Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bookstore Speed Dating

Jessa Crispin, the Bookslut goes speed-dating in a bookstore. What will they think of next? The whole enterprise is a punchline waiting to happen.

But then, it gives a dim view of straight men and their reading habits. Maybe only gay men can go cruising in bookstores these days.

Who knew that six minutes could last so very, very long?

I truly thought going into the event that the attendees would be the bookstore’s customers. Not so. Evidently, this speed-dating event happens every week, most of the time taking place at a bar. Many of the men had come to these before. I asked each speed dater, "Have you been to this bookstore before?" Not a single one had.

During the break, I wandered by the line for the bathroom, and the women looked shell-shocked. "How’s it going?" I asked. Women nearly crumpled into piles on the floor. "Who are these people?" one woman holding an Alex Kotlowitz book asked me. Joanne had been quizzing the men about what their favorite books were, and the responses were interesting. "One said his favorite author is Donald Trump," she told me. I guessed that had been a certain balding accountant, and I was right. "But he’s not even like a real accountant," Joanne said, gripping my arm. "He’s in payroll."

The second half of the evening went no better. There were two men who barely spoke English. Another guy in a Cubs t-shirt. One guy was really into Philip K. Dick, and I started to perk up a bit, but then he said he was a bouncer at a generic local version of Hooters.

Another gentleman said he was reading Catcher in the Rye at the moment. "Oh, that’s a good book," I told him. "Have you read it before?"

"I heard the guy that shot Ronald Reagan was carrying it on him and had to check it out!" says he. "It's a crazy book!"

I thought it was the guy who shot John Lennon that had Catcher in the Rye?

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