Romance Novel, you want the two principles who will end up with each other to converse even better than they communicate.
The difference between conversing and communicating is the main skill of the Lounge Lizard.
The Lounge Lizard, the Gigolo looking for work, is a master of conversing freely, arousing emotions in the targeted woman that re so bright, clear, and pleasant that the flare of emotion obliterates the lack of communication.
Conversation is "off the nose" dialogue - the words are not about what the conversation is about. You don't say what you mean and mean what you say. In Conversation, you induce in the other person the illusion that they understand who you are.
This is the main skill of the Confidence Man, the grifter, the scam artist. But it is also what happens when you meet a true love.
Conversation happens between people "on the same wavelength." These two Lovers have some element of world-view in common. That's the one topic they never have to talk about (on the nose) because they resonate to that one underlying truth about the nature of Life.
They can (and usually do) disagree and fight over everything else.
Their conversation is all about that everything else.
The Lounge Lizard is master of mimicking that resonating effect by dancing around the one issue or subject he perceives is most important to that woman.
Both men and women treasure that sensation of resonating to another person's world-view. When a couple finds they resonate on several topics, that their combined world view is a symphony in perfect attunement, there is no way to destroy that relationship.
If that resonance is real, it will hold them together forever.
The Lounge Lizard wants to avoid "real resonance." But at the same time, he offers the illusion of that resonance to his paying client.
That's the Gigolo's inner conflict, upon which you can build his external conflict.
This is the same conflict dynamic as the Spy who lives under cover in the foreign country and pretends to hold their beliefs -- only to find that over time, he becomes loyal to those alien beliefs, betrays his country and is a Traitor.
There's a principle in classical magic - you become what you pretend to be. Thus when you don magickal robes to officiate in a ceremony where you must act like your Higher Self, eventually you become that Higher Self in everyday life.
This principle is so pervasive that those who have not studied magic know it, believe it, and/or accept it when they see it.
You are what you eat; you become what you pretend to be.
So the writing technique is the same whether you're writing Romance or Mystery (or Science Fiction or SFR etc.)
Here's an example of dialogue from an action-mystery novel well worth studying for dialogue. We have a set of characters who have become friends, even close friends, and lovers during the course of solving other mysteries. Dana is the star, and should therefore have the most dialogue. (that's a rule to learn -- face time and lines of dialogue are maximum for THE MAIN CHARACTER - the one whose story you are telling.)
Proportions and pacing are essential components of Show Don't Tell.
Here "She" is Dana, the star of the novel.
---quote from Gray Wolf Mountain, a Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense by Jean Henry Mead ----
She thought again about Rhonda Bailey's connection and he reason both bodies were dumped in the same stream. The killer must live nearby.
“How far are we from the cabin where Gus was found?” she asked Tom.
He turned to survey the area to get his bearings. “About a mile as the crow flies, I’d say.”
“I wonder if the sheriff’s deputies have searched the cabin for clues to the killer’s identity.”
“I’m sure they have.”
Dana thought for a moment. “Why didn’t the killer bury the bodies instead of bringing them here? He obviously wanted them found. A warning to others to stay away?”
“Looks that way,” Jeff said.
“Why is he leaving clues?” Dana said to no one in particular.
“He may consider it a game like hide and seek. Psychopaths are usually intelligent people who consider themselves superior to others. I think he might be taunting the rest of us.”
When nothing else was found, they drove back to the original site, where Jeff showed them the drag marks and probable site where they body had been found. ...
While you think about how you might rewrite that exchange here's the author's biography from Amazon.
The author of 20 books, Jean Henry Mead has published ten nonfiction books and ten novels, including the Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series and Hamilton Kids' mysteries. She also writes Wyoming historical novels (Escape, A Wyoming Historical Novell and No Escape, the Sweetwater Tragedy). The national award winnning photojournalist began her writing career as a news reporter in California. Her award-winning articles have been published domestically as well as abroad, and she has served as a news, magazine and small press editor. She also established the Western Writers Hall of Fame now housed at the large and impressive Buffalo Bill Musesum in Cody, Wyoming.
NOTE: Jean Henry Read did a stint as a news reporter.
Do you understand how this ingredient in a writing career is vital?
Marion Zimmer Bradley did it. Allan Cole did it. The list is endless.
Non-fiction is where the money is in wordsmithing.
So you should read Gray Wolf Mountain with an eye on the dialogue, and what you might change to transform it to another genre, or to create different characters.
Let's study that one little snatch from page 139 of the Kindle edition.
Notice how SHORT the utterances are. The group is standing around a piece of evidence (at the 60% mark of the novel, just past the half-way point) feeling the threat of physical violence (which is realized) and trying to "profile" the killer from where Rhonda Bailey's body has been found.
They have discovered a cigarette lighter with initials on it somewhat down stream from where the body had been found. Whose is it? How did it get there? Why didn't the police find it? Etc.
Notice the SHORT sentences, question, answer -- think of a bouncing ball going around a conversational circle. This is not an interrogation of a suspect, but a brainstorming session over a problem. The technique applies to any scene where people do group problem solving.
Notice how intact Mead keeps that 4th wall. The characters are talking to each other, not aware we're listening. They aren't giving US information. There's no, "As you know, Bill, ... etc." They aren't describing the scenery to each other for our visual delight.
They are intent on problem solving, and aware of impending threat from a crazy guy.
So let's consider what we might do while reading (remember on Kindle you can insert NOTES as you read, and highlight and bookmark text so this kind of study is easy.)
-----------FREEHAND REWRITE ---------------
She reconsidered Rhonda Bailey's connection to all this.
“How far are we from the cabin where Gus was found?” she asked Tom.
He glanced around at the pine forest. "You think the killer lived nearby?"
"Well, both bodies were dumped in the same stream."
He glanced around at landmarks only he recognized. “About a mile as the crow flies, I’d say.”
“Do you think the sheriff’s deputies have searched the cabin for clues to the killer’s identity.”
“I’m sure they have.”
Dana paced, muttering. “Why didn’t the killer bury the bodies instead of hauling them here?"
"Maybe he wanted them found?" Tom followed kicking at debris, looking for more evidence.
"As a warning to others to stay away?” she guessed.
“Looks that way,” Jeff inspected the creek.
“Why is he leaving clues?” Dana said to the silent trees.
“Psychopaths are usually intelligent people who consider themselves superior to others. I think he might be taunting the rest of us.”
"You think he may be playing a game like hide and seek?"
Tom nodded slowly. Jeff watched him a moment, then headed back for the car, saying, "You should see the drag marks where we think the body was moved."
-------------END FREEHAND REWRITE---------
Notice how much longer that approach makes it than the original.
If you've got a rewrite order that says to reduce the length, those are exactly the changes you'd make to shrink it.
Also notice how the characters and situation morph under those tiny changes.
NOW ON TO THE MEAT OF THE MATTER
Society, civilization, mythology and technology are all components of every world you must build around your characters.
Even when working in contemporary Romance, or near-time science fiction romance, or Urban Fantasy Paranormal Romance set in sort-of the current day, you have to "invent" your world from the point of view of your main character.
Even the world seen by your subordinate characters if you use them as Point of View characters has to "match" the world as it is perceived by your Main Character.
Putting these pieces together into a work of art is an art in itself, like mixing oil paints to smear on a canvass and suggest (using 2 dimensions) a 3-D picture. The human brain interprets the shadings and textures and creates the imagined 3-D image. Reading a story in text-only, the imagination creates that extra dimension of emotion, of emotional connection.
The best place to learn to understand what sexual seduction is all about is the study of Advertising, of PR, of spin-doctoring, of motivational speaking, of selling.
A victim of seduction believes -- is deeply convinced -- that this is True Love, a Soul Mate.
A real Soul Mate knows what you mean when you tell them how you feel.
Your words resonate and produce behavior that confirms, that validates, your emotional life within the emotional life of the other. Like music. One string vibrates, the air transmits the energy, and the other string vibrates without having been touched. That is resonance.
That's what advertisers mean when they say a "message resonates" with the public. They mean that people who haven't heard the original message nevertheless repeat that message.
That's how love works when it is REAL.
Mimicking that effect is what the Lounge Lizard or Gigolo does. His job is to accompany his employer and convince rooms full of people that his employer is not paying him money to be with her, but that she is a prime example of womanhood because she has won his high regard (and just LOOK at him; wow! she must be something!).
Having arm candy around you paints a picture of you, doctor's your spin, makes a statement about YOU. It isn't real, and most people in that formal party do know that, but nevertheless the glow of approval of that Arm Candy individual paints the employer in a light different from the actual reality.
So making that emotional contact, and hitting the "note" that resonates is an artform.
After centuries of hit-or-miss, that artform has been codified into a science. The science is called PR. It is the art of convincing you to do what you would never do under mere hypnosis -- behave in a self-destructive manner untrue to your own character.
These techniques can be applied to your benefit. A Gigolo looking for a job may notice you hunting the audience for a suitable man to hire and present himself using what he's noticed (Sherlock Holmes fashion) about you.
They can also be applied to induce you to behave in a way that benefits the Gigolo not you.
From a writer's point of view, the Gigolo or Lounge Lizard role is identical to that of today's politicians. What you see is not what you get.
Politicians hire PR people
I've discussed PR and its origins and uses many times. Self-publishing writers have to master this branch of psychology -- or hire a firm to do it for them just as publishers do.
Here are some links in case you're not familiar with the kind of "arm twisting" tactics developed to "control" the behavior of herds of people.
Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization and the public. Early forms of public influence and communications management have existed since the dawn of ancient civilizations, but the professionalization of the discipline occurred in the early 20th century. Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays helped establish the field as a professional practice in the United States, Basil Clarke and Sir Stephen Tallents pioneered the field in the United Kingdom, while Arthur W. Page is considered the father of corporate PR.
The field became more established after World War II, in part due to talent from war-time propaganda efforts moving into the private sector.
For another angle on the explanation of PR:
And note this:
is a school for animation artists, especially videogame builders, where you can get a bleeding edge tech degree to work in the Public Relations (advertising) field where image is everything.
Dig down and you'll find this very math-driven field of PR is pretty much the art of the con man, the grifter, the trickster.
In January 2014, we discussed an example of this kind of psychological judo that can let an advertiser throw you over the shoulder and cart you away.
Statistics have proven such accurate predictors of the behavior of large populations of otherwise dissimilar individuals (people, yes, but this would apply to non-humans as well) that people use those numbers to create their opinions.
And a growing number of young adults are using statistics reports "backwards."
Using statistics forwards means collecting data on individuals and predicting how large numbers of individuals will move together in the same direction.
For example: how many iPads will Apple sell in the next six months? How many people will upgrade from a Samsung to an iPad (and think it's an UPgrade?).
Those are questions statistics can answer accurately.
Will you upgrade from a Samsung or Kindle to an iPad and think it an UPgrade?
Statistics can't answer that. It would be using statistics "backwards" to predict your behavior based on the behavior of a majority, or even a significant minority of people "just like you."
But your friend you go to lunch with at work might use released statistics to make a confident assumption about your future behavior. That lunch conversation can become the core of a novel's conflict by Integrating that THEME (working statistics backwards) into the WORLDBUILDING (contemporary Romance).
Since we have been conditioned, in school and in news reports of STUDIES, and in doctor's offices where prescriptions are given (or not) based on statistical studies of the effects of the medication rather than on experimental evidence of how this medication affects you, therefore we tend to skip over the inconvenient truth that the "average" response to anything has no relevance to you, personally.
The systematic, repeated dunning in of the message "statistics show" means "you are average" by PR techniques has thwarted every math teacher's strident insistence that statistics can not be worked backwards.
One primary PR technique is the appeal to "experts" -- i.e. people who know better than you, and the subliminal message that you better be afraid of authority and do as experts say because they know better than you. Fortunes have been poured into perfecting statistics because they can be used to bolster that argument.
So besides greed, fear, and insecurity are traits the grifter activates in a Mark. The Lounge Lizard targeting a client has perfected the appearance of power and authority.
Stop and think a moment about that. Remember the watchword of all story telling is SHOW DON'T TELL. Think how you would show rather than tell how your Gigolo character sweeps his Mark off her feet -- then think about what she would do once she figures out what he did to her. Creative retaliation is a way to SHOW not TELL.
The art of the con man, the grifter, the trickster, uses the traits of your psychology as weapons against you, just as the con man uses greed.
If you have no greed in you, no con man can have any effect on your behavior -- because without greed you have no fear of loss and are not in awe of authority but choose to obey of your own free will.
In other words, without greed, you can not be forced to do anything because the only ones who have authority over you are ones to whom you have given (thus may rescind) authority.
Should such an authority induce you to act against your own best interests, you will not do it.
In fact, even if such an authority claims this action is in your best interests, you will not do it -- because if your mind is not clouded by greed that induces fear-of-loss and makes you tremble before "authority" that threatens to strip you of whatever you treasure, then you will see it is not in your best interests to comply.
Greed within us allows those among us who are greedy for power to attain power over us.
That's an abstract statement (a TELL not a SHOW) about how the greed mechanism of the human subconscious shapes our civilizations (all of them back to the dawn of time). To use that principle in drama you must SHOW it, not TELL it.
So the absence of greed which allows for resistance to authority translates easily into plot where you can best show without telling that the individual has no greed. That embeds characterization into action.
By now you've seen the film, LONE SURVIVOR -- a perfect example of characterization embedded in plot where the US Soldiers let the shepherds go instead of killing them to insure the squad's safety. That scene is why you cry at the end of that movie. If that characterization had been done with tell -- people talking about these soldiers back in the barracks -- you wouldn't cry at the end. Pay particular attention to the dialogue in that scene.
Here is an omnibus of a duo-logy I wrote about a Lone Survivor who is not human rescued by a human battleship engaged in an interstellar war.
Controlling the behavior of others by activating their Greed is a principle that pre-dates modern psychology -- you find it in the Ten Commandments!
Where it says do not covet your neighbor's ass, wife, property etc -- DO NOT COVET is code for do not be greedy.
Want what you have and you will have what you want.
Violate that one commandment and every con man in the world will gravitate to you because you have Mark written on your forehead in bright fire.
But both men and women who have not yet found their Soul Mate harbor a greed for that experience of resonating with another Soul.
We are greedy for a whole orchestra of souls, children and family, to resonate with. We are at rest only when surrounded by those we resonate with.
That is the nature of the human being. Remember the article I linked in a previous post about how a married man's testosterone level drops as his kids are born -- if he spends his time with wife and children. It's an effect beyond merely having sex with his wife. Family tames the aggressive, trouble-making tendencies of excessive testosterone.
We are all greedy for that experience of rest -- and the mere promise of it (a hot-sexy Gigolo image) will ignite that greed.
But understanding that the promise is an illusion breaks the Gigolo effect and turns the greed to disgust.
How many people know enough math to understand what's being done to them by "commercials" and that a Lounge Lizard is a walking sandwich board commercial!.
The concept "Lounge Lizard" refers to a person who goes where the "action" they are looking for tends to congregate. The "Lounge" is some kind of high class drinking establishment, and the action sought is rich employers looking for an employee.
In other words, the person seeking to influence the behavior of someone goes to the place where lots of people open to being influenced congregate.
For example, an advertiser selling expensive cars wants to advertise on a TV show watched by people who have a lot of money.
How many people understand the value of words? Especially the words in advertising copy?
Here is an eye-opening article on the shift in TV advertising for Apple products between 2013 and 2014. (read this excerpt with an eye to casting it into dialogue as demonstrated above in the rewrite exercise.)
--------QUOTE FROM ARTICLE-------------
Using the Dead Poets source material is a curious choice. You might think going with third-party copy—the film was written by Tom Schulman, who won a screenwriting Oscar for it—betrays a continuing lack of confidence in the brand's own voice, or at least the current expression of that voice. And maybe it does. But still, it's an inspired passage that fits wonderfully with the Apple brand.
"Medicine, law, business, engineering—these are noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life," Williams (as Professor Keating) says in the voiceover. "But poetry, beauty, romance, love—these are what we stay alive for." That message is pure Apple, going back to the "Think different" days as well as Justin Long's teasing of the spreadsheet-loving John Hodgman in the "Get a Mac" ads. Apple's business is art (and the business of art), not commerce—though the visual storytelling here cleverly shows the product contributing to both.
Notice that's from a website called "adweek.com" -- adweek is FOR advertisers, and as a self-publishing writer that would include you.
Do you understand the nuances of this article (read the whole thing).
It reveals the way people trying to trick you think about you.
This article is about selling tech devices, but it is the same process used by a Gigolo or a Politician. Trace out the reasoning, then trace that reasoning backwards. The objective never articulated is to get you to part with your MONEY to buy a DEVICE.
Those who follow Apple on the financial market know there is about $400 worth of profit in every iPad Air (#5) fully loaded with memory (cost about $935). Yeah, in the USA these devices are THAT overpriced.
How does Apple get away with this? It makes similar profits on iphones and macbooks.
Advertising, that's how.
What's advertising? PR. What's PR? Mathematics.
When you understand what Apple is doing to "get away with it" you will understand what Politicians do to "get away with it" (whatever "it" they've tricked the public into doing lately). All advertising is trickery -- it's all seduction.
If you're self-publishing, you have to understand how they do this and decide how you can employ it and still conform to your own sense of ethics.
Look at the tuition to Full Sail University linked above. That is an expensive education, and only the best and brightest can manage to graduate from such a school.
Full Sail University is a for-profit university and its graduates work on Oscar Winning pictures. This school has already produced an army of soldiers taking the field to conquer and control your behavior. And there are many other schools more specialized in producing high-skilled practitioners of PR.
Understand this pattern in our real world. Understand how this pattern developed historically, pivoting especially around WWII.
Understand that your reader has no clue that this is being done, but she is unconsciously (and happily) dancing to the tune played by PR practitioners (selling everything from hair spray to anti-aging creams, from vitamin supplements to SUVs).
Now, worldbuild the environment of your story, and be sure to include this PR element.
The Gigolo is a PR expert-for-hire, ready to convince everyone at the party that he is your escort, and that you are Somebody because he admires you. His admiration elevates you. His job is to make everyone else admire you because of how he admires you. It's an old artform, and a new mathematics.
The Gigolo or Lounge Lizard (male or female variety) is the SHOW for this element of human nature that gives rise to PR, while the PR article on Wikipedia is the TELL for the same thing. BTW "Lot Lizard" is slang for whores who use CB radio to lure truckers to truck stop lots for a cheap quickie.
If you're building an Alien Romance novel, you have to know (but don't have to let the reader know) what character elements your Alien's Grifter or Gigolo uses to get a handle on a Mark. What is the Alien's weakness? Is it Greed and Covetousness? Or something else?
Among humans, the use of slang or circumlocutions like "Lot Lizard" is a sure sign that there's repressed Guilt underlying the choices of action, driving motivation. So give your Aliens some oblique-speak idioms to designate their unsanctioned actions.
The human strength is how we become immune to PR once we see the mechanism of it working on us.
What is your Alien's strength?
Now pit the human and alien lovers-to-be against each other using the Greed trait to create the conflict. Then do the dialogue exercise demonstrated above using seduction as the subject, not finding a murderer (either one is problem solving).
Maybe your trio in this dialogue is an alien grifter team (as depicted in the TV Series LEVERAGE that I've written about: