Nathaniel tells Chuck he's got it all figured out: Chuck needs to man the eff up and go after Blair or not, but it's not fair to play both Nate and Blair by ducking in only when she's got other stuff going on. And of course Nate's right -- even about how Chuck is "lying to himself" about his true feelings, I guess -- but that's not really the issue. If Chuck's in denial about his continued love of Blair, it's only as a second movement to the original thing, which is not giving in, which is itself a ghost of the very first thing, which is that he isn't worthy of her. The fact that she's not worthy of him either doesn't occur to anybody, but since none of this is the issue I think that's a healthy starting place. After all, if you had to wait until you were perfect to fall in love, there would be like five intensely boring couples populating the entire world and we'd die out in a generation. Chuck laughs until the "man up" part, and the jerky way he draws in breath, sharply, neither angry nor afraid but simply hit with something large, means something is going to happen and it's not going to be pretty.
How not pretty? Well, imagine a story that took hold of the imaginations of an entire globe of people, including me for sure, all about the natural inclination of men to devour women, and the natural inclination of women to yearn toward this, even after decades of socialization to avoid this devouring at all costs, right? How we set women up to be either virgins or whores, and how in neither case is it really about them, or what they want, and all about men and what they want to put in the women, even infants, and we still judge the women on this criterion of what they do with that incredibly limited scope of options.
Imagine if you will a story about how virginity is important for some reason, which -- since it totally isn't -- needs to be concretized by making sexual intercourse not only deadly but exquisitely painful (in fact, makes you a literal monster if you do it) and thus something to be avoided at all costs, but is also the only thing that matters, such that consummation is no longer the point of sexuality but in fact the endless forest-lying moments just before consummation: that somehow not fucking is the new fucking. Just imagine.