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She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness
February 11, 2011 6:24 PM   Subscribe


 
One of each to balance things out? Or is it like matter and antimatter.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:32 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I'm browsing through OKCupid and someone has a statement in their profile along the lines of "I don't read much" or "I don't like to read", that's an *instant* click of "HIDE THIS PERSON FROM MATCH RESULTS" for me.
posted by mrbill at 6:32 PM on February 11, 2011 [23 favorites]


Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

ANN COULTER AMIRITE
posted by crapmatic at 6:33 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


And if I tell someone "I have 32G of ebooks online" the correct response is "I'll bring over a portable hard drive or stack of blank DVDs".
posted by mrbill at 6:34 PM on February 11, 2011 [16 favorites]


I'm dating a girl who writes and I'm totally stoked about it.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:34 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


What about teaching the illiterate girl how to read?
posted by yeoz at 6:34 PM on February 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


More discussion at AskMe, here.
posted by knapah at 6:35 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It appears that dating an illiterate girl results in "bored indifference ... indifferent sadness ... mid-life crisis ... [and] lack of achievement," a life that is "mostly vacant and ethereal," after which you "[d]ie, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love."

So sure, if that's what you're after, knock yourself out with that illiterate girl.
posted by drlith at 6:36 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Presented without commentary:
Charles Warnke is a 21 year-old writer based out of Berkeley, California.

While trying his hardest to live a life fit for an autobiographer, Charles writes, studies, and starves in a small room in the Bay Area. His work has been featured in various print and online media.

Other articles by Charles Warnke:

Why New Year’s Resolutions Are Complete Bullshit
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:38 PM on February 11, 2011 [13 favorites]


Very bad writing from a freshman college english major, flag it and move on.
posted by timsteil at 6:39 PM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


It probably depends on the you in question and the girl in question too much to admit of a general answer.
posted by kenko at 6:39 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Read a short piece that paginates dubitably. Find it in the clean layout of a blog entry. Find it in the large serifed type, wide margins, and stark colorless contrast of a WordPress theme. Wherever you find it, find it with a false resolution on page one of, apparently, two.
posted by cortex at 6:41 PM on February 11, 2011 [31 favorites]


You probably shouldn't date a girl who reads or writes articles like either of those posted, because they were kind of not good.

Writing in the second person like that is harder than Lorrie Moore makes it look, kids.
posted by kenko at 6:41 PM on February 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


The differentiation here is a little too black and white, imo. Currently I'm dating a girl who reads a lot of the same authors I do, yet I could have just as easily met her in a smoky bar, smiling as she tripped over a bar stool from too much gin. Things are going good.
posted by mannequito at 6:43 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


What if a girl likes reading, but doesn't because she has very little patience for books she doesn't like, and therefore rarely gets around to reading, but she is generally in favor of reading and has healthy and active intellectual curiosity? Technically that's not a "girl who reads" but..
posted by amethysts at 6:46 PM on February 11, 2011


DATE A HORSE
FEED HER APPLES
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:46 PM on February 11, 2011 [59 favorites]


This may be a future governor of Alaska.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 6:50 PM on February 11, 2011


"Writing in the second person like that is harder than Lorrie Moore makes it look, kids." But it is fun.

This my first post after 10 years of lurking. I'm not sure how I feel about the writing, but I thought the first piece raised some interesting points.

I can't imagine dating a girl who dosen't read, even if what she reads isn't 'great literature'. I recently met and crushed on a girl who was a Stephen King fan, which somehow seemed important despite him being one of the most popular authors in the world. I tried to explain how he made me homesick.
Heck I can't imagine spending much time with someone who dosen't read. Or if they don't read they need to be passionate about SOMETHING - movies, games, artwork, whatever.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:52 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


DATE A HORSE
FEED HER APPLES


That's not all you can do when you're dating a horse.
posted by kenko at 6:52 PM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


"I'm dating a girl who writes and I'm totally stoked about it.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:34 PM on February 11 [+] [!] "

are you worried that she'll write about you, though, especially if things don't go too well?
the problem with dating another writer is they might be able to decipher my writing about them
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:54 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't you dare interrupt me when I am reading for something silly like a date.

The only possible way you will get away with this is if you have a book in your hands, and even then, it better be an awesome book.
posted by jenlovesponies at 6:54 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's not forget Byron's thoughts on the matter of dating smartypants women:

'T is pity learnéd virgins ever wed
With persons of no sort of education,
Or gentlemen, who, though well born and bred,
Grow tired of scientific conversation:
I don't choose to say much upon this head,
I'm a plain man, and in a single station,
But -- Oh! ye lords of ladies intellectual,
Inform us truly, have they not hen-peck'd you all?
posted by kenko at 6:58 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Very bad writing from a freshman college english major, flag it and move on.

Really? I always thought freshman english majors wrote newspaper op-eds about how women really ought to watch how they dress lest they get raped.

Oh wait, that was a Young Republican philosophy major.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:58 PM on February 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


I probably shouldn't date either a literate or an illiterate girl. I'm married. I don't want any part of that Ashley Madison thread...
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:58 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Huh. I thought this was going to be a Sarah Palin thread...
posted by ellenaim at 7:01 PM on February 11, 2011


I still remember the look of contempt an ex gave me when she saw the cover of the Micheal Moorcock paperback I was reading.

I liked this bit: "Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much."
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:03 PM on February 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


The problem with being a reader is that you (probably) don't notice when people are checking you out (if it's an immersive read, anyway). Thus, and ironically, for readers to meet readers, there can't be too much serious reading happening at the time.

I'm probably just doing it wrong.
posted by kilo hertz at 7:03 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thus, and ironically, for readers to meet readers, there can't be too much serious reading happening at the time.

You should read more while walking.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:05 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was taking an overnight train home from Melbourne, and I'd finished the book I'd brought with me (Chuck Palahunick's Lullaby, I think). I saw a girl had finished the new Nick Hornby novel, and I somehow convinced her to trade books with me. I read the book, said two words to her, never saw her again... I was aware at the time how painfully twee and silly it was.

I sometimes wonder all the pulp fantasy and sci-fi i read on public transport is giving the wrong impression but eh...
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:08 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would think if your social life revolves around reading a book in public and wondering if someone is checking you out because you are reading, or because of the particular book you are reading, maybe you just ought to grow a set of something gender specific and walk over and say "Hi, I'm______"
posted by timsteil at 7:11 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey now, I'm okay with whichever option doesn't leave me cold and alone on my deathbed! HA! HA! *sob*
posted by naju at 7:12 PM on February 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't mean advertising oneself as a reader.

It's more like, when I see a pretty girl reading, she seems all the more attractive (for whatever reason), but since she's reading, I'm not going to interrupt her just to say hi (actually, I probably wouldn't do that even if she were reading, just seems intrusive). Which in turn makes me think, hmm, does the reverse ever happen because when I'm reading on the subway? I'm not likely to notice if I'm enjoying my book, right? Obviously this isn't a dating strategy in the least, but unlike other enthusiasts that might spot each other and interact (such as with pet owners, or various outdoorsy types), the introspective nature of reading seems to inhibit such people from spontaneously forming connections.

But, then, I probably shouldn't extrapolate from myself to readers in general.
posted by kilo hertz at 7:17 PM on February 11, 2011


More like, you should date a girl whose website uses a tiny font.

Actually, my 2-second take is this:

"You Should Date An Illiterate Girl" is a rather compelling piece about giving up and settling for the easiness of mediocracy.

The responses are from offended, well read people who claim that they can be just a mediocre as a girl who doesn't read.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 7:18 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


After reading the first link I decided it would be apposite to pop in with the observation that Warnke is an anagram for Wanker. That's all.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:18 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


edit: even if she weren't reading
posted by kilo hertz at 7:19 PM on February 11, 2011


Kilo

she can close the book, and pick up where she left off no harm no foul. You walk away, good chance that is gone forever.

Trust old dudes. We have seen it all, and made the mistakes for you.
posted by timsteil at 7:21 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


she can close the book, and pick up where she left off no harm no foul.

Please don't do this. Admittedly I'm married and thus perhaps in a different mindset, but one of the things that I like about reading is that it sends a signal that I'm doing something else. I read mostly because I like to read, but I also appreciate that it helps me make it clear that I am not really looking to interact or engage with anyone else just then, and it irritates me and occasionally creeps me out when someone ignores that so please, if you see someone reading who is not making eyes at you, let him or her read in peace.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:26 PM on February 11, 2011 [26 favorites]


On reflection, I regret this remark. It wasn't so much "apposite" as a "convenient cheap shot by someone too tempted by easy wordplay at the expense of relevance or kindness." Sorry about that.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:31 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


the first article is kinda sweet, if a little much...
also, it works, both comically and poignantly, if you replace "a girl who reads" with "a girl who's fucked around a little."
posted by es_de_bah at 7:35 PM on February 11, 2011


The responses are from offended, well read people who claim that they can be just a mediocre as a girl who doesn't read.

And, in showing that they misread the original piece, confirm their contention.
posted by kenko at 7:36 PM on February 11, 2011


Mrs Ptero

Some people choose to live their lives wrapped in razor wire, I don't, and without judgement, I feel just a hint of sadness for those that do.
posted by timsteil at 7:36 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


ps no one should really use the word ineluctable, unless they're trying to impress a girl who's fucked around a little.
posted by es_de_bah at 7:36 PM on February 11, 2011


Date a dyslexic gril.
posted by jonmc at 7:38 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Who said "Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 arms"? I loved that.
posted by fuq at 7:41 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't want to date Sarah Connor though.
posted by fuq at 7:42 PM on February 11, 2011


Mrs Ptero

Some people choose to live their lives wrapped in razor wire, I don't, and without judgement, I feel just a hint of sadness for those that do.


I need to go to bed soon because I've got a thing tomorrow so I will be heading out shortly, but although there are plenty of times I DO enjoy human interaction and companionship (such as, e.g., earlier tonight when I was at a bar) there are also times I want to be left alone and reading is one of the ways I signal that. Sometimes I'll also get into chatty conversations in line or on public transportation or really any of a zillion places, but when I'm signaling (by reading) that I am busy and not looking to interact I want people to respect that.

I'm sorry if my occasional desire for inaccessibility seems sad (and I might have come off snarkier than intended in which case sorry!) but there are plenty of times when I've had a long day and I'm just not up for talking to other people.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:46 PM on February 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


but since she's reading, I'm not going to interrupt her just to say hi

But you can interrupt her to say "That's a really good book." or "I really enjoy (author's) work."

It's not a bad way to strike up a conversation. If she doesn't want to talk, let her be, she wants her solitude. But if she does, it could be a fun chat.


Bear in mind this only works if you're familiar with the book/author, or can fake it reasonably well.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:54 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


You should not date a man who - despite being Australian and, um, allegedly educated at one of Sydney's finest private schools - has never heard of Seven Little Australians, and emphatically insists that Spiderman comics must be better literature because no Australian has ever heard of Seven Little Australians but every Australian has read Spiderman comics. Apparently. (And the main reason for hating his first ex-wife? She sold his comic collection.)

Chip on shoulder thanks to loser ex dissing my favourite book ever? Hell, yes.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 8:02 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


mailbustacey9999 - I JUST heard about Seven Little Australians for the first time EVER this week.

I *cannot* wait to read it.

I hate how I've worked in bookstores 10 years, and had never heard of that book.
posted by bibliogrrl at 8:09 PM on February 11, 2011


Some people choose to live their lives wrapped in razor wire, I don't, and without judgement, I feel just a hint of sadness for those that do.

Or some of us are just introverts and need time to recharge even if we commute by public transportation. Books and headphones are really clear "leave me alone" signals and I will always resent the hell out of anyone trying to talk to me while I'm reading on the train.

also did you miss this huge slightly related thread
posted by girih knot at 8:10 PM on February 11, 2011 [22 favorites]


ps no one should really use the word ineluctable, unless they're trying to impress a girl who's fucked around a little.
posted by es_de_bah at 7:36 PM on 2/11
[+] [!]

Or quoting Joyce
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:16 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Referencing the opening scene in Murakami's "After Dark?"

That was the only good part of that book.
posted by pynchonesque at 8:19 PM on February 11, 2011


Heh... Y'all do realize that both stories basically say the same thing, one phrased positively, and one phrased negatively?

Of course, that "thing" amounts to "your relationships will suck; dumb girls won't notice, and smart girls will delude themselves with escapist fantasies".

Yeah, can I take door #3, Monte?
posted by pla at 8:24 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Date a girl who doesn't use a terrible unreadable font for her web-page. Date a girl who checks out books from the library. Date a girl with a Kindle or other e-reader.
posted by thylacine at 8:24 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was sad because I had a girlfriend who could not read until I met one who had no feet.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:25 PM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


I wouldn't want to date Sarah Connor though.

No fucking shit, can you imagine getting the "men like you built the hydrogen bomb, men like you thought it up, all you know how to do is destroy, you don't know what it's like to create a life, feel it growing inside you" speech every time you complained about taking out the trash?
posted by nathancaswell at 8:33 PM on February 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


Monica Crowley because... DAM
posted by clavdivs at 8:36 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh and also I saw a girl in a Sarah-Connor-on-her-way-to-kill-Miles-Dyson costume this Halloween and I was like "Sarah Connor!" and she high fived me and said I was the first person who had gotten it all night. How the fuck is that possible?
posted by nathancaswell at 8:36 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course, that "thing" amounts to "your relationships will suck; dumb girls won't notice, and smart girls will delude themselves with escapist fantasies".

I don't really get escapist fantasies out of it. The first piece really alludes to the vibrancy that the girl who reads possesses, and the frustrations of the unreliable narrator in the way this makes him feel inferior. The second piece is just a reflection written by an 18 year old who took the first piece at face value, ironically failing a literacy check.
posted by girih knot at 8:37 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


For the record, I was dressed as TV's Highlander. Carry on.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:37 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Should you date an illiterate girl or should you date a girl who reads?

Girls, man. You can get 'em in any color!
posted by CNNInternational at 8:38 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


You should not date a man who - despite being Australian and, um, allegedly educated at one of Sydney's finest private schools - has never heard of Seven Little Australians, and emphatically insists that Spiderman comics must be better literature because no Australian has ever heard of Seven Little Australians but every Australian has read Spiderman comics. Apparently. (And the main reason for hating his first ex-wife? She sold his comic collection
posted by malibustacey9999 at 8:02 PM on 2/11
[+] [!]

Why You Should Date A Girl Who Reads Spider-Man:

She knows that with great power (over your heart) comes great responsibility

She knows that the nerdiest guys are secretly the most awesome

She thinks your devotion to your aged aunt is sweet

She's cool with your low-paying freelancing job

Etc
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:44 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Classist and naïve.

My best friend growing up didn't read. My husband doesn't read. People who stereotype about them are really missing out.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:49 PM on February 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


Some people choose to live their lives wrapped in razor wire, I don't, and without judgement, I feel just a hint of sadness for those that do.

With a lot of judgment, I am suggesting you that it is really shit advice to encourage people to bother other people who are actively engrossed in activities they enjoy.

Signed,

Someone who is so fucking sick of men interrupting her while she is reading on the subway after thirty fucking years of it

And if the razor wire would actually help, I'd be delighted to invest in some, too.

NAMASTE
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:50 PM on February 11, 2011 [31 favorites]


Suggesting to you, I mean.

Apparently my husband married an illiterate girl
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:51 PM on February 11, 2011


Classist and naïve.

People who don't read are a class now?

How many books do you think George W. Bush has on his nightstand? Upper class people are very often not readers.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:54 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm probably commenting too much, but Sidhedevil's point was made in one of the greatest threads on MeFi
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:58 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The worst is dating a girl even really caring for a girl who writes... but not well. Like it would be unfair to call her writing terrible. But barely. That's a tough one. Because you like her for for other reasons, and you just don't want friction, and you don't want to hurt her. But there's pretending involved. Maybe a detail of it struck you as adequate. Or sort of maybe good. You'll have to remember than and tell her that. She'll think she's good. Because there will have been other guys who did exactly what you did. And between them and the people who don't know better and the people that she's close to she'll have no clue. She might wonder why she can't make make her writing like the writing she likes. She might not notice. But she'll be proud about that line about how a man's unshaved cheek is like sandpaper. Like she was the first one to think of it. And it was never in pat the bunny. And she'll stop and start sentences. Almost at random. To dress up left over thoughts. As poetry.
posted by I Foody at 9:02 PM on February 11, 2011 [16 favorites]


You're absolutely right, reading Joyce and Nabokov has absolutely nothing to do with class. Everyone is raised with equal access to education and literature. How could I be so silly.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:05 PM on February 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Some people choose to live their lives wrapped in razor wire, I don't, and without judgement, I feel just a hint of sadness for those that do.

It's been linked twice already, but to really emphasize:

Hi. Whatcha reading?

The attendant Meta.
posted by kmz at 9:08 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was quite silly. Everyone more or less has 12 years of education where they are exposed to, while not as much as I'd personally like, enough good literature that if it appeals to them they could venture to find more. And the appeal of good literature is lost on goodly-sized proportions of the poor as well as the privileged.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:08 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Date a girl who games.

Date a girl who understands the tragedy of heroism and the simplicity of love. Date a girl who is schooled in the stories where you learn to love someone by fighting side by side against your demons. She knows it'll be better for both of you for her to take your hand and do your sidequests, to learn the lessons both of you need to get the happily ever after ending.

Date a girl who knows that item use doesn't make you weaker, whose metaphors are about charisma scores and mana use. Date a girl who sees life's challenges as a co-op boss battle, who can throw you a heal spell from the side when you need it or provide a flank for your backstab.

And if you break up, know that love stories sometimes end and that's okay but you go on with the game anyway, and maybe she leaves the party or maybe she still has your back. If you don't, you have children who grow up knowing Link and Zelda, Minsc and Boo, Cloud and Aeris. They see heroism from Gordon Freeman and Princess Peach. They know that sometimes even the good guys fall to the Dark Side and you'll be stronger if you forgive them and move on. They know that authority figures aren't always right but they aren't always wrong either; they know that you can have a good time even without cake.
posted by NoraReed at 9:09 PM on February 11, 2011 [27 favorites]


The problem with being a reader is that you (probably) don't notice when people are checking you out (if it's an immersive read, anyway). Thus, and ironically, for readers to meet readers, there can't be too much serious reading happening at the time.

I almost didn't meet my husband because he was trying to pick me up in a bookstore while I was reading, and it annoyed the shit out of me that he wouldn't stop talking, because dude, I'm reading. The light did not dawn that he was chatting me up until I walked out to my car. So when a mutual friend gave him my number, I agreed to go out, and he's been watching me read next to him every night for about 13 years now.

I have trouble with people who don't read, much as I have trouble with people who don't have a sense of the absurd. I know we will never have a conversation that is more than polite pleasantries, because we live on different planets. Going into houses devoid of anything to read besides People magazine makes me irritated and unhappy. Dating someone who did not love books was not even a remote possibility; I'd rather end up like my favorite English professor, who never married and lived in a tiny house that had bookcases on every single wall.
posted by emjaybee at 9:11 PM on February 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


In 20 years, both pieces will be the stuff of wincing and cringe.
posted by Miko at 9:11 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Though I appreciate the advice to be bolder in approaching interesting-looking people, based on some of the comments above, I kinda feel justified in not bothering fellow readers now. Still, I wish I could wear a "please disturb" sign sometimes.
posted by kilo hertz at 9:12 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


she can close the book, and pick up where she left off no harm no foul.

Yeah, unless every single fucking time you are trying to read a book on the train/bus/plane, some asshole thinks it's okay to interupt you for a "chat." Do you interupt dudes to chat it up with them? No? Then leave the cute girls alone because you are one of many, many people who think that it's okay to interupt them so they can give something to you. Yes, asking someone of their time and space is asking them to give something to you. Have you read this comment? Have you read the other Mefi threads that are linked to in this comment? Many people have linked to that thread for good reason.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:15 PM on February 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


The one writer I've ever dated seriously was just great to be with, great to talk with and to, great to go to movies with, she was great in about 452,984 ways -- what a woman! Oh, how it scorched when she reamed me once about tacky trash on my bookshelf, I think I had Jonathan Livingston fucking Seagull on that shelf, or something equally horrific; her intonation as she recited my many intellectual weaknesses and foolishnesses and jerkoffness, the look in her rich brown eyes scalded me and scalds me still, just knowing what a dope I can be is truly humbling. Damn.

And my trying to save myself, holding up and pointing at my first-ed Catch-22 or whatever, as a talisman of sorts, pffft! JLS trumps about anything else you might do; go ahead, save orphans, develop a cure for cancer, help old ladies across the street, polish your shoes and wear a nice hat -- none of it matters, you have JSL on your shelf and you suck.

I think I'm going to wander out there and make sure no other garbage has made its way onto that shelf. Scalded, I was. It was painful, and still is; I've seen her a number of times since we split, I can't help but wonder if that ever comes to her mind, maybe she's thinking "What a dickbrain! Douchebag..."

I really prefer dating a woman that reads over dating someone who isn't reading, or reads only heaving-breast torrid romance garbage or whatever. It just seems to give a common ground of sorts, is all...

girih knot: "and I will always resent the hell out of anyone trying to talk to me while I'm reading on the train.

also did you miss this huge slightly related thread
"

Yep, that's exactly the thread I've thought about as this was talked here. That thread blew me away, really moved me, I'd actually really never given careful consideration to the plight that girls/women face just walking through their day; I remember Jessamyn somewhere in some thread or other talking about how she'd choose being invisible over being able to fly, as it'd be so nice for her to be able to walk and not be gaped at all the time, or wondering if she was being gaped at, or whatever.
posted by dancestoblue at 9:15 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Classist and naïve.

My best friend growing up didn't read. My husband doesn't read. People who stereotype about them are really missing out.


More anecdata here but ... (Or: The flipside of what Space Coyote said.)

My maternal grandmother -- an Italian immigrant who has an eighth-grade education because her father insisted on her quitting school at age 14 so she could get a job in a garment factory -- has always loved to read.
posted by virago at 9:24 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Yeah, can I take door #3, Monte?"

Just date a guy.


zzzziiinggg!!!!
/ducks the homphobic-baiter-hating slings and the omg-that-was-sexist-too arrows

posted by Xoebe at 9:24 PM on February 11, 2011


she can close the book, and pick up where she left off no harm no foul.

Right, because somehow your desire to talk to me should always trump my desire to have a little time to myself, free from annoying interruptions. Of course. My bad, thinking my time was my own.
posted by elizardbits at 9:24 PM on February 11, 2011 [14 favorites]


Still, I wish I could wear a "please disturb" sign sometimes.

Looking at other people and smiling at them is generally a good way to signal that you are interested in talking with them. Seriously.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:30 PM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


or reads only heaving-breast torrid romance garbage or whatever

There are a lot of really interesting books out there that are marketed with covers that make them look silly. Don't dismiss all of romance as a category, or romance readers.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:32 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Indeed, it's amusing how many people that consume all kinds of bad science fiction or fantasy will mock romance novels. Though there's definitely plenty of derision the other way around too. Just let people read what they want! Except Kevin J Anderson. Reading Kevin J Anderson kills baby dolphins.
posted by kmz at 9:37 PM on February 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


The one writer I've ever dated seriously was just great to be with, great to talk with and to, great to go to movies with, she was great in about 452,984 ways -- what a woman! Oh, how it scorched when she reamed me once about tacky trash on my bookshelf, I think I had Jonathan Livingston fucking Seagull on that shelf, or something equally horrific; her intonation as she recited my many intellectual weaknesses and foolishnesses and jerkoffness, the look in her rich brown eyes scalded me and scalds me still, just knowing what a dope I can be is truly humbling. Damn.

Ew. That doesn't sound great. That sounds mean and snobby!

As a writerish woman, I sometimes feel for my husband, who has to hear approximately 23/6 about my book, plot points of my book, drama in writers' blogs, arguments about craft online, my rejections, questions about his opinions about my work, solicitations for opinions of my work, my thinking-aloud-brainstorming sessions in the car, and questions about making character motivations realistic, among other things.

But then I remember how, like, our second IM conversation was one where we traded short stories over IMs. Not my fault that he didn't keep up with writing! You knew I was a snake, bitch, and so on and so forth.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:41 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Don't date alliterate dames.
posted by dgaicun at 9:44 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't date alliterate dames.

I love it. People who know how to read but choose not to aren't illiterate, they're "aliterate"
posted by Space Coyote at 9:47 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


NoraReed,your comment was awesome. Mind if I share it with the friends I gamed with?
And I'm slightly embarrassed by my graphic novel shelf and all my pulp, but people really shouldn't care
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:48 PM on February 11, 2011


elizardbits : Right, because somehow your desire to talk to me should always trump my desire to have a little time to myself, free from annoying interruptions. Of course. My bad, thinking my time was my own.

Look, I agree with you about annoying people trying to strike up a conversation while reading in public.

But, funny thing about doing anything "in public" - Members of the public might actually try interacting with you. If you want "alone" time, I find it best to actually do so while alone. You might still suffer the occasional interruption, but not nearly so often. ;)

Okay, kidding aside, most people don't read for enjoyment, and consider it almost an act of kindness to "save" you from the tedium that must have led you to resort to such an awful way to pass a few hours. I don't agree with that mindset, but we can't complain about the smell if we choose to go swimming in a sewage treatment lagoon.
posted by pla at 9:49 PM on February 11, 2011


But, funny thing about doing anything "in public" - Members of the public might actually try interacting with you. If you want "alone" time, I find it best to actually do so while alone.

Trust me, if I could figure out a way to ride the subway alone, I would do it.

Public transportation and parks are not singles bars. People do not go there in the hope of meeting new friends. Someone who is sitting on the subway reading does not want to talk with you. Someone who is reading in the park on her lunch hour does not want to talk with you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:52 PM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


So...are you saying I should or shouldn't follow Jimmy Soul's advice?
posted by inturnaround at 9:53 PM on February 11, 2011


Look, I agree with you about annoying people trying to strike up a conversation while reading in public.

But, funny thing about doing anything "in public" - Members of the public might actually try interacting with you. If you want "alone" time, I find it best to actually do so while alone.


First off, you're a dude. Did you read the threads that everyone has linked? Also being in public still does not give you the right, or anyone else the right, to invade anyone's personal space, which includes someone's time. So what you're saying is, that if women don't want to be bothered, that we should just become hermits and not have jobs, go to the grocery store, take public transportation, go to the coffee shop, go shopping for clothes, etc.? Sorry, but if you're trying to be funny, you're not. Maybe I'm coming across as harsh in my other comment and this one, but I've lived too many years dealing with this bullshit to find you funny or endearing. Leave people alone when they're giving off signals to leave them alone. This includes reading a book in public.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:04 PM on February 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


But, funny thing about doing anything "in public" - Members of the public might actually try interacting with you. If you want "alone" time, I find it best to actually do so while alone. You might still suffer the occasional interruption, but not nearly so often. ;)

Members of the public can kindly fuck the hell off. Sometimes I have to do things that are outside of my house, even when I am exhausted and want to be alone. Simply being outside or in a public space is not an invitation to interact with me, especially when it comes to transportation.

It is worth mentioning that I haven't had much of a problem with people talking to me during a commute, probably because I give off a very strong vibe that reflects my "fuck the hell off" philosophy. Or maybe it's a regional thing and I live in a city of other introverts?
posted by girih knot at 10:05 PM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


Ugh Ugh Ugh to both

Both of them are saying the same thing, just one is framed more negatively. So no one is sticking up for the non-readers.

What about those people with ADHD who have a difficult time reading because they can't sustain focus? Or a learning disability that makes reading a giant chore?

What about people who are illiterate because they grew up poor, went to bad schools, come from a country with a low literacy rate, etc.? Some of these people are the most driven, conscientious folks because they've had to overcome so much.

And what difference does it make if it is a man or a woman who does/doesn't read? The framing is strange, as if there is some tangible difference. Does all of it apply to men too? Should someone choose a man who reads, or it doesn't matter so long as he's rugged and adventurous or spends all his time coding or whatever?

I hate this for other reasons, because of course by "read" they mean read the right kinds of books. Literature and poetry and that sort of thing. Not Twilight, not Dean Koontz, not romance novels, not the sports page.
posted by Danila at 10:13 PM on February 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


And the main reason for hating his first ex-wife? She sold his comic collection.

That part is totally reasonable.
posted by Zed at 10:14 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Someone who is sitting on the subway reading does not want to talk with you. Someone who is reading in the park on her lunch hour does not want to talk with you.

If you're in a cafe and facing the room while reading, people will talk to you. If you're facing the wall, only douches will talk to you and you can feel free to be as rude as you like to them. Simple rule.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:16 PM on February 11, 2011


That article about dating an "illiterate" girl is pretty smug. I predict this guy will think all his Nabokov-reading aspirations were just a waste of time one house, two cars and 1.5 kids from now.

Also: if you date a girl who writes she will eventually write about you. And it might not be flattering. Not that I've done such a thing . . .
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:16 PM on February 11, 2011


Didn't really read the articles yet, but my first gut reaction is to date the reader.

According to family mythology, I taught myself to read at 2. During the 6-8 range, when my parents were still married, but energetic combatants, I learned to dive into a book to salve my savaged sanity.

This is, of course, coming from the guy who is called by his neighbors "Dr. Bookworm." The guy, who when you see him dragging his netbook around, and you stop him and go "Hey, whatcha playing? I didn't know there was WiFi here", says "Not playing. Reading an ebook."

Anyway, date the reader. They are someone for whom there is a universe that is not solely between their ears.

Also, nthing dating the gamer, as they not only understand everything in the post, but they tend to bitch less when the group shows up for a session and is likely to be invited and not treated like a love token by the male contingent (if female).

Of course, it's been WAY too long since I had a date, so, ignore me if you will. If nothing else, I will wander back to what I am currently reading...

(And why can't any of you live closer, damn it! I need more cool people in my life.)
posted by Samizdata at 10:21 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


My wife and I have been trying to get pregnant for a long time now, and so have spent considerable time browsing online sperm bank catalogues. This is a really weird and surreal activity. For one thing, most of the donors are 19 year old American boys (Canada prohibits paying for any body product so Canadian men cannot be paid for sperm, so they don't donate (understandably as it takes months of appointments and really invasive interviews blah blah blah)). These donors are younger than my youngest sibling, all seem to be Baptists and volunteer firefighters, and just generally seem like nice people that I would normally have nothing to do with.

And the essays. Oh my, they all wrote little essays about themselves, about how their fathers are their heroes, they want to join the army, their moms bake wonderful cookies. Just so sweet, and so young, and not what I think about when I think about what I want in a sperm donor.

I found myself paying way too much attention to the responses to the question of "What is your favourite book?" I would be looking through a profile and the gent would seem funny and healthy, no acne, no braces, no glasses, minimal body hair, grandparents still living, parents both educated, fecund family, everything perfect, but then his response to favourite book would be "I don't read much." Toss. Throw that goddamn profile out the goddamn window. It's like I was evaluating them as romantic partners instead of sperm donors. Liking to read isn't genetic, I know that. I didn't have to date the guy, have sex with him, nothing. Still, I just couldn't bare the thought that my babydaddy would be a non-reader. Elitest maybe. Ok, definitely.

That's when I decided that sperm banks were not for me. If a friend of mine doesn't read, I know all sorts of other wonderful things about him that make the reading part less important. But when info is limited, whether a person likes to read or not is usually a pretty good rubrick of if we'll get along or not.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:47 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


then his response to favourite book would be "I don't read much." Toss. Throw that goddamn profile out the goddamn window.

I admire your position (even if I think enjoying books is purely behaviorism and your potential child's appreciation will be completely tied to the attitudes of you and your wife), but the donors deserve points for honesty.

I say this because a few years ago I overheard a guy filling out something online (probably a dating questionnaire but perhaps it was a Canadian sperm bank profile) with the help of a friend.

"'Favorite book?' Ummm. Who the hell cares? What do I say there?"

"Put 'To Kill A Mockingbird.' Girls love that."

"I read that. Someone get stabbed with scissors or some shit. Girls like it?"
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:19 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I screen my prospective dates by having them submit a paper on the shifting terrain of how "science" is treated in novels wriiten since 2001.

Then I laugh derisively and chase them out the door, and resume practice on my hurdy-gurdy. Women!
posted by everichon at 11:19 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


That article about dating an "illiterate" girl is pretty smug. I predict this guy will think all his Nabokov-reading aspirations were just a waste of time one house, two cars and 1.5 kids from now.

Or he'll turn 30 and start dating a girl who reads better novels.

Also: if you date a girl who writes she will eventually write about you. And it might not be flattering. Not that I've done such a thing . . .

The trick is having the sort of mate who might be interested in reading you, but passionately disinterested in reading about himself. If he avoids mirrors, this is a good sign.

No vampire jokes please.
posted by clarknova at 12:01 AM on February 12, 2011


The first article reminds me of an insecure boy I had an abusive relationship with when I was 18 who told me, among other things, I wasn't 'smart enough' to be reading what I was reading at the time (Thoreau, which was an assigned reading in my first year of university/artschool).

I'm happy in my belief that men who fear intelligent women, even when they are unshakably attracted to them, will never really find an intelligent woman who will put up with their shit. That's enough revenge for me.
posted by GEB's fun world at 12:17 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wasn't it the physicist Paul Dirac who said he never read because "reading interferes with thinking"?

Date men/women who can think. Reading is incidental.
posted by three blind mice at 12:44 AM on February 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Emma Bovary was a girl who reads. I guess she was a fun date.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:45 AM on February 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


"You Should Date An Illiterate Girl" feels like a warmed over re-do of the awesome Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story.
posted by peeedro at 1:17 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can testify to the fact that life becomes vacant and ethereal in middle age irrespective of what kind of girl you date. You'll see, youngsters. You'll see.
posted by Decani at 2:58 AM on February 12, 2011


Wasn't it the physicist Paul Dirac who said he never read because "reading interferes with thinking"?

Date men/women who can think. Reading is incidental.


In theory I agree with you - surely the ability to think is the key trait here. But in practice, while intelligence and wisdom are innate qualities, reading provides the raw material for someone with those qualities to use them to their best advantage. A wise man is always wise, but without a breadth of knowledge he is limited in what he can apply his wisdom to. Reading teaches you things: raw knowledge, ways of examining the world, stories of people who shouldn't be forgotten. No matter how smart you are, you aren't coming up with the collective wit and wisdom of humanity yourself. Reading makes you a better person, and it makes you a more interesting one.

Sure, maybe by rejecting the person who doesn't read you'd be missing out on the one you're looking for - it's certainly possible. Worse yet, by going with the reader you might just wind up with the thoroughly educated ass who can dress up his colossal inferiority complex with Wittgenstein quotes, someone who can use his superior critical thinking skills to superb effect in meticulously crafting stupid arguments.

I'm just saying the odds favour the reader.
posted by Palindromedary at 2:59 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I linked it already in the AskMe but I really enjoyed this response. The initial article sketched me out with the whole Female as (inscrutable, unattainable) Object vibe.

It's kind of how I have an embarrassingly huge soft spot for the commodified yearning of Dashboard Confessional, but find it grating after the second song or so.

I want my own aspirational models of a poetic-as-fuck life, you know. And not just to be the muse for someone else's manpain. Where's the bargain basement creative non-fiction depiction of MY romance gone bad??
posted by dustyasymptotes at 3:38 AM on February 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Date a woman who reads. Find out she loved Who Moved My Cheese? and The Secret. Ask her to watch 30 Rock or reruns of Blackadder or The Wire with you, only to find that she'd prefer to curl up with The Christmas Sweater. Realize that preference for a particular medium is a lousy heuristic.
posted by condour75 at 4:00 AM on February 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


I know this story!

IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE
SHE WILL PROBABLY KISS YOU UNDER A STREET LAMP IN THE RAIN.
THEN SHE'LL WANT TO GO BACK TO YOUR PLACE.
SHE"LL DISPENSE OF LOVE MAKING.
YOU'LL FUCK.
posted by plinth at 4:12 AM on February 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


"But, funny thing about doing anything "in public" - Members of the public might actually try interacting with you. If you want "alone" time, I find it best to actually do so while alone."

@pla: Do you live out in the 'burbs or what? Unless one is very rich, living in a city involves spending more time "in public" than most people would otherwise chose to spend interacting with other people. That's why it's polite to leave other people alone unless they indicate that they want to be approached. Reading is the opposite of indicating that one wants to be approached.

Times 10 if the person you're thinking about bothering is a woman -- we get pestered enough all day already, no need to add to it.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:24 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Choose life. Choose whether to date an illiterate girl - or a girl who reads... but why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose something else. I chose a heorine.
posted by daniel_charms at 4:36 AM on February 12, 2011


I live with a woman who both reads and writes (and gets paid to do both), and it's fucking awesome. We are always learning from each other because she has read things I haven't, and vice versa.

But I know people who haven't read a book since the early 1980s, and they can be smart and funny and engaging, too; conversely, I know people who read and write books and who are the dullest conversationalists on the planet.

About approaching people in public: This doesn't have to be rocket science. If someone is hunkered behind their book, fully immersed, maybe with headphones on, you don't talk to them. If they are reading in the sense of having a book in front of them but they are smiling at you, you would be a fool not to say hi. And if you can't read body language well enough to assess this, don't start practicing at random on the subway or in cafes.
posted by Forktine at 5:26 AM on February 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Once I was out of high school, I dated women.
posted by OmieWise at 5:48 AM on February 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


If I am reading in public, I will grudgingly allow you *one* comment. "That's a great book!" or even "What'cha readin'?" Fine. I'll let that go.

If I respond monosyllabically, or just show you the cover, then go away or I WILL CUT YOU.

YOU HEAR ME? KNIFE COMES OUT AND I WILL CUT YOU!
posted by kyrademon at 5:53 AM on February 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


oooh, oooh, I know the answer to this!!! Date a girl who reads Metafilter!

Find her in the weary squalor of a MetaTalk thread, dispatch with making love. Hug her, and demand cites. Find shared favorites and common ground like taters and grilled cheese sandwiches. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred scared [FTFY]. Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of comments otherwise. Ask MetaFilter where to take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Forget to say which city. Spouse her.

Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career from MeFi Jobs. Buy a house; blog about restoring it. Have two striking children; blog about parenting. Post to MeFi Projects. Have a mid-life crisis. Talk about what Dan Savage would do. Grow old. Tell the kids with lower user numbers to get off your lawn. Feel, during I/P threads, as if you might never return, or as if you might blow away on the wind. Count your favorites. Contract a terminal display. TL/DR, die, but only after you observe that the girl who read MetaFilter never made you flag it and move on. Except that one time.
posted by taz at 6:08 AM on February 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


I am dating a girl who writes and I am totally stoked about it, too.

But she's not on Metafilter yet.

Or is she?
posted by emelenjr at 6:45 AM on February 12, 2011


MaryDellamorte : Did you read the threads that everyone has linked?

Sadly, yes, I did take a peek. I even considered commenting on them as an aside in my last post, but chose not to.

Seriously? Get over yourselves, ladies. A guy trying to chat you up on the subway does not mean he secretly plans to trick you into revealing where you live, follow you home, and rape you. They just want to chat someone up, and thanks to the occasional mistakes of evolution, we (of both genders) mistake "attractive" for "nice" by default.

Yeah, it really sucks that thanks to accidents of genetics, both males and females consider females more attractive, more approachable, "safer", than males. That a bored female can safely chat up whomever she wants, while you all view a bored male as sexual harassment. That if you try to engage a child on the train in a game, they call it sweet and nurturing, while if I do so they look at me as a potential pedo. Can you hear the violins?

To point out an obvious counterexample... When I (neither female nor a GQ model) have had the poor fortune to find myself stuck waiting at an airport bar for a few hours, "obviously" trying not to engage in conversation with anyone around me - Guess what? At least once every half hour, someone will sit next to me and try to chat me up. I've learned that pretending to respond, commenting on the game (airport bars always have a game playing), then letting the conversation fall dead shortly after, can cut the interaction to under five minutes without appearing rude. But not once have I ever whipped out the mace and thrown a little fit because some poor friendly bastard, stuck there in a similar situation, said "Hi".

If you really want people to leave you alone, might I suggest a hand written book-cover that says, in big letters, "not interested, leave me alone please"?

As I already said, most people consider reading something they only do out of unbearable boredom. Threatening to "CUT YOU" because society doesn't appreciate the introverts of the world doesn't really accomplish much.


So I suppose the upshot of all this - I'll change my answer to door #1. Se won't spit at me in response to a friendly smile.
posted by pla at 6:45 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can folks just agree here and now to stop spitting on pla when pla smiles at them?

Cos, seriously: that's gross.
posted by everichon at 7:15 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Get over yourselves, ladies. ... They just want to chat someone up..."

OK you obviously need to go read this particular comment because you don't realize that it's not just one guy wanting to chat us up, it's thousands and thousands of guys over a lifetime of never-ending harassment. Why are you so keen to contribute to that?

We shouldn't have to walk around carrying signs because you are socially clueless about reading clear "leave me alone" signals. So here's your clue: When you see a woman reading a book, wearing headphones, not making eye contact, or otherwise indicating that she doesn't want to be approached while in public, just LEAVE HER THE FUCK ALONE.

If you want to chat women up then wait for one to make deliberate eye contact and smile at you invitingly, or go someplace women go to when they want to be chatted up (like a singles bar or nightclub). Don't bother people who are just trying to go about their day.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:19 AM on February 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yeah, come on, ladies. Clearly, reading a book means that you'd rather be talking to a bro. All that "existing in the world" and "being in public spaces" and "indulging in solo activities" and "using public transportation" is just a game you play to get into a bro-versation.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:33 AM on February 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


That a bored female can safely chat up whomever she wants, while you all view a bored male as sexual harassment. That if you try to engage a child on the train in a game, they call it sweet and nurturing, while if I do so they look at me as a potential pedo. Can you hear the violins?

Not just violins, but 1000 violins playing the "Bullshit" themesong.

Dude, I am a boring married guy who probably looks more like I sleep under a pile of GQ magazines than I do a GQ model. But I can't go to a cafe or a bar without at least sharing a smile with someone, usually a woman, and more often than not I end up chatting with them. I have even managed to smile and talk with other people's children without having the police called on suspicions of my handing out pedo bears.

I mean, seriously. It's just not that hard. Most people, most of the time, are happy to have limited, friendly, and respectful social contact. We are social animals, and there's a reason we go to cafes and bars instead of sitting in isolated bunkers. People who don't want contact give off really clear signals, including how they hold their books.

That thread isn't bullshit. Women, including my wife, get hassled all the time. Be a stand up guy and don't make their day more of a pain in the ass. That doesn't mean treating them as untouchable or something -- it just means learning to be minimally observant enough to tell apart someone who is open for conversation and someone who is not. It's not all that tricky or subtle.
posted by Forktine at 8:07 AM on February 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


Should you date an illiterate girl or should you date a girl who reads?

Wouldn't the answer partly depend on what said girl reads?
posted by mazola at 8:09 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I met a literate girl in a Midwestern bar and married her. I haven't had any of the problems in the article. But the living room of our tiny house has approximately 800 books, flowing off the massive but full bookshelf in the middle of the room, across the floor, and onto the couch. That's not counting her office, which has books stacked taller than my head. Our children will be very smart if they don't first knock over a pile of books and die in the rubble.
posted by miyabo at 9:36 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I feel like the metric of "reading" is kind of a red herring in the first story. The "girl who doesn't read" is a symbolic girl who leads an intellectually sheltered life, following the known paths with no desire to explore the forest. Reading is the metric presented to us probably because (I would speculate) the author himself highly values reading as a means of exploring the world.

Someone who is "well-read" isn't initiated into a secret society of academics or something. They just have a greater exposure to new ideas, stories, ways of thinking, that open them up to the world. Reading isn't the only way to accomplish this, and I think that focusing on the juxtaposition of "girl who reads" and "girl who doesn't read" is too shallow a read of the story.

I'm probably way overthinking it, though. I do like this story even though it's kind of rough around the edges. I hope the guy who wrote it keeps writing.

pla, with all due respect, I think if your take-away from those threads is "Seriously? Get over yourselves, ladies", you need to read them harder or at least understand that enough people feel differently about the topic than you that you come across as a jerk if you say things like that.
posted by girih knot at 9:45 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I knew I was going to marry the woman I'm married to the moment we shook hands, but I really knew it when I saw on her bookshelves some books by a favorite, obscure contemporary American writer.

I'd say something about pla's comments, but it's all been said before; also, pla doesn't care if he comes across as a jerk.
posted by rtha at 10:00 AM on February 12, 2011


I'd say something about pla's comments, but it's all been said before; also, pla doesn't care if he comes across as a jerk.

Yeah, I'm thinking I got trolled. Again! Will I never learn?

posted by Forktine at 10:32 AM on February 12, 2011


A girl who doesn't read can never break your heart, but you'll probably break up with her.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:51 AM on February 12, 2011


A woman once would not stop chatting to me on the bus about how a book I was trying to read, Percido Street Station, was so awesome and mindblowing. I found this incredibly annoying because, I discovered, I am prejudiced against women with insect heads.

My current partner doesn't read (I've tried but she just never gets round to it - she drives rather than takes public transport, and she has three kids to shepherd through life). On the other hand, she kicks my arse at advanced mathematics, and that's a whole world of elegance and beauty I'll never know, so I figure we're even.
posted by Sparx at 10:59 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Should you date an illiterate girl or should you date a girl who reads?"

Since we're talking about "dating" here...which one puts out?

Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return, or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.

That's a long fucking date.
posted by MikeMc at 11:01 AM on February 12, 2011


In 20 years, both pieces will be the stuff of wincing and cringe.

Today I learned that I am a time traveler from the future!
posted by Kwine at 11:32 AM on February 12, 2011


Non-dairy creamer my ass.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:51 AM on February 12, 2011


Don't date a blogger. They'll write prescriptivist drivel about their passions; they think (like every generation thinks) that they invented writing and fucking and writing about fucking, and will not hesitate to publish under that assumption.

Don't date anyone who thinks that all boys or all girls can be slotted into a narrative, especially not a narrative in which they star. Even if they have an ineluctable vocabulary, squirm free to someone who won't presume that their experiences are universal or more finely wrought.

Date a MeFite instead — they're easy!
posted by klangklangston at 3:30 PM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some people choose to live their lives wrapped in razor wire, I don't, and without judgement, I feel just a hint of sadness for those that do.

Yammering ratchetjaws who can't leave the house without bugging the fuck out of people who are otherwise occupied in something they find infinitely more interesting than being interrupted by people who are socially clueless about personal space and boundaries ate the ones with the problem.
posted by rodgerd at 3:36 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Since we're talking about "dating" here...which one puts out?

My experience can be summed up with "smart women fuck better". Which doesn't answer your question about frequency, or correlate with reading, necessarily. But there you are.
posted by rodgerd at 3:38 PM on February 12, 2011


Huh. I thought this was going to be a Sarah Palin thread.

Don't worry - there will be plenty of 'em - esp. if she beats out the others in the CPAC straw poll this week.

But as long as you want to blame Sarah - you have this open thread to blame her

Don't date a blogger. They'll write prescriptivist drivel ... Date a MeFite instead —

As they write under pseudonames.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:39 PM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


"It was quite silly. Everyone more or less has 12 years of education where they are exposed to, while not as much as I'd personally like, enough good literature that if it appeals to them they could venture to find more."

From here:
And whoever is responsible for the lunch the students receive in the cafeteria on the SIXTH FLOOR should be shot. Many of my students who are already going hungry at home avoid eating lunch at school because it's so bad. I keep bananas, almonds, and raisins in class to feed my kids when they can't work because they're so hungry. This, of course, takes time away from learning.
Really? You're gonna go with public education as the great equalizer?
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:45 PM on February 12, 2011


You know, 90% of what I read now are Metafilter threads. Does that make me literate, illiterate or aliterate?
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 4:13 PM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


The issues raised and addressed in the threads linked by kmz are real and serious. However, I must clarify that as regards to my specific comment, knife is really not actually thinking about these things when it cuts you. Knife does not care if you are male or female. Knife comes out and cuts you regardless of your gender, regardless of your intent, and regardless of the larger social context. Knife comes out and cuts you.

But knife comes out and cuts you because, and only because, knife is an aficionado of the quiet pleasures of reading.
posted by kyrademon at 6:24 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course, for me, step one would be -

Find someone that actually wants to date me...
posted by Samizdata at 12:25 AM on February 13, 2011


Personally I'd say date a girl who reads--non-fiction. Don't waste your time with a girl who wastes HER time reading shit that some person made up. Date a girl who is armed to the teeth with facts. It may just be my experience, but those things tend to come in handy.

Or, date a girl who reads Wikipedia.
posted by MattMangels at 12:40 AM on February 13, 2011


Date a girl who only watches waterlogged VHS episodes of Alf. Wonder why an old cassette of Zig Ziglar is the only thing she keeps in her Volvo's tapedeck. Make eye contact with her while you carefully dust off her firewire MIDI recording interface. She will keep a diary with daily checkmarks denoting all of the times she catches you crying while masturbating to an audiorecording of the King James Bible. Switch from your vegan diet to a reasonable vegetarian diet and feel the power surging through your veins, your loins. Look up at the stars. You are alive, for the first time in your life. Watch her sigh as she sits before her altar to Shannon Hoon, aware of all the ways in which the narratives of her life have lead her astray. It all started with her sister's Barbie Dreamhouse Playhouse in 1987. Smoke weed and play Castle Crashers on XBox Live. Be painfully, acutely aware of all the ways in which Dr. Dre has ceased to become relevant in the hip-hop community. Hug a complete stranger on the streets of Oslo. Listen to Zig Ziglar, discover Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love, weep openly for the first time in years. Do all this, because you married a girl who
posted by naju at 1:08 AM on February 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Personally I'd say date a girl who reads--non-fiction. Don't waste your time with a girl who wastes HER time reading shit that some person made up. Date a girl who is armed to the teeth with facts. It may just be my experience, but those things tend to come in handy.

Or, date a girl who reads Wikipedia.
posted by MattMangels at 12:40 AM on 2/13

What is this I don't even
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:03 AM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree with everyone's who's posted that reading is a proxy for other desirable attributes in a mate, but I disagree that reading a direct proxy for either of intelligence or class.

Firstly, why not class? Certainly people who go to more prestigious schools and universities are required to read more, simply as part of their courses, but my definition of someone who "enjoys" reading is someone who does so recreationally and outside traditional "boredom/exclusion zones", like public transportation. My universal experience is that people who've gone through higher education don't read recreationally, and previously did so only to make it through their education.

Secondly, why not intelligence? Intelligence is a funny old thing. Why is it that pursuing mathematics or engineering or other "hard" ideas is considered a more intelligent past time than frilly arts or literature? Why is it that pursuing art of literature is considered more intelligent than being a block-head maths or engineering person? That's what always gets me about people who are supposedly intelligent in a pure, abstract way, or those who worship the idea of supposedly abstract intelligence. Intelligent about what? What drives them? What is their passion?

That is what I hope reading is a proxy for: a passion. This person is capable of living outside themselves and their experiences and instead can empathise and care about and for others. The actual content being read matters because, of course, you want to be with someone who you share a similar worldview to...but at the same time the actual content doesn't really matter, because, as Terence puts it, "Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto (I am a man, I consider nothing that is human alien to me)".

What's so sad an puerile about both the articles is how they reduce people down to a few past times. What are their hopes? What do they dream and yearn for? What have they been through? I love reading, could talk about what I read for endless hours, but I would be revolted if someone sought to reduce me down to being "a reader".
posted by asymptotic at 5:21 AM on February 13, 2011


I would be revolted if someone sought to reduce me down to being "a reader".

I think the one-point, externally visible identity markers are a lot more important to people when they're younger, and haven't amassed a lot of adult personal history yet that gradually illuminate who one is at the core. The signals sent by clothing, music choice, or pastimes take on an outsized importance in the adolescent and post-adolescent years because they sort of communicate one's self-image and, perhaps, their hopes about what kind of person they're going to be - in addition, of course, to being genuine tastes and interests. I see these writings as reflective of that shorthand, and as all part of the process of defining oneself and one's values in contrast to other, assumingly opposed values - even though any single characteristic about how someone lives is generally a pretty poor marker of their overall good qualities.
posted by Miko at 6:59 AM on February 13, 2011


Ladies, seriously.

Im 50, and married, and the two of those put together are their own unique brand of hell. If you look like you are under 40, about the only thing I truly wonder about you is if you have finished your homework yet.

I ride the CTA about 5 times a week, and I tell you there is nothing that makes you want to just go jump in front of the train as much as seeing someone completely engrossed in US magazine, or doing the TV Guide crossword and struggling over "TV's talking horse, two letters, "Mr. ___."

It's not like I am going to walk to the other end of the car and try to strike up an awkward conversation because I saw you reading a book. But, if you are sitting right next to me, or across from me, and I notice you are reading a really good book and are obviously not an idiot, I might comment.

This would be my way of giving you a compliment, and subtly letting you know I am a pretty decent guy who is no threat to you, and for this whole 20 minutes its going to take to get to your stop, any thing bad that might happen is going to have to get by me first. I don't know your name, I don't know your deal. It's just who I am.

If I see someone standing in the middle of the car with five bags staring at the transit map, I always ask them if they know where they are going. Eight times out of ten i get the "This isn't going to O'Hare is it?" and I make sure they get off at the next stop, go down the stairs and hang two lefts and wait five minutes.

Maybe if I was 30 years younger, and all alone in a big cold city and saw a cute girl reading a book I had also read and enjoyed, I would hope I had the balls to walk over and say hello. In the same respect if you shoot icy daggers into me for doing so, I hope I would have the maturity to understand that and just leave you the hell alone.

I'm pretty sure your life, and the world in general, would be a better place any way you slice it if you could find it in your hearts to realize that the majority of people are actually nice and wish you no harm.

FWIW, if a guy didn't muster up the ability long ago, to walk over and say hello to a woman he admired for whatever reason, neither of us would be having this conversation.
posted by timsteil at 8:48 AM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"This would be my way of giving you a compliment, and subtly letting you know I am a pretty decent guy who is no threat to you, "

Please listen to actual women, who will generally tell you that the best way to let us know that you are a decent guy who is no threat to us is to leave us alone when we indicate that we want to be left alone, don't stare, don't grope us, etc.

Seriously. That is the best way.

There is also a huge difference between helping someone who looks like they need help and interrupting someone who looks like they are reading. Hopefully you help people who need help regardless of gender.

"FWIW, if a guy didn't muster up the ability long ago, to walk over and say hello to a woman he admired for whatever reason, neither of us would be having this conversation."

Heh. I know my mother and father, and I give it 10 to 1 odds that my mother pursued my father, just like she pursued my stepfather, just like I pursued my partner(s).
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:51 AM on February 13, 2011


This would be my way of giving you a compliment, and subtly letting you know I am a pretty decent guy who is no threat to you,

This is great and all, but keep in mind that you are not the only person on the planet. You are not the only, or the first, guy to interrupt a woman when she is reading in public. You are not a special snowflake to the pretty girl reading her book. She just wants to read her damn book and not be interrupted AGAIN by a guy who sees himself as a nice guy (and in all probability is a nice guy). She is not required to care that you are nice, or to acknowledge that you will leap to her defense if a not-nice guy hassles her.

Why do you require this acknowledgment? Why isn't it enough that you are the only person who knows that you would step in if someone gives unwanted attention to someone else?
posted by rtha at 11:02 AM on February 13, 2011


you are not the only person on the planet

Apparently you are.

If I see a young woman get on the train alone, especially late at night, who looks vulnerable in anyway, I keep my eye on her. I aint frickin Superman, and I dont require acknowledgment and I'm not expecting anyone too pin a medal on me.

I have three daughters. I would hope every father out there would stand up for mine the way I am willing to for theirs.

Howsabout you just accept the fact maybe all men are not evil bastards, and the fact you own a vagina and a book at the same time doesnt give you free pass to be mean to strangers who are trying, however misguidedly, to look out for you and keep you safe..
posted by timsteil at 11:39 AM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Look, Tim, much love to you, and you've been getting some crazy anti-social replies, but can I say that as a dude who reads in public, probably eight times out of ten when someone tries to talk to me about what I'm reading, it's annoying, and it happens a lot. A lot a lot.

Even when hot girls on the subway try to strike up a conversation, which hey, I'm an aesthete, I enjoy talking to hot girls, those conversations tend to be stilted and undermined by the basic desire I have to get back to what I was reading so that I can enjoy it and finish it and move on to the rest of the reading that I want to do.

Dudes do it to, asking me about what I'm reading, so it's not just a hittin' on thing, but generally I just want to read my book. Even when I know the people who are stopping me (friends, coworkers, frequent riders), I usually just want to read the book. Sorry. It's not you, it's me.

And sure, there are exceptions, where some stranger made a clever, insightful comment or when the book wasn't as interesting as I'd hoped or whatever, but those are exceptions and I'd never encourage someone to talk to someone else who's reading (especially since dudes in general when approaching chicks aren't the best at reading cues and understanding boundaries) unless they had a good reason to, and wanting to flirt or just ask about the reading material isn't a good reason.
posted by klangklangston at 12:01 PM on February 13, 2011


"If I see a young woman get on the train alone, especially late at night, who looks vulnerable in anyway, I keep my eye on her. I aint frickin Superman, and I dont require acknowledgment and I'm not expecting anyone too pin a medal on me."

I do, too! It doesn't require interrupting someone who is reading.




" the fact you own a vagina and a book at the same time doesnt give you free pass to be mean to strangers who are trying, however misguidedly, to look out for you and keep you safe.."

WE DON'T KNOW THAT. Our vaginas also don't give us psychic powers.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:35 PM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Howsabout you just accept the fact maybe all men are not evil bastards, and the fact you own a vagina and a book at the same time doesnt give you free pass to be mean to strangers who are trying, however misguidedly, to look out for you and keep you safe..

Not wanting to talk to you isn't being mean to you. You are not entitled to my conversation or my time. Commenting on the book I'm reading while we are sharing a train ride does not make me think you're a nice guy. It makes me concerned that you don't respect my unwillingness to talk to you, signaled by my nose buried in a book. I do not automatically assume you are going to attack or rape me, and I would probably give you a forced polite smile or a monosyllabic response and then immediately go back into my book. But for the remainder of our ride together, I will be uncomfortable, on edge, worried that you will want to further conversation, when all I want to do is read my book.

Additionally, as a small young woman who might look vulnerable to someone, I would appreciate it if you did not keep an eye on me. It's patronizing and makes me feel unsafe since I don't know that your concern is my safety. If you see someone attacking me, by all means, do something. But don't assume I'm going to be attacked because I'm a young woman.
posted by girih knot at 2:37 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


This would be my way of giving you a compliment, and subtly letting you know I am a pretty decent guy who is no threat to you, and for this whole 20 minutes its going to take to get to your stop, any thing bad that might happen is going to have to get by me first. I don't know your name, I don't know your deal. It's just who I am.

If all you're doing is looking out for potentially vulnerable people, then I think that is great - a lot of us do the same thing. I can only speak from my own experience, but that tells me that I don't in any way need to interrupt the person to let them know that I'm looking out for them. If we happen to make eye contact, I'll have my friendly face on, but that's about it - I'm not going to ask what they're reading or whatever if it looks like they don't want to have contact with anyone.
posted by rtha at 2:40 PM on February 13, 2011


"Our vaginas also don't give us psychic powers."

And yet another of my long held beliefs is brutally, yet casually, stripped away by MeFi. Cruel, creul MeFi.
posted by MikeMc at 3:09 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Howsabout you just accept the fact maybe all men are not evil bastards, and the fact you own a vagina and a book at the same time doesnt give you free pass to be mean to strangers who are trying, however misguidedly, to look out for you and keep you safe..

Dude. Seriously. Listen to what people are telling you. Your good intentions do not override the desires of others to be left in peace.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:41 PM on February 13, 2011


Howsabout you just accept the fact maybe all men are not evil bastards, and the fact you own a vagina and a book at the same time doesnt give you free pass to be mean to strangers who are trying, however misguidedly, to look out for you and keep you safe..

I don't understand. Why do you need to interrupt or compliment me in order to look out for my safety?

I have absolutely no way of knowing that you're talking to me or watching me or whatever it is you're doing because you're really a nice guy. The only thing I do know is that I'm sitting here trying to read my book and you're bothering me. Can you see why I might have a problem with that, without thinking men are evil bastards or trying to be mean to anyone?
posted by lullaby at 6:00 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Our vaginas also don't give us psychic powers."

My penis lets me know what girls want to talk to me (all of them). PSYCHIC!
posted by klangklangston at 6:10 PM on February 13, 2011


I can't believe this is the same thread I was thinking about Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 arms. Someone should make a SEO flowchart graphic for those clueless creepers calamitously crushing comfort.

It can be like

Do you think you are being a)nice or b)creepy.

If a then you are being creepy, if b then you are being nice.

and then:

a)did you start talking to her? or b)did she start talking to you?

if a, you're probably being creepy, if b you are being nice.

and so on. Yes, I am saying you shouldn't talk to strangers on the subway.
posted by fuq at 6:09 AM on February 14, 2011


I guess I appreciate the sentiments about looking out for vulnerable people, but I'm not sure I welcome being identified as 'vulnerable' because of my femaleness. After all, that's the same thing creeps and criminals do. I'd rather not add to the problems of taking public transport or walking in unfamiliar neighborhoods after dark by having would-be vigilantes taking my part against the world's seeming evils, and it's not possible to tell the difference between people staring at your or bothering you because they have a concern, misplaced or not, and people staring at you or bothering you because they ARE the creep. Sometimes I find the idea of men as protectors laughable; men are also most often the predators. That certainly doesn't equate to hating all men; what it means is that when evaluating an interaction with a male stranger, women generally are doing a risk calculation. It may not have occurred to the white-knight types that men with bad intentions understand this, and sometimes pose as the savior themselves. That needs to be part of the risk calculation, too.

Nothing about the gender 'male' inherently signals safety, and some kinds of concern are paternalistic. We all need to develop the skills to take the best possible care of ourselves, and when we need help from strangers we can request it, or if it's evident that it becomes needed, we can offer to lend it - but it simply doesn't need to be offered before the fact, which just signals a lack of confidence and a set of assumptions about our abilities and preparedness, often erroneous. Those that have daughters should make sure they feel completely entitled to safety, are trained and armed with the knowledge to handle sketchy situations, have a set of strategies for dealing with it, and develop good judgment - because they will not always be around a protective male, and some of the time they are around a male, the danger may be posed, not defused, by that person.

Short version - yes, please leave me alone. If I need your help at any time, you will know it. Until then, I'd rather not be stared at, interrupted, talked to at length, or worried about by a total stranger with whom I'm not interested in conversing. The more I notice this, the more bothered and freaked out I'm likely to feel. That isn't any way to 'help.'
posted by Miko at 6:32 AM on February 14, 2011


Oh man, I bet this guy has been practicing this monologue at the local open mic night for like a year.
posted by Theta States at 8:41 AM on February 15, 2011


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