This story is quite brilliant. A man, following his second divorce takes off for a few days at a nude beach in search of his purpose, to find the child inside of him. That's what he tells himself and the reader believes it too as he skips stones across the ocean, as he sits and sifts sand through his fingers, as he swims and cleanses himself of the way he's been with women, always attracted to frauds and dishonest women who'd been unfaithful to him.
But then, he finds a diamond/sapphire ring buried in the sand and he places an ad in the resort newsletter and he waits in his room and interviews woman after woman who may have "lost" this ring. All of the women are dishonest, frauds, the very sort of women he'd drawn too and it's as if he is interviewing them all for his own means irrespective of this ring.
Then,he makes a choice and he chooses to give the ring to a woman who can't describe the ring in detail. It's not hers but she tells the best lie and she is the most physically intriguing with a sultry voice. He chooses her because she made herself so beleivable and though he knew it was not the truth, he was drawn to her gall.
The story concludes and we're told he marries the woman and they never speak of the ring again. What a great statement by Gordimer on the state of how relationships often begin.
One sees what he wants to see. One chooses to accept willful blindness because it's better than being alone. One doesn't bring it up again until it's all over when pointing fingers is to be expected. This story reads as Gordimer's subtle indictment of the nature of man's attraction and ultimate disloyalty to the whole of women.
Given the choice, men choose to be stupid. They simply can't help it.