I swooned at the thought of her reading something undoubtedly wonderful in the adjoining compartment but forced myself to nod. We looked out the window: a herd of camels, for a flash of a second. We were in the Gobi Desert.
Nights were hard. She was inevitably inches away, sleeping peacefully as my desire for her boiled. In Ulan Bator, under a sky thick and white with stars, we decided to sleep in a yurt on the steppe. As her brother slept, she whispered to me: “Have you heard about that hand-built, nine-grotto Virgin Mary shrine some priest spent 42 years piecing together in Iowa?”
I told her I’d build her a bigger one if she wanted.
She laughed and played with my hair, knowing it was true but not wanting to show it. The shrine I had already built for her was painfully exposed; in two years my mainstream existence had been razed to the ground to make room for a garden in which her every eccentricity was welcomed to bloom. What was I doing in Mongolia? It seemed I would follow her anywhere.
This make me feel so warm and fuzzy inside.
"I require three things in a man. He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid."
— Dorothy Parker
"Women are cursed, and men are the proof."
— Rosanne Barr
"If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base."
— Dave Barry
"I go from stool to stool in singles bars hoping to get lucky, but there’s never any gum under any of them."
— Emo Philips
This story originally published in a 1943 issue of Collier’s magazine. More on the story here at Snopes.com
John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station.
He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn’t, the girl with the rose.
His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin.
The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner’s name Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her address.
She now lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II.
During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn’t matter what she looked like.
When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting – 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York City.
"You’ll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red rose I’ll be wearing on my lapel."
So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he’d never seen.
I’ll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened:
"A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive."
"I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips, ‘Going my way, sailor’ she murmured."
"Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell."
"She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes."
The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own."
"And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her.
"This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful.
"I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment.
"I’m Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?"
The woman’s face broadened into a tolerant smile.
"I don’t know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!"
It’s not difficult to understand and admire Miss Maynell’s wisdom. The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive. "Tell me whom you love," Houssaye wrote, "And I will tell you who you are."
Questions concerning love and wisdom were posed to a group of children (ages 5 to 10). Their responses were amazingly astute, very enlightening, and amusing.
What Is The Proper Age To Get Married?
"Eighty-four. Because at that age, you don’t have to work anymore, and you can spend all your time loving each other in your bedroom." (Judy, 8)
"Once I’m done with kindergarten, I’m going to find me a wife." (Tommy, 5)
What Do Most People Do On A Date?
"On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date." (Mike, 10)
When Is It Okay To Kiss Someone?
"You should never kiss a girl unless you have enough bucks to buy her a big ring and her own VCR, ’cause she will want to have videos of the wedding." (Jim, 10)
"Never kiss in front of other people. It’s a big embarrassing thing if anybody sees you. But if nobody sees you, I might be willing to try it with a handsome boy, but just for a few hours." (Kally, 9)
The Great Debate: Is It Better To Be Single Or Married?
"It’s better for girls to be single, but not for boys. Boys need somebody to clean up after them." (Lynette, 9)
"It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I’m just a kid. I don’t need that kind of trouble." (Kenny, 7)
Concerning Why Love Happens Between Two People:
"No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell. That’s why perfume and deodorant are so popular." (Jan, 9)
"I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful." (Harlen, 8)
On What Falling In Love Is Like:
"Like an avalanche where you have to run for your life." (Roger, 9)
"If falling in love is anything like learning to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long a time to learn." (Leo, 7)
On The Role Of Good Looks In Love And Romance:
"If you want to be loved by somebody who isn’t already in your family, it doesn’t hurt to be beautiful." (Jeanne, 8)
"It isn’t always just how you look. Look at me. I’m handsome like anything and I haven’t got anybody to marry me yet." (Gary,7)
"Beauty is skin deep. But how rich you are can last a long time." (Christine, 9)
Concerning Why Lovers Often Hold Hands:
"They want to make sure their rings don’t fall off, because they paid good money for them." (David, 8)
Confidential Opinions About Love:
"I’m in favor of love as long as it doesn’t happen when The Simpsons’ are on TV." (Anita, 6)
"Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I’ve been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me." (Bobby, 8)
"I’m not rushing into being in love. I’m finding fourth grade hard enough." (Regina, 10)
Personal Qualities Necessary To Be A Good Lover:
"One of you should know how to write a check. Because, even if you have tons of love, there is still going to be a lot of bills."(Ava, 8)
Some Surefire Ways To Make A Person Fall In Love With You:
"Tell them that you own a whole bunch of candy stores." (Del, 6)
"Don’t do things like have smelly, green sneakers. You might get attention, but attention ain’t the same thing as love." (Alonzo, 9)
"One way is to take the girl out to eat. Make sure it’s something she likes to eat. French fries usually works for me." (Bart, 9)
How Can You Tell If Two Adults Eating Dinner At A Restaurant Are In Love?
"Just see if the man picks up the check. That’s how you can tell if he’s in love." (John, 9)
"Lovers will just be staring at each other and their food will get cold. Other people care more about the food." (Brad, 8)
"It’s love if they order one of those desserts that are on fire. They like to order those because it’s just like their hearts are on fire." (Christine, 9)
What Most People Are Thinking When They Say "I Love You":
"The person is thinking: Yeah, I really do love him, but I hope he showers at least once a day." (Michelle, 9)
How A Person Learns To Kiss:
"You learn it right on the spot, when the gooshy feelings get the best of you." (Doug, 7)
"It might help if you watched soap operas all day." (Carin, 9)
When Is It Okay To Kiss Someone?
"It’s never okay to kiss a boy. They always slobber all over you…. that’s why I stopped doing it." (Jean, 10)
How To Make Love Endure:
"Spend most of your time loving instead of going to work." (Tom, 7)
"Don’t forget your wife’s name . . . that will mess up the love." (Roger, 8)
"Be a good kisser. It might make your wife forget that you never take the trash out." (Randy, 8)
Love: When you take a bubble bath together
Lust: When you take a bath in Jell-o together
Marriage: When you give the kids a bath
Love: A romantic candle-light dinner for two
Lust: "Do I have to buy you dinner first?"
Marriage: 4 McDonald’s Happy Meals . . . to go
Love: Giving your love some candy
Lust: Thinking you are the candy
Marriage: Scraping the kids’ candy off of the carpet
Love: Sex every night
Lust: Sex 5 times a night
Marriage: What’s sex?
Love: A night out at the symphony
Lust: A night out at the Holiday Inn
Marriage: A night out at Sesame Street On Ice
Love: French perfume
Lust: Brut aftershave
Marriage: "The baby needs changing. . ."
Love: Lending your jacket to your love when he/she is cold
Lust: "I can think of a way to stay warm . . ."
Marriage: Your teenaged daughter has borrowed all of your jackets
Love: Talking and cuddling
Lust: Rolling over and falling asleep
Marriage: Getting up to wash your hands . . .
Love: Finding the "Fell in Love on AoL" room
Lust: Finding the "Blonde Dominatrix" room
Marriage: Finding the "Married and Looking" room
Love: Long drives through the countryside
Lust: Long parking sessions at Lover’s Lookout
Marriage: Long drives with the kids screaming in the backseat
I miss making out. Not that I don’t do it anymore, but not the way I used to. I mean that I miss kissing that’s unaccompanied by sex, or thoughts of sex, or thoughts of a relationship, or thoughts of anything other than just — making out.
That’s the best part of being a teenager – you can kiss without having to worry about all the stuff that comes after. I guess that’s not true anymore, really, is it? But it was when I was a teenager.
You know that kiss that isn’t going anywhere, but might? Unhurried, undistracted. “Long, slow deep wet kisses that last three days.” You know that line had to come from a movie, because no actual man ever said that and meant it as anything other than a pick-up line.
That kiss where you know your partner’s tongue as well as you know your own? The kind that starts our a little frantic and then you get each other’s rythym and eventually you almost feel like the same person, until you realize your foot fell asleep and you really need to move?
I imagine myself kissing women all the time.
I wanted to be Batgirl. I wanted to kiss Wonder Woman.
I wanted to be Dorothy. I wanted to kiss Glinda.
I want to be Buffy Summers. I want to kiss Willow.
I want to be Gillian Anderson. I want to kiss Jodie Foster.
I really want to kiss Holly Marie Coombs, but if I were Holly Marie Coombs, I’d want to kiss Shannen Dorhety.
Gina Gershon has me all twisted up in knots. I want to kiss her and be her at the same time.
It’s not as great a day for the bride as she thinks. She’s not marrying the best man.
They have come up with a perfect understanding. He won’t try to run her life, and he won’t try to run his, either.
He believes that marriage and a career don’t mix. So after the wedding, he plans to quit his job.
All marriages are happy. It’s living together afterwards that is difficult.
Marriage is like a violin. After the music is over, you still have the strings.
After the wedding ceremony was over, a little girl asked her mother why the bride changed her mind. "What do you mean?" responded her mother. "Well, she went down the aisle with one man, and came back with another."
They had a dispute about a night out with the boys. But, he finally decided to let her go.
He early on let her know who is the boss. He looked her right in the eye and clearly said, "You’re the boss."
If it weren’t for marriage, men would spend their lives thinking they had no faults at all.
John invited his mother over for dinner. During the meal, his mother couldn’t help noticing how attractive and shapely the housekeeper was. Over the course of the evening, she started to wonder if there was more between John and the housekeeper than met the eye. Reading his mom’s thoughts, John volunteered, "I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you, my relationship with my housekeeper is purely professional."
About a week later, the housekeeper came to John and said, "Ever since your mother came to dinner, I’ve been unable to find the beautiful silver gravy ladle. You don’t suppose she took it, do you?" John said, "Well, I doubt it, but I’ll write her a letter just to be sure." So he sat down and wrote:
"Dear Mother, I’m not saying you ‘did’ take a gravy ladle from my house, and I’m not saying you ‘did not’ take a gravy ladle. But the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner."
Several days later, John received a letter from his mother which said:
"Dear Son, I’m not saying that you ‘do’ sleep with your housekeeper, and I’m not saying that you ‘do not’ sleep with your housekeeper. But the fact remains that if she was sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the gravy ladle more than a week ago.
g’nothi s’auton – Know thy self
— inscription on the wall of the temple at Delphi
You don’t drown by falling in water. You drown by staying there.
— Robert Allen
If at first you don’t succeed, you are running about average.
— M. H. Anderson
Live, live, live! Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.
— Auntie Mame
Fabrum esse suae quemque fortunae. – Each man the architect of his own fate.
— Appius Caecus, Quoted by Sallust, De Civitate, I. 2
Honey, I can upstage you with out even being on the stage.
— Tallulah Bankhead
Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response.
— Mildred Berthel
No man is a failure until he gives up.
— Bishop of London
Corky (Gina Gershon) to Violet (Jennifer Tilly):
Don’t apologize. I can’t stand it when women apologize for wanting sex.
— from the movie Bound
Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.
— James Dean
When nothing is sure, everything is possible.
— Margret Drabble
We are not Human Beings having a spiritual experience. We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience.
— Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.
— Thomas Edison
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
— Thomas Edison
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do the thing you’re afraid to do and the death of fear is certain.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
First say to yourself what you would be, then do what you have to do.
If you build it, they will come.
— From the movie, Field of Dreams
The things you own, end up owning you. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Self-improvement is masturbation. Self-destruction might be the answer. You are not your Khakis.
— Fight Club
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.
If you think the world is all wrong, remember that it contains people like you.
They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them.
To act is easy; to think is hard.
What does not kill me makes me stronger.
Talent develops in tranquility, character in the full current of human life.
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.
I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufficiently understand their own aims. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut.
Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.
Only learn to seize good fortune, for good fortune is always here.
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is; when we treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.
Hey, world, I’m alive — and these pants are washable!
— Harry, 3rd Rock from the Sun
If you were happy every day of your life, you wouldn’t be a human being. You’d be a game show host.
— from the movie “Heathers”
Always listen to the experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done and why. Then do it.
— Robert Heinlein
Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own.
He who cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself.
— George Herbert
Fall seven times, stand up eight .
— Japanese proverb
The unexamined life may not be worth living, but the unlived life is not worth examining.
— Guy Kawasaki
If you are not a part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
— John F. Kennedy
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
— John F. Kennedy
Perhaps the worst sin in life is knowing right and not doing it.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
I always prefer to believe the best of everybody . . . it saves so much trouble.
— Rudyard Kipling
I can imagine that an ugly woman who looks in the mirror is convinced that it is her mirror image and not she that is ugly.Thus society sees the mirror image of it’s meanness, and is stupid enough to believe that I am the mean fellow.
— Karl Kraus
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, While loving someone deeply gives you courage
— Lao Tzu
I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.
— Stephen Leacock
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
— Abraham Lincoln
The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.
— Vince Lombardi (not that I’m fond of the guy, but this is good.)
There is no security on this earth, there is only opportunity.
— Gen. Douglas MacArthur
Freefall with the truth; hope we both survive. Deal?
— Ally McBeal
Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.
— Henry Miller
Democracy is not a spectator sport.
— Michael Moore
To my little sister on Mother’s Day, in reference to my sexual orientation:
You’re not going to turn out like Steph are you?
[It’s always a delight to hear what people really think of you.]
— My Mother
Whosoever would fight monsters must take care that in the process he does not become one. For when you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks also into you.
Passion is not Arrogance. You ever hear that story about Babe Ruth pointing towards the fence before he belted a home run exactly where he said it would? No one knows if it’s true or not; it’s like a myth. But man, you sure want to believe it happened. You want to believe that someone could have that much faith in themselves, in what they do, in what they’re capable of, that they’d guarantee they’re going to do something and then go ahead and do it.
— A Nike Ad
I will choose what enters me, what becomes flesh of my flesh. Without choice, no politics, no ethics lives. I am not your cornfield, not your uranium mine, not your calf for fattening, not your cow for milking. You may not use me as your factory. Priests and legislators do not hold shares in my womb or my mind. This is my body. If I give it to you I want it back. My life is a non-negotiable demand.
— Marge Piercy
The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.
A man should never be ashamed to own he has been wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.
— Alexander Pope
America’s abundance was not created by public sacrifices to ‘the common good,’ but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes.
— Ayn Rand
Late to Bed, Early to Rise; Work like Hell, and You’ll be Wise.
— Hyman G. Rickover, Father of the U.S. Nuclear Navy
If a man does only what is required of him, he is a slave. The moment he does more than is required, he becomes a free man.
— A.W. Robertson
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you cannot do.
— Eleanor Roosevelt
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
— Eleanor Roosevelt
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
— Theodore Roosevelt
The thing that women have to learn is that nobody gives you power. You just take it.
It is not the civil-social norm for which men yearn, but the outrageous, the outsized, the out-of-bounds, for that by which our wild potency may be unleashed. We crave openly to become our secret selves.
— Salman Rushdie, From The Moor’s Last Sigh
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly: what is essential is invisible to the eye.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I’m an idealist. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.
— Carl Sandburg
Nothing happens unless first a dream.
— Carl Sandburg
Growth does not cease being painful at any age.
— May Sarton, from Journal of Solitude
My own belief is that one regards oneself, if one is a serious writer, as an instrument for experiencing. Life–all of it–flows through this instrument and is distilled through it into works of art. How one lives as a private person is intimately bound into the work. And at some point, I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend, and come out with personal truth. If we are to understand the human condition, and if we are to accept ourselves in all the complexity, self-doubt, extravagance of feeling, guilt, joy, the slow freeing of the self to its full capacity for action and creation, both as human being and artist, we have to know all we can about one another, and we have to be willing to go naked.
— May Sarton, from Journal of Solitude
What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
— Dr. Robert Schuller
This above All,–to thine ownself be true, And it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
— Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, Scene III
This thing of darkness I Acknowledge mine.
— Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
— Henry David Thoreau
Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing; it was here first.
— Mark Twain
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people can always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
— Mark Twain
Lightning flashes across the sky, east to west, do or die. Like a thief in the night, see the world by candlelight. from Seconds
Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.
— Henry Van Dyke
Fortune favours the bold.
— Virgil, Aeneid
Progress always involves risk. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.
— Frederick B. Wilcox
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
— Oscar Wilde
Success is a matter of luck. Ask any failure.
— Earl Wilson
I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow.
— Woodrow Wilson