The low-maintenance woman, the ideal woman, has no appetite. This is not to say that she refuses food, sex, romance, emotional effort; to refuse is petulant, which is ironically more demanding. The woman without appetite politely finishes what’s on her plate, and declines seconds. She is satisfied and satisfiable.

As a child, on an endless restrictive regimen that started when I was four, I was told ‘if you get used to eating less, you’ll stop being so hungry.’ The secret to satiation, to satisfaction, was not to meet or even acknowledge your needs, but to curtail them. We learn the same lesson about our emotional hunger: Want less, and you will always have enough.

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