Young, single friend: (sobbing) “My new boyfriend doesn’t like my favorite book in the whole world! I don’t think our relationship can work”

Me: “What book is this?”

Her: “(title removed – just think of your favorite book in the Whole world)”

Me: “That’s not really a ‘guy’ book. Does he read other books? He’s not totally illiterate, is he?” (An honest question – her last boyfriend was, I think, the missing link.)

Her “No, he’s well read. But he likes political books and murder mysteries.”

Me: “Well, my husband hasn’t read any of my books (except some excerpts – ahem) and I don’t care. His taste in reading is execrable. I finally had to buy him books myself. But I bought books in the genre he likes.”

Her: “But I think it’s so important that he at least tries to read my favorite book. But he won’t! He says it’s not important.”

Me: “I don’t think it’s really important either.”

Her: (glaring) “If I’m going to spend the rest of my life with someone, he has to have read my favorite book. Period.”

Me: “You don’t think you can be flexible about this?”

Her: “No.”

Me: “You know, he’s still calling you up and taking you out to great places. I’d reconsider. After all, there are a lot of guys out there who would run the other way if you bugged them about reading a book.”

Her: “When I showed it to him, he said the cover was lamatable.”

Me: “At least he uses four syllable words. I’m impressed. Come on! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You know, if it were one of my books he was refusing to read, I’d say dump the jerk. But seriously. Having a favorite book in common is not a prerequisite for a happy marriage. Honest.”

Her: “I’m going to give him one more try. If he doesn’t read it, it’s all over between us.”
(She gets her coat and leaves)

I run to the internet and send an e-mail:

“Hey, I just saw your girlfriend. A word of advice. Look up (title) on the internet and find a good synopsis. Tell her you read the book!”

I get a message back:

“I’m sorry – I’ve decided to break up with her. She told me her favorite album was by James Blunt.”

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