Mr Noel Coward is supposed to have said that he loved criticism, just so long as it was unqualified praise. Now I've mixed feelings about that cove. The closet he was in was made of glass. Everybody knew. I have no need for a closet in that sense. All my sexual sins are straight. But my need of praise is probably greater, and certainly more secret, than Mr Cowards ever was.
At the same time I tend to think less of those I am able to impress. How could they be so easily fooled? It's not the best basis for friendship, which is one of the reasons I don't have a lot of friends. I see them either as lying to me, or as lacking perspicacity. The notion that they might just like me is beyond my credulity, though I really do get on with a few of them. Groucho Marx's complaint, that he would not wish to belong to a club that would have him as a member, is a self-defeating mantra with which I am well acquainted.