There is something exasperatingly something-or-otherish about girls. And they know it—which makes them more something-or-otherish still:—there is no other word for it.
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A girl is a complicated thing. It is made up of clothes, smiles, a pompadour, things of which space and prudence forbid the enumeration here. These things by themselves do not constitute a girl which is obvious; nor is any one girl without these things which is not too obvious. Where the things end and the girl begins many men have tried to find out.
Many girls would like to be men—except on occasions. At least so they say, but perhaps this is just a part of their something-or-otherishness. Why they should want to be men, men cannot conceive. Men pale before them, grow hot and cold before them, run before them (and after them), swear by them (and at them), and a bit of a chit of a thing in short skirts and lisle-thread stockings will twist able-bodied males round her little finger.
It is an open secret that girls are fonder of men than they are of one another—which is very lucky for the men.
Girls differ; and the same girl is different at different times. When she is by herself, she is one thing. When she is with other girls she is another thing. When she is with a lot of men, she is a third sort of thing. When she is with a man. . . But this baffled even Agur the son of Jakeh.
As a rule, a man prefers a girl by herself. This is natural. And yet is said that you cannot have too much of a good thing. If this were true, a bevy of girls would be the height of happiness. Yet some men would sooner face the bulls of Bashan.
Some foolish men—probably poets—have sought for and asserted the existence of the ideal girl. This is sheer nonsense: there is no such thing. And if there were, she could not compare with the real girl, the girl of flesh and blood—which (as some one ought to have said) are excellent things in woman.
Other men, equally foolish, have regarded girls as playthings. I wish these men had tried to play with them. They would have found that they were playing with fire and brimstone. Yet the veriest spit-fire can be wondrous sweet.
Sweet? Yes. On the whole a girl is the sweetest thing known or knowable. On the 6 whole of this terrestrial sphere Nature has produced nothing more adorable than the high-spirited high-bred girl.—Of this she is quite aware—to our cost (I speak as a man). The consequence is, her price has gone up, and man has to pay high and pay all sorts of things—ices, sweets, champagne, drives, church-goings, and sometimes spot-cash.
Men are always wishing they knew all about girls. It is a precious good thing that they don't.—Not that this is in any way disparaging to the girls.
A girl is an infinite puzzle, and it is this puzzle, that, among other things, tickles the men, and rouses their curiosity.