Britney may have remained immune to a bad boy when she sang Womanizer but then again, she never met any of these modern day Don Juan’s. A look at eight artists of seduction, capable of charming any bird out of a tree before making them fly off the morning after. Bond himself would be proud.
CHARLIE HARPER – Two And A Half Men
Charlie Sheen’s personal life is so scandalous it’s hard to know where his on screen persona ends and his personal life begins, making him a perfect choice for a wealthy playboy with no kids and a disposable attitude to women. For some, with his one night stand lifestyle, regular gambling, continuous drinking, and expensive sports cars, Harper lives the bachelor dream. As he himself says, “If I can’t eat it, bang it or bet on it, it’s not in my phone”. An endless carousel of bimbos would quickly succumb, falling for a mixture of his Hollywood looks, luxurious beach house, alcohol and idle promises of commitment. When he wants things to move even faster, Harper is openly content to pay hookers. Proud of his lifestyle, the Malibu lothario always finds it amusing that his twice divorced brother Alan rarely gets any female attention and never even gets close to matching his sexual prowess. The character was saved from being unlikeable by taking in rent-free his annoying cheapskate brother, his caring for his nephew Jake, several genuine attempts at serious relationships and a poor influence from his self-absorbed mother.
BARNEY STINSON – How I Met Your Mother
Michael Jackson wasn’t singing about Barney Stinson with his 1987 classic, but in the world of dating conmen, the How I Met Your Mother star is most definitely a Smooth Criminal. With his “Suit up” appearance and completely immoral dating techniques, Stinson is the ultimate sweet-talking salesman who will use any line to get a woman into bed. This temporarily comes back to haunt him in the legendary episode ‘The Bracket’, when Stinson has to work out which of the women he has had a one night stand with had the most reason to try to sabotage him. Before he was tamed in later series of the show with his relationship and then marriage to Robin, Barney was the ultimate lothario, even once managing the “Perfect Week” of sleeping with seven different women on consecutive nights. With his “Legendary” and “True story” anecdotes, his creation of the “Hot/Crazy” scale and constantly updated “Rule Number One”, he certainly has the gift of the gab. Even more remarkable then that Stinson started late to the game, being a syrupy lovestruck puppy in his early twenties until his girl dumped him for a successful guy in a suit.
JOEY TRIBBIANI – Friends
Not just any ladies man gets their own catchphrase, let alone one of just three words. But then “how you doin’?” seemed to almost sum up Joey Tribianni: unthreatening, irresistible and almost far too fun to turn down. The struggling actor may have trouble counting, reading and let’s be honest, acting, but Tribbiani had an effortless charm that seemed to work on any female. Even long time friends Rachel, Monica and Pheobe are temporarily smitten when he turns his attention on them. Though comfortable in any environment, he is particularly successful hitting on the interns at the Days of Our Lives studio where he works. Loyal, caring and endearingly honest, Tribbiani is an uncomplicated New Yorker who has two ultimate passions: sex and food. When put by Chandler if he would prefer the Xerox girl naked (represented by his right hand) or a tub of jam (represented by his other hand), Tribbiani replies with a knowing smile: “Put your hands together”. Even when seeing the others in the group settle down, the idea of married life or even a settled girlfriend never appealed. This Italian stallion was always set to roam free, even when not going ‘Commando’.
DON DRAPER – Mad Men
Slick, debonair, sophisticated, aloof, cynical, mysterious and the ultimate heartbreaker, there are seemingly an infinite number of ways to describe Sterling Cooper’s finest. The ad executive extraordinaire has a lethal combination of looks, wealth, style, a silent intensity and a detached air that make any female resistance futile. Quite simply, Draper has no need for lies, games or any form of manipulation. Though hiding a troubled past, Draper is the man most guys dream of being. Married to the beautiful Betty, but always being tempted through the attractive women he meets through work, Draper is able to pick and choose only the ones that capture his attention the most. So much so, that Draper can afford to go beyond looks, going for ladies who have an aura that meet his high standards. Rather than just connecting with them sexually, the ambitious New Yorker is able to get inside their head, making them fall for his spell and leaving them destroyed when walking away. For a man who can pretty much convince you to buy anything, he really doesn’t leave much behind.
SAM MALONE – Cheers
The loveable rogue himself. A pitcher for the Boston Red Sox before alcoholism ravaged his career, Sam Malone seems to be born with womanising in his veins. A teetotal bar owner (and at one point just a barman when he lost all his money buying a boat which soon sank), Malone has few interests other than getting into a girl’s pants. Particularly successful with airline stewardesses in town for a short time, Malone is legendary in the Cheers bar for his exploits, with his prolific strike rate livening up the otherwise mundane lives of the regulars. So proud is he of his ladies man talents, and so confident in himself, that the former baseball star is happy to take on the toughest challenges of chatting up and sleeping with any attractive female who walks into the bar. Never hooking up with anyone married or emotionally vulnerable, Malone is still drawn to a challenge, with long pursuits of Diane Chambers and later his boss, Rebecca Howe. Though frustrated at long intervals with both, he refuses to quit, consoling himself about Diane: “She better be damn good in bed”. He may be far too obsessed with his hair (getting it insured!), used far too much Cologne and been a bit of a showman, but it is near impossible not to like him.
DENNIS REYNOLDS – It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
It isn’t just any ladies man who uses their first name as an acrostic system to seduce a woman, but then Dennis Reynolds is one of your more narcissistic types. Not beneath pretending to be disabled, manipulating a hot girl at her grandfather’s funeral or hitting on women at an abortion rally (both pro-choice and pro-life), Reynolds is a ruthless dating predator. His strength is in his complete lack of morals, being completely willing to sell anyone out for a chance of sex, especially his two best friends, Mac and Charlie, and his twin sister Dee. Vain to the point of taking his shirt off for the most tenuous of reasons, Reynolds has long convinced himself he is good looking though curiously that masks a strong insecurity of his looks when a particular feature is criticised. Arguably his lowest point was sleeping with Charlie’s dream girl before discarding her the morning after. Unsurprisingly, regret was minimal and he was perfectly happy to lead her on again when it suited him. But then that would be forgetting he videotapes his bedroom exploits without asking their permission. And brags to his friends about it. And rates their performance too…
CHUCK BASS – Gossip Girl
The Upper East Side’s Prince of Darkness, Chuck Bass is the bad boy that stands out even in a society where scandal, deceit and debauchery are a pre-requisite. Indeed, the man described as ‘the big bad wolf’ even has a private investigator on speed dial. The descendant of financial royalty, Bass’ wild antics actually help his father’s hotel gain the notoriety that drives business. Being a tortured soul is no publicity stunt though. Bass has a strained relationship with his father, his mother died giving birth to him, he sees nothing wrong with hiring multiple prostitutes at any one time and his only friend is the easy-going Nate. That is without mentioning the intense on-off relationship with Blair, who understands him better than anyone but who he feels would be happier without him. He may frequently lose control when drunk, use all kind of underhand tactics to get what he wants and be a discerning snob, but for all his many faults, he will go way out of his way to help those he cares about. He does have a heart of gold buried deep under there somewhere.
HANK MOODY – Californication
Not all rock stars end up on stage. With his liberal attitude to sex, drug use, swearing, authority and parental responsibility, Hank Moody is the New Yorker turned Californian who gets the groupies without even needing a band. He gets offered sex even as he is getting a vasectomy! A jaded and cynical author who writes with the colourful passion of Bukowski or Palahnuik, Moody could never work in a job that needed any kind of routine or responsibility. Though in an complicated again off again relationship with long-term girlfriend Karen with whom he has a daughter Becca, Moody seems to stumble into temptation without breaking sweat, usually with dramatic or comical results. His fearless attitude to any likely consequences to his casual romantic encounters adds to his laconic charm, but it hides a man struggling professionally and emotionally to deal with the world he lives in.
A version of this appeared on my website