Friday Fictioneers – Second-hand romance

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

PHOTO PROMPT (c) JOHN NIXON

Second-hand romance

“I want a bride.”

“Do you mean the dress in the window? I’m afraid it wouldn’t fit you – it’s only a size 10.”

“I don’t want a dress, I want a bride.”

The shop-girl giggled. “Is that a proposal?”

“Of course not; I mean a mail-order bride, a Filipina say. I’ve got plenty of cash, and I’m generous. I’d be a great match.”

“Perhaps Mum could help you.”

The shop-girl led him into a back room, where an old woman held a folder of photographs.

“These are the women currently on our books,” she said. “But remember – we’re a second-hand shop.”

InLinkz – click here to join the fun!

37 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Second-hand romance

  1. Second hand mail order bride? OK, i will not touch that one. I don’t mean the brides, I mean the idea… Not that I will touch the brides, but… darn, just not a topic one would bring up in normal conversation 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • We would all like to feel that romantic love leads on to happy ever after, and some of us are, indeed, that lucky. But it’s far from universal, and takes hard work and sacrifice by both partners.
      James – comment below – points to a depth of holiness in the old man, and that’s right. He’s setting out single-mindedly to find a bride – and what’s wrong with that? He’s well-to-do, and views himself as generous – well, that’s a start isn’t it?
      He goes to a place where he might find someone with whom he can share his life. He might have used a dating agency, on-line or otherwise – but he’s aware he’s neither good-looking nor young. It makes sense to seek for a ‘second-hand’ – or ‘pre-loved’ – bride, doesn’t it?
      And yet the story still has a high yuck factor! I wonder what that tells us about our daydreams…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, but… The concept of mail order bride dehumanizes the woman. They are a parcel. I am sure that it is very possible for the happy couple could be happy and end up with a warm, loving relationship – I mean, arranged marriages where the norm in many societies for ages, this is just a business malign the arrangement, usually to help get the “bride” out of poverty. It just sounds so cold.
        With this, it is labeling a human “second hand” that is the kicker. It is the label as much as anything. yeah, an older, maybe not quite the best looking, might be a good fit for the man, but the way it is stated… Yeah, and the backroom dealing that is hard to reach increases the yuck factor…

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    • Thank you for your perceptive comment, James. ‘Pathos in many ways,’ is a good summary of the story. We would all like to feel that romantic love leads on to happy ever after, and some of us are, indeed, that lucky. But it’s far from universal, and takes hard work and sacrifice by both partners.
      You point to a depth of holiness in the old man, and that’s right. He’s setting out single-mindedly to find a bride – and what’s wrong with that? He’s well-to-do, and views himself as generous – well, that’s a start isn’t it?
      He goes to a place where he might find someone with whom he can share his life. He might have used a dating agency, on-line or otherwise – but he’s aware he’s neither good-looking nor young. It makes sense to seek for a ‘second-hand’ – or ‘pre-loved’ – bride, doesn’t it?
      And yet the story still has a high yuck factor! I wonder what that tells us about our daydreams…

      Like

    • Thank you for your kind comment, Bill. However much they may daydream of having several wives, I think most men would settle for one, don’t you? I mean, think of the practicalities; arguments over the breakfast table; who’s in charge of the kitchen; not to mention the jealousy. It would be like a meeting of the UN every day!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I gather you’ve not seen the American TV series, “Sister Wives.” It validates everything you said. So much family drama around one idiot husband. 🙂
        You’re welcome, Penny.

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  2. Dear Penny,

    That last line has my mind cavorting in all directions. Mostly I feel for the second-hand bride. Human trafficking at its worst, taking advantage of desperate women. I hope this husband treats her right. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for your empathic comment. I agree that the future of ‘second-hand’ brides must be daunting. As you say, I hope her husband treats her right, that is with respect for her as a human being, with generosity as her partner, and with honesty.
      Shalom
      Penny
      xx

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    • Thank you for your generous comment, Gabi. I confess it was written less from a campaigning urge and more for the interest of the metaphor, with its parallels to real-life marriage. But you have picked up on the disregard of women’s esteem and rights and, of course, I agree with you. Marriage needs to be based on mutual respect.

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  3. Hmm. Your story has sparked a very interesting conversation, and no wonder. We all have our idea of the best way to find a life partner, and we are so culturally conditioned. Any of the world’s various marriage customs can result in a rich and mutually satisfying partnership, but equally any of them can be disastrous. It all depends on the couple themselves. I’m reminded of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ where Tevye asks his wife Golde ‘Do you love me?’ Her answer says it all, I think. Brave story you’ve written – fiction is exactly where we can tackle life’s ‘yuck factors’, because it makes us examine them from new perspectives.

    Liked by 1 person

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