Date a girl who doesn’t read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.
Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you.”—
Oh that mythical creature, the girl who reads! She reads and writes and quotes Proust!
When I first read this article sometime last year, I was standing on the Metro platform with, ofcourse, Hemingway in hand. It’s me! I thought, I’m that girl who reads. It was beautifully written and captured the way I felt and so I posted, re-blogged, tweeted and shared.
And then men I had dated sent me links, “This reminds me of you.”, they added and “I’ve always wanted to date a girl like that, a girl like you.” The girl who read they meant. The girl who read works of French philosophers and watched foreign films and listened to Beach House. The girl whp had too many passions and dreams and ambitions and something to say about anything. The “worldly” girl, in oversized sweaters and patent leather loafers and messy hair, always with a book in her bag and dreams to see the world. The girl who is human, just like you. They are enamoured by what they see, what they think they know, what they read and suggestively placed semi-colons. That is the surface; that is all they must know. Not of her complexities, her fragility or her preference for watching television on Friday nights. The mythical girl, a delusion concocted by imbeciles who have made it okay not to known what lies beyond the unkempt bangs, to seek what is beyond the ellipsis. She is on a pedestal, look but don’t touch, touch but don’t feel, hear but don’t listen. Don’t ask her questions, of her favourite colour or her relationship with her mother, her favourite fruit or what happened in the eighth grade. Does she always look sad? Don’t ask her what’s wrong; it only adds to the charm for which you long. Don’t do that which will make her real. It will shatter all delusions. Leave her alone on the pedestal she hates, even if she wants you, even if she just wants to get to know you better.
I’d rather be an illiterate girl.