For some reason.
Anyway, I tried. After seeing her shelve everything I handed to her, including Barbara Kingsolver’s, The Poisonwood Bible and Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto, I am exasperated.
"I hate reading."
"I know. The trouble is, saying that is the rough equivalent of someone saying ‘Ew’ to Japanese food without ever having tried it."
"Yeah, I hate Japanese food, too..."
I roll my eyes and headed for the checkout. Along the way, she began intimating that I should get something "racy." She held up Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner (she had no idea what it's about), and seemed to think that the idea is terribly funny.
I know that she’s a hopeless prude and suddenly saw an opportunity to shock and horrify. I didn’t hesitate. "How about this... I’ll pick up something ‘racy,’ but you have to read it."
"I bet you think I won’t."
I laughed. "S., I know you won’t, and suggesting you will is just being disingenuous. You’ve never been willing to follow through on any of your flirtations in that direction. The thought of being physical, much less sexual, outright terrifies you."
"One day, I’m going to surprise you. I mean, there’s this guy I’ve been talking to on matchmaker.com who..."
"Yeah, I know. I’ve gotten this song and dance before. Follow."
I led her straight to Henry Miller, grabbed Tropic of Cancer and handed it to her. She put it down before she even looked at it.
"I know who these people are."
"And have you read Miller?"
No answer. I turned around and pulled Annais Nin’s Delta of Venus off another shelf. To my surprise, she actually took a moment to read the back cover, but then I saw the familiar pained twisting of her features that signify that I’ve breached her limit. She had been scandalized.
She said, simply, "I can’t read this, it’s dirty."
I nodded. "And now do you see my point? You’re running around seeking just enough titillation to reach the edge of your comfort zone, but when it comes to actually crossing the line into something substantive, you balk."
"But it’s dirty."
"Damn straight, and in spite of all of your bragging, you can’t let yourself read it. You’ve no business acting the coquette with me if you’re unwilling to follow through."
"I still think I’ll surprise you someday."
"Yeah? Read the Nin."
"Wha... I can’t."
"Right, and that’s precisely why you’re not going to surprise me, and why you’ve frustrated every single guy you’ve dated since I’ve known you. Either pick up the Nin and prove that you’re sincere or leave off. I’ve enough to deal with without your pretending to flirt with me."