If I overdwell on this it can’t be helped: love is important and the reasons you get it or fail to are important. The number of women in my generation who in retrospect anyone will apply the term “great love” to, in any connection, is going to be minute. I needed to know if I had a chance here. Love is strenuous. Pursuing someone is strenuous. What I say is if you find yourself condemned to wanting love, you have to play while you can play. Of course it would be so much easier to play from the male side. They never go after love qua love, ever. They go after women. And for men love is the distillate of whatever happened with each woman that was not actually painful in feeling-tone. There is some contradiction here which I can’t expel. What was moving me was the feeling of being worth someone’s absolute love, great love, even. And to me this means male love whether I like it or not. C’est ├ža. Here I am, there I was. I don’t know if getting love out of a man is more of a feat of strength now than it used to be or not, except that I do: it is. It’s hideous. It’s an ordeal beyond speech. When I’m depressed I feel like what was meant by one of his favorite quotations: A bitter feast was steaming hot and a mouth must be found to eat it. Men are like armored things, mountainous assemblages of armor and leather, masonry even, which you are told will self-dismantle if you touch the right spot, and out will flow passionate attention. And we know that this sometimes does happen for one of our sisters, or has happened. […] Of course even as I was machining I was well aware I was in the outskirts of the suburbs of the thing you want or suspect is there. But at this moment in my life I was at the point where even the briefest experience of unmistakable love would be something I could clutch to myself as proof that my theory of myself as not incorrect. Theories can be reactionary and still applicable.

Norman Rush, Mating