Author Salman Rushdie loves women, says Kathy Lette in British Elle, but finding the right wife has been a challenge. He’s been married four times—to literary agent Clarissa Luard, novelist Marianne Wiggins, book editor Elizabeth West, and actress and model Padma Lakshmi, whom he split up with last year. “I’m probably a masochist,” he says with a chuckle. It’s not that Rushdie, 60, can’t relate to women. Having grown up in India with three sisters, he feels entirely comfortable around females. “I have always found women more interesting than men,” he said. “When I started spending time in New York, I realized that almost all my friends were women.” Marriage, though, has proved confounding. “I actually don’t think marriage is necessary. Girls like it, especially if they’ve never been married before—it’s the dress. Girls want a wedding; they don’t want a marriage. If only you could have weddings without marriages!” The problem, he suspects, is that people expect too much from their spouses. “There’s something unrealistic about love in the first place. When you fall in love, realism goes out the window. And what do you do over the long term? You both change. You discover the things you don’t like about each other and, if you’re unlucky, you forget the things you did like. How do you get through all that?”