you should date an illiterate girl.

You should date an illiterate girl. 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 a 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 too 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 of 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, goddamnit, 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 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 café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so goddamned 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 of which I spoke at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being told. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. Or, perhaps, stay and save my life.

– Charles Warnke

I Fell For An Illiterate Boy by Cheri Anne


33 thoughts on “you should date an illiterate girl.

      1. Tis true, but not all women who read write . . . or can write . . . or should write.

        Same goes for men.

        There are exceptions, of course. 😉

  1. i stumbled across this once before…
    i wonder what about the guy who reads


    ps. there is a very thin line between fiction and fantasy…
    some might even argue they are the same…
    my point being, one shouldn’t lose sight of reality

      1. uh… that’s another blind alley, m’lady…

        do we really make it?
        as much as the thought excites me, i find reality has the upper hand most of the time.
        usually because our views end where the other person’s begins. And they have their own twisted version of it.

      2. Maybe I don’t know much, but I am certain that my reality is entirety composed of that which I have made it to be. I have created my world, and therefore my experiences. And altered others’.

  2. marvelous post!

    I guess a guy who writes is at no better situation ’cause every time he meets a girl he observes her and rewrites her into perfection in his mind and then he is no longer interested.

  3. “Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent of a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder.”

    Hmmmmmm. Yes. Yes indeed.

    My only concern with this post is the fact that it implies dating should be done at all…such a dangerous assertion. Perhaps a “do not try this at home” would have been more appropriate 😉

      1. But I never play, my dear. I am terribly boring and I’m afraid I’ve no earthly idea what a sense of humor could be good for. I shan’t pretend that fire could at all entice me or beguile me. I am merely attempting to change the world, as per our agreement, and, outside of possibly encouraging a higher rate of homicide, and therefore reducing the overall population, I cannot condone relationships…good heavens no. 😉

  4. Nice piece…hmmm…are you in essence saying find a girl that doesn’t think? Come to think of it, I have never been with a girl that does…which is probably the reason for my failed relationships…speaking of which…I just went on a horrible outing with some girl the other night…complete nightmare. Time for me to mix it up and be patient…and if nothing presents itself via fate or my own efforts…there is always my right hand until I make the trip up to the snow.

    1. And what happens when you reach the snow? Is this where you lay down and let go? I’ve had more than my share of troubles with men, though it seems to be the same pattern reemerging each time. Never any nightmares, just unattainable fantasies. I say if you and I haven’t found suitable partners soon we can swear off love and utopias and just share a, ahem, bedtime story or two. 😉

      And so you go out with girl, and you’re driving: “So what are you reading right now?” and all too often she replies, “Well, I’m not much of a reader.” WELL I’M NOT MUCH OF A DINNER BUYER. GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT.” – Henry Rollins

    2. Sounds like a good plan…I am in. I almost fell out of my chair reading that last passage. I have been with woman that “can think”, but they don’t like to for it challenges their daily routine.

    3. LOL…my ears didn’t turn pink and I didn’t get flustered…I just took at as Fountains…like me…prefers to set low expectations after so many let downs in regards to true love…as such…might be pleasantly surprised.

  5. Lady Fountains and Sir Tincup become “fuck buddies”? Now there’s an unlikely bedtime story. 🙂 I suspect you two would be head over heels and designing ideal worlds on the ceiling before the sweat stops steaming.

    And LF, have to point out: an “unattainable fantasy” is a nightmare–it’s just that you are rudely awake while you are having it.

    1. I actually cannot argue with you on either one of your points. Bummer. 😛

      I just like to turn Tincup’s ears pink, as he seems like the flustering type, no? I’ve never been successful with “friends with benefits.” Contrary to popular belief, I tend to be incorrigibly loyal as I can easily find the beauty in all who make themselves a part of my life. And have an affinity for flaws and idiosyncrasies.

      1. I suspect you probably have turned more than his ears pink. 😉

        I can’t argue with anything you have said here either–for in the end I’ve known from the beginning, regardless of the seeming jadedness and cynicism, that you are a naive soul, like Goethe, like Tincup . . . and perhaps even like the strand of the Dragon.

        The fact of the matter is, I still look at the stars like a hopeful child–and that is still how I look at human beings, until they show me that they are not stars.

        Salubrious Solstice to you Mademoiselle Fountains. I have greatly enjoyed our repartee. There are not many who can run with me, and you’ve never broken stride once.

      2. We may be naive, but we are still old souls, I can tell. And we are all stars; most of us just don’t know it or act like it. Happy 21st to you as well, though that sounded much like a goodbye and I’m not big on those. I hope you and your repartee stick around for quite some time, and you and Tincup decide to participate in my latest post.

        The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff. – Carl Sagan

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