Recently I heard this woman on NPR talking about an essay she wrote for the New York Times called "It's Not You, It's Your Books", the gist of which is that people have literary deal breakers in their relationships.
Being a native of Central Ohio I never really had a literary deal breaker in as much as I couldn't tolerate the company of someone who loved Ayn Rand or hated Dostoevsky, it was more like I was thrilled if the dude had a job, didn't have a mullet and could read at all, period. It was an extra super-duper double coupon bonus (and I didn't care what genres were preferred) if he happened to list reading as high up on his list of things he enjoyed doing.
Holding out for an avid reader totally paid off in the end because my husband (even though he doesn't enjoy fiction the way I do and is more into history and politics) is so brilliant it makes me want to weep with joy.
I am totally biased about reading, maybe unfaily so, but I have this thing like if you don't read then you must be stupid. Not that I'm some genius (my lips move when I do simple addition and I may even go blank and begin to drool) and I have certainly run into many people in my life that have proved this theory wrong. I used to work with a guy (at the construction company) who was functionally illiterate (like couldn't even fill out his insurance forms), but had an amazing photographic memory and could eerily recite shit that he had overheard word for word.
So it's fine not to be a reader, chances are I probably would have had sex with you anyway although I most likely wouldn't have dated you publicly or introduced you to my friends.
The concept of the literary deal breaker is how I knew that my best friend Amys marriage to Assface was as doomed as doomed can be when, not even one full year after their wedding, Assface proudly and pompously announced that reading for pleasure was a complete waste of time.
Amy was floored.
I probably mentally nicknamed him Assface right then and there.
Imagine the shock and horror of my poor darling Amy at this news. Like finding out you're married to Joseph Stalin or Jesse Helms or Roy Cohn. Fuck, name any historic killjoy.
Not that she hadn't noticed in all that time that he didn't care for reading. But he was a student and she just assumed that he didn't have the time. It never occurred to her that he or anyone on the planet could actually be anti-reading. What the fuck?
As I was saying, I didn't really have a literary deal breaker so much but I did have a movie deal breaker.
I loved the movie Raising Arizona so much that I saw it twice in one day. I went to see it at the theater the day it opened with my friend M. She and I both worked in retail at the time and had Fridays off so we went to the movies a lot on Friday afternoons. Matinee prices. We were young and poor.
Raising Arizona was the fucking funniest thing I had ever seen in my whole young goddamn life. M and I laughed so much we missed half the movie so we decided to shell out for it again at the next show.
It was too good not to share so we went to the pay phone in the theater lobby (because back then "car phones", as they were called were only owned by oil tycoons, real estate barons and Hugh Hefner) and called in the reinforcements, her boyfriend, my best friend, her sister and all our other friends and demanded they meet us at the theater immediately for our second viewing. We called as many people as we had change in our pockets to call.
A little later in life when I met Dan and Nature Boy I knew we would all be great friends because they loved Raising Arizona as much as me. To this day we all make references to and quote from this movie to each other. Some highlights include:
Not unless round's funny.
Sometimes I get the menstrual cramps... real hard.
Does the Pope wear a funny hat?
Let me sneak a little peek-a-loo!
I'm crapping you negative.
These things aren't as meaningful or as funny typed out here on my blog, but trust me Raising Arizona is all kinds of funny.
When I was a young singleton, and some man-boy was poking around looking for a date and he either refused to watch it, said it wasn't funny or didn't get it - he was immediately ruled out and the connection was instantly dead. I felt like if you didn't get that movie than you would never get me.
Flossing was my other deal breaker. That tidbit is somewhat unrelated to the subject of this post but a reminder to all you young (and old) single people out there of the importance of dental hygiene.
Now... on the other end of the spectrum I had another movie deal breaker in that I knew that if the interested party claimed to love any number of the Police Academy movies, Porky's, or anything having to do with Steven Seagal or god forbid Chuck Fucking Norris, not only would never work but I might have just run away screaming.
Anyhoo... if you have never seen Raising Arizona, what the hell is wrong with you? Rent it immediately. I realize that it's 21 years old now, but I think it is every bit as good as it was when it came out. I plugged in this scene for you that I found on YouTube. I never realized how much punch the Cohen Bros. were able to pack into a 7 and a half minute scene. There is not a millimeter of film wasted.
What movie, book or music is/was YOUR dating deal breaker?