American Culture · American Literature · Excerpt · Hysterical Realism · New Sincerity · Novel · Postmodernism · Quote

David Foster Wallace

The story is underway. The aforementioned pre-sarcastic-interruption is because this man, in whom the instincts and inclinations are so strong and pure, is completely unable to control these strong and pure instincts and inclinations. What invariably happens is that the man meets a halfway or even quarterway desirable woman, and he immediately falls head over heels in love with her, right there, first thing, on the spot, and blurts out ‘I love you’ as practically the first thing he says, because he can’t control the intensely warm feelings of love, and not just lust, now, it’s made clear, but deep, emotionally intricate, passionate love, the feelings that wash over him, and so immediately at the first opportunity he says ’I love you,‘ and his pupils dilate until they fill practically his whole eyes, and he moves unself-consciously toward the woman in question as if to touch her in a sexual way, and the women he does this to, which is more or less every woman he meets, quite understandably don’t react positively to this, a man who says ’I love you’ right away, and makes a bid for closeness right away, and so the women as an invariable rule reject him verbally on the spot, or hit him with their purse, or worst of all run away, screaming screams only he and they can hear. — David Foster Wallace, The Broom of the System. (Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 29, 2010)


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