It’s time again for another edition of NOT Harry and Louise. It’s where we take the questions submitted to the advice column by Washingtonian’s Harry Jaffe and his wife Louise, and answer them Fishbowl style. As we often say, if THEY’RE qualified to give advice, WE’RE qualified to give advice. So, let’s kick this off with their question from Romantic Reader:
I started dating a man three months ago. We see each other every weekend, we talk on the phone each evening (he lives an hour away, so we don’t see each other during the week), we laugh each time we speak, we both love being on the water canoeing and kayaking, and we sometimes watch TV together while talking on the phone and falling asleep. I can imagine this relationship continuing in a positive direction.
There is just one problem. He doesn’t read. I don’t mean he doesn’t know how to read, but he chooses not to read–anything. He joked that the last book he read was in junior high school. He is a college graduate, and I know he is intelligent based on our lengthy conversations. I always have my nose in a book, and I enjoy discussing what I am reading with my friends and colleagues.
Is this something I can overlook in a potential partner? I don’t know because I have never been attracted to anyone other than the erudite type.
When you enter into a relationship with someone, you will undoubtedly run into some conflicts. No matter how perfect you think your bond is, you will always find something to harp on. That’s just life. The question you have to ask yourself is.. ”What’s a deal breaker?” For us, someone who “doesn’t read” is a deal breaker. It’s not even that you should be looking for a spouse who is a book worm. The blanket statement of “he chooses not to read” indicates that you’re on an unsustainable path. Sure, you’ll be able to win practically every argument you ever get in with this shaved gorilla, but just imagine what happens when you run out of shit to talk about. (It happens.) If he’s “not a reader”, we can ONLY imagine what kind of movies he’s into. Let me guess. He thinks Jean-Claude van Damme got ROBBED of an Oscar for Bloodsport? If you’re smart enough to recognize that it might be a problem, he’s dumb enough to never wise up and learn to read. So, R-U-N out the door.
But, what do we know. We don’t have an advice column in Washingtonian magazine like Jaffe and his wife. What’s their advice? Let’s start with Harry…
Yes, it is something you might want to overlook. Bad sex? Loose with money? Rage? Halitosis? Addicted to porn? Devil worship? These and other noisome traits can be deal breakers in a young relationship. But giving a new beau the gate because he doesn’t share your love of reading seems a tad premature.
Once again, Harry and I disagree on something. Sure, ALL of the things he mentioned are potential deal breakers, but if Romantic Reader is already concerned this short into the lifespan of the relationship, it’s not going to get better. And she might be able to lead this new boyfriend to the water, but she can’t make him think. (Or read.)
What about Louise? She and I seem to be agreeing more these days.
Remember, give your guy free rein to express his opinions. Different points of view can make for the most interesting conversations. The conversation is what matters…Stop being a book snob.
Another swing and a miss. We’re not saying that the guy isn’t free to express opinions. But, if his opinions lead him to ask you “Kan wee goe 2 the Nickelback consert?”, then you will have problems.
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