I agree, berrieh
on your take on how Mal saw Inara's line of work. I think that is why he so often called her a whore, it wasn't the work he disdained, it was the aspect of denial in prettying it up.
But I don't think Inara got that. I think she was so used to people judging that aspect (the paid to have sex, aspect) that she developed almost...emotional callouses about how she dealt with others judgement. I think it was easier for Inara to think it was about being paid to have sex.
I do really think that the reason she was crying had almost nothing to do with Mal engaging in the act of sex though. Inara understood a hell of a lot about sex, why people have it, how it works, etc. I think that Inara above almost anyone on the show would be able to put that down to the act akin to a very sweaty handshake. She knows what sex means, and what it doesn't mean. It isn't the sex that makes her cry. It's knowing that Mal isn't bothered by the trade after all. It's knowing that he's choosing not to be with her for some other reason, to the extent that he wouldn't even approach her for the thing that wouldn't be a big a heinous deal to Inara.
Instead, it became about Mal choosing that specific person, and Inara having to confront something in that moment. She knew she was in love with Mal, look at her face at the end of Our Mrs. Reynolds
when she thinks they are about to have "The Talk". She's so hopeful, and she knows what she is feeling. Inara knew she was in love with Mal, it was just at that moment, she thought that he knew too and she was ready to go there, ready to talk about it. What it meant, where it could go.
In this though, it would have been easier for Inara if Mal's not being with her had been about being a hooker/companion, whatever. It was a known quantity to her, something she encountered, something she was used to, being defined by what she does. She found out that wasn't a factor and it hurt her in a way she wasn't used to at all. Mal not only didn't approach her for the akin-to-sweaty-handshake thing, he didn't approach her on the night where they all thought there was a strong possibility they would all die the next day.
Man, that says something and what is says is the thing that hurts. It's just that Inara didn't understand that it said the opposite of what Inara believed it to say. She knew he wasn't in love with her friend, she knew he was just having some life affirming sex before possibly confronting death. But having the implied "And not even then would it be me." OUCH. She just didn't get that is exactly why Mal wouldn't have approached her that night. That she meant too much to just be the life affirming bounce. That there was no way for Mal to just have sex with her, not for him. She didn't get that it is precisely that which indicated that he was in love with her. He couldn't just have a throw away romp with her.
Edited by stillshimpy, Aug 10, 2007 @ 5:12 PM.