1st March 1942, evening
Jealousy of women.
In the eyes of a woman, the finest of dresses at once loses its charm—if she sees another woman wearing one like it. I’ve seen a woman suddenly leave the opera at the sight of a rival who had entered a box wearing the same dress as herself. “What cheek!” she said. “I’m going!”
In the pleasure a woman takes in rigging herself out, there is always an admixture of some trouble-making element, something treacherous—to awaken another woman’s jealousy by displaying something that the latter doesn’t possess. Women have the talent, which is unknown to us males, for giving a kiss to a woman-friend and at the same time piercing her heart with a well-sharpened stiletto. To wish to change women in this respect would be ingenuous: women are what they are. Let’s come to terms with their little weaknesses. And if women really only need satisfactions of that sort to keep them happy, let them not deprive themselves, by any means!
For my part, I prefer to see them thus occupied than devoting themselves to metaphysics. There’s no worse disaster than to see them grappling with ideas. In that respect, the point of disaster is reached by women painters, who attach no importance to beauty—when it’s a question of themselves! Other women are extremely careful of their appearance, but not beyond the moment when they’ve found a husband.
Social prejudices are in the process of disappearing. More and more, nature is reclaiming her rights. We’re moving in the proper direction. I’ve much more respect for the woman who has an illegitimate child than for an old maid. I’ve often been told of unmarried women who had children and brought these children up in a truly touching manner. It often happens amongst women servants, notably. The women who have no children finally go off their heads.
I often think of those women who people the convents—because they haven’t met the man with whom they would have wished to share their lives. With the exception of those who were promised to God by their parents, most of them, in fact, are women cheated by life. Human beings are made to suffer passively. Rare are the beings capable of coming to grips with existence.