When Daniel gets home, Fermín is waiting to question him about his date, telling him sagely to “never trust girls who let themselves be touched right away.” He diagnoses Daniel as being seriously in love.
Fermín’s advice is particularly repulsive given that he also brands all women who don’t want to be “touched” as prudes. Although Daniel doesn’t seem to take him seriously, his speech shows how regressive stereotypes can shape men’s approach to romance.
Then Fermín asks if Daniel thinks he could be a good father, ideally a supportive and thoughtful one like Mr. Sempere. He wants to become a better man and start a family with Bernarda. Daniel assures him that he’ll be an excellent family man.
Fermín’s sudden seriousness indicates that he doesn’t really stand by his crude comments, redeeming him somewhat. Although he often strives to project an aggressive masculinity, at heart he seems to want to emulate the mild-mannered Mr. Sempere.
Fermín goes on to say that he talked to a friend at the post office, and tells Daniel that the lawyer they’ve been tracking, Requejo, doesn’t exist, and that Nuria Monfort picks up the mail from the PO Box. Astonished and confused, since this revelation means Nuria lied to him, Daniel tells Fermín the entire story. Fermín says that if Nuria lied about one thing, she probably lied about everything. He suggests that they visit Carax’s alma mater, San Gabriel’s School, and ask about his relationship to the Aldayas.
Daniel confides in Fermín long before his own father. Even when he’s confused and needs help, he still wants to preserve a sense of liberation and independence from his childhood relationships. To Daniel, extricating himself from paternal control, no matter how mildly expressed, is essential to growing up.