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Bachelors and Books

He was a Cosmo Bachelor-of-the-Month. My friend, M., had snagged a date with one of those men featured by Cosmo magazine. He was a surgeon and he’d picked her letter out of hundreds.

The night of their date was the same night M., I, and our undergrad had planned to go see Toni Morrison speak. M. and I were in grad school and we’d been assigned undergrad English major to mentor. We’d all read Beloved and couldn’t wait to see Morrison in person.

The Cosmo bachelor agreed to come with us. He was only in town for a convention. He really lived in New York. M. agreed to drive, and so we picked him up at the very posh hotel, and he wasn’t in the SUV for more than five minutes when he took out his pot.

“You don’t mind, do you?”

I was a 23-year-old grad student, sitting next to a 19-year-old undergrad, on the way to see a Nobel Prize winner on Halloween night, my 28-year-old friend driving. I’d never smoked pot in my life. I shrugged.

M. said, “You’re a surgeon.”

He laughed. He was 40. “Yeah,” he said. “It relaxes me. Want any?”

We all said no. I don’t think he had the night he was hoping for.

Sometimes you read all these great things about a writer–they went to the right workshop, they know the right people, and they look good too. This literary magazine or other told you how amazing they were. Then you take their book out for a night, and it is not a book you’d ever want to kiss.

So. What great and wonderful writer did you finally get together with only to be left cold? What are people making such a fuss about? Why is a book chosen to be the book-of-the-month anyway?

10 thoughts on “Bachelors and Books

  1. That’s a bummer story. 😦 Too bad. But people are seldom what we expect in full, at least in my experience.

    I haven’t met any writers in person yet, so none of them have left me cold. But being older and a bit jaded about people, I probably won’t have overly great expectations of them should that ever occur.

  2. I’ve only met 1 author in real life, and he seemed like what he presented himself to be.

    As for those I’ve met online like you and others, I don’t think I have any expectations of you all being anything contrary to how you’ve come across online.

    The other author I know, I’m married to, and he’s exactly like I expected him to be. 😉

    Your experience was a real bummer. But you were young and sounds like he’d been built up so that your expectations were raised unnaturally. It also sounds like he didn’t really conduct himself like a gentleman.

  3. When I admire someone too much, I find it even harder than usual to talk to them, so it’s always good to discover that they’re no more perfect than anyone else.

  4. On the previous thread, I think, I mini-ranted about AS Byatt. Another in the “Huh? I don’t get it” category, for me, is Pat Conroy — at least, Prince of Tides.

    Maybe I’ve just been lucky, or maybe my standards are too relaxed ;), but as people, all the “real writers” I’ve met have been lovely.

  5. Sometimes when I’ve for one reason or another taken a writing course with a random writer and therefore felt obliged to read their work and felt lukewarm about the work, I’ve felt the same about the writer. I once had a writing teacher I loved whose writing I liked at the time only because I really liked her but later found her writing boring, self-centered and dated (ie 1970’s feminist) and then I decided I didn’t like her either and her books qualities rubbed off on her. I’m not sure I can ever separate how I feel about a book from how I feel about an author when I meet them. One effects my feelings about the other. This poses a problem for deceased authors. Or gives them an advantage.

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