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La precieuse serieuse

By Theo   April 1996

When she speaks, it is as a woman, as a mother, as a wife, as a mistress, as a person who has, in all her guises, suffered. If an early lover, whom she decided not to marry because she feared he wanted only to make her happy, once described her as a “giggling armful,” that was in a pre-Larkin arcadia when there were still virgins. In those pill-less days, a girl could peel off her sweater and, in pity and contempt, reach back, unhook, and show a man what he had never seen before. After which, he was—all too often…

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