I've moved! This page should automatically redirect in 5 seconds, but if it doesn't, then click here.

7.18.2011

you should date an illiterate girl. by charles warnke.



can i say i think i love this ever more than date a girl who reads? i think it's the male voice i find so moving. something about the juxtaposition of the male voice speaking about the power of a woman who does read... i think that's why this undoes me. 

anyway, just thought it was something lovely to start the week of with. 

Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.
Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi, and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale, or the evenings get long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn’t fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.
Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn’t, smile all the same.
Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail, frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return, or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.
Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. 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. A vocabulary, god damnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.
Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. 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 I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.
Date a girl who doesn’t read because 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.
Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the cafĂ©, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads 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. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you.

35 comments:

Mal Mecham said...

Oh my goodness! I was going to send this to you and then forgot! I'm so glad you found it! Isn't it amazing??

Sky said...

Still my beating heart- I love this and I think I held my breath the entire way through, even through the last "I hate you." You should probably write your own about dating a man who reads. Yes, this sounds like a brilliant idea.

Windsor Andersen said...

Love it! Totally amazing

xxoo,

Windsor
http://eatlovebikini.blogspot.com/

Little Tree Vintage said...

ahah i think i love this more than the original one!

Jessica Holly said...

This is perfect.

wildchild said...

ha how depressing. i'm glad i've found a man who he himself reads as well. that changes things.

Alex said...

My goodness. That was great.

Melissa said...

I devoured this. What an appropriate follow-up to the original!

BrightEyedWashingtonian said...

It took some might to not cry at work. I'm a girl who reads. And I've been there with that guy.

Thank you for finding this.
I may just need to repost it.

buonafortunabella.blogspot.com

sarah nicole said...

Chills. Chills, chills, chills.

Thank you for finding and sharing these.

xo,

Sarah

K.J.D.L said...

I really love reading your blog. My life is so different from yours, but I think and express myself in such a similar way that I feel it is more the same. Thank you for always having something uplifting to say!

Abi said...

goodness, i don't know whether i like it or hate it. I think to some point we should be able to dream of the perfect man, we all deserve him! but then again, we all know how they can be, and there probably isn't perfection out there right now.

Joy said...

Teary. I love it.

Brissa said...

i love this. i love it so much.

Alivia said...

Overpoweringly beautiful. I can't stop rereading it.

DINAH CLAIRE said...

I don't consider myself "a girl who reads" but I am a girl who loves words, and: "Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived," ...so true.
This was all very true and very sad.

Dee said...

Beautiful. :)

The Lewicutt's est 2006 said...

Man. I kind of feel sad for the girl that doesn't read.

It's so sad to think that some don't spend their lives with one who breathes oxygen in and makes their inner fire flicker.

nothingshortof.com said...

i am in love with this. this piece of literature is something i could never fathom but it is spoken from the soul. i must say, i was moved almost to tears.
on a seperate but semi related note, your blog is extraordinary. i'll be honest, literature is not my thing... much more of a visual person. but for some reason, what you share i find very compelling and interesting. thank you for taking the time and sharing it. ill be following your blog without a doubt.

tu y yo said...

love this! thank you for posting it

Jennifer said...

I love the juxtaposition. This was the original: tragic, ironic, maybe even a little bit hopeless, but so honest. So raw. When I first read "Date a girl who reads" as a response, I thought that maybe the author had missed the point of this essay. But they're perfect together: the one saying, it's so hard. It's so hard to live a life that matters. And the response, rewording that message, giving it a feminine, almost motherly tone, saying, it's okay to try to be earnest. Yes, like you said, you'll fail. But, like you implied, the alternative is so much worse.

WhitMc said...

Perfection. Thanks for sharing.

nancy said...

when I found this, I got goosebumps. I forced my partner to read it too and noticed the hairs on his neck standing on end. and then he hugged me really tight.

Mackenzie said...

oh, i just tried so hard not to cry. this, this is so real and raw and lovely and so true. thank you so much for this, meg dear.

Devika said...

I have a theory that (some) men assume, whether by design or training, their own protagonism. They are Holden Caulfield, they are Sal Paradise. They are wandering into the horizon alone and making love to marginal women along their way. They are strong, solitary, central. They imagine they are in control of their destiny.

What could be more terrifying than a storyteller that may possess the power to alter their course?

In short, thanks for this. It resonates magnificently.

nicole said...

this was spectacular!

emilia. said...

i found this after you posted the other one—and i love it more too.

Daniel James said...

This is beautifully written. Thanks for sharing.

If anyone is looking for the original content to link to, here it is: http://thoughtcatalog.com/2011/dont-date-a-girl-who-reads/

Erin said...

I can't believe I'm just now reading this... days after posted it. Beautiful! And... AMEN!

Charlotte said...

My god. That was just so brilliant. I loved every word. THANK YOU for sharing that. WOW.

Valen Zuniga said...

At first i thought it was some kind of joke by some man who had been bothered by "date a girl who reads", then by the end it turned out to be soo bittersweet, it was really hard no to start screaming at the screen: "NO! don't do it! the girl who reads is so much more an adventureeeee, nooooooo!!!!" ejem, anyway thanks for sharing!

Ana Magdalena said...

I need to bookmark this, right now.

MMW said...

I don't know why this made me cry. But is speaks to my heart.

Wow Meg - love love love your words on this blog [and the words of others that you share].
~MMW

Anie said...

I love this!!

Much Love

http://www.thelifeofanie.blogspot.com

Juliette said...

I love this! This young man is bitter and just perfectly cynical despite his young age.


http://cansouplover.blogspot.com/