“In the dim light the shape of her face seemed unaltered; for all her cooking she had remained thin. Her smile was, as always, one of rueful courage against enormous odds. Fred thought that what he had loved was her unhappiness, although it was a quality which made him feel uneasily inferior to her. He had thought she knew of great cosmic causes for discontent of which he, in his mundane way, was cheerfully unaware. This unhappiness, which she gave off like a rich and potent smell, had been, for the years, the decades he had known her, the secret of her sexual attraction.”
John Mortimer, Paradise Postponed
I have often pondered what draws some men to woefully damaged, neurotic women…and this quote made some sense of it to me.