Relax. According to The Guardian, a survey of over 2,000 adults carried out in the UK has found that books play a crucial role in influencing our opinions of strangers. Well, sure, but:
Half of those asked admitted that they would look again or smile at someone on the basis of what they were reading.
And it gets better… A third of those surveyed said that they “would consider flirting with someone based on their choice of literature”.
My mind is utterly boggled at the idea of actually asking grown-up people these kinds of questions – and why – but let’s just put that to one side. In fact, let’s not think about that at all. Ever. Because what would we have to blog about if it wasn’t for the latest stupid survey findings? But I digress.
The really good news is this:
The genre most likely to help you pull – the itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini of the books world – is the classics, followed by biography and modern literary fiction (think Zadie Smith and Sebastian Faulks, rather than Dan Brown and Martina Cole). Forget the gym: if you want to raise your dating game, head down to your local library and start borrowing.
Now, perhaps if you were an extrovert, it might occur to you to start chatting or possibly flirting, even though the person next to you is clearly engrossed in a book. For an introvert, such behaviour is unimaginable. But let’s face it, market researchers are extroverts and unlikely to consider any alternative scenarios, like someone scowling or blushing or losing her place on the page.
Most normal polite people only chat if you aren’t doing anything – except on long plane flights, when no amount of engrossed activity or even pretending to sleep will deter some.
I have to admit at this point that nobody ever talks or smiles at me when I’m reading anything vaguely of interest to me, and I would scowl at them if they interrupted anyway.
But when I had the misfortune to be stuck in an airport in the middle of the night with nothing but Dan bloody Brown, about a million people – well, men – came up and told me that Da Vinci Code was the best book they’d ever read. Until I innocently asked one what other books he had read and he couldn’t think of any.