Nobody wakes up one day and decides to be a sex addict. Just like alcohol, sweets and shopping, sex has become one of the many vices I use to feel better about myself. It started out innocently as I navigated my way through university, rewarding myself with a martini, a piece of cake or an outfit after a hard day’s work.
I’ve never considered myself an addict to any of these things, even though I like to pound back tequila shots at the bar, eat an entire box of chocolates in one sitting or refuse to go home until I’ve completed an ensemble –- because while the craving to indulge doesn’t go away, I always know when enough is enough.
I’m not a chain smoker who can’t go 5 minutes without a cigarette, and the thought of losing my money to slot machines repulses me. I’ve never woken up from a blackout and an empty bank account, so having an addictive nature wasn’t a term I’d use to describe myself -– until this year, when I finally came to terms with having a sex addiction.
Unlike superficial activities such as the above, sex is one of the healthy activities in life that brings you closer to other human beings. It’s something everyone does and no one should be ashamed of. Growing into a sex-positive feminist who was shedding the conservative values of her upbringing, I embraced my sexual appetite early on and basked in the glory of being able to recite tales about past conquests. Men as a whole had sex often and freely –- why couldn’t I? It didn’t occur to me that something healthy could be considered an addiction.
Yet the first time I had sex, this insatiable urge grew inside me to have it again and again.
It was my 17th birthday, and I was lying in the single bed of my 19-year-old boyfriend. At least I thought he was my boyfriend. We had been seeing each other for a couple weeks after my friend begged me to come with her on a double date with this guy she met on Plenty of Fish.
Because I was grounded for my birthday for sneaking out the window the week prior, we were celebrating with a party at his place. After a few drinks, I had waved him up the stairs to see his room, a.k.a make out like the teenagers we were. Before that point I don’t even think we had kissed. It hadn’t occurred to me that the stop he made at the drug store before his house had been a condom run and we were going to have sex. But when he started taking off my clothes and asked if I wanted to, I said, “Umm, sure.”
Afterward, I felt nothing. So we did it again on the drive home. I wasn’t going to accept a reality where my first time was anything short of the magic society had taught me it would be. Soon, after some practice, what had once been a numb, out-of-body experience became a state of euphoria that produced a craving to get high with every orgasm.
Because I confused sex with an emotional connection like many women, I continued to crave it to feel loved -– something I lacked while growing up in a home where my parents concentrated more on the television than talking to me after a hard day at work.
My parents will never be the kind who hug voluntarily and genuinely support me in achieving my dreams. Their priorities lie in making money and living a comfortable life, not following a passion and living a larger purpose. So when I started running a magazine and it finally got off the ground, my mother responded with, “But are you making any money?”
I’ve spent 24 years trying to prove myself to my mother, believing one day she would become a warm, emotionally supportive parent. And while I know she loves me and did her best raising me, her irritability and mood swings have wreaked havoc on my self-esteem in the form of cold neglect and yelling insults. My dad tried his best to keep the peace in our house, but mostly pretended everything was fine under the influence of daily rum and cokes.
This created a void in my heart -– and as I got older, I compensated by filling the void in my thighs.
This involved the person who I had my first time with for years to come. Friends who I was attracted to. And people I wasn’t attracted to. The more I had it, the more I wanted it, and soon sex lost all meaning and became more of a game: Who could I get to have sex with me next? With every exciting challenge, I felt better about myself. And with every conquest fulfilled I developed a further reputation as a homewrecker.
There was the musician who had sex with me when his girlfriend was upstairs. The writer who took me back to his place while his girlfriend was at work. The electrician who had broken up with his girlfriend and was pursuing me while she still lived with him. And the artist who didn’t tell me he had a girlfriend. I never set out to break the girl code, but my habits won over my morals and with every drink (there was always a drink –- it numbed the guilt), my inhibitions loosened. An important factor to note: Afterward, they always went back to their girlfriends.
You might be wondering why those with sex addictions can’t simply get off by themselves and leave others unharmed. To explain, a sex addiction isn’t really about sex at all -– it’s about feeling wanted, powerful and in control.
Sadly, most of the time for a sex addict those things are an illusion. You feel drawn to someone as if there is a force pulling you toward them and the only way to get them out of your mind is to get your fix. But once you do, you just want more. It’s really the other person who has the upper hand.
The men in my life had become drug dealers. They would somehow contact me when I was at my weakest –- and while I know they didn’t look at it as taking advantage of me, it was damaging to be the one they lusted over but didn’t want to be with.
I’m not saying my actions weren’t morally wrong, and I’m definitely not blaming my actions on my addiction. Of course I was attracted to these men and wanted to have sex with them. But the difference between a regular person having sex and a person with a sex addiction is that you can’t stop your actions even though you know you don’t want to go through with them.
The thought of getting high off someone’s desire for you, feeling the warmth of their body and of course having an orgasm is the only thing that consumes your mind.
These days, I’m working on healing the void in my heart. For once in my life, I’m at peace with being single and am only allowing healthy relationships into my life. I’ve successfully cut out the drug dealers and have started attending Sex Addicts Anonymous.
Unlike alcoholics who can’t drink without controlling themselves, sex addicts set their own limits to what is considered crossing the line. Mine is having sex with someone I don’t feel that magic with -– not the magic society tells you you’ll feel, but a real connection with someone. I’m living an ongoing recovery that is tempted constantly, but I’m finally able to say there’s more to life than sex.
This article originally appeared on xoJane.
I have anti-punctualititis. There I said it. You may laugh. You may think get a life, get a job, grow up and face the music, take a look in the mirror and cut your hair, or just set your f**## alarm! Go ahead, think away. But this is my life. I’ve set alarms, I’ve written lists, I’ve drawn up schedules (in 15 minute increments), but nothing works. I HAVE ANTI-PUNCTUALITITIS.
I have anti-punctualititis to such a degree that only last night, after beginning to write this very confession, I packed up my computer at the cafe I frequent to write, went home to feed my dog, threw on some heels, applied some killer red lippy and then hopped on the freeway (hello LA!), only to meet my theatre date at the wrong parking structure, 10 minutes late. It was when I reached into my purse to pay the parking attendant that I realized I’d also left my wallet at home. My friend courteously paid for me and then as the two of us RAN to the theatre he said “I always find something to do or somewhere to stop-over on my way to meeting you.” “Why’s that?” I gasped as I struggled to keep up with him in my 6-inch heels. “Because you’re never early.” (That was him being polite.)
I’m the kind of person who other people expect to arrive 30 minutes after the agreed meeting time. In fact, that would be considered punctual for me, slick even. I’ve been known to keep grown men waiting for 45 minutes to an hour on first dates (a conversation starter indeed.) My problem has been the cause of great relationship hurdles. An ex-boyfriend of mine would become sick with anxiety when we’d arrive at the theatre as the lights were going down and we’d have to clumsily climb past and over people in the dark to get to our seats.
To make matters worse, I also have an unfortunately low geographic-navigational IQ. So when I accidentally leave myself 10 minutes to get from Silverlake to West Hollywood (historically a 25 minute trip on a good day), I will likely miss my exit off the 101 and then take a wrong turn onto San Vicente or La Cienaga or whatever. By the time I finally find the street, I’m normally so strung out that I miss 3 available parking spots and find myself doing laps around the block, only to discover that those parks have now been taken.
That’s arguably the worst part about anti-punctualititis – arriving everywhere panicked and windswept (yes, after throwing a few coins into the parking meter, I RUN for my life!) So we extreme tardy-sorts tend to carry manilla folders of excuses (white lies) that we effortlessly pluck out on arrival: “I’m so sorry, the traffic was a nightmare!”, “My GPS had a melt-down and took me to Burbank!”, “I was held up on a long distance phone call…”, “my puppy took a dump on my room-mates bed” (that one actually happened to me), “my boyfriend was sick and we were out of Advil”, “that time of the month…”, “my car broke down and then miraculously started up again 30 minutes later. Go figure!” As you can imagine, this off-kilter entrance starts everything off on a, well… off-kilter note.
What’s really weird is that I’m surprisingly intolerant of other people’s tardiness. It’s kind of like a social smoker who can’t stand the smell of smoke when they’re not smoking. For instance, I’m finally in a relationship with someone who takes longer than me to get out the door. And it infuriates me. While he casually ties his shoelaces, looks for his phone charger or brushes his teeth, I pace around the room and hurl insults. It’s like – I’m already late enough for both of us and now you’re going to make us REEEAAALLYY LATE.
I guess you’re thinking – serves me right – right? The thing is, I have the same upstanding intention to get to places on time as you have. And in all sincerity I couldn’t pin my anti-punctualititis down to a lack of respect for others. Quite on the contrary – I may be really excited to see someone or wish to impress them, but for some reason it just doesn’t translate.
When researching “people who are late all the time” (that’s literally what I punched into Google), almost every article I read (The New York Times, The Huffington Post, psychologytoday.com, Lifestyle) referenced Diana DeLonzor. Apparently the universal expert on the matter, DeLonzor is the author of Never Be Late Again (clearly the next self-help book on my reading list). DeLonzor explains of the extremely tardy, “ It’s not that they don’t value your time. It’s not that they like the attention when they walk into the room.” She goes onto say, “Most late people have been late all their life, and they are late for every type of activity — good or bad.”
DeLonzor believes that late people break down into 7 groups. The first group are “the deadliners” (the most common of us) who subconsciously get high on the adrenaline of getting things done last minute or on a deadline. The second group, “ the producer”, “consistently over schedule” with the belief that they can get everything done in a small amount of time. The third group are “the absent minded professors” who are easily distracted people and who DeLonzor believes may even have a diagnosable condition such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The fourth is “the rebel” (less common) who actually enjoy the attention of being late and/or getting a rise out of people. The other less common groups are “the rationalizer” , “the indulger” and “the evader” .
Am I allowed to admit that in a bizarre way I relate to certain elements of them all?
As I kept reading I became unnerved; while this little written confession of mine began as a sort of tongue in cheek jig, Delonzor’s words began to weigh heavy. Myself and my fellow anti-puntualititees are a whole “type”. Like a community or a race. And we’re spread all over the world – all running late in unison. People write about us, some research us, complain to each other behind our backs and even tweet about us! A few weeks ago Huffington Post blogger, Greg Savage, was applauded with a disarming cacophony of Facebook likes when he posed the question, “How Did It Get to be OK for People to be Late for Everything?” He continues, “… an arrangement to meet someone for a business meeting at a coffee shop at 3pm, more often than not means at 3.10 you get a text saying ‘I am five minutes away’ which inevitably means 10 minutes, and so you wait for 15 or 20 minutes, kicking your heels in frustration… It’s simply that some people no longer even pretend that they think your time is as important as theirs. And technology makes it worse. It seems texting or emailing that you are late somehow means you are no longer late. Rubbish. You are rude. And inconsiderate. ”
But good old DeLonzor defends us late-comers: “ Lateness is really a commonly misunderstood problem… Yes, it’s a rude act, but I’ve interviewed hundreds of people and the vast majority of late people really dislike being late, they try to be on time, but this is something that has plagued them throughout their lives. Telling a chronic late person to be on time is like telling a dieter, ‘Don’t eat so much.’”
I’m sure culture has something to do with it. My parents taught me that it was rude to arrive at a dinner party any earlier than 30 minutes late. And any guests who arrived at our house at 7pm when they were invited for a 7pm dinner were frowned upon as uptight. I have a distinct memory of my whole family entering the church and creeping into a back row pew well into the ceremony of my First Communion. While admittedly I was a little disappointed that they’d missed some of it, secretly I smiled inside – they were my tribe.
Perhaps this is why when I was in the sixth grade I wanted nothing more than to play The White Rabbit in my primary school production of Alice in Wonderland . So much so that a thespian family friend coached me, in preparation for the audition, on the characterisation of the role and on the White Rabbit’s idiosyncratic song “I’m late I’m late for a very important date!” But when the cast list came up and my name appeared beside ALICE and not beside THE WHITE RABBIT, I cried a big fat anti-punctualititis of a river.
According to No More Mr. Nice Guy, Dr. Robert A. Glover defines a Nice Guy as a man a woman calls her friend but doesn’t find him sexually attractive. Being a Nice Guy gave me one of the worst nights of my life.
I took the train from NJ to Brooklyn to meet up with a girl I was in love with. I bit my lip hard thinking about her. Blood fell on the expensive bottle of wine, which I held to my chest. Quickly wiping it off, I kept reminding myself how bad I wanted the night to go smoothly.
I booked a reservation at Beauty and Essex in the Lower East Side. The New York Times reviewed it as a “Lower East Side phenomenon that seduces beautiful folks and celebrities with its sexy, eclectic New American edibles.” It seemed like the perfect place to impress a date.
Because I arrived at her doorstep early, I stood out in the summer heat for a half hour. I didn’t want to interrupt her getting ready because this place had a strict dress clothes policy. When she opened the door, I was stunned. Instead of following the dress code, she wore a summer dress fine for a picnic. I kept my mouth shut in fear of discouraging or hurting her feelings. But I already felt uncomfortable and embarrassed dressing better than her on our first date.
After the long subway ride from her apartment to the restaurant, we were surprised. The front of it was a pawnshop. There were guitars, jewelry, and even antique women’s vibrators for sale. Feeling somewhat awkward, I asked a giant man who looked like he could be the bouncer if he knew where the restaurant was. With little effort he swung a massive door open. What I saw was beautiful.
A brightly lit chandelier hung from the ceiling and to the right of the check-in desk was a spiraling wooden staircase. Beveled mirrors reflected the glow of rich men and women in their mid-twenties and early thirties. Lots of white and dark wood surrounded the round booths and tables. The skylight in the middle of the grand dining room was breathtaking.
A tall blonde waitress approached us and because she exposed most her creamy, thin legs as possible she seemed ready for a runway, instead of serving us. Her fingernails glistened as she grabbed the neck of my bottle of wine, saying it was her favorite brand.
Before I could say a word, the waitress whispered something in my date’s ear. I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but my date decided to go to the ladies’ room. She came back with free pink champagne that she couldn’t stop raving about. Our conversation was one-sided because she commented how handsome other men looked, how she was jealous of the women they were with, and how the loud rap music didn’t fit the decor of the restaurant.
Feeling helpless in the moment, I was backed into a corner where winning her approval or even getting her attention was out of the question. But I didn’t argue with her because I wanted to fit in with the jovial crowd around us.
The bill came and I was bewildered about if we should split the dinner. I wanted to take off, but I hyped this night in my head and didn’t want to disappoint her. To impress her, I pulled out cash, more than I’d spend on ten dinners on myself and told the tall blonde to keep the change. Yet, I felt awful about what I’d done; it would take a month to get that money back.
When we checked out the nightclub at the top of the wooden staircase, I rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. The cheerleader effect was in motion because women outnumbered men 11 to 1. However, I kept close to my date because this night was about her, not them. She started ordering drinks at the bar like she owned the place. I emptied my pockets with no resistance. I wanted the date to go well and couldn’t say no.
While I ordered more drinks, three Swedish women began to speak with my date. Their conversation was lively and I didn’t want to ask them anything or cause any trouble so I pretended to listen to their words. One of the Swedish girls asked me to go outside with her to keep her company while she smoked a cigarette.
Outside in the cold and back into reality, the Swedish girl mentioned that my date was very cute and that we looked good together. I said the date wasn’t going well so far and not sure if there was something I could to make it work. She replied that I should go make a move. I told her I didn’t want to force anything; I’d rather try when my date was comfortable.
A beautiful woman was giving me advice and I was talking to her comfortably, but all I could think about was how to turn my mismatched date around. This was demoralizing because of how much fun I had with her, more than my own date.
After a couple of guys harassed the Swedish girl from the sidewalk, we went back up upstairs, and my date was escorted out of the restaurant. She had too many drinks and she was my responsibility now.
I told myself I was going to make sure she got home OK, even though I couldn’t stand her anymore. I ended up putting her to bed in her apartment and slept on her couch for an hour. Waking up in a sweat, I found her cat crawling all over my body. I felt like dying. I was dehydrated from all the hard drinks and my allergies from the cat were kicking in.
I wanted to pack up my things and leave quickly, but I didn’t want to be that guy who doesn’t say goodbye. When I walked into her room, I could feel the cat hair on my fingertips. I was getting weaker and weaker.
As a Nice Guy, I wanted to avoid conflict like the plague, so I didn’t mention I was sick from my cat allergies. If I didn’t complain, she might still want to see me again.
I told her I was getting some fresh air, but instead walked to the subway station. I built a lot of resentment for her, however I didn’t want to lose her over one date. She never called me back.
Looking back on that night, I now see the error of my ways. I’m continuing to grow and have figured out how to be a nice guy without being the Nice Guy, something I never want to be again.
Instead of losing friends because I bother to argue my point of view, instead of driving women away because I look after my own needs, and instead of alienating co-workers because I assert my presence, I now assure people of my ability to stand firm in my convictions and to take care of myself. I know these things are obvious to anyone on the outside, but to someone who has believed his whole life in the lies of the Nice Guy, it’s an eye-opener.
When he asked if I’d like to fuck in the toilets of the club I hesitated.
I am both a feminist and a virgin but sometimes I buy into society’s structures.
I know that slut-shaming is wrong. I know that consent is right.
I know that the concept of virginity is crooked and underlined with hypocrisy: be a virgin for too long and you’re a frigid bitch, lose your virginity ASAP and you’re a “slut”. I know that double standards exist and that the idea that only men desire sex and a woman must obey is absurd. Any woman of any ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or age should be able to do whatever the fuck she wants, whenever the fuck she wants and with whomever she wants.
I know all these yet when he asked me to have sex with him I hesitated.
I would like to lose my virginity. I would like to engage in casual sex without it being a major issue. I would like to have one-night stands and leave people begging me for more, more, more.
I would like to be sexually free.
I should have said yes.
But I didn’t.
As much as I dislike the “pressure” of a girl losing her virginity to a boy and how heteronormative and cis-focused it sounds, I am still a 19 year old naïve and cis straight white girl who fantasizes about a prince sweeping her off her feet.
As much as I’m against slut-shaming of all sorts, I couldn’t help but think of what my friends would say or how my mother would react if she found out.
As much as I believe in consent, I couldn’t help but feel obliged to say yes. Like if I didn’t say yes, that it’d be over. I’d made the first move only moments earlier and asked if I could kiss him… he’ll think I’m a tease if I don’t follow through, right?
But no, I didn’t owe him anything. All the feminist blogs said I don’t.
But my drunken head said I did.
But I didn’t.
Truthfully I wanted both.
I wanted to have sex with him in a public bathroom, toss the concept of virginity aside and then never speak to him again. But I also wanted to say no because I knew that as much as I’d like to feel sexually kick-ass, the repercussions would weigh too much. I’d feel immense guilt because society tells me to even though my feminist brain will be celebrating. I’d stress about STIs and pregnancy, stress about my reputation, stress about my self-esteem and self-loathing afterwards.
My identifying as a feminist has been easy for me so far because I haven’t had to face these morally grey moments where I have to really question what I want. How much do I care about what others think vs. how much do I care about being true to myself? How do I know if I’m being true to myself anyway? How can I wave the feminist flag and yet still succumb to society’s standards?
When he texted me the next day, after asking for nude pics at 4am, I told him that I’m into casual but not that casual. And then told him to delete my number.
Some weeks ago, an essay with the attention-grabbing title of “You Should Date an Illiterate Girl” began popping up in my social media feeds. It’s unclear why the piece, written back in 2011 by a chap named Charles Warnke, went viral again recently, but whatever the reason, his satirical love letter to the unlettered was showing up on Reddit, on blogs, posted by Facebook friends with comments like “Yes. Thank you.” and “Truly beautiful.”
The essay didn’t sit right with me. Rather than subverting some alleged societal assumption that girls who read aren’t dateable, it seems to anthropologize this subspecies of human—“girl”—as a kind of rare bird whose experience is wholly unlike that of other humans; it codifies and concretizes the differences between “reading girls” and “non-reading girls” by way of baroque and broad stereotypes.
Here I should note a couple things: first off, I’m a girl. And I read. I do crazy things like reading Ulysses by choice and participating in NaNoWriMo and working in the publishing industry. It should also be made clear that, notwithstanding a baffling few readers who didn’t see the irony in the piece, Warnke’s essay exalts girls who read. Well, thanks for the compliment, but no thanks.
Let me enumerate the implied assertions in the piece: pretty, smiling girls from the Midwest don’t read; it’s okay to smugly laugh at pretty smiling girls from the Midwest, probably because they don’t read; real human connection can’t be forged over trivial things like “shared interests” or “common ground” (Implication: they can only be forged over books); girls who don’t read like to decorate and care about things like the shower curtain being closed (Implication 1: girls who read don’t care about that stuff. Implication 2: Caring about that stuff is reproachable.); getting a career, buying a house, and having kids with your life partner is also reproachable; all girls who read are as articulate as the writers whose words they consume (Duh! I wrote the next Pulitzer winner after I finished The Orphan Master’s Son last week.), and thus they possess “a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled – a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder”*; a girl who reads has also, by default, “read up on her syntax”; girls who read possess the personality-parsing and future-telling skills of a psychic therapist; girls who don’t read do not expect that their life partner be a full, robust, and honest person; girls who read expect their lives to be perfect, and expect someone else to write about them.
Before I get to the issue with the larger argument of the piece, there’s the unfair, tired stereotypes that split girls into two distinct camps. The characterizations are lazy, the stuff of sitcoms and movies like She’s All That: smart girls are serious, introverted, unconcerned with material things; dumb girls smile and laugh, enjoy attention, are superficial. Also, you’re smart if you read, you’re dumb if you don’t. These assumptions are shaky at best and very problematic at worst, but that’s an issue for a different piece.
The larger conclusion Warnke reaches after touching on the above seems to be this: girls who read expect their lives to mimic the plotlines of books. This expectation is inexplicably glorified, while the notion of a life that mimics movies—and let’s acknowledge here that there are beautiful and profound movies and really dumb books, not just the reverse—is categorically derided in the first paragraph.
Regardless of the medium, though, this notion that it’s admirable to seek a life that’s worthy of a novel or a memoir or a film is bullshit. It must be the cause of deep unhappiness in countless young people, people who have had more experience with fictionalized reality than reality itself and expect the latter to conform to the former, who don’t understand that the most beautiful and fulfilling and lasting of relationships are sometimes the opposite of story-worthy, they have subplots that never resolve, there are character traits that don’t get explained, there are shitty chapters that aren’t edited out, there are ones who got away and no epilogue to tell you where they ended up.
Stories, whether in books or elsewhere, are essential to dealing with the human condition. I believe in the intrinsic and substantial value of fiction to leading a happy life, for moving toward nebulous truths, and for coping with the unanswerable. But to expect a life that follows a narrative arc worthy of being immortalized in the pages of a book is to set yourself up for lasting discontent, to miss out on the imperfect but glorious experiences life provides.
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live,” Joan Didion famously said. “We live entirely by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images.”
The fallacy in Warnke’s assertions is right there in Didion’s words: we look back on the lives that we lived, and to make sense of it, to give it meaning, we create a narrative. Attempting to do the reverse seems a dangerous, and pretty stupid, proposition.
Perhaps strangest about this piece was the response to it. First, there was the oddly high proportion of people who didn’t discern the thickly laid irony, and lashed out at the notion that Warnke really hates girls who read. They responded, arguing essentially the same point as the original piece, except more emotionally and without the satirical framing device. They took the “girl who reads” character to even greater extremes, describing her as the type who is “up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping,” who is some sort of intellectual fairy, flaky and carefree and ethereal.
There were also the people who understood the irony and came out in agreement with Warnke, declaring that Yes, this is what girls who read are like! And yes, that is a good thing! I’m truly confused by all the avid female readers and smart males in my life who are posting this essay: have we all been so convinced by caricaturized versions of “the girl who reads” that we honestly believe they’re somehow deeply better humans than those who don’t? I believe firmly in the benefits of reading fiction – that it can expand our understanding of each other and the joy we take from life – but I’m concerned about the suggestion that reading alters one’s essential emotional makeup.
I’m also afraid that this romanticization of girls who read has created a new form of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl—the Melancholy Pixie Reading Girl—an archetype that could be just as annoying and harmful as its predecessor. With this archetype, the act of reading is appropriated from the girl, no longer something she does because it fulfills, educates, challenges, or inspires her, but because it is a character trait that belongs to a type of girl she believes she should be, a type of girl that is as much a work of fiction as the content of her books. Her reading no longer belongs to her; it’s performative, not immersive.
I’ve spent much of my adult life trying to explain to my non-reading friends why fiction is important, trying to argue against their declaration that they only read nonfiction because “When I read I want to be learning something.” Fiction has incorrectly been cast off as something non-essential, something fluffy and sentimental, something belonging to the realm of soft and emotional, the feminine, not directly connected to the world, to day-to-day human relations, to the facts of existence, to men. For all Warnke’s clear love of literature, I fear that this love letter to books has merely created external reasons for why girls read, and confirmed fiction’s new role in society.
But maybe I’m just taking it all too seriously.
After all, I’m a girl who reads.
NOTE: This piece is not meant, in any way, to call into question the writing skill of the author. His words are darn pretty. I just don’t think what they’re saying, as a collection, is fair, correct, or poignant.