I work alone, and I don’t keep secrets from myself.
Empar, probable homebody, is on the search for a man who will take her to the Ebro River Delta, a place where ‘boyfriends tend to take their girlfriends’.
By the third sentence of this story she’s off to a dating agency to see what they might be able to do for her. Why can’t she find someone on her own? Doesn’t matter, I suppose.
“What don’t you like about your personality?” she ventures. “I like everything,” I tell her. And it’s the truth. When she asks me about my life goals, I declare that I don’t have any. “How important is sex to you in a stable relationship?” she wants to know. If I say five, will that look bad?, I wonder. In the end, I rate it a four, but only because I’m feeling romantic this year.
Empar, or rather, the character in the story named Empar, is an entertaining and funny woman. Her inner self makes jokes and pokes fun at who she is and what she’s trying to achieve, though outwardly she comes across as a touch awkward and uncertain.
She seems here, at this dating agency, less to find a match, and more to understand the kinds of questions a dating agency would ask in order for her to better know the milieu that is contemporary dating. It’s all so much to think about, so much to plan for.
The idea that we can boil down a potential partner to a series of questions and answers is absurd, of course, but it is an appealing concept nonetheless. But how can it possibly be true if we find it difficult to boil ourselves down in such a manner? We don’t know ourselves well enough to condense our personality on to a single page, and yet here Empar is attempting to recreate a full man from a series of yes/no.
Empar, the character, recognises this absurdity, and she loves it. And then Empar, the writer, finishes the story with a fine comic twist, and away we go, off to write an email to a fascinating woman.
In Search of a Man for Friendship and Possibly More is a short story by Spanish (Catalan) writer Empar Moliner and was translated by Novia Pagone. You can read the story at World Literature Today.
|Title||In Search of a Man for Friendship and Possibly More|
|Publisher||World Literature Today|
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