According to eHarmony.co.uk, being an avid reader makes you more attractive to the opposite sex. Men who list reading on their dating profile receive 19% more messages on eHarmony while women receive 3% more. The statistics seem to be indicate that listing reading is one of the drivers for a woman to pick a man’s profile, whereas the same may not be true for men.
However, I beg to differ. I am pretty sure that when we were in college, the then-not-my-husband picked me solely for my reading and writing skills, in spite of the sea of womankind sending frantic mating signals.
Related reading: Can books enrich relationships and make a couple grow closer?
It is often said that one must learn lifesaving skills like cooking or changing a flat tyre. I am a strong advocate of this philosophy, so I learnt a lifesaving skill, which was relevant only to certain situations, given my limited life experience. I learnt note making and speed-reading. When it came to jotting down word-by-word what the teacher said, I was the go-to person.
When a management student encounters the world of application based learning, he or she relies upon one’s skills of gathering wisdom from various sources and encapsulating that knowledge into an easily reproducible form that comes handy during exams. Roving eyes noticed me blackening the virgin white sheets handed out during the first test of the MBA class. As I stood several times to take page after page of fresh sheet to replicate what was in my head on the paper, those said roving eyes skimmed my papers and copied down everything I had written there, perhaps my name and roll number even.
All of a sudden, I became the most sought after person in class. I became their last moment resort during exams. I learnt of the secret nexus that had passed on my notes across hostels when I noticed copies of my notes being manhandled by the photocopy shop bhaiya, otherwise known as Xerox Bhaiya. (By then, my MBA training had taught me not to use the generic brand name of Xerox.)
Write me some notes
The then-not-my-husband, on the other hand, didn’t have to stoop to such low levels. Instead, the computer geek had the idea to let me prepare the notes on his home computer. It was a win-win situation. The note preparation became more efficient and we could spend time with each other as well. Many years later, Aamir Khan would sing ‘love is a waste of time’; however, we never wasted time, because we had the geekiest romance possible, so much so that if Nicholas Sparks wrote a book based on our life, he would call it ‘The Notes’ and not ‘The Notebook’.
Several years later, my husband would thank his lucky stars that he married me.
Throwing the book at me
My reading addiction became his salvo every time I made noise about his TV/movie addiction. He could use it as ammunition whenever I pointed out that he was neglecting his duties as a father by being glued to the TV instead of playing with the boys and training them for cricket and football; skills I am clearly terrible at and hence excused from. “Even you are always reading or worse, writing, instead of helping children in their studies. You are wasting time as well,” he lamented every time I voiced my concern over his TV addiction.
Related reading: Our choices didn’t match, but our hearts did!
When he started his company, he did the one thing that every CEO does. He earmarked a shelf in his office for his books. However, his reading speed of one book a year would not fill a shelf and it wouldn’t do to be caught on the back foot if someone wished to exchange notes on the books on his display shelf. My husband, you see, is an unapologetic and unabashed slow or no-reader. Therefore, I, the wife who reads came to the rescue by sparing copies of much-highlighted smart books that she had read and written on the margins for good measure. I ensured that he understood the concept of the book and the thought process of the author before I gave him the book, however.
Tied up in books
When it came to setting house, the man of the house ensured he would get the maximum say in the design of the new home by entrusting me with the all-consuming task of planning the location, design, height and colour scheme of the library. Well, the library is a wall of floor to ceiling shelves, but the joys of sorting, cataloguing, arranging, and rearranging 600 books are hard to escape.
Ugly thoughts of giving away books to where they will be loved more cross the mind when confronted with the dilemma of arranging them much above or below eye level. After all, how can a book lover worth his or her salt relegate a book to where it will not be visible? Nostalgia strikes when an old favourite appears and irritation bubbles when a much-hyped yet terrible book crosses one’s path, forcing one to ask, “What was I thinking? Why did I buy this book?” Clearly, this task takes a lot of time and focus, leaving me little to spare for the rest of the house.
Related reading: The husband who couldn’t stop buying books
There’s one advantage, though
The husband therefore, has profited immensely from marrying a book lover. However, as far as I am concerned, I look at a friend arguing with her husband on who gets to read the new Harry Potter or Jeffery Archer first and I thank my lucky stars that I have no such competition at home. To not read a Harry Potter in mint condition? Blasphemy! To be plagued with the thought of spoilers on reading a new book second? Oh the terror!
I am, therefore, glad that I married a guy whose relationship with books is not as intense as mine.
Are you or your spouse (or maybe both) a reader? Here are some new titles you can look forward to in 2018.