As is a custom of my every week, I make a trip down to Manchester, Vermont to visit the bookstore. (This week its today.) Last week was no different and I had plans to meet up with my friend Sarah, after we took a trip to the all-natural health store. We bounced between the two hippie, local stores, bought our all-organic, 100% vegan hygienic products, and finally made our way to the locally owned Northshire Bookstore, also known as the best bookstore ever. (Library voice: Oh, and Sarah got some quinoa pasta. Yeah, so hopefully this blog will not get any more pretentious, but I can make no promises.)
Typically, my visits to the bookstore are generally the same. I meet someone (usually my aunt), we have a bite to eat accompanied by tea or coffee at the store-located cafe, a lively conversation ensues, and then I venture on my own to buy an absurd amount of books. However, this meeting with Sarah had a little bit of excitement.
There was a hot guy in the fictional classics department. (Library voice: I REPEAT, there was a hot guy looking at books.)
Upon our arrival, Sarah and I first went into the cafe, ordered up some drinks and a toasted almond scone, and after listening to the not-such-a-barista girl pretty much scream about how she had no idea how to make Sarah’s chai tea- we hit the shelves.
As we walked through the ledges that were crowded with all sorts of adventures and love stories and science and magic, we discussed everything from what we’ve read and what we wanted to read to all of our friends’ personal lives behind their backs. Suddenly -at the very same time- we both noticed a man walking down the stairs from the kids department and into the fiction department. Sarah’s elbow instinctively came crashing into my ribs to alert me to the fact that this was not just a man… it was a hot man and he was in a bookstore.
You may think this is no big deal. Some of you may have the opportunity to go to a bookstore and see hundreds of hot dudes perusing books and dabbling in intellectual material, while you casually glance at them time to time. But this is Vermont, and we do not have such a luxury. If we want to find a local guy, we best saddle up in a bar seat and brush up on our whiskey shots and and how guns equal freedom. More or less, it’s a sad state of affairs (literally) for a woman who wants to talk shop about books, not cars.
Now, that is not to say that guys from Vermont don’t read. I’m quite certain some must. But quite frankly, I don’t know where those men are. The last guy I met who claimed to be reading a book had 50 Shades of Grey sitting on his nightstand, which had me raising an eyebrow, no doubt. And the closest I’ve ever come to dating a man who reads is one who reads the JEGS Autoparts catalog while he takes a shit in the morning or the guy I went on a date with years ago who boasted that he read books too and his favorite was Where the Wild Things Are (uh, I don’t think that counts, guy,) and that he just loved the Harry Potter movies. Needless to say, we didn’t make it to date two. (Library voice: If you’ve watched the movie that doesn’t count as reading, people of the internet. Anyone that reads knows that the book is always far superior to the movie. It’s not even debatable. Most of you probably don’t even know that your favorite movie was in fact, a book long before it was adapted to screen play. Forest Gump? Book first. Goodfellas? Book. Rambo? Mother fuckin’ kick ass book first. Even Who Framed Roger Rabbit began as a page turner before it hit the silver screen. In other words, if you’re super successful in Hollywood reading lines and getting into character or you really liked Jurassic Park and Apollo 13 because HOLY FUCK dinosaurs and space!- thank someone who writes today.)
Anyway, back to the point, I rarely see men that I know from Vermont in the bookstore, let alone hot men, so seeing this hot guy in the bookstore was like seeing a mythical creature who you were certain was going to fall in love with you because of course.
The first thing that grabbed my eye about this hot guy in the bookstore is that he was wearing Carharts, a traditional Vermont attire and a rarity among all the skinny burnt sienna corduroys and black pea coats with the collars popped coming straight from Jersey or New York at the bookstore.
Carharts. This was a clue. He could be from Vermont.
Sarah and I continued to mosey around, giving sideways glances towards him every once in a while, and over the course of that time I began to accumulate a stack of books in my arms.
And then Sarah had to depart.
About five minutes after Sarah left, I received a text from her:
flirt with that guy please
He keeps eyeing me. It’s awkward. I’m on it.
Followed immediately by:
I can’t. I have a boyfriend. I always forget about that
Hmm. I say hit on him anyway
Which she immediately followed up with:
Well, at least find out what he’s reading
And that, my friends, is all it took. My actions from there on out, in regards to this hot guy in the bookstore, were justified. I was simply an innocent customer meandering around a bookstore when -whoops- I would eventually drop all of the books in my hand, privately wincing as pages and covers were bent, and then this stranger would just happen to be standing there to help me pick them up. That of course, would only begin a conversation about what I was reading which would of course, turn into what he was reading which is totally normal boy/girl conversation in a bookstore. (And if all else failed and I still felt guilty, it was on Sarah’s behalf. I mean, she was single. Commence introduction.)
I began using my peripheral vision to scout out where the hot guy in the bookstore was and finally noticed him sitting about five feet from me, knelt down in the classics department. (Swoon.) I assure you, he really was hot: sandy blonde hair sort of unkempt, but not too long, 5’11ish with a good build, and a face that was sort of a blend between Brad Pitt’s traditional good looks and Ryan Gosling’s sweet country boy, we-all-only-think-he’s-hot-because-he-was-in-the-Notebook charm. And believe me, if Sarah and I actually agree that someone is attractive, he’s Greek-god status. Sarah and I never agree. In fact, this hot guy in the bookstore may be the only guy we’ve ever agreed on ever. But, just as I was planning on scattering the books across the floor, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around, a bit irritated, and was being smiled at by one of the clerks.
“I know you. You already have four books in your hands. I’d make your way to the register before we clear out your bank account. You’ll be here next week anyway.” The clerk laughed. I blushed; not because of the clerk but because the hot guy in the bookstore totally heard it. Within seconds, a zillion questions began humming around in my mind. Would he think I had a spending problem? (I do.) Would he think I’m a bigger nerd than I let the general public know? (I am.) Wait, from the angle that I had turned, did I look fat?! (SHIT.)
Alright, stop. Breath. I took this moment to remind myself- and use my backup, no guilt plan- this was all on Sarah’s behalf anyway, right? I stole a quick glance his way. He had his face bent towards the back of a book. Both sides of his mouth were bent upwards just slightly in a grin. He was intrigued; I was smitten. I laughed at the clerk, agreed, and as the clerk walked away, the hot guy in the bookstore stood up.
I wasn’t even going to have to destroy any books. He was going to approach me. Cue a cocky smirk and the return of all confidence.
“Whatcha readin’?” He asked as I tried desperately to pretend that I hadn’t even noticed him. I glanced up casually, acted a little surprised -oh my- and was grateful that in my arms I, in fact, had some classics, yet a little self-conscious that I hadn’t read any of them and was not going to be able to sound far more intelligent than he. Instead, I’d have to blush and play a bit coy. I innocently checked off the four titles that I was intending to purchase to him, and redirected the same question at him. So far, everything was working exactly as planned.
“I’m, uh, actually trying to read Salinger because I never paid attention in high school.” It was his turn to blush. I smiled. Salinger wasn’t my favorite, but hot damn, it was better than a dude reading 50 Shades. ”I actually just finished Jude the Obscure,” He said, as he pointed to it in my pile. “I liked it. I mean, if you can get around the fact that the dude marries and has children with his cousin, but he writes well. I haven’t read any other Hardy novels. I really only read that one because it caused such a stir, and was one of the reasons why he stopped writing books and stuck to poetry.” I didn’t know that. He had me.
I was head over heels.
We discussed a few other titles from various other authors. He told me all about his qualms with Moby Dick and we discussed Fitzgerald and Kerouac like we went to high school with them. I admitted that I had just recently gotten into reading the classics. And then, it suddenly began to dawn on me… I had to abort. It seemed at that moment, I was more in love with this guy than all of the years combined with my current boyfriend. I graciously excused myself with some excuse I can’t remember right now, paid for the books, and pretty much ran to my car.
I sat in my car for a minute before starting it up with my head leaning on the steering wheel. Sitting up, I fumbled for my cell phone in my purse, and once found, began typing to Sarah.
Swooooon. I had to get out. Operation: Abort Operation
I didn’t even get his name. I didn’t find out where he lived. It was like one of those Craig’s List “Missed Connections” that I’m always reading when I’m bored at home. (Library voice: I can only hope that one day there will be a Missed Connection for me. It’s a secret dream of mine.) On my drive home, I began composing my own elaborate plea for reconnection in my head…
-I saw you in the bookstore wearing charcoal grey Carharts and a white tee shirt. We talked about a wealth of different books, mainly the classics… You had sandy, blonde hair, blue eyes, and -
Wait, rest assured, all on Sarah’s behalf, of course.