Saturday, January 14, 2006

Boil 1.77

He had, of course, the eternal delusion of strong young men, that women gauge their passion by counting the number of times that the assault is renewed in the course of a single night. Well, to some extent we do: who would deny that? It is flattering, is it not? But it is not what counts finally. And after a while, there seems something almost military about it. Gustave had a way of talking about the women he had enjoyed. He would recall some prostitute he had frequented in the rue de la Cigogne: 'I fired five shots into her,' he would boast to me. It was his habitual turn of phrase. I found it coarse, but I did not mind: we were artists together, you see. However, I noted the metaphor. The more shots you fire into somebody, the more likely they are to be dead at the end of it. Is that what men want? Do they need a corpse as proof of their virility? I suspect they do, and women, with the logic of flattery, remember to exclaim at the transporting moment, 'Oh, I die! I die!' or some such phrase. After a bout of love, I often find that my brain is at its sharpest; I see things clearly; I feel poetry coming to me. But I know better than to interrupt the hero with my babblings; instead I ape the satisfied cadaver.
Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot, 140.


At 2:32 pm, Blogger comparativist said...

o dear


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