A few years ago, there was a meme floating around the intertubes that centered around the concept of literary speed dating, which is speed dating, except with books. The point was to list the books you’d take to such an event as a means of showcasing your personality, and also to list the books that, if you saw someone with them, you’d think were attractive picks. I never did this meme because I tend to be cranky about these things, and I’m not going to do it today, but the idea has been floating around my brain for a little while, and I thought I’d use it as a jumping-off point to write about something that’s slightly related.
I have no idea how I would even begin to pick a few books as a means of showing another person who I am, because for one thing I have so many books that such an exercise would be so entirely daunting that even attempting it would most likely leave me going crazy in the middle of a massive pile of literature and I just don’t need that. Even so, it’s interesting to think that another person could judge my attractiveness or lack thereof based on what I like to read. Yet of course this is part of it, right? I mean, I try not to be overly judgmental but let’s just say that when I went out with that guy who thought Ernest Hemingway wrote Jonathan Livingston Seagull, I wasn’t terribly upset when we didn’t go out again. Is that a dealbreaker for me? I think so, yes.
Attraction and compatibility are strange beasts and I am not even going to attempt to analyze the way they work. I’ll leave that to the likes of Cosmo. But here’s a question for you: how big of a role do books play in another person’s attractiveness? I don’t know if I have an answer to this question myself, but I do know that I briefly dated someone who didn’t read and while his lack of interest in literature was not the reason things didn’t work out, it did limit our conversations. I like talking about books. Go figure.
So I wonder, and perhaps you can enlighten me: are books hot? Are all books hot? Or are only some books hot? For me, I know that I like a man who knows his Shakespeare. Who will at least give Milan Kundera a fighting chance. Who doesn’t spell it “Neil Cassidy.” I talk about Jane Austen a lot, and is that going to be a problem? Things like that.
Maybe once again I am letting my inner nerd become way too outer, but there’s something kind of sexy about finding someone who likes books and can hold his own in an intelligent discussion about them. I don’t think it’s the top of the list, because, I mean, there are other more important things, such as a sense of humor and a lack of heinous B.O., but it’s still in the running. Somewhere.
I’ll leave you with still more questions, and I hope you answer them, because I think it could be fascinating or at least mildly amusing. Is it possible to tell by someone’s reading habits if that person is worth dating? Say before deciding whether or not to date someone you’re already generally attracted to, you got to look at that person’s bookshelves. Would this be a telling exercise? Would the presence (or absence) of certain books be a turn on or a turn off? Which ones?