You are in the early stages of a brand new relationship, and you’ve been waiting to hear from the guy for four days now. It’s Wednesday. Hump day. Arguably the worst day of the week, and you’re exhausted. A few hours ago, you came home from work to a depressing, empty apartment, this morning’s oatmeal bowl still soaking in the sink and two unopened bills on the kitchen table (cool life). Suddenly, your phone vibrates. A text! Excitement and nervousness spring forth simultaneously, causing your heart to shoot up into your throat and your stomach to fall into your butt. You grab your phone and realize the text is from him. Took long enough.
hey you. what r u doing?
Hmm, what are you doing? Well, you’re sitting on your couch in sweatpants, eating cold pizza and watching several backlogged episodes of Extreme Couponing in order to make room on your DVR for Swamp People. But you can’t say that — he’d think you’re a total weirdo. (To be fair, you kind of are, but there’s no need to tell him so early on — at this point, it’d just be embarrassing.) Instead of revealing your strange penchant for reality television, you opt to take the intellectual route in an effort to seem deep and affecting.
hey! nm, just catching up on some reading. u?
You experience a brief moment of liar’s remorse until you remember that technically, you read the plot summary of each Extreme Couponing episode before watching it. So there’s that. Besides, it’s not like he’s going to ask what you’re reading — why would he care? It was meant as an innocuous, nonchalant statement, one that probably seemed equal parts superfluous and intriguing, which is exactly what you were going for. Logically, he should acknowledge your bookishness and then move on to answering your question.
cool. What book?
Crap. Ok, stay calm. You try to conjure up an image of the last book you read. There was a high heel on the cover. You were reading it on the beach a few months ago. What was it? Suddenly you remember that it was Chasing Harry Winston, by that woman who wrote The Devil Wears Prada. This is unimpressive; you decide to keep it to yourself. What about before that? The seventh Harry Potter book (again). That won’t do either — what book threads the needle between a believable yet accomplished read? You want to seem unique and edgy, so you decide to go with what you’ve been told is an exotic classic.
You have never read this book, but you kind of know what it’s about — someone named Anna Karenina.
oh awesome, that’s one of my favorites. Russian lit is my jam
You’re shocked — that book is Russian? Interesting. Moreover, this guy has read it? You clearly underestimated him on your first date — he didn’t seem like the well-read type. Strangely, this newfound knowledge makes him that much sexier and thus more desirable — you are proud of yourself for managing to accidentally impress him, and while you want to continue this thread of conversation, you should probably quit while you’re ahead. Definitely change the subject.
rly? No way, me too! we have so much in common.
You couldn’t help yourself. You want him to realize how perfect you are for each other. Besides, this conversation has to lose steam at some point. What else is there to discuss about Russian Literature anyways?
wow that’s so random. What’s your favorite Leskov novel?
Oh yeah, other Russian authors — that’s what else. You read and reread the text. This relationship is doomed to end before it ever really starts. Leskov? You think. Who the hell is Leskov? Panic sets in and your heart starts to race — you’ve been caught red-handed. One of the Extreme Couponers just saved $2,348.74, but you’re so distressed that you can barely celebrate with them. You draft a few texts to send back, deleting each one in a fit of frustration. Just as you are about to send a text revealing yourself as a sham, you remember: the Internet exists. This is still salvageable — you can do this.
You fling yourself off the couch and sprint into your bedroom, plopping down in the chair at your desk. Once you’ve woken your computer, you open a webpage to Google and type “Leskov Russian Literature” into the search bar. It takes a moment for Google to load your five million results and you scan the top hits. Wikipedia comes to your rescue — you skim an article about Leskov and then hurry back to your abandoned phone, hoping that whoever wrote the wiki-article didn’t make most of it up. 11 minutes have elapsed.
sorry, was at the end of a chapter in AK and wanted to finish! Sooo good! Anyway, I would have to say that of Leskov’s stuff, The Rabbit Warren is my favorite, closely followed by The Tale of Cross-eyed Lefty from Tula and the Steel Flea. But I find his existentialism a little tiresome on the whole.
You read it over again after hitting send, wondering if he’ll buy it.
righteous. We should do dinner this week.
Boom. Date number two is in the bag. Thanks Dostoyevsky, you think. Wait, who wrote Anna Karenina again? Whatever!