When I was a younger woman, I read Colette’s two Cheri novellas and was so disturbed by them I read them several times, trying to understand what bothered me. Having just seen the movie by Stephen Frears with Michelle Pfeiffer as the aging courtesan, now I do. The movie has only a barest trace of the ennui and cynicism that the two stories carry: Love is an illusion. People will betray. The only proper response is wearying self interest and another glass of champagne. I don’t believe that. We don’t always get what we want in love. If we do get it, we have no control over how long we’ll have it. But the point isn’t to be safe or to be cynical. It is to be open-hearted. It is to risk loving another while also learning to love ourselves enough not to be abused for the sake of the powerful illusion sex offers, that we are desireable, worthy of love, and not alone.
We are alone. And it’s ok.