Reading Men

Lucy Moore

If you are going to pick a man up in a bookstore, you should know there is a science to it.

First of all, you can't just go waltzing up to someone and start a conversation. This is a bookstore, and like a library, you must hush. Ignore the fact that books, hundreds of thousands of pages worth, are the best sound absorption money can buy, and just remember that you are in the hallowed halls of literature, and passing notes is not allowed. Besides, passing notes always ends up with those little bits of torn spiral notebook paper in your cleavage, and that's only enticing in certain circles. Trust me, this is much better.

Second, you have to pick the store carefully depending on what you want to go home with. The eternal question: independent bookstores versus chains. Independent bookstores are good for artists, professors, aging beatniks, and people who remember when Woodstock wasn't a show on MTV. Chain bookstores are good for teenage boys, SUV-drivers, and people who take their coffee with three or more adjectives. They all have their uses. I haven't seen a tab for "men" on Amazon, but I'm sure that's only a matter of time. Until then, it may be best to stick to the brick-and-mortar world.

Third, you need to consider the section. Forget romance. You're too used to slinking through there, embarrassed to admit that you're actually buying one of those delicious bodice-rippers to read with a side of bon-bons. Non-fiction might be interesting, but it's hard to look seductive browsing through any of the Dummies books, and it's too close to the counters anyway. Forget about self-help or fitness; first of all, it's too depressing thinking about all your own unresolved issues, and second, you don't really want to know about anyone else's. You're in this for the short run right now. I personally recommend the science-fiction and fantasy section. Younger, hipper, cuter, more imaginative guys there. Okay, maybe not always. But that one, over there? Ignore the fish-white skin and imagine how crazy it would drive him to have a real woman, namely you, in bed with him. The rest of them, well, that one, with the Gor novel, he'll be an adventure, and that one, oh wait, he's reading a Star Trek novel, never mind, no that one - Douglas Adams, he's bound to be smart.

Fourth, you need to pick a good outfit. Well, you always need a good outfit. But here in particular, you'll need to choose carefully. Bookstores are home to overstuffed chairs, and you're going to be doing a lot of sinking down into stripy fabric. Wear solid colors. I'm hoping you don't need your mother to remind you to wear a clean pair of panties. Unlike your mother, I'm going to advise you to wear a thong, because there's nothing quite as pleasant as thinking to yourself periodically, "Hey, I'm wearing a thong!" And just as a side note, please remember to pick a chair with an empty seat next to it. They're not going to be sitting on your lap now, are they?

Fifth, choose your reading material carefully. You may have been dying to check out Martha Stewart's latest book, but now is not the time. As a matter of fact, there's never a good time for that. Nor is it time for Jackie Collins, Henry Kissinger, or the new Vogue. We're going for smart and erotic here. My first recommendation is a collection of erotic short stories. Naked people on the cover, preferably the kind of photograph you can spend hours poring over, trying to determine which body parts are pictured. As your target moves through the section, you can shift the cover so he can still see it no matter where he's standing. Yes, he does keep looking at you. Keep reading.

Sixth, body language. We have already mentioned sinking back, crossing your legs. Don't get horizontal, we're not giving the milk away, at least not yet. Hold your hand near your mouth. You can sort of look like you're chewing on the edge of your finger, but let's not actually chew, girls, we must maintain some decorum. Flick your eyes up over the top of the book every once in a while. Yes, look at him. If he catches you, don't break the gaze right away. You are even allowed to wink, but that's a fairly advanced move, and you might want to practice it in the mirror a few times beforehand so you don't look like you have a tic. Then move the book up slightly, and begin the cycle again. Repeat to coda.

Seventh, I hope you've had the forethought to pick a bookstore with a coffee bar. Ask him for coffee or the caffeinated beverage of his choice. Count the number of adjectives he uses when he places his order, and if there are more than three, excuse yourself and make a break for the parking lot. If you're actually going to drink coffee, be sure you've brought mints. Nothing ruins a good first kiss like coffee breath. Bring the book with you, leave it on the table, angled casually towards him. Drag your fingers over the cover while you talk. When you're done with the coffee, eat one of those mints and ask him to walk you to your car. You can leave the book.

© Lucy Moore

Lucy Moore is a writer and general ne'er do well whose work has appeared recently in Shameless: Women's Intimate Erotica, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, and Penthouse Magazine. If you need her, she's probably at the beach.

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