frustration & satisfaction in romance

James Thurber

Posted by mdasif on December 6, 2016

I’m awfully badly in love with you, Eva.

Do you think it is a simple matter to give one’s whole heart away, his whole being, his entire self — to a girl who may be a little amused, somewhat pleased, and only on occasions seriously realizing what she has had given to her?
I intend to revolt against you every darn week, or oftener, until you LOVE ME — so that if you never do I can say, well I had a good time, you didn’t seal my heart up and toss all joy away with it.
A woman is often a wonderful thing. And you are. But in you, as in all of them, is the indifference of Carmen, the joy in cruelty of Cleopatra, the tyrannical marble-heartedness of Katherine De Medici, and the cold glitter of all the passionless despots of men’s warm souls since sex first originated — since Eve broke the heart of humanity forever and laughed with sadistic joy at Adam sweating blood on the rack she made for him. All those things are most in you now. They are always predominant in a woman who is passionately loved but who loves not at all herself. Women like that are greatly interested in the lover’s sufferings, but to her they are a spectacle, a Roman holiday — a pageant of exciting emotions, nothing else.

A man’s real and only love is a sensitive thing. It curdles easily, and when it does, it spoils all good and all everything.
You see I love you better each time and I want you worse each time, and I bruise more heart strings each new time I go away, until finally you’ll just have to realize my life means you always near, and I can’t be nice and unsarcastic and happy when you aren’t near.

When I sometimes think that someday you may be married to someone else and I may be lying awake at night when it’s dark and still and deep and thinking of you, I wonder how I can stand to realize your blue eyes belong to someone else and that I can’t even have so much as the touch of your hand… Please don’t be mad at me, Eve, and like me more than a little bit. Please, please, please, please, Eve.

Oh, I’ve got few more but that’s enough to show that Jim’s choice lies between a “Paris life” of futile pomes and a real “American life” of real human happiness. Please, please do something, Eve. But nothing too darn final, if you are “mad at” me.


For more awesomeness, read The Thurber Letters: The Wit, Wisdom, and Surprising Life of James Thurber..

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