I know this has been posted all over the place (probably by every girl who reads). And this isn’t really a fair repost because I’ve combined Rosemarie Urquico’s text with another similar text that is either in reaction to Rosemarie or the predecessor (these things are always hard to unravel). But I like bits of both so this is my mangled version.
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 trailing her fingers along the spines as if they’re old friends? That’s the reader.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the cream and sugar are 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 Dune. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she tries to quote Paradise Lost she’s just trying to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or if 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 L’Engle, McCaffery, Sarah Addison Allen, Ibbotson and Heyer. 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.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Never lie to her. A girl who reads understands syntax, senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. She might understand your need to lie because she knows behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world. But a girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that you are an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.
You can’t fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read 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.
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.
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. 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 on the dance floor.
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 Robin McKinley 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. Girls who read are the storytellers. She 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. She has dreamed, properly, of someone who will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.