from The Blue Guitar (John Banville)

The fact is, whenever I made an overture to a woman, which I seldom did, even in my young days, I never really expected it to be entertained, or even noticed, despite certain instances of success, which I tended to regards as flukes, the result of misunderstanding, or dimness on the part of the woman and simple good fortune on mine. I’m not an immediately alluring specimen, having been, for a start, the runt of the litter. I’m short and stout, or better go the whole hog and say fat, with a big head and tiny feet. My hair is of a shade somewhere between wet rust and badly tarnished brass, and in damp weather, or when I’m by the seaside, clenches itself into curls that are as tight and dense as cauliflower florets and stubbornly resistant to fiercest combings. My skin—oh, my skin!—is a flaccid, moist, off-white integument, so that I look as if I had been blanched in the dark for a long time. Of my freckles I shall not speak…

—John Banville
—from The Blue Guitar

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