I was at the bookstore mooching the other week when a man sat at my table. I realized I was wearing my company’s logo t-shirt after he asked about my job. We had similar backgrounds and had a pleasant conversation about our fields of work.

Yesterday I was mooching in a comfortable chair by the travel section. I noticed an older woman searching for Italy books. If she was a little younger, the conversation between us would have been automatic and natural.

When a girl is talking to a guy in a bar, the main thing that piques her interest is his initial vibe and look. It’s okay for her if the commonalities come later. But often they don’t. The burst of energy that starts this new relationship quickly fades as the couple realizes that don’t have much in common other than physical attraction. And the girl wonders what is wrong with her.

I don’t remember the last time I talked to a girl who had a love for travel. No girl has probed me to go deeper and explain my experiences in Italy, for example. Telling them that the espresso is great is the limit to which they care. Wouldn’t it be nice if I met a girl who went to Italy (or is going to Italy), and was eager to hear the whole experience, including details that a girl in a bar may find boring?

How about if there was a service that put you at a specific table in a bookstore with someone else who was reading a similarly themed book? Even if these two random people weren’t physically attracted to each other, imagine the conversation that would take place – in a relaxed setting of coffee and raspberry bars. I’d be the first person to sign up.

13 thoughts on “TABLE SHARE

  1. hedonistic

    Man, I just want to hear about the FOOD in Italy. And the art, and the architechture. Oh, yeah, and the people. Haven’t been there yet.

    Your bookstore idea is good, though. So many single people go there to pass time, but we tend to be introverts (I’m a bookstore haunt myself). Having something to talk about sure helps.

  2. bettyjoan

    Excellent idea, DCB–quite possibly your best one ever. Well, perhaps second only to frolicking with Judy in Dupont Circle. 🙂

  3. KassyK

    Couldnt agree more…when I went to Israel this past fall all I wanted to do was really discuss it with everyone…details etc but so few people wanted to hear it…it was such an amazing experience and didnt share details really with that many people…

    Same with MY experiences in Italy–when I went, I fell in love with Florence and everyone that I told was like yeah yeah but did you post pics yet? Made me sad bc I wanted to discuss the Stendhal Sydrome and how one of my best friend’s last names is spraypainted all over various walls in Florence. I love that gorgeous city.

    If you find that place to sign up…sign me up as well.

  4. Kenzaburo Oe

    Most girls (and people in general) that travel a lot seem to do it just so they can tell people they’ve traveled a lot. They’re not particularly concerned with listening to your stories — they just want to tell you about theirs, so they can feel superior to you. They won’t be listening to your story or little adventure that you had in Italy, they’ll be waiting for you to shut up so they can remind you about how woooorldly they are because they’ve traaaaaaveled. Any dialogue will result in them becoming defensive and accusatory, engaging you in some sort of “travel-off”. “Did you go here? Heh. Didn’t think so.” “Oh yeah? Well I went to the full moon rave in Thailand. It fucking rocked.” “Do you even know the capitol of Mongolia? Didn’t think so.”

    You’re dead on about no girl caring about what you did in Italy, unless you wanna talk about shopping for one of those metro-head-bands you like to wear. Don’t talk to girls about traveling, talk to guys.

    Seeing cool, manly historic sights that involved slaughtering helpless people, getting drunk, chasing tail, crashing wherever, waking up at 2pm and repeating the process.

    Shoe shopping, outdoor cafes with stupid hats and sunglasses, becoming outraged at something twice a day and making a scene, going back to their nice hotel at 9pm for a bubblebath and a glass of wine with their friends. Wake up at 7 for a scones and coffee, and repeat the process.

    Function: transitive verb
    Inflected Form(s): piqued; piqu?ing
    to excite or arouse by a provocation, challenge, or rebuff

  5. imstilldreaming

    Coming from a lower middle class background, I don’t really understand the concept of traveling in order to ‘one up’ somebody. Luckily I went to a highly endowed tuition free private college for poor Appalachian kids in the South which shall remain nameless, and because of their generosity and determination in getting said poor Appalachian kids outside of the country, I went to Greece, England, France, New Zealand, and Australia during my four years in school. My fiance traveled to about 20 countries during his stint. Because we were taking advantage of opportunities we wouldn’t normally have gotten, we were extremely appreciative of our experiences. Neither of us would ever think of trying to trump someone with places we’ve been to that they have not. Hm. Maybe it’s different with the upper class, I wouldn’t know.

  6. KassyK

    Kenza-Thats not true at all…I went with my family and spent a lot of time alone wandering and would have loved to discussed the various countryside towns and NOT the cafes and fashion shops AND hear what someone else has to say…Maybe you are all hanging out with the wrong kind of girl…and thats your issue…

  7. nabeel

    Yeah, I love to travel and bring back stories here… and unfortunately when I’m engrossed in the middle of telling a travel story, I often find people’s eyes glazing over. And if I stop in the middle of the story, they usually don’t go “then what happened next??” They switch to another subject that is centered on themselves or their own city. Sad.

    The bookstore idea? Nice. DCB, why don’t you call up a bookstore and tell them your idea, somehow work out a deal or something? Just tell us where, and I’ll be there.

  8. Lou P.

    You were on the money with this one. I’ve been to Italy myself, and I’ve actually had conversations with women about travelling there that went almost exactly like what you described.

  9. irina

    Most of my friends are girls, all of them have traveled, and all of them love to shop in Europe. But all of them also know way more about any site, church, historical period, cuisine, wine, coffee, and hash than you’d ever even want to hear about. And not because they’re pretentious or want to sound all “worldly”, but because they’re smart and interested in stuff.
    These girls don’t go around talking about this stuff at bars because we know that 99% of guys there don’t care. Bars are for drunks trying to get laid, not for intellectual conversation.

  10. Tomteboda

    I might be going out on a limb here, but maybe human connection is about more than sex… and sex is about more than physical attraction. Increasingly, people look at one as though they’re odd if you try to strike up a conversation based on noted mutual interests or experience. This is a great loss for civilization

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