‘Anyone could tell us two writers shouldn’t be together. Or rather, that a competitive American shouldn’t be with a woman who has written a book.’
‘That’s right,’ he said. ‘It’s a challenge to my sexual superiority, and that isn’t a joke.’
‘I know it isn’t. But please don’t give me any more of your pompous socialist lectures about the equality of men and women.’
‘I shall probably give you pompous lectures because I enjoy it. But I won’t believe in them myself. The truth is, I resent you for having written a book which was a success. And I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve always been a hypocrite, and in fact I enjoy a society where women are second-class citizens, I enjoy being boss and being flattered.’
‘Good,’ I said. ‘Because in a society where not one man in ten thousand begins to understand the ways in which women are second-class citizens, we have to rely for company on the men who are at least not hypocrites.’
‘And now we’ve settled that, you can make me some coffee, because that is your role in life.’
‘It will be a pleasure,’ I said, and we had breakfast in good-humour, liking each other.
– from The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing