"I think a man should be gentle," she said, not looking directly at him. "Strong, and bold, of course; but especially gentle."
"Indeed," he said. "How intriguing. I agree that a man possessing strength and boldness is worthy of some praise; but there is no call for gentleness. That is an attribute more fitting for a lady, I should think."
She laughed. "A lady should appear gentle," she said, "but can never be so, if she is to survive in this world."
"And what then of a man, that is both strong and bold - as you require - but is not truly gentle?"
"Such a man," said she, turning to face him directly, "is vulgar."
He knew that she had said, in not so many words, that such a man was he. He hid his humiliation by turning and leaving, in search of a more gentle creature, with eyes that might adore, rather than pierce him.
This little scene is my response to Three Word Wednesday number CXCVII. The prompting words are gentle, praise and vulgar.