Reading a book is like going on a date with the author. You spend several hours alone together in a very intimate situation: you relaxing, hoping to forget about your worries for a few hours and have some fun. Meanwhile, the author does his/her best to get inside your heart and make you feel, think, or wonder about something new (that's our way of having fun.)
You always date authors who show you a great time, and keep their names in a little black book in your head. The best authors are the hottest dates; the ones you can't wait for; those few that you wish would date you every week. When you're in need of some fun and your datebook is empty, you'll even go back and relive the last hot date you shared.
Books by authors you've never read are blind dates. Aka duty dates or Mom-do-I-have-to's. You always have high hopes, but ugh. Is this really worth your personal time and investment? It's not like you're hard up for dates, or you'll have to shave your legs, but still . . . and sure, they may sound nice, but until the actual date it's all hearsay. The author might be great, or good, or okay, or the Blind Date From the Pit of Eternal Jackasses.
A warning from the authorial side of dating: don't judge us by whatever outfit we're wearing. If we're very lucky, it'll be something beautiful and appropriate for the date. If we're not, it's going to be an ugly brown dress with little rainbow cartoon dolphins leaping all over the skirt. We don't get to pick it out, so try to chuckle with us, not at us.
Back to the blind date: some of your friends will assure you that this author is sizzlin' hot, but these might be friends of that author, and somewhat oblivious to the fact that their friend's dating ability hovers only around lukewarm. Or friends who wear glow-in-the-dark lip gloss, have a safety-pin pierced eyebrow and use like to preface every other sentence. However eloquently they swear that the blind date is gorgeous, or has a fabulous sense of humor, or a very cool car (if all they can recommend is the car, stay home), until you spend a night with him or her, you'll never know.
Speaking as a reader, I'm up for any sort of date. It doesn't matter to me what color or religion or nationality you are, where you came from, whether you're straight, gay or other, or if you have a dating pedigree. You can take me anywhere you want to go. If you don't have a rec for me from a bigshot author, or a fancy outfit to wear, no problem. I don't care if this is your very first date.
I'm an easy date, but that doesn't mean you can take me for granted. Assume that you know me, batter me with your lack of self-esteem, bore me, drone about how without your genius I and the world at large would be bereft, demonstrate that you've attended every dating workshop on the planet, ignore me, immerse me in your hate, insult me, judge me, lecture me, invite me to kiss your ass, revolt me, smother me, sneer at me, suck up to me, talk about how much all your other dates worship you, tell me how to think, threaten me, throttle me with overcompensation for your lack of physical beauty/inability to have an orgasm/coping skills for your genital size-related anxiety, or yammer on and on about your dating standards and how woefully I fall below them, and guess what I'm going to say next time you call me?
If you really slam me with any of that crap early on, I will bail on you ten minutes into the date. I won't humiliate you in public, or ridicule you in front of our mutual friends, but no matter how often you call me later and try to make nice or persuade me into giving you another shot, forget about it.
But: if you amuse me, chat with me as if we were at my kitchen table trading war stories about old lovers, dream with me, enchant me, enthrall me, force me to set an alarm so I don't forget dinner, get me to check prices on flights to Paris or elsewhere merely from your descriptions, give me your truth, have me taking the Lord's name in vain under my breath, hug me, keep me up until 3:42 am on a school night, make me shiver, seduce me, share your wisdom with me, shake me, show me places I've never seen, sing to me, start me laughing until tears run down my cheeks, stun me, tease me, tempt me, thrill me, tickle me, touch my heart, weep with me, and wrap me up in your heart like a warm, soft quilt? Honey, I'm yours.
Not only will I date you, but I'll tell everyone I know to date you. I will set up dates with you for strangers and acquaintances. And baby, if you're really good, I will give away dates with you on my weblog, or give you a rec so hot it'll have to be rated in terrajoules. Whenever I talk about dating, I will bring up your name. Whenever I think of you, I'll remember our last date and smile.
Take my latest blind date: Gregory Frazier, author of Riding the World (nonfiction book about around-the-world motorcycle trips, and how to prepare for them.) I fell under the spell of Gregory's practical magic as fast as I was dazzled by his incredible photos of Nepal, Thailand, and Morocco. If you want to ride the world, read this man. He's a biker. He's a sage. He's amazing.
What about your last date with an author? Was it fine or fumbled? Scorching or tepid? What's your ideal hot date?