Sunday, July 11, 2010

On B&N

I am informed, by my mother, that Barnes and Noble is a "meat market." Apparently people go there to flirt if they don't like bars. Now, I enjoy flirting as much as the next guy--depending on who the next guy is, I very well might enjoy flirting somewhat more than he does--but if someone tries to flirt with me at the bookstore it will be a problem. See, as much as I like flirting, I like books a manifold amount more. It's not even a contest. It's like if I was a die-hard Star Trek fan, and flirting was watching Star Trek while books were meeting Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, and Gene Rodenberry all at the same time. It's not even that I wouldn't necessarily flirt back in a bookstore, though it's eminently possible that even a very cute girl flirting with me while I was looking at books would be very annoying. What is most occurring to me is that if someone tried to flirt with me while I was looking at books, I might not even notice. I'm really curious whether this has happened, actually.

Maybe I'll be more aware next time I go to a bookstore. But probably not. One new Gene Wolfe novel, and I'm lost to the world.


Nat said...

Sometimes when I'm at B&N, or Borders, especially when I'm writing, I'll pause in what I'm doing to take a drink of water or just mull over things, and those sorts of thoughts will occur to me. Thoughts like, "Huh, this would be a perfect opportunity for a well-read, cute girl to come up and strike up a conversation that leads to a very fulfilling friendship or [before the initiation of my relationship with Sarah] something more, or for me to do so. Oh, there's even a cute girl over there. She's next to the Stephanie Meyer section but she might be passing by it on the way to get a Terry Pratchett book or something." Then, after giving her about ten seconds, I'd go back to whatever I was doing. I wouldn't do the impulsive thing and go over to her, not out of fear, but rather out of an innate desire not to act like a creep, combined with a strong sense of realism (re: the probability of such a relationship really working).

Plus, I've found that that movie-style conversation-striking-up never works as well as it should. Once while working at Panera I tried to talk to a girl who was reading a Neil Gaiman book. I'm not sure I'd say that I alienated her per se, but it was obvious that she hadn't bargained on someone talking to her and she didn't seem really prepared to deal with the eventuality. As Chesterton reminds us in that note Sarah posted recently, pubs (or in this case, bakery-cafes) are now places people go so they don't have to talk to people.

Nat said...

Also, is your mother giving you dating advice now?

Ethan said...

And even in your theoretical examples you still seem more aware than I would be in that situation. If I noticed the girl at all, I would slide right past the "strike up a conversation" thing and instead try do divine all her secrets by looking at her briefly, then use her as a character.

Actually, a girl tried to talk to me while I was reading a Neil Gaiman book in Taco Bell once. I think she had a British accent. We sorta-flirted, but I really didn't know what to do with it (this was a couple years ago so I was even more clueless than currently), so I kind of left awkwardly.

Also, my mother has ALWAYS given me dating advice, or at least tried to. Are you saying this isn't normal?

Anan said...

ROFLOL. That is all.