Except I actually do. This is a sentence I have heard twice in as many years. Two men who have said to me that they do not read. 
Not can not. Do not. 
Mark Twain, be still! 

Then I begin to think in my head about all of the love I have for books and all of the memories surrounding reading that exist in my life.  When I was five, I was on the front page of our town newspaper because I was there so much. I was already a reader and I was also going to graduate high school in the year 2000. In 1987, this was a big deal...for town newspapers. 

I seriously went to the library constantly. Bless my mother and father for buying a home around the corner from the town library. My parents also read to me every night. I was a repeat reader, always wanting the same stories, and I still like to re-read books. I love to see how the meaning changes as my life changes. Perhaps it is an exercise in vanity, but I really don't care. I love the story of Seal Child and who gives a shit if it was written for fourth graders and I am now thirty one? I also love Oranges are not the Only Fruit and can pretty much read that book once a month until who knows when. 
The point is, I love books. I have many books. When John Waters spoke about how you shouldn't have sex with people if they don't own books, my agreement soared like the Reading Rainbow logo. But what do you do when you meet someone who seems interesting, only to discover they do not read?

In my two experiences with this tragic event, the amount of time before I knew this about the person was different. The first one I didn't find out until a few months later, and there were books in his home. Clearly I had never asked to whom these books belonged, but I felt that the answer was obvious. 
So very wrong. He plainly put, unashamed and with no hesitation, that they were not his books and no, he did not read. 

I was shocked. I have NEVER heard this before. EVER. First time for everything. I have heard this again, from another man, recently. This time it was early on, and I really didn't know what to do. Could we work? Would he have much to say? I held out for his own observations and thoughts on life, but they came infrequently and much too quietly. 
Shocked is no longer the word....I was disappointed. I liked him, but I was sick of hearing myself talk. I actually do want to know someone else, rather than project. But then I thought more about this situation. If they are both so unashamed about not reading, who am I to shame them? Or anyone? About anything?
I mean. Of course reading is better than not reading. That isn't my point.
I once dated a very well read man. He probably was the most well read man I have dated. What a pill. He knew how well read he was, and it was pretty annoying. I loved sharing knowledge and ideas with him, but it always seemed like he tired of this because, and I quote, "I am running out of things to think about." 

Which basically should have been the most giant red flag you ever saw, but I stayed with him for years after that. UGH.

What I am trying to say is, reading doesn't necessarily make you smarter, more interesting, or more worldly. It just ups the chances. The reader is responsible for their own interpretation, but it doesn't automatically mean you're better. Better according to who?

It makes me rethink John Waters' quote. You shouldn't sleep with people who don't read just because they don't read, but also because you don't want to be the jerk to make them feel dumb about not reading. I mean, I love reading and in a perfect world everyone does. But you could say that about anything that you love. Peanut butter, suspenders, the color chartreuse. Fuck it, the drink Chartreuse. (Which I am now in love with, thanks to a friend.) 

What I am chipping away at is this: The world would not be great if everyone was the same. Period. And we know this from an early age, why?

Because there are books are written about this. 
The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches. And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
So in the end, while I still don't feel like I can really date anyone who doesn't really read, I also don't want to be the one dating someone who doesn't read and make them feel like they aren't good enough. 

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