Translation #8: ‘kʰɑmn̩ sɛnts

Common Sense, by Quim Monzó

Every time the woman with common sense goes to bed with someone, she tells her boyfriend she did it, not in moment of lasciviousness, but because she fell in love. She doesn’t have anything to feel guilty about (the woman and her boyfriend have a clear and flexible pact, with respect to that) but it’s as if she felt cleaner if, every time she goes to bed with someone, she insists that she was in love. On the other hand, every time her boyfriend hooks up with someone, the woman assumes he is driven only by lasciviousness, and that irritates her. It’s not that she gets jealous. No. She’s not jealous at all. It just bothers her that her boyfriend should be so vulgar, so carnal. The boyfriend, however, does get jealous when he knows that she goes to bed with someone else. But it’s an understandable jealousy: because she falls in love. And if the person with whom you have a (more or less flexible) pact of cohabitation falls in love with another, jealousy is logical.
What criterion does the woman use to affirm that her affairs are the result of love, and her boyfriend’s, of lust? The man says; a very simple criterion: that she is herself (thus justifying everything) and he is not only not her, but a man, with the historical burden that that entails. The woman denies it, even though the years have taught her that, indeed, men and women act differently. But she doesn’t say it because, even though she doubts her belief less and less, it’s a generalization. There are always exceptions, although she has never in her life been as close to recognizing that the adage that men are all the same, despite being a platitude (and therefore repugnant) is, at least partly, true: maybe not all of them, but the vast majority of men are the same. The woman with common sense knows what she’s talking about: she’s fallen in love with many men, and all of them, without fail and despite their efforts to embellish it, in the end just hook up with her out of lasciviousness. Lasciviousness that she often succumbs to because (she must admit) ever since she was little she has been a romantic, and love stupefies her such that, as soon as a man puts his arm around her shoulder, kisses her earlobe and puts his hand between her legs, even though she opens her mouth to say no, no never comes out, and she always says yes.

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