The H Post ran an article today called “9 Books that make you undatable” that set my mind to wondering. Is there a book that, if seen on a potential lovers night stand, would have me running for the hills? I mean books are very important to me. Are they are worthy barometer for those I want close to me?
There are books that, for me are warning signs a possible relationship is doomed.
Obvious ones are The Bible, The Quran or The Secret. Although, it should be said I wouldn’t want to date someone who hadn’t read parts of or at least engaged in the first two of that list. I dated a man once for whom Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus was his relationship bible. Had I seen that book on his nightstand at the first date, it could have saved a lot of wasted time. But then I also had a rather lovely relationship with a man who loved On The Road and Naked Lunch – even though both those books too heavily defined his (extremely dated) philosophy of life. The corollary of this is a tumultuous relationship with a psychoanalyst/philosopher who introduced me to the greatest books I have in my life, but the relationship didn’t last and wasn’t meant to.
It is true, that if I discover a man has Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus, it makes him undatable for me. I couldn’t even have it on a shelf in his home. I feel the same way about Ayn Rand – and I have almost all her books on MY shelf.
So I realised this is all a rather complicated summation. Definite warning signs are The Art of Happiness or The Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Inner Peace, anything by Wayne Dwyer or Eckhart Tolle – but again, I would not have a problem with “black arts” books about tarot, astrology or witchcraft. I have a low tolerance for Brett Easton Ellis and despite the fact that I adore his writing and love him as a human creature, I am so wary of David Foster Wallace fans that his books in pride of place would make me think twice. And I currently have two of his books by my bed.
Could it be that I just don’t want to date me?
I have an entire shelf in my substantial library devoted to Anais Nin and Henry Miller and I cringe when I see the same thing in someone elses home (especially a woman). I have no problems with the Twilight books or the Fifty Shades of Grey books. If a man has a Simone de Beauvoir, Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigary and Helene Cixous on his shelf I’d probably accept a marriage proposal on the spot (but then worry because he wouldn’t propose if he’d read them) and the same if he had a passion for Marguerite Duras. Being and Nothingness on a shelf would instantly make me think a man is pretentious and he hasn’t read it, even though I have it on my shelf and have read it. Doestoyevski would make me want to sleep with a man, Tolstoy would make me look at him sideways with raised eyebrows.
Blake is sexy, T.S. Elliot is not.
The Marquis de Sade is Sexy, Schopenhauer and Aristotle are not.
Beckett’s hot, Russell’s not.
At this time in my life, books that make a potential partner undatable would be:
Atlas Shrugged and/or the Fountainhead.
Men are from Mars Women are from Venus.
On Women by Schopenhauer
The Bible or The Quran (if believed and followed traditionally)
A Brave New World (its had its day – I’m a bit over To Kill a Mockingbird too)
The Selfish Gene (you’re probably dating a banker – you’re definitely dating an asshole)
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (most vicious anti-Semitic text ever written.)
Mien Kampf (if it’s on the beside table or beside his industrial face jewellery)
Mysticism and Logic by Bertrand Russell
Feel free to add any to the list in the comments below.