13.1.12

'Date a Girl Who Reads' - A Critical Reading

So, I was Stumbling the other day for stuff in my interests and I came across this: 'Date a Girl  who Reads', via The Monica Bird, and, as lovely and popular as it is, I have some issues with it. So let's work through it critically... 

"Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve."

This is all fine, and quite sweet. 

"Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow."

Ok. Readers read, so if she's a real reader, that book in her bag has at least been opened, but more likely she's half way through it and that's why she couldn't bear to leave it at home. Also, this passage is encouraging someone to date a girl who it itself describes as 'a weird chick'? Isn't that a bit off? 

'She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.'

I'd be really ticked off if someone who'd just peered weirdly at my coffee sat down uninvited at my table, even if I was waiting for someone to rescue me from me supposed girl-who-reads-loneliness-hell. Which a girl who reads probably wouldn't be in, immersed as she usually is in a world where girls are more often than not their own heroes. And what if she's waiting for someone? How awkward would that be?

'Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.'

Sure, buy me coffee, although I would like to ask the questions please. And if I am a reader, I am intelligent - how patronising to presume that I'd say I understood James Joyce just to impress. Suddenly I don't want your coffee. 

'It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.'

This statement presumes that the only thing necessary for a good relationship is baeing able to buy her the things she likes and being able to make allowances for her little delusions. Hmm. 

'Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.'

No. Wrong. Fail. Sure, she might see all that stuff behind your lies, but how does that make it ok? Knowing what you're all about is just more likely to make her more decisive about leaving you by the wayside. 

'Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.'

Umm, why not be yourself and just see how it goes?

'Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.'

Ah, so that's why you're lying and failing her - because you're frightened? This comment at least uses the fact that she reads as a positive, rather than just making her someone to be patronised because she can explain it away to herself. The Twilight comment is quite funny, so kudos for that.

'If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.'

Yeah, that's fine. 

'You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.'

This is all very presumptuous. Sounds nice, but I bet everytime someone proposes in a hot air balloon, the driver (?) doesn't lean in and say 'I bet you read, don't you?' 

'Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.'

This part is good, but I'm not sure he deserves it. It should come with the caveat that if you do lie and fail her as suggested, you might struggle to get to this point. But girls who read are the best (as if I'd argue with that?) 

Or better yet, date a girl who writes."

BOOM. Yes. Although we can be over-critical sticklers at times....


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