I should have seen her toes in the pit of my crotch as a cry for help

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
Barbara comes to Oliver's lawyer and tries to tempt him so that he has Oliver do what she wants. She takes her shoes off and puts her foot on his crotch. He puts her foot away, gets up from the chair, trying to step away from her. She grasps his arm and falls to the floor.
Later he recalls:
- Sometimes I wonder what might have happened if I had taken her offer. But I didn't. I should have seen her toes in the pit of my crotch as a cry for help.
The War of the Roses, movie

I don't get what exactly he means by the phrase in bold. I mean, he actually "saw her toes in the pit of his crotch". Why does he say "should have V3"?
Thank you.

EDIT: I've found this though:
(emphasis) You use should in expressions such as You should have seen us and You should have heard him to emphasize how funny, shocking, or impressive something that you experienced was. [SPOKEN]
You should have heard him last night!...
You should have seen him when he first came out - it was so sad...

etc.
But then it should've been "you", not "I"...
 
Last edited:
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    What you've found on emphasis is not what's being used here.
    I should have seen x as y simply means that he is expressing regret that he failed to correctly interpret x at the time.
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    I agree with Glasguensis. The sentence could read "I ought to have realized that her toes in my crotch were a cry for help."
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian

    That is, what he actually means is:
    If I'd seen her toes in the pit of my crotch as a cry for help I would've taken her offer.
    ..., correct?
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    I haven't seen the movie, but I certainly hope not. If you recognize a cry for help, you would ideally try to provide that help, not prey on the person's vulnerability.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I think what he means is that if he had realised it was a cry for help, he might have actually helped her.

    Cross-posted.
     
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