By Lee Cross
Books and Dating. They’re not the same, right? well, actually….
Just think about all those sh*tty ‘stocking-filler’ dates you’ve been on… you’re both turning up and putting the hours in, hoping somewhere along the line there’s a big present waiting, and that all the wrapping paper was worth the effort.
Right there, that’s reading a book I’m describing. I never look at the chapter titles if they’re listed at the front of a novel; you know why? It’s because I’m worried they’ll be too dull and the page counts too intimidating (Chapter Four – “the paper clip collection” – 143 pages). Ask yourself; if you knew that was coming, would you even make it past the contents page?
Dating is the same. If you KNEW that you were turning up to hear a 90-minute story about how a beloved family pet died, both painfully and slowly, would you still have the heart to show up for the dinner? …staying late at work THAT NIGHT might start looking like a very sexy prospect.
That brings me to – Determination. You’ve got to really want to make it work.
Everyone has sat on the other side of the table not honestly concentrating on the conversation; you’ve already established that you just don’t have enough in common but you’re toughing it out, hoping it’ll turn out good in the end.
Reading is precisely the same… you’ve got to have at least something in common with the story. Say I recommend to an American friend a thriller set on the mean streets of Dublin; the plot revolves around a serial killer known as, “The LUAS murderer”. They’re going to be like, “WTF? …what are ‘LUAS’ and why is some guy killing them? …or is it, ‘Lewis’, is that the Irish spelling? …is this book about a killer who only murders men called Lewis? …how many men called Lewis are there in Dublin?”
You’re going to have to deal with some bad experiences.
I suppose that’s the hardest learned lesson, that you are going to have some bad experiences… or perhaps you won’t? Maybe you’re one of those lucky people who always makes the correct life choices.
Right here, *hands up*, I’m not sure I’m the of best judges, because I’m a complete slut.
In at least three separate years I’ve been with more than a hundred book. I won’t lie, for the most part I can’t remember their names or where I picked them up… in fact, I’m worse than that, I don’t remember a single f*****g thing about most of them. I’m that guy in the pub who starts fumbling for distinguishing details when a name is brought up. (To be clear I’m still talking about books here…)
Knowing when to get over your bad experiences is important too. Sometimes you’ve just got to draw a line under things and move on.
I was reading this truly awful book once (‘Scarecrow’ or possibly ‘The Scarecrow’) and happened to finish it while on the train home from London. Being the sensible fellow I am, I took the sanest course of action and threw it straight out of the window.
(…the old “Slam Door” trains were actually decommissioned a few months after that incident…Health and Safety reasons…I can only assume that an excessive number of people were throwing shoddy novels onto the tracks…).
Understanding the importance of ‘drawing a line’ is dating 101 – Although, a quick DISCLAIMER, don’t throw your partner from a train or through a window… no judge will accept it as being “the sanest course of action”. (FYI – It’s probably illegal to dump books on the track as well.)
Ultimately we are all looking for love, that’s why we keep reading; that’s why we keep dating.
That’s the only certain comparison between books and dating; we’re all looking for something/someone to fall in love with, a safe place to leave a piece of our heart… free from the effects of time and tide.
Enjoy your reading. Enjoy your dating. Don’t throw people from trains.