Don’t date a man who reads. Don’t date a man who spends more on books than on things that matter. Don’t be with someone who lives in an apartment filled with a mountain of paperbacks and hardcovers, out-of-date New Yorker and Economist magazines, the contents of which he may have glanced through the day he bought them and then stacked them up against the wall just to show that he made an effort. Don’t go out with someone who’d rather carry a book than a gym bag. He probably does not exercise, eats unhealthy and will have a heart attack at 40.
Don’t date a man who keeps going on and on about books and poems, essays and reviews. The kind of man who is so excited about the Murakami that he finished last night that he just has to tell you all about it, in detail, even though you are running late for lunch. He will casually ask you about the last thing you have read, and if you fumble, or mention a name that is too pedestrian, he will judge you for it. If you show the slightest spark of interest in his reading, he will proceed to thrust his enthusiasm on you. You may find it amusing at first, maybe even a little sexy, but it soon gets tiresome. Every conversation will become an endless thrust-and-parry of words; any casual comment you make will result in a barbed riposte.
It’s easy to notice – and avoid – someone who reads. He’ll be the one slinking through a bookstore looking for a title someone mentioned on an obscure literary website. He does not need to buy another copy of that Neil Gaiman book just because it is the Author’s Preferred Text and has five thousand extra words, but he will. The kind of man who grins like an idiot when he comes across a first edition of The Dark Tower or a dog-eared, scotch-taped copy of Catcher in the Rye, just because that he can brag about it to his friends later. If you date a man like that (and I really suggest you don’t), be prepared to smile and nod when he tells you (for the twenty-ninth time) about how he met Jonathan Franzen in a Trader Joe’s parking lot. But try talking to him about something remotely to do with life, or your feelings, or the last episode of The Big Bang Theory that you enjoyed, and he will probably not know how to react. Or tell you that he never liked that series anyway.
Don’t date a man who reads. He is the kind of man who says he has a busy social calendar, but chooses to sit in his room and alphabetically index his collection instead. He can’t pass a bookstore without popping in “just to see”, but complains about waiting for you for fifteen minutes outside the changing room of the department store because his precious reading time is ticking away. He spends hundreds of dollars on eBay buying full runs of Louis L’Amour novels, but wears the same pair of sneakers everywhere because he cannot spare the extra money to get himself a good pair of shoes. Don’t date a man who, on your birthday (if he remembers your birthday), buys you another book that you will never read. Who thinks flowers are impractical and environment-unfriendly, but continues to buy paperbacks because e-readers “don’t smell right”.
Don’t date a man who reads fiction. He thinks that life is a fairy tale, and that happy endings exist, and that every story needs a villain. He sees the world in black and white and avoids the grays. He has a smart, ironic comeback every time he messes up, as if his wrong-doing can be washed away with puerile, second-hand wit. He will consider himself more knowledgeable than your friends; he scoffs at their conversation because he thinks they are shallow. He will go to the movies with you, but rolls his eyes at the parts you enjoy, because they are not faithful to the book. He will accompany you to parties, but refuse to wear anything but Threadless t-shirts because he feels dressing up destroys his individuality.
Don’t date a man who reads. He’ll keep the bedside lamp on till 2 in the morning to finish the last chapter of the book he’s reading. Chances are high that he will sigh loudly when he’s done, just to make sure you wake up uneasily and ask him if everything is all right. Don’t date a man who will refuse to go out on a sunny day, choosing instead to loll in bed and reread his Wodehouse. If you lie with him, he will scratch your head distractedly. If you try to cuddle, he will push you away and ask you to make him a coffee. He will say please, but as an afterthought, and only because Mr.Darcy would have. Yes, the sex will be interesting, but only because he is thinking of Henry Miller and Nabokov.
You don’t deserve a man who thinks he is a Victorian hero come to life, who pretends he can take care of everything but cannot fix a leaking tap, whose has his head in the clouds and up his ass. You don’t deserve a man whose room smells of musty paper and printer’s ink. You definitely do not deserve a man who refuses to get a TV connection because he cannot stand commercials. You don’t want to be with someone who cannot stand on a beach and watch the moon rise without quoting Shakespeare. A man who can recite Tennyson by heart, but does not know the names of his neighbors. A man who always – always – wants to get the last word in.