You should date an illiterate girl ….


Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.

Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi, and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale, or the evenings get long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn’t fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.

Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn’t, smile all the same.

Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail, frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return, or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.

Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary, god damnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.

Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.

Date a girl who doesn’t read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.

Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you

Originally written and published by Charles Warnke – see more of his stuff here ——->>  on 19 January 2011.

RSVP’ing … what the fk is up with that?

I am trying to plan a birthday party for Georgia and Isabelle.

Georgia turns 6 on the 20 June and Isabelle turns 2 on the 10 June, so this year I thought it might be easier (for me) to just lump their parties together on the same day and we will have a party on the 11 June.

I am not going to be able to get away with this for very long, so I plan to take the gap whilst I can and it might be nice for the girls to share a birthday together, and I have got them skirts that match.  So as naff as that is, that is what is going to be happening here.

Parties are very stressful endeavours for me.

Planning them, attending them, just about everything party = stress for me.

(everything party = total oblivious Kennith)

I know this should be a happy time.  I should be basking in the joy and celebration of my daughters.  Planning a party (whether in my home or at a party venue is very stressful and make me anxious) gets a bit overwhelming for me.

Why?  Because it does become all about me at a certain point.

I want it to be a great party for my kids. I want in those two hours them to feel like the most important people in the entire universe.  I want them to remember the party and remember it fondly as a day where they were the most important thing in the world.

Kennith says I am throwing the party for the parties I did not have as a child.

He is not totally incorrect.

This party is like all the other parties I have thrown for my kids.

I am stressed, and anxious about the party. I worry that no one will come.  I worry that my kids will
not feel loved and have a good time.  I worry that I will be more socially awkward than I already am.

I worry there will not be enough food.  I worry there will be too much food.

But today I am pissed off that parents cannot follow a FUCKING RSVP.

I am starting to think/reason that maybe people (parents) do not understand what an RSVP is.

In my map of the world RSVP means – please tell me if you are coming or not, so that I can plan to make  enough food, buy enough wine, make sufficient party packs if you are coming.

If you cannot make it, no worries, just let me know, as then I do not have to wonder if you are coming and then start catering if you might come.  It really would save me about 3 hours and probably a few hundred rand if you did RSVP.  Use the cell number or the email, sms or email, you do not actually even have to talk to me,
I am fine with that.  Totally fine.   Just do not leave me hanging in this middle-earth of not knowing what you are doing.

But parents don’t RSVP.  Granted people don’t RSVP.

But why?

Is the time to write a “Yes, love to be there, thanks” or a “No, can’t make it, thanks” message either via sms or email just too straining on their time?

Is it because they are so inundated with invitations to so many events that they hand them to their personal secretary and she has overlooked this one.

Is it because they are unsure of whether they wish to come or not, and want to sort of leave it open in case something better comes along?

Is it because they really do not like me or my child and by not RSVP’ing they know that this will annoy me no end and also be a personal snub on my child?

Well, what is it then?

I am gob smacked as to what is wrong with people.

Why must I have to go back to each person and say “so are you coming?” so I can be sure whether to pack a party pack or not.

<I have had instances in the past where kids arrive to a party and the parents have not RSVP’d so I am left without a party pack for said child.  As a rule I pack 5 extra party packs now without names on them.  How bizarre is it that I adjust my behaviour because I expect parents to be self-absorbed-I-don’t-care-about-other-people-and-their arrangements people!>

<Sidebar:  I have had the same thing for big people parties, baby showers, weddings, so I am thinking that is not anything person against my child, though right now I do feel like it is a personal snub.>

If you get an invite, just respond say yes, say no – it really is pretty simply stuff. Takes no more than 5 second, 12 if you are stupid and can’t work an QWERTY keyboard.

Surely you get an invite, check your diary, right there you know.

If there is a conflict and you are unsure if you can make it then email the person ‘Would love to join you on the 11 of June, might have to have an anal tumour removed, but specialist doctor is checking avialability.  Fingers crossed.  Will let you know if it is a go on the anal tumour on the 9 June, if not, then I am definitely there.  Would much rather have some cake and jump on the jumping castle than the anal tumour removed.  LOL”

You get the idea.  What is the FUCKING big deal?

Do it within 48 hours of getting the invite, then you know they know and everyone can get on with their lives.

There are family and friends coming, but I wanted to include some friends from Georgia’s class and school who she asked to invite.

I sent out more than 20 invites to kids at Georgia’s school last week Friday and asked them to RSVP by the 6 June – I have heard from 2.

But that being said I had worked out in my head that of the 20 invites, I would get 10 RSVP’s and of the 10 only 5 would be able to come, I was fine with that as a final figure.

What has annoyed me is that even with my very practical mental calculation, and rather (very) pessimistic view on how crap people are, the RSVP rate is still lower than I had pitched it.

Really if you perform lower than my expectations, then you must suck!!

<I have some family members who I have sent invites to who have not RSVP’d either.  I am actually at the point where I want to go and sh*t on their doors steps. I am not sure of what point that would prove, but I am actually out of ideas.  My guess is if someone shat on your doorstep for not RSVP’ing, my guess, is you would be the best darn RSVP’er from that day going forward.  So it might work.>