Date a Girl Who Reads

This is different from what I usually post, in that it was written recently (probably this year), and as far as I know, it’s only ever been published online.  If found in on a Tumblr blogIf you have more facts on it, let me know.

Apparently, it was written in response to another short essay called You Should Date an Illiterate Girl., which is either sarcastic or very bitter. (Warning: There’s quite a bit of bad language in that one.)

Date a Girl Who Reads
by Rosemarie Urquico

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

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

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

Buy her another cup of coffee.

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

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

She has to give it a shot somehow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.



6 responses

  1. Ah, this post. I remember seeing it on tumblr when it first hit the interwebs and being as creeped out and bothered by it as I am today!

    I ended up posting a response to it here;

    And then my writing-partner-in-crime wrote up one for the poor neglected guys who read. But really, bah!, still makes my skin crawl with what it implies about the perfect relationships. :)

    1. I’m sorry that this bugs you, but I have to disagree. Yes, this is bad dating advice (it seems to imply that all readers are alike, and that you can follow a formula instead of really getting to know them), but I don’t think that’s the point.

      The author isn’t talking about how to date a reader. She’s talking about how reading books changes the way you look at the world. Good books teach you to look for the big picture, to wait and hope, to try and look beyond appearances and see people as they really are.

      The author is saying, “You should date a reader because she’ll be this kind of person.” I like that, and I think it’s true for men and women.

      1. Even taken as a description of a reader, it’s still terrible. I would hate for anyone to stereotype me as wanting to have a guy fail me for some misguided ideal of putting off happy endings, or that I’d pretend to have read a book to try to sound intelligent. As a reader, I know better!

        And making one’s life like a favorite book because she’s gotta try something? How patronizing!

        All that aside, and to pick an example of writing-fail, the logical flow of the piece itself makes no sense with that ending. The ending, beyond sounding dramatically ambiguous, says nothing and adds nothing.

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

    I LOVE this part. So true.

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