In an interesting new novel, Enough About Love — about two married women in their forties who fall into affairs — Herve Le Tellier describes the compulsive vanity of one of his characters.
Anna, he writes, "follows fashion closely, knows how to work it, mix trends... Anna likes being attractive, and does not want to give that up now or later, when age catches up to her. She admires those women who fight every step of the way, and still want to resist the injustices of time in their sixties. She sees nothing ridiculous about wanting to appear twenty years old right to the end."
She smears on hydrating creams at every opportunity, keeps her mouth carefully lipsticked at all moments, and is willing to pay 200 euros for the perfect wool sweater.
Not surprisingly, she is obsessed with mirrors. There are three in her lover's apartment: "the big one … in the living room, the small one in the bathroom, … and the last one, a tall full-length … in the bedroom. When Anna has to go home, each of them plays its part. First, in the bathroom, she checks the small details, then looks at the bigger picture in the bedroom, and finally proceeds to a general inspection in the living room."
Yves, her paramour, "wonders whether this preoccupation with appearance could come between them one day." But then he reminds himself that he agrees with something Anna's father once said: "You fall in love with the flaw."
What's your take — do we fall in love with flaws? If so, what are some of the flaws you have fallen in love with? And do you think such obsessive vanity is the kind of flaw only a man could fall for?