[family] [quotes] [photo]

Prep, by Curtis Sittenfeld.

on connection I have always found the times when another person recognizes you to be strangely sad; I suspect the pathos of these moments is their rareness, the way they contrast with most daily encounters. Thhat reminder that it can be different, that you need not go through your life unkown but that you probably still will--that is the part that is almost unbearable.
on friendship From then on, as long as I was at Ault, I would never be alone. Martha and I would get along, our friendship would last. I felt certainty and relief. Years later, I heard a minister at a wedding describe marriage as cutting sorrow in half and doubling joy, and what I thought of was not the guy I was seeing then, nor even of some perfect, imaginary husband I might meet later; I thought immediately of Martha.
on kissing I was, of course, obsessed with kissing; I thought of kissing instead of thinking of Spanish verbs, instead of reading the newspaper or writing letters to my parents or paying attention during Indian sprints at soccer practice. But to imagine it and to have Cross next to me wanting to kiss were different. I didn't know how to kiss. Kissing terrified me, as an actual thing you did with another person, and there was no one it would be more humiliating to kiss badly than Cross.
on prophesy Cross shrugged. "You'll be okay." There was something in his shrug I envied--an ability to prevent misfortune by choosing not to anticipate it.
on clarity Life is clearest when guided by ulterior motives.
on boys He was still smiling. I loved boys, I thought. All of them.
more on boys Girls always like when boys were around, but it often seemed to me that boys preferred to be by themselves, talking about girls in the hungry way that, I suspected, they found more gratifying than the presence of an actual girl.
yet more on boys In some ways, boys were easier to read than other girls--with boys, it was pursuit and lust, it was effort.
on shyness Of course, now I wonder where I had gotten the idea that for you to participate in a gathering, the other people had to really, really want you to be there, and that anything short of rabid enthusiasm on their part meant you'd be a nuisance. Where had I gotten the idea that being a nuisance was that big a deal?
more on shyness I believed then that if you had a good encounter with a person, it was best not to see them again for as long as possible lest you taint the previous interaction...This anxiety meant that I spent a lot of time hiding, usually in my room, after any pleasant exchange with another person.
on embarrassment The senator laughed, and I wished that I had never come to Ault, or that I'd been born a different person, or that at the very least I could lose consciousness immediately but not in a way that would be disruptive, not, say, by fainting and collapsing to the ground--more like by simply vanishing.
on enthusiasm This desperate aversion to seeming like you wanted anything, or worse, to going after it, stayed with me for years after I left Ault. When I graduated from college, my father told me he was concerned that I didn't express enough enthusiasm in job interviews, and the comment shocked me. Enthusiasm was a thing you were supposed to show? But wasn't it a little disgusting, didn't it seem the same as greed and neediness? Of course you wanted the job, I thought, and the interviewer should know that because why else would you have shown up in his office?
on politics Once I had asked, "But are you a Democrat or a Republican?" and Jonathan said, "I'm socially progressive but fiscally conservative," and Doug Miles...lifted his head and said "Is that like being bisexual?" Which I actually thought was funny, even though I was pretty sure Doug was a Jerk.
on self-perception Marth was the kind of person who would never leave her underwear around, whereas I was the kind of person who thought I wouldn't but actually would.
on screwing up I had been indiscreet. That's what it was. How much better it would have been to f*ck up in a normal, preppy way--to get caught the week before graduation smoking pot, or skinny-dipping at midnight in the gym pool. To make politically charged complaints to a New York Times reporter, on the other hand, was just tacky.
on the messiness of breakups Now I think that it was far-fetched, that my impulse was feminine, and that the masculine response (maybe I just mean the detached response) was to realize that our final interaction had been overblown and unfortunate but that we each understood well enough where the other stood. Another exchange would be reiteration, not clarification.
[as an aside, i think it's actually an injured response, not a feminine one]