Single in the Suburbs: Must Love Books

It has been awhile since I last updated my Single in the Suburbs series, but I assure you it’s because I’ve been busy networking, meeting new friends, and attending plenty of singles events and mixers. And I’ve learned one thing during this time: the next guy I date must love books.

A couple of months ago, I was set up on a blind date. I figured I might as well give it a shot. Besides, what else would I be doing? Likely sitting at home and watching a marathon of Say Yes to the Dress. So, I put on one of my best date outfits and headed to the city.

Within the first hour of the date, my love for writing and books had come up as a topic of conversation. My date’s response was, admittedly, disappointing: “I haven’t read a book since college,” he said.

Having just completed a graduate degree in writing, the idea of not having read a single book in four to six years was completely foreign to me. How would one spend their free time, how would one pass the hours on a airplane, on a train? In that moment, I realized my date and I likely had little to nothing in common. My life seems to revolve around and be consumed with stories, and here was a man who didn’t really make time for it.┬áSure, he probably watched movies and received stories in other ways, but clearly the passion for it just wasn’t there. How would he understand how I chose to spend my time?

I’ve learned since then to look for men who not only appreciate literary culture, but who have stories of their own. At a speed dating event, I was talking with a man who, once he heard I was a writer, asked, “So do you tend to like men who have a good story?”

After taking a moment to think, I admitted that actually yes, I like a man with a good story behind him. In fact, the story might be what first attracts me to someone. I’ve developed crushes on men simply from reading their writing, reading their stories.

But let’s be clear on one thing: I’m not talking about the kinds of stories some men tell me — the time he got super drunk, got super high on a drug, got caught in the middle of a knife fight or spent the night in jail. I’m talking about the stories that require taking real risks that matter, stories that show some vulnerability and are worthy of admiration: starting his own company, writing his first book, changing careers. What is his story — or does he just go to work from nine to five and go home to the TV and a beer?

My love for good stories consumes more of my life than I realized. It isn’t just in my work and my hobbies — it’s what I look for in relationships. It may seem like strange or harsh criteria, but it could be the key to me finding someone with whom I’m truly compatible. What can I say? I love a good man with a good story.

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