Tuesday, March 16, 2004

What *is* the Ideal Man?

The Ideal Man! Oh, the Ideal Man should talk to us as if we were goddesses, and treat us as if we were children. He should refuse all our serious requests, and gratify everyone of our whims. He should encourage us to have caprices, and forbid us to have missions. He should always say much more than he means, and mean much more than he says. He should never run down other pretty women. That would show he has no taste, or make one suspect that he had too much. No; he should be nice about them all, but say that somehow they don't attract him. If we question him about anything, he should give us an answer all about ourselves. He should invariably praise us for whatever qualities he knows we haven't got. But he should be pitiless, quite pitiless, in reproaching us for the virtues that we never dreamed of possessing. He should never believe that we know the use of useful things. That would be unforgivable. But he should shower on us everything we don't want. He should consistently compromise us in public, and treat us with absolute respect when we're alone. And yet he should always be ready to have a perfectly terrible scene, whenever we want one, and to become miserable, absolutely miserable, at a moment's notice, and to overwhelm us with just reproaches in less than twenty minutes, and to be positively violent at the end of half an hour, and to leave us forever at quarter to eight, when we have to go and dress for dinner. And when, after that, one has seen him for really the last time, and he has refused to take back the little things he has given one, and promised never to communicate with one again, or to write any foolish letters, he should be perfectly broken-hearted, and telegraph one all day long, and send one little notes every half an hour by a private hansome, and dine quite alone at the club, so that everyone should know how unhappy he was. And after a whole dreadful week, during which one has gone about everywhere with one's husband, just to show how absolutely lonely one was, he may be given a third last parting, in the evening then, if his conduct has been quite irreproachable, and one has behaved really badly to him, he should be allowed to admit he was entirely wrong, and when he has admitted that, it becomes the woman's duty to forgive, and one can do it all over from the beginning, with variations.

So, according to Oscar Wilde, here you have it. Although when Tina was reading it the other night, she seemed to embrace the ideal as if it were her own! hmmmmm.

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