I’m not allowed to talk about reading or writing with my friends. They consider these activities to be deviant behavior, and they feel that openly discussing them is incredibly distasteful. I’m something of an enigma. A nerd without any nerd friends.
For the most part, those people closest to me are willing to overlook my irregularity, but, like anyone exposed to an embarrassing and poorly kept secret, there are limits to how far they will go to do so. For my guy friends, if I volunteer to drive to the bar, or a monster truck rally, or a knife fight, or any other suitably masculine event, and I happen to have a stack of library books in my back seat, they’re usually willing to let that go with a few eye rolls and a token sneer of disgust. If I attempt to bring one of those books with me when we reach our destination however, they are likely to beat me viciously with unopened whiskey bottles.
If I express a desire to stay in at night because i’ve got some new books i’m excited about reading, they immediately become concerned that i’m either dying of cancer, or that i’ve turned into a lady, and gotten my period. The last time any of them finished a book that didn’t include pictures of naked women, it was when they were learning to read Dr. Seuss’s “Hop on Pop”, and that was way back in the 8th grade. If you ask them to name their favorite sci-fi masterpiece, their answer will undoubtably be the movie Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus.
With girls, the lines are a little blurrier because most women think they like guys who are intellectual, when what they actually like are attractive men who happen to wear eyeglasses, which really isn’t the same thing at all. They also oftentimes consider themselves avid readers because they skimmed three Cosmo articles and a half page of Twilight that one time when they were taking a poop and they were bored because they couldn’t find their iPhone. Unfortunately, eternal devotion to team Edward does not an avid reader make.
For them, my reading and writing is fine, even attractive, as long as i’m not actually doing it. “Hey Chantal, see my friend Max over there? Yeah, the guy that’s arm-wrestling Steve. He’s a writer.” “Oh my Glob, Jenny, that’s so hawt!” This adoration for a nebulous and highly romanticized idea swiftly breaks down when exposed to mundane reality. There is nothing quite as effective at cooling the fires of a woman’s passion as me irritably hunched over my desk wearing sweatpants and a beer stained undershirt, squinting at my computer screen for several hours. “Oh, you didn’t shower again today. And you wrote a story about wizards. No, I don’t want to read it. I’m sorry, but, umm, i’m going to go. Don’t call me.”
I know there are people who share my passion for science fiction and fantasy literature. I’ve just never met them.