Discovering Geoff Dyer in the 2-euro English-language bin at the Portuguese bookstore

I fell in love tonight. It’s not unusual for an overseas tourist to throw her heart and soul into a single night of passion with a man she might never see again. The tourist might meet the beloved in an otherwise empty bookstore beside the most popular gelato joint in town. She might steal superficial glances at him for a while before she makes her bold move.

The vacationer’s beloved is typically from a different country but he shares a common language. The beloved abroad is usually older than the female tourist, more widely traveled, more experienced in the bedrooms and bars of the world. His devil-may-care attitude belies his sensitivity and depth of emotion, which the impressionable female tourist picks up on immediately. He tells absurd, filthy, drug-addled stories that make the tourist laugh out loud. The dazzled female tourist would write the stories in her diary, but the beloved already has. I’ll even give you the name of the book: Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It by Geoff Dyer.

I found the book this afternoon and bought it for the bbf who, like me, has run out of reading material in Portugal. So I can blame him for my illicit love affair with Geoff Dyer, my English diamond in the rough.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I spent my last Friday night in Portugal reading about Dyer’s exploits abroad. Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered is a travelogue of sorts, a collection of autobiographical essays that walk the line between the ridiculous and the profound. If I were to look up reviews of Dyer’s books right now, I’d probably discover that other fans have already written those same cliche’d words. Just like if Geoff Dyer was my vacation beloved in person, I’d probably find on Facebook tomorrow that he’d seduced naive American girls all over Europe.

But I don’t want to spoil this new love with internet research. There might still be a chance for me and Dyer. I might find one of his novels at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday when we make our way home to Virginia. I might buy it even though I’ve already started feeling guilty for falling in love with a perfect stranger. And shamefully, when Dyer’s book was in my bed earlier this evening, I didn’t put on my reading glasses, even though I knew I’d regret it in the morning.

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