Ever since Charles Warnke published You Should Date an Illiterate Girl, I think that’s the time that a lot of people (and by people I mean those who are around my age more or less, and within my circle) started paying attention to a particular persona, a stereotype even—that girl who seems to be perpetually happy and upbeat and lost in life all at the same time. It was a fun observation, really.
The ones who were considered too school for cool, the geeks who had braces and snorted when they laughed, those who were considered lame because they had a favorite Shakespearean comedy and could recite one of his sonnets (other than Sonnet XVIII, please) by heart, the girls who everybody else thought never had anything to say because they were quiet, and those who didn’t care about being too chatty about protagonists they were sure they were in love with (Jay Gatsby in his white suit, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Rochester, Holden Caulfield, etc.)—all of those girls who had taken a back seat when it comes to dating, finally had the spotlight on them.
All (or mostly) because of Charles Warnke. All because he wrote something so painfully true of girls married to literature and linguistics and poetry. But it didn’t stop there. Others wrote variations–less literary and more straightforwardly just listing stuff. Some other dude from Thought Catalog wrote something about dating a girl who reads, and a girl blogger from Tumblr wrote a post about why men should date a girl who writes. Another dude wrote an interesting post addressed to women this time, about dating a man who reads. There are countless poems about dating a girl who writes, reads, studies literature, who travels, etc. all in beautifully written truths not masked with condescension or irony. Of course I couldn’t resist so I did my own thing with Never Mind a Girl Who Writes.
All these posts make my heart flutter. And it’s not even because of all the interesting things people have to say about women writers (my age more or less). Yes they’re mostly true, but it’s not about whether they’re all accurate or not. No, not at all. And it’s most definitely not about the “dating” part of it.
Personally, it’s because of the fact that I feel that so many people have written about ME. I don’t care who wrote what for whom. I feel like I’ve been written about so many times over through those posts, and I think that other writers (aspiring, amateur—whatever) would agree. And they probably feel the same way I do. Or not. Maybe they just shrug because they’re more used to it than I am.
But God! Being written about! When I read blog posts like those, I smile. I spend so much time observing people and noting down little details about them and writing about all of it that I’ve forgotten how it feels to be written about. And not like in blurbs of novels where you see a paragraph-short description of the author, where he lives and what his current favorite color is. Neither is it like a thousand-page biography, which sadly sometimes turns into a major snorefest.
It’s because someone—a boy—understands. Someone understands the mess in my head and actually puts it into writing for everyone else to read and understand. Someone took the effort of listing in detail the things I thought was pointless to explain to someone who doesn’t “get it”. Someone knows me inside out, and he doesn’t even know me. How could that possibly have happened? I was shocked.
I was seriously spooked when I first read Warnke’s piece. Especially the second half. First thought was, “holy shit he knows about us.” Second was, “Ha! [insert name of friend here] is going to love this. That sentence is totally her.” Succeeding thoughts were along the lines of, “How the hell is he right about almost everything?” “How does he know we recite Keats!” “He’s wrong about that one, I don’t like Joyce,” or “This guy is actually good” until finally, “Charles Warnke, marry me.”
All this time, I thought we were the misfits, the misunderstood, the weird bunch. I thought other people have given up understanding us so I stopped giving a damn. And then Charles Warnke comes along and changes things.
So maybe it’s not too late to let other people in. Maybe, finally, they won’t find it too weird that you’ve already written something about them even though you’ve had an actual conversation only three times. Maybe someone won’t find it weird at all. Maybe it really is okay to tell people to date a girl who writes.