“It is still hard for us to think that being single is not a state of anxiety, a state of emotional deprivation that we have to get out of as soon as possible. You can enjoy yourself for a while, but it’s always discount time, and more so as the years go by and the idea of being ‘a pathetic old woman’ becomes more tangible”. This is just one of the lucid, incisive and realistic reflections that Tamara Tenenbaum poured out in 2021 in The end of love. Love and fuck in the 21st century (Seix Barral). A book in which he started from his own life growing up in an Orthodox Jewish community in Buenos Aires; to analyze, taking into account all possible edges, what happens when marriage ceases to be a vital objective, as it was for previous generations.
Tamara Tenenbaum: “I have a completely vampire relationship with Judaism and with my family”
The value of friendship, condemning the conception of ruptures as failures, the corsets (literal and metaphorical) imposed by patriarchy and capitalism; and the culture of consent are among the themes that form the backbone of his text that this Friday, November 4, arrives on Amazon Prime Video in serial form. The writer and journalist has been involved in the project as an executive producer together with Erika Halvorsen, Leticia Dolera -who directs the first two episodes- and Lali Espósito, protagonist of the fiction. A title that starts out scathing, provocative and funny, largely due to the overwhelming charisma of the actress who plays the main character; and for the ingenuity and intelligence that permeate her scripts.
“More than an option, singleness is a circumstance of life”, maintains the author, “it is most likely that in your life you will have a partner for a while and then you will be alone. You better know how to live with that, whether you like it more or less”. The series starts immersed at this point, introducing Tamara, its protagonist, a pop culture philosopher who decides to leave her boyfriend -with whom she apparently has an idyllic relationship- to rebel against the traditional concept of romance, as already did before with his religious life. Dolera, for her part, assures this newspaper that the reason why she accepted the project was the way in which this woman “faces her own internal contradiction with fear, vertigo and courage. Because facing the shadows of each one is brave”.
“Tamara is a feminist philosopher who writes articles, works on the radio and teaches, who talks about women’s freedom. But then she doesn’t feel free in her life, she doesn’t know very well why. In her search for this freedom is where she will mature”, she advances, the creator of Perfect life. Tenenbaum points out “the responsibilities” that this process implies. “If I want a fairer world, it will not only depend on being given more freedoms, but also on taking charge of them. Not to blame anyone if I use them in a bad way”, he defends, “I hope that people see that they are games and worries, and not attempts to give anyone moral lessons”.
The freedom to speak of inhabited places
Within the gestation of the series, the writer has had a clear advantage: “Being my story, I could do more or less what I wanted with it.” Hence, for her, the freedom that she has felt during the process of creating the title has been based on “working in a world that I know, that I understand well, in which I inhabited and of which I know that I have corners that other people do not. A person cannot learn in two weeks what I have learned in 12 years of my life”.
This circumstance has been key when addressing one of the great themes of fiction: the Orthodox Jewish religion. The first installment of the series shows a Tamara doubting whether or not to accept the invitation to her wedding from an old school friend, for all that it implies: reconnecting with a group of people whom she has not seen for a long time with a way of living with which he decided to break a long time ago. The title uses this contrast to generate moments of humor that manage not to fall into literature.
Dolera explains that the work on the tone was easy for her because she had Jewish people on the team, both in the writing of the script and in the filming itself, where there was a rabbi in the scenes shot in the church: “Being critical of religion , the series is respectful, and also with itself. It is narrated from a feminist perspective, but not because it is respectful of religion does it stop being respectful of its own ideology.”
Another of the great differences that Tenenbaum encountered when leaving the community in which he was born was the reluctance that exists to talk about money. Situation that they have taken advantage of in the translation of her book to the small screen with a poignant scene in which the protagonist, in full radio broadcast, directly asks her partner how much money she earns. The answer is blushing and nervous laughter. She insists because she does not conceive the rejection generated by talking about the level of income, being something that conditions so much the day to day. “I come from a merchant neighborhood where people talk about money in a way that doesn’t exist outside of there. People are ashamed to talk about it, and not only about how much they earn, but also about how much things cost”, shares the Argentine.
A reticence that he considers more bloody when delving into how the world of culture works. “It’s even worse. Living from art is impossible, only the upper bourgeoisie or someone who is very lucky can do it”, she laments.
The recipe for unhappiness
In her search for a new apartment, a particular real estate agent reproaches Tamara that “the history of women is to conform.” The young woman reacts by arguing that if she is forced to say no to a good apartment, it is not because she thinks she deserves to live in a worse house, but because she cannot afford it. “The generational crossover is interesting”, claims the writer, describing the protagonist’s group of friends as “a generation of girls who don’t settle for anything. Is it a recipe for unhappiness? Perhaps. They are constantly looking for a happiness that is increasingly demanding, but there is no going back”.
At the same time, it has a lot to do with the title of the book and the series: the end of love. “What ends is the idea that the meaning of a woman’s life is to look for a partner and that everything else is subsidiary to it. And that, if she does not find it in the terms in which it is supposed to be found, she is doomed to unhappiness”, argues Tenenbaum, “love is no longer the only meaning, nor is it an obligation”. “New conditions have to be negotiated,” she comments on a process in which she warns that there are still steps to be taken. “Girl groups still spend a lot more time talking about the guy we’re dating than they do the opposite,” she says.
The writer states that this evolution is partly related to age. “Fortunately, 30s are more generous than 20s in this sense,” she says about the open-mindedness that if her friends are “talented, intelligent, wonderful girls with interests. Why then are we going to spend all day talking about guys? The combative and foul-mouthed tone with which the author responds out loud is identical to the one she uses in the book to shed light on the universe of affections and propose that a better one come out of the ashes of romantic love, one that makes men freer. and women.
Dolera emphasizes the importance of all this being told. “We watch movies and read books not only to entertain ourselves, but to find ourselves or find answers and paths,” he stresses, “that’s why it’s important that the story be diverse, since it will end up building you whether you want it or not.”
Protagonists without patterns
“There is something about the chaos that I like,” Tamara acknowledges at a certain point in the beginning of the series. A reflection that springs from her core while she looks at the camera, and that she is grateful for the sincerity with which she transmits it. This is something that she already addressed in the text, taking as a reference a series of teenage photos of the New Yorker Justine Karland. Two friends in an alley behind a huge toy store with a bottle inside a paper bag and three young people talking in what looks like a school bathroom while one smokes are among the moments that the images collected.
“Everything in the energy of those intrepid girls belonged to the same feminism as that of those who today take photos of their boobs on Instagram and cover their nipples so they don’t download them from the application,” says the journalist. The protagonists appeared in situations that Tenenbaum explains usually belonged to men. “On routes, in mountains, trying to pee in the middle of the mountain”, to cite just a few examples. “The woman who gets out of control is, according to common sense, a busted one,” writes the journalist, “and the busted woman, unlike the busted woman, is not an object of desire: she is an object of pity.”
The Tamara of the series would fit into this -no- pattern of “busted”. She is not clear about what she wants, she does not arouse security or look for it, she finds her place in the chaos, she does not want to please and she has fun. Inside this powerful, at times uncomfortable and enriching contradiction that she experiences, the end of love proposes “laughing at everything, but not from a position of superiority”. On the contrary, the strong point of the title is that it addresses the doubts, the mistakes, the successes and the grays with respect.
It generates an environment that allows understanding that new contexts can be generated. Tenenbaum maintains that “everything is yet to be written” and, therefore, that writing of the future involves assuming freedom responsibly, embracing “desire and the bonds of care”. His proposal is to try it by inviting to take advantage of all the colors of the chromatic range. “In that learning to look at and love diversity without reducing it to the sameness that never ends is the key to everything”, he concludes.