Date a guy who writes. Date a guy whose fingers are stained with ink, whose pockets are filled with pens, and whose eyes smile and dance with curiosity. Date a guy who notices things like the colour of your hair and the way you have your coffee, not because he has to, but just because it’s a habit of his to notice things. Date a guy who can barely get around a computer, but is expert with his word processor. It doesn’t matter; he prefers pen and paper anyway.
Find a guy who writes. You’ll find him just outside a library. He’ll like the idea of being outside, on the verge of a thousand worlds, a few steps away. He’ll love the idea of being outside, on the brink of one world, a few carefully placed letters away.
Or he will be inside a café. He doesn’t care whether it’s boutique or Gloria Jeans, moodily or well lit, though he likes it there especially when it’s raining. He will be the one with a notebook in one hand, pen in the other, lounging back and trying to think of how to best word what he wants to say next. Buy him a coffee. Or a tea. Or a hot chocolate. Buy him something to eat, too. He’d forgotten about food and he needs help remembering. Understand that he wants to talk to you, but if he drifts off for a moment, or bends forward to hurriedly scribble something, it’s because you’ve inspired him. This is a good thing.
Ask him what he’s writing. If he shows you, he’s being honest, exposing his heart. Return the favour. Tell him how his work makes you feel, not how you feel about his work. He’s sensitive, but eager to become better. He will love when you get what he’s on about, when you laugh at his jokes, admire the way he plays with words, adore his imagery, recognises his references. He will love you when you love his work. If he doesn’t show you, don’t be disheartened. He isn’t ready yet, but he will be. It will be all the sweeter for the wait.
He will spend hours with you, entranced with you. He tries to fathom you, but he knows he won’t ever completely, and he’s okay with this. In fact, this makes him feel kind of glad. He likes complex characters. He wants to create them, and being around them helps.
Kiss him. You have to be first, because he’s not sure whether he’s misreading the signals. He would hate to confuse the tendrils of a daydream with the jarring of reality. You have to be first because he’s too scared to lose you. After that, he will lose himself in you, without hesitation. There’s no misreading that first kiss.
Don’t lie to him. He won’t lie to you because he hopes you’ll be honest with him. Show integrity. He appreciates that. Then again, lie to him. He loves your complexity, and the cadence of your untruths will ensnare him, your weaving of excuses will remind him that humanity is duplicitous in its very nature. He likes being reminded of humanity.
Tell him when you fail. He understands. He will fail, too. He knows he will eventually have editors and proofreaders for mistakes. He knows he has you for when he fails. He hopes you will have him when you do the same.
Complain to him, tell him how your day was. It may not be relevant to his story, but he’ll want to hear your voice. He’ll store these details away and use them when even you have forgotten. He will remember. It’s a habit.
Make him do things spontaneously. Experiment with him. Make him do things he would never do. He will love you for this, because sometimes he wishes he could do the things he writes about, be the characters he dreams of. You can make this happen.
He will propose to you. Probably with a slip of paper, words neatly printed, hidden inside a fountain pen you gave him, or in place of the bookmark you always use. He may not say anything out loud, but his heart is screaming for you. Know that he finds comfort in the written word, in its solidarity, in its stasis. For him, the written word is true, and does not change. Remember, he is a writer, and this is who he is. Accept this, and you accept him.
You will have children. They will grow up, fed on a diet of strange worlds and captivating snapshots of language and wild turns of phrase, become accustomed to the essence of images distilled by the purity of a pen. Even better, they also will write.
They will grow old, and you will realise that you, too, have grown older. He’d made you forget with his homespun tales. Or maybe it was that habit of his that you’d made your own: you drift off again.
He dies. Or you die. It doesn’t matter who goes first, the other won’t be far behind. But neither of you are really dead. He has captured a little of you in everything he’s written, a little of himself, too. You both live on through his words, eternally entwined.
You should date a guy who writes.