Man dazzles yet frightens her. To reconcile the contradictory feelings she has about him, she will dissociate in him the male that frightens her from the shining divinity whom she piously adores. Abrupt, awkward with her masculine acquaintances, she idolizes distant Prince Charmings: movie actors whose pictures she pastes over her bed, heroes, living or dead but inaccessible, an unknown glimpsed by chance and whom she knows she will never meet again. Such loves raise no problems. Very often she approaches a socially prestigious or intellectual man who is physically unexciting: for example, an old, slightly ridiculous professor; these older men emerge from a world beyond the world where the adolescent girl is enclosed, and she can secretly devote herself to them, consecrate herself to them as one consecrates oneself to God: such a gift is in no way humiliating, it is freely given since the desire is not carnal. The romantic woman in love freely accepts that the chosen one be unassuming, ugly, a little foolish: she then feels all the more secure. She pretends to deplore the obstacles that separate her from him; but in reality she has chosen him precisely because no real rapport between them is possible. Thus she can make of love an abstract and purely subjective experience, unthreatening to her integrity; her heart beats, she feels the pain of absence, the pangs of presence, vexation, hope, bitterness, enthusiasm, but not authentically; no part of her is engaged. It is amusing to observe that the idol chosen is all the more dazzling the more distant it is: it is convenient for the everyday piano teacher to be ridiculous and ugly; but if one falls in love with a stranger who moves in inaccessible spheres, it is preferable that he be handsome and masculine. The important thing is that, in one way or another, the sexual issue not be raised. These make-believe loves prolong and confirm the narcissistic attitude where eroticism appears only in its immanence, without real presence of the Other. Finding a pretext that permits her to elude concrete experiences, the adolescent girl often develops an intense imaginary life. She chooses to confuse her fantasies with reality.
—Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, p. -1