William is out with his work colleagues at a local Japanese restaurant and teahouse after a busy week of meetings. It is here that William encounters Momo, a geisha who performs a tea ceremony for the group. William is fascinated by Momo’s elegance and fluent moments and, following the tea drinking, her humor and friendliness. It is while William and Momo are seated beside one another that William realizes the geisha is not a woman at all, but a man. When the evening ends, Momo hands William a card with a phone number on the back, introducing herself instead as Nate and offering to take William out.
The men’s first date is full of comfortable conversation, flirting, and Nate’s contagious laughter. Nate learns that William works in finance and William discovers more about Nate’s job as a theater director with high school children and his choice to dress in drag and perform as Momo.
This date is the beginning of William and Nate’s romance, but William is hesitant because of their differences and the fact that he is confused by his fascination with Nate’s alter-ego.
Momo: My Everything was my first choice for Opposites Attract Week. I was intrigued by how Posy Roberts would make a relationship between these two men work. From the outset of the novella, we understand that William has become adept at hiding himself. Compared to his twin brother since birth and throughout school, William has learned how to “disappear into the background.” For him, this feeling only increased when his sexuality became apparent and now at work, he hides behind his professionalism, only relaxing when out of the office. On the other hand, Nate is flamboyant and free, a social butterfly who does not hide behind Momo, but uses her to interact on a different level with others.
On paper, the relationship between William and Nate should be one that is doomed before it starts. However, from their first date, the reader understands the infectious nature of Nate’s personality and already we can foresee changes in William:
He seemed so carefree, living right there in the moment, enjoying every sensation available to him. That was something I so rarely allowed myself to so. I had to be careful around this one or I’d risk shedding all my protective insulation.
For me, Nate is the character who jumps from these pages and the unfortunate aspect is that it is William who is the narrator. Maybe it is William’s detachment that affected my reaction, but when it came to writing this review the only character names I could remember were Nate and Momo. When reading, I want the main character to capture me, particularly when they also double as the narrator, but I felt no emotional connection to William at all.
The other issue for me was William’s confusion about his attraction towards Momo. When the couple first have sex, it is the imagined sight of Momo that brings William to orgasm and this forces him to distance himself from Nate:
What was it about Nate that made me so conflicted? Why had I seen Momo while fucking Nate? Was I suddenly attracted to women, or was this something else entirely?
I personally felt that this was a non-issue and William’s agitation only added to my annoyance with him. Roberts makes it clear that William recognized Momo was not physically a woman and that she is an extension of Nate, rather than a separate identity. Therefore, surely this leaves no question mark over William’s sexuality.
I think that Roberts is successful with Momo: My Everything as an opposites attract story, but I was disappointed with the novella in other areas.