It wasn't easy, but I decided to start with one of BabelBabe's excellent suggestions. I'm not exactly sure why I picked this list, since to the best of my recollection Rusty is the only man I've ever dated who's given me books, and he generally does an okay job of it, mostly because I'm really good about keeping my wishlist up to date. What I like about this list idea is that it made me wonder: what books WOULD turn me off a guy if he were to give them to me? What tomes would make me think, on a date, that there is no way I'd be letting this guy get his clumsy mitts anywhere near my delicate flower?
Aha. You see where things get interesting.
- Anything by Charles Bukowski - I like Bukowski just fine, if I'm in the right mood, but the kind of guy who doesn't realize that every young lady has to come by Buk in her own way and on her own time... well, we don't need pushy young gentlemen like this in our lives.
- Anything by Henry Miller - Ditto the above, sort of. The kind of guy who'd give Miller to his female companion on a first date is the same guy who'd try to talk her into a threesome with him and her best friend on the fourth date... you know, because it would expand her horizons and open her mind and all.
- Anything by Anais Nin - Dude is trying way too hard with this one. We ladies can find our own arty porn, thanks.
- Any book that he clearly wants to borrow back as soon as you're finished with it - See also all of the above.
- Ishmael - This book offends every last rational sensibility in my small but sturdy frame, yet it weirdly appeals to some guys. Which is fine, whatever floats your boat, etcetera, but please don't feel you need to pass it along.
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Just... no.
- Chick lit - It's not that I'm denigrating chick lit. I liked Bridget Jones's Diary as much as anybody. But chick lit is iffy territory unless you know it well, and I'm making a wildly sexist guess that most guys don't. Give a female book-lover the wrong piece of chick lit over dinner, and you may as well just say goodbye after you split the cheque.
- Anything with the sticky goop from the bargain-bin sticker still mucking up the cover, or worse, anything with the bargain-bin sticker STILL ON IT - Nobody wants to hook up with a spendthrift for the rest of her life -- and goodness knows I love a book bargain as much as the next person -- but the early phase of a relationship is not the time to demonstrate your awesome frugality.
If you're wondering what book would buy you a one-way ticket into my pants (if you're not wondering, I'll understand if you need to erase that image from your brain RIGHT NOW), it would be a recently unearthed, never-before-published novel by Jane Austen. Autographed. To me. If you have one, email me and I'll tell you where I live. But shhh... keep it between you and me. I'm married.
Okay, I've gone first. Now it's your turn to ante up. What books would be -- or have been -- a surefire turn-off for you? (If you're playing along on your own site, be sure to give us the link to your post!)