Rosemarie Urquico ((Googling her has shown her to be a writer in her late 20s)) wrote a piece entitled “You should date a girl who reads.” in response to a Charles Warnke’s paean to illiterate women. I happen to fall in Urquico’s camp.
I come from a family of readers. My parents both read, and they passed the love down to both of us. Our family gives books as presents: birthdays, holidays, just because. Our houses are liberally sprinkled with books. The ledge of my loft area has a number of as-yet-unread books on its edge. I’m in the middle of four different books right now. It’s how we do.
My brother taught me to read on the sly. He was eight, and I think he taught his two year old brother to read merely to get me the hell out of his room. The family story goes that I picked up the San Antonio Express-News one morning, carried it to my mother, and asked, “Mom, what does rapped mean?” Imagine my mother’s surprise that not only was her second son reading but she now had to divert me from any conversations about sexuality, forced or otherwise.
I also find myself drawn to friends who read. All of my close friends do, and even if we don’t read the same thing, our thinking lives are enriched by what we take in. I have more than a few friends who are librarians—honest-to-God MLS-holding librarians—and a few who also seek to be published authors. The readers have a need to know, and the writers have a need to say. I find both qualities to be important in my associations.
As I told my friend Lucas last night, ((His girlfriend is the one who linked me to this, but I hadn’t read her Ninesday post at the time.)) one of the many reasons that I’m still single is because I am only interested in smart women. A mind that regularly encounters a book—fiction or non-fiction—is a mind that exercises and thinks. I believe that it’s important to think critically about new things because it keeps the mind sharp and pliable. I hope to never stop reading books that make me think about things in a new way. I think all readers share the risk of confirmation bias, but I try to move past that when possible. ((I have been known to throw books across the room. I’m looking at you, Marcus Borg.))
Why date a girl who reads? To quote Urquico:
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. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but 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.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop.
Of course, all that is about her and how she’ll relate to you. It’s as important to consider it from the man’s side:
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.
Physical beauty fades, but the power of a strong mind stays throughout a woman’s life. The mind of a woman that reads will always be beautiful to me, and that’s all the beauty I need.