Ask a Literary Lady: Is It Ever OK to Read on a Date? Yes, Actually.

LL2Dear Literary Lady,

When is it ok to read on a date?

–A.V., Brooklyn, NY


Dear Readers,

You might think A.V. asks a silly question. You might think it too silly to even answer in my column. You might think the answer, obviously, is “never.”

Well, dear reader, you’re wrong. There is one occasion on which I avidly advocate picking up your book on a date. Yes, that’s right: One occasion where flipping open your novel at a candlelit table is perfectly acceptable, one occasion where browsing your book on a romantic stroll is undeniably justifiable.

When is that? When your date picks up their phone.

We live in a world where even the promise of love, romance, and potentially not dying alone is not as interesting as a photograph of your friend’s going-out outfit reflected in her bathroom mirror. We exist during a time where you can barely hold onto your potential soulmate’s attention between the appetizer course and the main course. We have spent entire dates with people who keep wishing we’d go to the bathroom so they can check their email.

That’s no way to live, and no way to love. I’m sick of it, so I say this: If you’re ever on a date with someone who checks their phone, go ahead and whip out your book. Why should they be allowed to waste your time? Especially if it’s precious time you could be spending at home, curled up with a book?

What’s more, pulling out a book is a 100% guaranteed, Win-Win, Dating 101 Certified Power Move. For one thing, you look smarter and more refined than your date when you’re holding a book and they’re thumbing their screen. Second, if you do this enough times, your date will start to get the hint that their phone habits are not appreciated. Third, if they don’t get the hint or don’t care, you’ll both realize that you enjoy your handheld pastimes much more than each other’s company.

So there you have it, readers. If your date is aglow with the light of their phone, you are completely within your right to take out your book and read to your heart’s content. (And if you ever doubted my ability to come up with a way to read on a date, don’t ever doubt me again!)

Love and paperbacks,

Literary Lady

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