By Frederick Karinthy




“I CAN’T understand how they can talk so much about him.”

“Neither can I. It’s sheer madness.”

“I’ve just been to Mrs. Millway’s. I had to leave them. They were talking about nothing else and I couldn’t bear it any longer.”

“Feminine intelligence, my dear! You see, that’s why I have no woman friend—I can’t stand stupid people.”

“I, too, prefer male company. With men you can at least talk about sensible things, hear about new ideas, if you know what I mean. Women! Why, you can’t talk with them about anything but clothes, and since he’s arrived they all rave about him.”

“Disgusting. I can’t understand what there is to talk about him.”

“Yet they go on about him for hours and hours.”

“Why, the whole thing can be settled with a couple of words. A smart man, that’s all.”

“He’s rather attractive, that’s all there is to say about him.”


“Or that he’s an interesting face, nothing more.”

“Or that he’s intensely masculine.”

“Or that he’s a splendid figure.”

“Or that he’s exquisite manners.”

“Like a knight of old.”

“Or like a prince.”

“But to rave about him all the time—well, it’s beyond me.”

“Perfectly ridiculous!”

“I could understand it if he were a great author or a great thinker.”

“That’s just what I was going to say, my dear. A great thinker—yes! That’d be different. With a man like that you can discuss physics, mathematics, cinematics—”


“I mean one of those ologies, you know.”

“I see. But it’s really amazing that this fashion plate should make their mouths water. That’s what he is, isn’t he—a fashion plate.”

“A fop!”

“A lady killer!”

“A male vamp!”



“But really, my dear, it beats me how anyone can talk about him for more than a minute. After all, all he’s got is a handsome face.”

“And a little sex appeal.”

“And a strong mouth.”

“And beautiful eyes.”

“And the fact that he makes your heart beat a little faster.”

“What about it? What does it matter if it does make you tremble a little when you look at him?”

“Or that it makes your eyes bulge a little?”

“That’s what I say. Aren’t all those women ashamed to be writing letters to him!”

“Or to mob him in his car.”

“Why, he doesn’t take the slightest notice of them.”

“He doesn’t even look at them. He just shuts his eyes and turns his head away.”

“And suppose he didn’t shut


them? Is that enough to make anyone swoon in the open street? I certainly didn’t swoon when he looked at me that time as he was entering his car.”

“And I certainly wasn’t particularly impressed when he sent me a note by the waiter to say he’d like to meet me.”

“And I was certainly not particularly surprised when he knocked on my window in the night and cried because I wouldn’t open it.”

“That time, when be crossed his legs, like this—”

“That’s no reason why you should kick me, my dear.”

“I’m sorry, dear, did I—?”

“Yes, you did, and it’s bleeding.”

“You’d better go and bathe it—in a bathful of water. And I advise you to lie down in it and keep your head under the water just long enough—a little longer than you can bear, my dear.”


SOURCE: Karinthy, Frederick [Frigyes]. “Conversation” [translator unknown], Lilliput, vol. 5, no. 6, issue no. 30, December 1939, pp. 549-550.

Frigyes & Ferenc Karinthy in English

Frigyes (Frederiko) Karinthy (1887-1938) en Esperanto

Futurology, Science Fiction, Utopia, and Alienation
in the Work of Imre Madách, György Lukács, and Other Hungarian Writers:
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