Lists, Personal, Reviews

Guidance Counseling: A Top Ten List

(To be quite honest, I am totally stumped as to this week’s top ten prompt as hosted by The Broke and the Bookish – I’ve already done settings I’d like to see more of, things I avoid, and topics I want more of – so you get the following instead. I am so sorry.)

I am not romantic.

I’ve said it before and given the general content of my blog, it should come as no surprise.

That being said, I love a good romantic storyline (not novel) as much as the next person. However, all of the favorite best romances are atypical. Not standard. Unattainable. Insert whatever word means that I cannot have it. For example, you have Jamie and Claire (time traveler), Dex and Perry (ghost hunters), Matthew and Diana (vampire and witch, respectively), Benedick and Beatrice (I’m just not that witty, sadly), Aragorn and Arwen (take your pick of where to start), Buttercup and Westley (because Westley doesn’t exist).

Often it seems there is an inversely proportional relationship between the glamour/desirability of a relationship and the success/attainability of the relationship. Let’s take a few “real life” couples: Keira and Kellan (famous rock star), Kim and Kanye (no explanation needed), Ana and Christian (he just wants to be loved and, you know, he’s the world’s most successful twenty-something). All members of said relationships are human (fictional or not), but is the average person going to engage in a relationship that remotely resembles any of the above? No.

I not-so-recently (is there a time limit on sharing prior relationship fights?) engaged in a conversation, via text message, where I intended to be sweet. You may not know this, but I generally have a very sweet disposition. On occasion, at least. I, feeling warm and fuzzy, texted said guy a very simple “I love you”. He texted back “Thank you. That’s nice. What is it that you want me to buy you?”. Seriously. You can guess where it went from there – nowhere good. Nowhere good at all. This is what I want from authors. I needed guidance on how to handle that exchange. Where do you possibly go – amicably – from there? This week’s top ten list: Things On My Reading Wishlist (if you could make authors write about these things you would). I want authors to write – and write well – about the issues and fights that plague the average relationship. No billionaires, no one who looks like the hottest marble statue to ever grace the earth, no one who is a rock star or secret assassin… You get the picture.

Couple

Since we all know that literature makes us smarter and nicer, I would like to see more of the following situations from contemporary authors (a little free guidance counseling, if you will):

10. That fight you have about who takes out the garbage that turns into…”the fight that ends all fights”. Because we all want to know how to get to the point where relationship participants engage in mind-blowing make-up sex without actually having killed each other first.

09. That fight you have about who would win in the following fight: Batman vs. Daredevil. Because Daredevil. Hands down.

(Grammar nerds, I give you the evolution of because.)

08. What to do when the guy you’re interested in has not and will not read Jane Eyre. This is the fight that (probably) coined the term irreconcilable differences.

07. What to do when, on the third date, the guy asks if you would consider dying your hair blonde? (First, choke on drink.) Do you bother to continue seeing him? Because I generally think girls already have enough self-esteem issues to worry about. And why, oh why, is it always blonde?!?

06. What to do when, on the first date, your potential partner admits that Rascal Flatts is his favorite band. Because snobbery is generally frowned upon, but…

05. You meet a person who thinks there should be a limit on the amount of cardigans or flannels a person owns. There’s not.

04. When you hear the question “Who’s James Taylor?”. (Shudders at the memory.)

03. What to do when someone does not enjoy a good argument. Some people argue for fun. I am one of them.

02. Does not understand the art of the mixtape. Self-explanatory.

01. When you realize that only one of you lists seasons 1-6 of The X-Files as one of the best shows ever made. I want to believe it would work out, but let’s be realistic.

So all that I want is a little bit of reality inserted into my romantic reading. I want to know the proper response to an ignored text or how to perfect the restrained, polite response to a stupid question. I want to know what happens when one person is an X-Files kind of girl and one person is a Real World vs. Road Rules kind of boy. What happens next? I know dramatic literature is what sells, but what about all the quiet moments in between. Let’s start with any of the situations above – please and thank you.

That’s what I want to read about. So… What’s on your bookish wishlist?

Image found via Flickr.

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  • http://cheapthrillsbookblog.wordpress.com Charleen

    Re: #3, you and my husband would get along great. I’ll be defending my point for a good ten minutes before I realize he doesn’t even care. Ugh!

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      I love a good argument. I think it keeps things interesting. It’s boring to get along all the time.

  • https://plus.google.com/101419396182200079975 Ciska van der Lans

    I laughed out loud over this list..but you ARE right. Often situations in books are made so huge it is not humanly possible to have that too. How fun would it be to read a whole story about a couple being in love but not getting together as one does not like the X-Files.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      Often it’s life or death, or someone cheats, but I’d like to think that’s not what most of our relationships are like. Most of us fight over who cooks dinner, or who forgot to feed the cat, or “insert lame issue here”.

      And The X-Files – it is a deal breaker. Although if I’m in a good mood I’ll let Twin Peaks substitute for The X-Files.

  • http://www.rivercityreading.com Shannon @ River City Reading

    First of all this is the best list ever and second…I WILL NOT STAND FOR NUMBER 5.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      RIGHT!!! I know, I’ve had that very argument. Besides I have to live up to the librarian stereotype somehow.

  • http://btweenthecovers.com/ Heather

    So, if I told you I can’t stand James Taylor (it borders on abhorrence), our relationship would be over? Shit. Hahaha!

    Your list makes me thank the gods of dating that I’m done with that mess. Ugh.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      Not quite. My point is more of that the person didn’t know who James Taylor was. I don’t mind if you (or whoever) doesn’t like him, you just need to have an defensible opinion one way or the other. What kind of cultural rock would a person have to live under to not have HEARD of him? (Probably the same one that would lead a person to love Rascal Flatts.)

      The only deal breaker musician I have is Bob Dylan.

      • http://btweenthecovers.com/ Heather

        Well, I don’t dislike Bob Dylan–I think he’s a wonderful poet–but I don’t listen to his music. I enjoy reading his lyrics, though. Does that count?

        And yeah, I’d be surprised, too, if someone hadn’t even *heard* of James Taylor. And I’m with you on the country music. Not a fan. At all.

        • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

          It does! A general respect for him goes a long way with me.

          I don’t hate all country (anymore) – I think it’s a byproduct of live in the “mountain west” and being surrounded by it constantly – only about 99% of it. So, personal growth, though nothing shits me more than a Kenny Chesney or Carrie Underwood song…

  • http://froodianpseudoanalysis.wordpress.com DrFrood

    Immediate thought: your list puts me in mind of High Fidelity (specifically the ‘it’s what you like not what you’re like that matters’ argument)

    2) call it a personality flaw but I have a deep human need to have the occasional fight with my significant others… it makes for an easy life and all but some people really are too affable and it drives me nuts. Besides, very rarely, the fight ends up in bed, and that’s always fun. So I agree with you there.

    I’ve always found the angriest and most bitter fights spring from the trivial, minor stuff. No idea why, just my experience. Maybe because the serious problems cause you to bite your tongue a little?

    Your 3rd date ‘why not go blonde’ guy… Wow.

    Finally, there is no way Daredevil beats Batman, don’t be silly. All Batman has to do is make loads of noise, or shoot him from a distance with one of his gadgets or just, y’know, get in for a punch-up because Batman could easily take Daredevil. Because Batman.

    Also Batman is a borderline psychotic right wing fantasy who has nothing to do all day but sleep and work out, whereas Daredevil is an alliteratively limp left wing liberal (and a lawyer by day), so…

    • http://froodianpseudoanalysis.wordpress.com DrFrood

      Or he could run over Daredevil with his car.

      See above about Daredevil – he doesn’t have a car, not even a Prius. He has a bicycle.

      • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

        Yeah, Batman could run over Daredevil with his car. Batman could potentially run over anyone with his car as he haphazardly tears down the street blowing things up. Subtly (and humility) can go a long way.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      I didn’t think of that at the time, but you’re right. While I don’t necessarily agree that what you’re like doesn’t matter (because it does), what you like does play a role (like the time I went on a first date to Dumb and Dumberer and the guy loved it, I didn’t, it was a pretty good indicator of things to come).

      I like a good fight, both verbally and physically (the latter only at the gym and never with a significant other). And the biggest fights do occur over the littlest thing. The angriest I’ve ever been was over someone accusing me of falling asleep while reading (on the sofa) and him telling me to go to bed. It then devolved into a massive fight about not telling me what to do and the simple fact that I was still awake. And it did not end up in a fun place. I’m still a little embarrassed over it and it was a long time ago, but it is a bit funny in hindsight. I was so pissed.

      Okay, because I’m in a good mood, I will say you are potentially right (as I didn’t give the parameters of the fight, but there was a strobe light involved). In most instances, Batman would probably win because he has about a thousand sonic weapons that could disable Daredevil. But Batman’s an asshole, both personas. Daredevil is the greatest superhero of all time, regardless. He’s trained since he was eleven, he works hard, and he even occasionally loses. And, unlike Batman, he’s managed to get over the death of his parents (or at least his father). Imagine that.

      Also, I just realized that Ben Affleck will be/have been both Daredevil and Batman.

      • http://froodianpseudoanalysis.wordpress.com DrFrood

        Exactly – Batman’s an asshole and a rich bully and he fights dirty. Daredevil’s probably nicer but nice doesn’t win fights – Batman wins fights.

        Wonder Woman now that’s different – Batman’s got a BAD case of arrested development so he still thinks girls are icky and gross (which explains why he doesn’t have a Lois Lane etc). That means he hesitates and she beats him to death.

        Also, Zeus is her Dad (Wikipedia it) so she’s the tear away daughter of a successful father, so you know she has no concept of consequences or how far is too far.

        Meanwhile Robin sits in the corner in his hotpants. Poor Robin – kid’s been dealt the worst hand ever.

        • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

          Probably? Everyone is probably nicer. DD/MM is nicer, he also fights the fights that need fighting (and often win). So I stand by my opinion that he could win in the right situation, which is all that matters.

          Batman is the man whore of the DC world. He’d only hesitate if she started flirting. I did not know that Wonder Woman was now the daughter of Zeus. Huh.

          Robin’s not so bad. He’s very acrobatic.

          • http://froodianpseudoanalysis.wordpress.com DrFrood

            Bruce Wayne is the manwhore, except for Catwoman and Batwoman but that’s part of the façade; he’s scared of girls. Because they’re icky.

            But anyway… surely the more important question would be which is the douchier – Thor or Green Lantern?

            Based on their films I’m not sure there’s an answer…

          • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

            My initial response was Green Lantern, but then I remembered how old Thor is and that tipped the scales in his favor…

            Based solely on the films: Green Lantern, but I haven’t bothered with the second Thor. It’s a shame that Green Arrow doesn’t have a film (yet), then there would be no question.

          • http://froodianpseudoanalysis.wordpress.com DrFrood

            Green Arrow got a low-ish budget TV show instead – probably about right.

  • http://www.livingawritinglife.blogspot.com Jennine G.

    Haha! I love this list! I could add to it I’m sure! As I read I could even imagine my husband and I debating them, even if it wasn’t a topic we’d typically be debating to begin with!

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      I’ve found that I can argue the point of anything and enjoy doing it. I think it’s healthy for a relationship.

  • http://rosemaryandreadingglasses.wordpress.com Carolyn O

    Hilarious! I love the item with Jane Eyre. Getting my dad to read it was one of my greatest bookish triumphs. Ok, maybe my only bookish triumph. My husband started it but hasn’t had time to finish it.

    A friend and I were just talking about how we can’t think of any books that deal with what it’s like to parent small children — the brilliant moments and the boredom. I’d like to see that.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      Did he like it?

      I can’t think of a single book like that. It could be a good one.

      • http://rosemaryandreadingglasses.wordpress.com Carolyn O

        He did!

        • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

          That is the biggest of bookish accomplishments. :)

  • http://thewellreadredhead.com Kelly

    LOL, this entire list is awesome. How about, what to do when your partner thinks Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is better than Pride and Prejudice? I have to imagine this is a catastrophe that many couples face.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      That’s a great one. Although even I can admit zombies add a little something to an otherwise somewhat dull landscape.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      Or the debate between what P&P is better, the one with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden or the one Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. I imagine most men choose the former and most women the latter.

  • http://atlantaladylitwits.wordpress.com Brooke

    Oh man, I laughed out loud at this. I have had so many of these fights. I’m lucky that at least he loves The X-Files or at least understands how amazing it is…sort of. Because of course. Silly boys.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      The X-Files is an important one. Can you imagine being with someone who thought it was awful. I really couldn’t. I mean I suppose I would try not to judge, but I think that would be indicative of a huge impasse.

      Although seriously, I appreciate that everyone likes different things. Most of the time.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kelly.massry Kelly Massry@ReadLately

    I will not stand for #8! (although my husband has not read Jane Eyre so maybe I do…)

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      Me either! But sometimes, what can you do? If you like the guy, then you like the guy.

  • http://wordsforworms.wordpress.com Words for Worms

    I LOVE this list! I totally made my future husband a mix tape like a week into dating. There was a road trip involved, it’s not quite as clingy and creepy as it sounds. Whatever. He married me. Stalking works sometimes.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      It’s funny, I’ve never pursued anyone. I’m too shy. Mostly this has worked for me, but maybe if I’d taken your approach my life would be in a totally different place right now! 😉

      And a mixtape never sounds clingy or creepy unless The Police or Rick Astley are involved. It sounds romantic.

      • http://wordsforworms.wordpress.com Words for Worms

        I distinctly remember planting not-so-subtle hints via Julianna Hatfield…

  • http://bookspeakvolumes.wordpress.com Leah

    Hee, I loved this! Very entertaining! My boyfriend and I met in college, and four months after we started dating I left for a semester study abroad in England. There were SO many mixtapes flying across the Atlantic that semester! And I’m lucky; he owns even more flannel than I do, so THAT will never be an issue 😛

    • http://bookspeakvolumes.wordpress.com Leah

      Wow, I phrased things really awkwardly up there. Mixtapes and flannels aren’t related. I should have said #5 will never be an issue!

  • http://sarahsaysread.com Sarah Says Read

    #7… what the shit? How dumb does a guy have to be to even ask this question? Oy.

    I totally love this list. Of course I have no good suggestions, because you’re right – these things do not come up in novels enough. The Jane Austen Book Club kind of touches on #8, except with Persuasion.

    I will say that the movie The Break-Up depicted one of the best “couple arguments” I’ve ever seen. They have a conversation about doing the dishes and going to the ballet. I’ve basically had that same fight before (with my ex, of course).

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      I don’t know what’s worse: that he asked or asked sincerely.

      I enjoy fighting. I think it keeps things interesting (and I’ve had all of the fights above, except #1). That being said, there is not enough bleach in the world to turn my hair blonde.

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