Wednesday, June 15, 2005

"So, what do you do?"

Since I'm not sure if anyone is reading this besides myself and three of my friends, I feel free to just babble on. :) And today I think I will babble about--dating. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Now, I've been dating since I was about 15, broken up by a few years occupied by a couple of serious relationships, so I've had my share of all three. Today I am pondering a philosophical question--why, when the first date conversation turns to careers, do so many men fall into one of two categories as I talk about my romance novel writing? (Disclaimer here: not ALL men do this. I have met some perfectly normal, nice ones who do not. But I have also met many who do). They are either: A) smarmy, leaning close to say leeringly, "Oh, does that mean you're very--romantic?" (wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more). Ugh. Not with YOU, buddy. Or: B) go all Literary Snob on me. Like it's going to impress me that they're Above genre fiction and only read obscure Japanese poets or Jonathon Safran Foer (another disclaimer: nothing against Foer here. Everything is Illuminated was a great book. Even if it IS literary fiction).

Trust me, gentlemen, you will win no points with a lady by tearing down her life's work. One date (who I only went out with once), then went and bought a copy of my book. Very sweet, major brownie points. Then he made a point of telling me he bought it used, because he wouldn't actually spend real money on such things, and then (oooh, then it got really good!!!) he sent me a long email critiquing my writing style and narrative ability!!! (Forgive the multitude of exclamation points. This happened quite a while back, but I'm still astonished by it all). I have critique partners, an agent, and an editor for that sort of thing, thank you very much. I'm looking for something, shall we say, different in a date. Men like this do not come across as intelligent and discerning, they mostly just seem like pompous jerks who are no fun to be around. And life is too short for that.

Granted, I realize I'm not exactly Tolstoy over here (and TG for that! While I confess to a morbid love for Russian literature and history, I couldn't function at all, let alone write, if I had to wander around in a haze of existential dilemma all the time). But I do work very hard on my books, and I'm proud of them. Any man I fell in love with would have to be proud of them, too. On a first or second date, all I ask is that he be interested and polite, the way I'm interested and polite about their jobs. Is that too much to ask? Am I just being picky, as my aunt says I am? Oh, well--better picky than sorry. :)

On another dating note, I am going out to dinner with my family on Saturday night to celebrate Father's Day, and we actually get to (gasp!) meet my brother's new girlfriend!!! A truly momentous occasion. My little brother (who is 25 now, so I guess I better quit calling him that) is a good-looking guy and has always had many girlfriends, girls calling the house and his cell all the time, etc. But he is also very shy and private, and we've never been formally introduced to any of them before. He even says she bought a bike in order to go mountain biking with him in Colorado next month. It must be serious. I just hope she's ready for us.

1 comment:

Kay-Kay said...

It's not quite the same thing but being in the mental health field also has a certain stigma attached to it in the dating world. Back in the day (before I found a terrific man in my own field who didn't think I was trying to read his mind or psycho-analyze him when he ordered from the menu at a restaurant), my answer to the "what do you do" question tended to lead into a long and uncomfortable silence followed by an "Oh.".