Welcome to WTFF. In which I attempt to answer a single question--normally a thought on a book or a bookish subject--that I've been pondering for the past week. This week it's "why the f*ck are you in a non-bookish relationship?"
I blame David Levithan for all my relationship problems, or lack of relationships to begin with. Specifically: The Lover's Dictionary (my review). In the book he captures the disintegration of an unnamed couples' coupleship*.
Not just a normal couple, but a bookish couple. Most couples are not avid readers, most couples do not fret with mixing their book collections with another persons. Most couples do not quote Shakespeare to another, they quote Honey Boo Boo at one another because It wasn't love at first sight, it was bed at first sight. You have to try the milk before you buy the cow.
The current culture does lean more towards reality TV, sports, and pop music so cheesy you can't help but love it. But for those of us fortunate enough to date a bookish person, isn't it just great? You get to read some of the same books, go to bookstores, and have intense discussions about Margaret Atwood's overuse of artistic license. Fuck, you could even quote Shakespeare to one another in bed.
Guy: Shall I compare thee to a summer day?
Girl: Don't sweet talk me, we're not doing anal.
Girl: One half of me is yours, the other half yours. Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours, And so all yours.
Guy: So... anal?
It's unfortunate--and true--that there's a difference between being bookish, literary bookish, and a non-reader. Or even a non-reader reader (someone who reads six books a year and recommends all of them to a serious reader).
There's a lot of ways this can play out. As someone with a literary background, and someone who reads a lot of young adult novels, I don't often sync up with the women I date. We haven't read a lot of similar novels, we don't have similar tastes, but we can introduce one another to these things.
Dating a non-reader is harder. The TV is always going, there's always noise, there's no quiet nights of books. There's reality TV, there's sports, there are bookstore trips in which the other immediately goes into beta mode, disinterested in everything around them.
These characters don't exist in The Lover's Dictionary. The discussion about mixing books is often one line: "Just put them there." I want to fucking argue about it, damn it. And I am let down that it's never a conversation.
I can picture each relationship distinctly in my mind, reader with non-reader, bookish with non-reader reader, and how each would dissolve quickly. I'm not one to base an entire coupleship** on books alone, but being a freelance writer, being a reader, being a part time blogger; it's my lifestyle. Attempting to share it with someone else who isn't interested in what I do, what fascinates me, is hard to ignore. It's almost a deal breaker, but not really.
There are no book requirements to date me, you just have to be interesting, but cracking open a novel once in a while does help.
How does this sync up for a majority of couples? What kind of relationships have my fellow bloggers and fellow readers been in? Does reading contribute that much to a relationship? Does your significant other read at all? How does this work? Does anyone have similar rules? Or similar thoughts? Post them below.
*Not a real word.
**Still not a real word.