Thursday, June 28, 2007

If You Want to Meet a Guy, Bring a Book

Last Friday, I described how I attracted the attention of a highly attractive fellow on the beach with my head stuck in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

Books are like dogs that way. They attract the attention of the opposite sex. But you don't have to feed them or clean up after them.

On a business flight a few years ago, I overheard a man start a conversation with the woman next to him about the book in her lap, One Hundred Years of Solitude. On another flight, my seatmate, an entomologist proofreading a piece entitled, "The Oviposition of the Onion Fly," inquired about the book I read, which was A Christmas Carol. Then he wistfully told me about how his mother used to read it out loud to him when he was a child.

I once lent a copy of Bright Lights, Big City to a guy I was crazy about. He read it at lunchtime on a pretty spring day in Lower Manhattan, attracting the attention of another woman who chatted him up about it. (As you can guess, that wasn't exactly my intention.)

Even though reading is considered a solitary pursuit, it certainly invites conversation. And you can absolutely learn something about a guy by the books he reads, or by the things he says about the books you read.

Reading in public as a way to meet new men beats going to clubs (they're great for dancing, not meeting), where the emphasis remains on how hot your body is and how you shake it. Unless, of course, you hate reading and prefer sensory overload that prohibits meaningful conversation of any kind. Some people do.