I was nervous going over to his apartment for the first time––all the thoughts women have about the worst case scenarios of going over to a guy's apartment for the first time swirled through my mind––but when I saw all the books, I knew I'd be okay.
I'm not saying a book lover couldn't possibly be the creepiest creeper who ever crept, but I tend to think it's unlikely. There's a certain level of empathy that's required to enjoy books on a broad scale and I tend to think the more empathy one is capable of, the less one tends toward assholery.
Maybe I'm biased, though in the case of my now-fiancé, my instinct was spot on. Today is our three year anniversary and despite how nervous I was the first time I went to his apartment, there's no one I'd rather share a library and a house with.
We met on the internet, as many couples nowadays do. I was pretty clear in my dating profile that I like books a LOT and I wasn't going to date anyone who didn't appreciate that about me. I've heard of couples where one of them doesn't like to read and it causes problems for the one who does. The non-reader wants to talk when the reader wants to read, the non-reader thinks the reader is too much of a homebody, the non-reader doesn't understand why the reader would buy books when there's a perfectly good library in the neighborhood...
I've been a bibliophile all my life, which is long enough to know that my book obsession isn't something I'm willing to compromise on. And I'm so glad I didn't.
It was hard to imagine I'd find someone who loved books as much as I did, but it happened. Jon may not have a book blog like I do or be in four book clubs like I am, but he has nearly as many books as me and makes time every day to read. So he understands when I just want to stay in for the evening and curl up with a good book. He understands when I'm engrossed in a story and don't want to cook dinner even though I'm hungry. He understands that if he talks to me and I'm at the really good part, I may not answer.
And I return the favor. It's an agreement we have about the way we live our lives––one that I probably wouldn't have if I were with someone who just didn't get it.
We go on dates to the bookstore. We go to book signings and sometimes wait in line for hours to get an author's signature. We acquire books faster than we read them. When gift-giving occasions arise we most often give each other books. When we go on vacation we visit authors' homes and check out the bookstores and libraries in the area. It's not one person making a sacrifice because they know it's important to their partner––it's both of us doing these things together because we genuinely love it.
I'm not saying I'd tell someone who's a big time reader to avoid dating or marrying someone who's not a reader, but I would encourage them to consider how respectful their non-reading partner is of their reading habit.
I know being with someone who not only respects my reading habit but shares it has made all the difference. There's no one I'd rather be with, especially since bibliophilia is just one of his many wonderful qualities.
We're currently engaged, though I'll be looking forward to the day when I can say, as Charlotte Bronte wrote in Jane Eyre, "Reader, I married him."