Game in “Gone With the Wind,” part 1

Of all novels written by women, Gone With the Wind is probably the most self-aware when it comes to sexual attraction. Here are some passages that illustrate that, all consistent with the game-aware view of female psychology.

The (very beta) first husband of convenience:

Charles almost stuttered with excitement, holding her warm little hands in his and looking into the dancing green eyes. This was the way girls talked to other boys but never to him. He never knew why but girls always treated him like a younger brother and were very kind, but never bothered to tease him. He had always wanted girls to flirt and frolic with him as they did with boys much less handsome and less endowed with this world’s goods than he. But on the few occasions when this had happened he could never think of anything to say and he suffered agonies of embarrassment at his dumbness. Then he lay awake at night thinking of all the charming gallantries he might have employed; but he rarely got a second chance, for the girls left him alone after a trial or two.

The equally beta second husband of convenience:

If only he were not so shy! He reminded her of a timid old brown field rabbit. If only he had the gallantry and ardor of the Tarleton boys or even the coarse impudence of Rhett Butler. But, if he possessed those qualities, he’d probably have sense enough to feel the desperation that lurked just beneath her demurely
fluttering eyelids. As it was, he didn’t know enough about women even to suspect what she was up to. That was her good fortune but it did not increase her respect for him.

Respect for the cad:

I wish I had gotten Ashley to compromise me, thought Scarlett suddenly. He’d be too much of a gentleman not to marry me. But somehow, unbidden, she had a feeling of respect for Rhett Butler for refusing to marry a girl who was a fool.

Agree and (dare her to) amplify:

She was helpless before his calm smile and his drawling remarks, for she had never before met anyone who was so completely impregnable. Her weapons of scorn, coldness and abuse blunted in her hands, for nothing she could say would shame him. It had been her experience that the liar was the hottest to defend his veracity, the coward his courage, the ill-bred his gentlemanliness, and the cad his honor. But not Rhett. He admitted everything and laughed and dared her to say more.

Knowing the secret:

She could hear him chuckling softly. Sometimes he was odious. In act, most of the time he was odious. It was awful for a man to know what women really thought about and talked about. It made a girl feel positively undressed. And no man ever learned such things from good women either. She was indignant that he had read her mind. She liked to believe herself a thing of mystery to men, but she knew Rhett thought her as transparent as glass.

Passing a Shit Test:

She sat up in his lap and stared into his face with frank curiosity.
Under her gaze it was suddenly smooth and bland as though wiped
clear by magic. His eyebrows were up and the corner of his mouth
was down.

“Do I mean so much to you?” she questioned, dropping her eyelids.

He gave her a level look as though estimating how much coquetry was
behind the question. Reading the true meaning of her demeanor, he
made casual answer.

“Well, yes. You see, I’ve invested a good deal of money in you,
and I’d hate to lose it.”

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About Pechorin

A Hero of Our Time
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