What does the narrator of 'The Evil B.B. Chow' realise? And does the realisation change how she behaves, or is it subtler than that? How does it impact the ending?

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davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Maureen, the narrator and protagonist of "The Evil B.B. Chow," writes for a magazine that, among other things, advises women on relationship issues. Despite this, she can never find "The One", or "Mr. Right." Then, out of the blue, up pops B.B. Chow into her life: a gauche, dorky doctor who seems to be anything but the ideal mate.

But there's a certain cute artlessness to B.B. He's so lacking in self-consciousness that it's actually quite endearing. When Maureen meets up with him at a fancy Belgian bistro it's clear that he's somewhat lacking in social graces. And when he shows up to meet her to watch a play at an upscale art space, he looks very out of place.

But Maureen doesn't mind. Why? Because B.B. is completely real. He isn't putting on an act; this is who he really is. This is new for Maureen. Previously, the guys that she's dated have been loudmouths, two-timing jerks, or maybe had commitment issues. But B.B. is different: he compliments Maureen on her feet, telling her how beautiful they are, and he even asks permission to kiss her on the cheek. He makes her feel happy and empowered.

Maureen realizes that maybe the advice she's been giving women for so long is actually true. There are genuine nice guys out there amidst all the jerks and players. But she's quickly disillusioned when she discovers that Brock Blaine, to give him his full name, has dumped her for an ex-girlfriend named Dinah.

Worse still, Maureen realizes something else. Under Dinah's bathroom sink is a large pile of back copies of Woman's Work, the magazine Maureen works for. Her resulting realization is that Maureen has somehow contributed to many women having unrealistic expectations of what can be found in a man. And now, she has fallen victim to the exact same advice she's been dishing out to other women.

Yet as Maureen trudges along the docks she seems in some way resigned to her fate: "There is so much time in this life for grief. So many men lying in wait." We get the impression that she'll continue in her seemingly never-ending quest for Mr. Right. Also, it seems that she'll continue to advise other women that he really is out there even though she's tired of doing so and no longer truly believes it in her heart of hearts.



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