Date a woman who reads. Meet her in a library. Meet her in a bookstore. Hell, meet her in Aisle 5 as she stocks up on cheese, yogurt and ice cream. Despite your lactose intolerance, take her out and woo her. Take her for a drink -- vodka and olives -- and converse about Proust until her knees weaken and her clothes fall to the ground. In the morning, wake with her in your arms. See her mascara on your pillow and her lipstick on your duvet.
She may join you for brunch and awkwardly hug you goodbye. She may dash out your door with her pants halfway between her knees and hips, jumping into her boots, accidentally zipping her hair into her coat. She may leave while you sleep. You will wonder for days if it was something you said.
Call her a bitch. Forget about her. You don't need her.
Allow months to pass, still feeling a small pang in your gut when you catch a glimpse of In Search of Lost Time next to last April's GQ on your coffee table. Move it to a pile of university textbooks under your bed. One day, find her in that same coffee shop, bookstore or grocery aisle and feel compelled to smile in her direction. She will remember you, because women who read, remember. They remember the Hulk action figure on your dresser given to you, as a child, by your older brother. She will remember how he died. You will remember that even though none of her socks match, she insists on pairing them in her drawer.
She will remember the colour of your toothbrush.
A woman who reads will feel no hesitation when accepting your coffee invitation. She's read this story before. You will talk about your lives during the in between. She will find comfort in your intonation. She appreciates tone, syntax and timing, and welcomes subtle moments of silence and awkward spurts of simultaneous sentence starting. Your overlapping words, and the gentle laughter that follows, will bring out the lines in her forehead.
You will love the way she folds her napkin when she's nervous.
A woman who reads takes her time. She will be steady. You will fall in love. You will move in together. The first piece of furniture you buy together will be an antique bookshelf. Teak, or Cherry. You organize your books by colour, by size, by name. Autobiographically. In the move, she will find your hidden Proust and place it with the others. You adopt a dog and name him Albert.
You will read in bed with your legs intertwined. She will nod off on your shoulder while you complete the New York Times crossword. Not Sunday's.
One day she will ask more of you and you may not be ready. A woman who reads understands that there is more. Her "more" is not abstract. It is clear and often cutting. She will, however, not always know how to ask for this.
She will expect that you be a storyteller. There is room in your home for two. She knows that everyone has his or her own story. She understands that being aware of it doesn't necessarily make it any easier to tell.
You will have a decision to make. Will you accept the challenge or will you retreat? Will you long for a nine to five, two children, and a dog? Or will you open the record store you always wanted and come home to discussions of oxford commas and which Duran Duran album would pair best with tonight's dinner? Will you demand that your life be overflowing with meaning and truth and wonder? Will you aim for passion and presence and clarity?
A woman who reads knows of failure. She feels with purpose and consequence. She may not find work, carry children, or make herself happy.
The girl who reads will not accept a stagnant life of iterated experience. She will find her foil; she will find her complement.
Date a girl who reads. She may break your heart, but it will mend all the same.
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