Working on the edit of When the Darkness Comes I came across this passage that I’d forgotten writing:
Alex had had a list of ways in which Ted irritated her. The way he could not get into a lift to go down without saying, “Dive dive dive.” How he pretended to believe the French for a sponge bag was “sac d’éponge”. The way he would suddenly say, “By Jove, Carruthers” about nothing at all, and how amusing he and his male friends seemed to find it when one of them would offer a hot drink to another with the words, “You for coffee?” It wasn’t a long list and they weren’t big things, but they were there. She had intended to change him when they were married. Her mother had died when Alex was eight; her father had not married again and kept any women he might have had away from his daughter; at ten she had been sent to school in Switzerland and came home only during the holidays; there had been no-one to tell her that all women expect to change their men after marriage and all women fail.
It’s one of the things that have long puzzled me about women. What is it that makes them believe we’ll change? Alex says, “It wasn’t a long list and they weren’t big things” but we’ve all known cases where they were big things—the man was a drunk; he hit women (the big, final, inexcusable act); he lied, spent money he didn’t have or two-timed her—and still she tells herself she’ll change him. Why?
I look at my daughter’s generation and think that today’s women aren’t so gullible and won’t stand for what their mothers tolerated. I hope I’m right.