It was recently mentioned to me that I should date someone who lives in the realm of the concrete – someone into maths, science, or other such subjects to ensure I don’t have to mess around figuring out the hints and follies of someone who resides in an abstract world. Ah, the abstract world and the people who live within it … You know, people like me who wander about seemingly aimlessly and can’t ever really settlefor less than what their abstract imaginations promise …
A friend informed me that one of my favourite authors is married to another author. Two writers – both respected (not only by me) – married. To each other.
“They make quite the formidable pair,” she observed.
A formidable pair. The words still echo in my mind. They make me think about the possibility of dating a writer … We all know I’d like to date a man who reads, but I’m not sure I could date a man who writes. I mean, let’s really consider this for a moment …
A man who writes will know what I’m talking about when I refer to the Call to Adventure and probably won’t be impressed when I wistfully speak of the tropes of magic realism … he’ll join in the conversation and, knowing my luck, know much more than I. Jerk. And what if he’s a better writer? What if his stories are more interesting and his characters are more exciting and his novels sell more than mine?! What if he has the courage to finish a novel and release it to the public while I’m still drooling over the commas in my first chapter? Will dating a writer mean I have to be courageous, too?
A man who writes will be caught up with his own ideas and I’ll lose him regularly to bouts of inspiration that render him virtually unconscious at his desk. I’m not exactly oozing self-esteem and I’m not sure I have the self-confidence to compete with the possibility of regularly losing a man to his Muse … let’s face it, traditionally they’re very pretty and attractive, and all I have to offer is … hrm … A glass of wine, dear?
A man who writes understands the creative process. He understands my love for words and he will not disturb the pile of books beside my bed. I won’t have to explain why my hair hasn’t been brushed for a week or why I am angry with one of my characters and therefore slamming cupboard doors.
While these are all admirable qualities in a partner for a writer, who will bring me back to earth? Who will take me firmly by the shoulders and remind me I have to get a paying job of some description so the bills get paid? (The phrase: You’ll just have to suck it up, what else can you do? still pops into my head sometimes, said to me by a then-boyfriend when I announced I didn’t want to work a 9-5 job anymore.) Who will make me socialise with people and get me out of the house, away from my computer and my books? Who will actively work on making me more normal, less unpredictable, and able to exert moderate self-control when it comes to bed time and putting down that damn book? Who will try to change my carefree, creative ways and help me be a more stable, reliable member of the community?
When I tell a man who writes that characters appear in my dreams he won’t think I’m crazy, and he won’t laugh when I talk aloud to my Genius.
Oh, no! What about our Geniuses? Will they get along? While mine is happily painting on the walls in the corner, will his be barging through the house all loud and stompy? I like to think my Genius is quiet and constant – what if his is the exact opposite? Will my Genius be smothered? Will there be room for my Genius next to his?
A man who writes understands language. He will write me poetry that will make my mascara run and love letters that leave me in a trembling heap of gooey love. He’ll reveal the part of me that no one is supposed to know exists: I’m actually a terrible, hopeless romantic. How will I hide behind bitter cynicism when a man is reading me sonnets in perfect iambic pentameter?
A man who writes will know me. He will understand why I am writing furiously in the dark (because switching on the light is not an option when I’m absorbed in my work). He will understand why I want to be alone sometimes and he will leave me in my solitude, when I need it. He will also know when I need to drawn away from it, when it’s time for me to be part of the world again.
A man who writes will have his own creative moments, his own bright days and his own dark days. Am I strong enough to support him when he needs it? Will we both need too much from the other?
A man who writes will know what to do when I haven’t written for weeks (take me for a walk), and he will know to tread lightly when I am editing my own work (and bring tea). He will leave me to write, won’t disturb me when I read, and … then I won’t have an excuse not to be doing these things. I’ll have the support and encouragement from a person with whom I’m intimate, and what if I let him down? What if I’m still not good enough?
A man who writes knows how to express himself, and will expect me to do the same. No more bottling up emotions or shielding what I really think and feel – I’m going to have to lay my soul bare and … what if it’s not enough? A man who writes will see right through me and know me better than anyone else …
He will see me for who I really am, and that’s why I won’t date a man who writes.
In fact, it’s probably why I don’t date at all.