Advice to writing women: Date a Man Who Reads
Quite some time ago I was stumbling about various WordPress blogs and came across a lovely repost of a post: You Should Date An Illiterate Girl and was later directed to a very sweet response. I read the first post and laughed, then I wept, and then I realised that my relationship problems were staring at me from the screen. Later, reading the response, I felt calmer knowing that I’m not alone. The thing is, I’d like to date a man who reads …
Date a man who reads. Date a man who reads everything.
Date a man who isn’t afraid of saying he likes Jane Eyre and who recites Neruda as you fall asleep. Date a man who isn’t intimidated by your literary knowledge and owns up to loving “trashy” fiction, too. Date a man who is your flawed hero, and be his equally flawed heroine. Date a man who would fight for you and rescue you from dragons; date a man for whom you would fight and conquer demons. Date a man who understands the importance of motivation, denouement, climax, language. Date a man who makes sure there’s a sequel.
Date a man who reads so that when he uses cliché pick-up lines, you can both laugh and find it adorable. And when he uses original pick-up lines, you both know they’re all the more special. A man who reads will be honest, will have an opinion, and will know how important it is to lie when you ask if the first draft is good, and will be honest when the eleventh draft still needs work. A man who reads will have ideas worthy of your creations, and your creations will be worthy of his ideas.
A man who reads understands that the reason you left the coffee he made for you turn cold and gradually congeal has nothing to do with the amount of sugar he added and everything to do with the leaf outside your window that has held your attention for the past three hours. A man who reads knows that, eventually, your attention will come back to him and that attention will be fierce, passionate, and true. A man who reads knows that he will lose you for days at a time. Instead of asking you for attention or querying the last time you changed your clothes, he will bring your tea and biscuits; small, silent offerings left beside you, out of the way of your elbows and rapidly writing hands. Date a man who knows that November is the month he might see little of you, and knows that it’s worth it.
Date a man who reads so that when he wants to propose he will be able to read your emotions and know the right time – and know when it would be best to just curl up and hold you, and not make you think about the future until you’re ready. Date a man who has the vocabulary to articulate his innermost thoughts and feelings, who understands how important words are to you so that when he uses him, he knows exactly what they mean – and don’t mean. The conversations you will have will be all the more meaningful when you have a mutual respect for the language you share. Date a man who understands why you want to honeymoon in Ireland on June 16th and why standing on the stage at the Globe gave you reason to shout with excitement.
Date a man who will read stories to your children: in fact, date a man who will read your stories to your children. Date a man who understands that the children haven’t been fed because the hero is battling the villain and you cannot leave him mid-fight. Date a man who finds this quality endearing, and makes sure your children do, too. Date a man who knows that when the house is spotless and the kids are fed and the smell of fresh, home-cooked food wafts from the kitchen it’s not a good idea to ask how the writing is going.
Date a man who reads and can contribute to your literary life and love. Date a man who loves that you contribute to his literary life and love, too.
Dump the man who abuses your books and questions the quantity that burst from your shelves and scatter over half the bed. Dump the man who doesn’t understand why drink bottles shouldn’t be next to paperbacks in bags, who doesn’t appreciate bookmarks and dog-ears the pages instead, who bends the spines and tosses the pages carelessly. Dump the man who has shelves of books that have never been opened. Dump the man who talks about books as though he understands them, but has never actually read them.
Date the man who, when you’re stressed or cranky, takes you to a bookstore and watches you calm down in a matter of minutes. Date the man who watches you with amusement when, away on a romantic weekend together in a little self-contained apartment, you stand in the kitchen reading the final Harry Potter novel (just released), spoon poised over the pasta sauce on the stove top. Date the man who has already read the book, but doesn’t ruin the ending. Date the man who reads the books you recommend; read the books he recommends. Talk about them with each other.
Date the man who hands you a book as your rush out the door, late for the train. Date the man who neatly stacks the books that cover his side of the bed and builds you new shelves to put them on. Date the man who finds your books face-down on your chest as you sleep, and gently bookmarks them and puts them next to you. Do the same for him. Date the man who sits beside you as you read your own copies of the same book, and who reads ahead to anticipate when he will need to bring you wine, or chocolate, or tissues. Don’t blame him when the lovers fight, though he’ll understand if you do. It’s best if you don’t take sides in the fictitious lovers-spat, though.
Date a man who worships you as much as you worship him; when he is absorbed in a book, bring him coffee. When he is staying up late reading, appreciate the sound of the pages turning. Know that, when dating a man who reads, you are dating an equal. Buy him books that he will cherish, buy him books that he will consume with zeal; write messages in all of them.
Dump the man who demands your attention over your creative flow. Date the man who sits in the same room as you while you write, reading your drafts and making notes for you to come back to. Date a man who reads because he wants to.
Dump the man who tells you to “get a real job”. Date the man who tells you that you need to write; believe him.
Date a man who reads because he understands why you write.