For some reason, a number of my male friends these days have been bemoaning the fact that women say to them, "I love you...as a friend," but never, "I love you." Indeed, one of them told me that women "always do this" to him, and that it seemed to him that the solution was "Don't always be there for them."
So, here's the thing. All my life I've been a girl that men love as a friend but never desire, and on behalf of all the "always the bridesmaid but never the bride" women, I've got something to say: TURN AROUND. If you're a lovely kind man who's thoughtful to women, you've probably got a woman standing behind you, or to your left, or to your right, who is your friend, but who is dying to have you be more. If somebody loves you just as a friend and you love them as more, you've got rights and a mouth. You can say, "I like you as more than a friend, and if you don't like me that way, I'm sorry, but it's too hard for me." And then some clever pretty girl you like just as a friend could be given a chance. I'm just saying.
And now the smile.
In Othello, the moor Othello is dragged before the Duke of Venice to explain how he won the pure and virginal Desdemona, Desdemona's father believing that it could only have been done by witchcraft. Othello tells the story of his wooing:
Her father loved me, oft invited me;
Still questioned me the story of my life....
I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field,
Of hair-breadth escapes i'the imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
And portance in my travels' history:
Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle,
Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven
It was my hint to speak, - such was the process;
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. This to hear
Would Desdemona seriously incline....
My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:
She swore, in faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange,
'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful:
She wish'd she had not heard it, yet she wish'd
That heaven had made her such a man; she thank'd me...
The Duke of Venice says, "I think this tale would win my daughter, too." I've always loved that line, because, for this daughter, it's so true.
My favourite, of course, is the men whose heads do grow beneath their
shoulders. Travel writers really claimed they existed, you know: