"All the spines showed they'd been read multiple times. Biggest turn on," says Colleen, 30.
Several years ago my mother signed me up for a dating website. She was, of course, very concerned about my ovaries that, at the age of 27, were clearly on their way to a rapid demise. I went along with her "gift," mostly to prove to her that I would not be finding love online and just so she’d shut up about my singlehood.
After filling out the dozens of questions, I was told that, of all the people in their database, there wasn't a single person for me. I was assured that once they found someone they'd let me know, and our love could begin to blossom. About a week later I received notification that they’d found someone for me: a guy in Texas who, among other disparaging qualities, thought that, "reading was boring." As a writer in New York City, this didn't fly with me, so I called the dating site and demanded they refund my mother immediately. Which they did.
Since reading, I think for most, is a real pleasure it's always been important to me to date fellow readers. I mean, who doesn’t want to get lost in a book from time to time?
I asked the ladies their thoughts on dating someone who doesn't read, either because they find it boring or just don’t like it. Is this pretty much the worst trait in a human? Totally fine, because you don’t like reading either? Or as long as he can at least read, even if it's just articles on Gawker via their iPhone, that's OK?
Here's what they had to say.
He should read—but it's not totally a dealbreaker.
"If he has other intellectual pursuits, which I broadly define as things he knows a lot about and can speak intelligently on, I could forgive a distaste for literature. But only to occasionally sleep with, not partner up with," says Angela, 31.
"I'd rather date someone who didn't read than someone who read really, really awful stuff," says Candace, 25.
"If he prefers not to read because he's busy/active. OK. Reading is great when there's time for it; truthfully, I'd rather be moving or doing something. But I read when I'm stuck inside or traveling and look forward to the part of my trip when I get to zone out and read. I wouldn't be impressed if my guy said he didn't read because it was boring though," says Jen, 36.
"It would be so nice to have someone who likes to read the kind of book you like to read and talk about it. But then, there are many other things you could share interests with. If there are other things we share in common it's no dealbreaker, but it is a big plus," says Mieko, 38.
"I have some mixed thoughts about this. I used to think that I could NEVER be with someone that didn't love to read like I do. (All my past partners have also enjoyed reading, even if they don't do it quite as much as I do.) I have some close friends now that are very well informed and great conversationalists/intellectuals and read lots online... but don't have much in the way of books, and aren't really into fiction. I've decided to have some leeway on that point," says Becky, 30.
Yep. Total dealbreaker.
"I feel like I'm paraphrasing somebody here, but: if you go back to a guy's apartment and there is no evidence of books, run," says Sara, 40.
"The night I met my husband I ended up going home with him. He had two large shelves in his living room full of books. All the spines showed they'd been read multiple times. Biggest turn on," says Colleen, 30.
"Must Love Books (Dogs are optional). However, as a minimalist in training, I'd be horrified if someone judged me on my lack of books. I used to have overflowing shelves of them, but have purposefully whittled my collection down to a treasured few, giving away or selling the newbies when I'm done. Intellect and curiosity, I think, matter most. And conversation," says Karyn, 30.
"Two things: It's 'boring': BORING?? Oh no, honey. No no no no no no! There's something inexplicably sexy about a guy reading on the subway to me. Like, the ladies' version of the sexy librarian trope?" asks Alexandra, 24.
"People in my life have to read SOMEHOW. It doesn't have to be novels; in my boyfriend's case it's beer books, magazines, and random online articles… but the learning drive is there!" exclaims, Mel 28.
"I dated a guy who didn't read and who didn't have a cell phone. He missed his grandmother dying on her deathbed because of this, and he did not read… wait, he did have a collection of books about serial killers, no joke... but other than that, I NEVER saw him read a thing," says Randi, 38.
"I went on a date recently with a man who told me, 'I've never read a novel nor will I.' I'm a novelist," says Iris, 27.
Takeaway? Read at least something, guys. If not, definitely don't date a writer.