“What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who has only eyes, if he is a painter, or ears if he is a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he is a poet, or even, if he is a boxer, just his muscles? Far from it: at the same time, he is also a political being, constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people, and with a cool indifference to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly? No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.” (>>)
“If you’re dating someone, what kind of man is he? Does he demonstrate that he’s the kind of man who would die for you? What is his posture toward the world? Does he serve, or is he waiting to be served? Does he believe that he’s owed something, that he’s been shortchanged, that he’s gotten the short end of the stick, that life owes him something? Or is he out to see what he can give? Does he see himself as being here to make the world a better place?
“These are the big questions that you need to ask yourself.
“Take him to a family reunion. Do some sort of service project with him. See how he interacts with people he doesn’t like.
“Does he have liquid agape running through his veins?
“A friend of mine was engaged to a man, and some of her friends were not excited about them getting married. As the wedding day approached, one of her friends decided to say something to her. He said, ‘When a woman is loved well, she opens up like a flower.’
“She broke off the engagement soon afterward. In one brilliant sentence, her friend taught her what agape is and what it isn’t.
“What does he expect of you? Does he expect you to sleep with him when he hasn’t committed to you forever? Does he want all of you without his having to give all of him?
“Can you tell him anything? Is he safe? Can he be trusted?
“Can you open up to him, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, knowing that he will protect, not exploit, that vulnerability?
“Are you opening like a flower?” (>>)
“His family — churchier than Thou — looked down on girls who worked. If I was ever going to get a job, it would only be to annoy them, his parents — his dad, mostly. He was a mean, dried-out fart who defied charity, and who used religion as a foil to justify his undesirable character traits. His cheapness became thrift; his lack of curiosity about the world and his contempt for new ideas were called being traditional.” (>>)