By Vita Forest
My friend Vastra is another who did not think “when I grow up, I want to be a single mother…” but somehow ended up as one too, despite her best intentions. Unlike most members of the various “First Wives Clubs” that I belong to, she decided to try diving back into the dating pool again. (Interestingly, our male counterparts are all “settled” in new relationships, some even engaged and married. Us females appear to be enjoying our freedom too much.)
Vastra was careful. She was on Narcissist Alert and avoided men in certain occupations entirely. She was not going to waste her time. The man who neglected to mention he already had a girlfriend was definitely not an option, but another seemed more promising. They met a few times and everything seemed to be going well, but then she discovered the deal-breaker.
He did not like to read.
Not even non-fiction. Not even magazine articles. Not even magazine articles on topics he was interested in, carefully saved for him by his new friend. Other quirks had been forgiven, but after this discovery, they parted ways. Gently of course, she was “not ready” she didn’t want to “rush in.” Which really meant “I want a man who reads!”
She didn’t realize “must like reading” was one of her prerequisites for a relationship. It had seemed too obvious. Not worth mentioning. A given. We pondered this story at one of our dinners and agreed she had done the right thing. We have all had time to ruminate over what is important and what we don’t want again (when and if we are ever ready for again. Don’t believe the Rom-coms – the single life is a good one).
Being a reader is important, being the kind of person who understands that sometimes you just absolutely have to stay up late to find out what happens next. The kind of person who lends you their books as a sign of trust and friendship. The kind of person who has “walked in another’s shoes” as Atticus Finch would say, and maybe learned a new perspective in the process. Someone who may even change their original prejudices after experiencing a new world between the pages of a book. Someone who has expanded their mind through reading. Being a reader makes you empathetic, makes you curious, makes you a thinker.
These are the kind of men we are after.
PS. When I asked Vastra is she minded if I shared this story, she said, no worries – there is no likelihood of her ex-date ever reading this as that would require him actually reading something. And that is not likely to happen…
Is being a reader a deal-breaker for you?