Women not our type

The truth was that 'his type' was something that, even later, she had never been. And yet how he had loved her and with what anguish of mind! Ceasing to love her, he had been puzzled by this contradiction, which really is no contradiction at all, if we consider how large a proportion of the sufferings endured by men in their lives is caused to them by women who are 'not their type.' Perhaps there are many reasons why this should be so: first, because a woman is 'not your type' you let yourself, at the beginning, be loved by her without loving in return, and by doing this you allow your life to be gripped by a habit which would not have taken root in the same way with a woman who was 'your type,' who, conscious of your desire, would have offered more resistance, would only rarely have consented to see you, would not have installed herself in every hour of your days with that familiarity which means that later, if you come to love her and then suddenly she is not there, because of a quarrel or because of a journey during which you are left without news of her, you are hurt by the severance not of one but of a thousand links. And then this habit, not resting upon the foundation of strong physical desire, is a sentimental one, and once love is born the brain gets much more busily to work: you are plunged into a romance, not plagued by a mere need. We are not wary of women who are 'not our type,' we let them love us, and if, subsequently, we come to love them we love them a hundred times more than we love other women, without even enjoying in their arms the satisfaction of assuaged desire. For these reasons and for many others the fact that our greatest unhappinesses come to us from women who are 'not our type' is not simply an instance of that mockery of fate which never grants us our wishes except in the form which pleases us least. A woman who is 'our type' is seldom dangerous, she is not interested in us, she gives us a limited contentment and then quickly leaves us without establishing herself in our life, and what on the contrary, in love, is dangerous and prolific of suffering is not a woman herself but her presence beside us every day and our curiosity about what she is doing every minute: not the beloved woman, but habit.

(Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time, Volume VI, pp. 490-1)

Sam Mok