Picture this for me, dear reader: you’re on a date. It’s a gorgeous summer afternoon and you’re at this sweet little mom-and-pop diner with someone you think is cute. You’re both sipping on a milkshake and having a grand time when the topic changes to books. You’re relieved to find your crush does love to read… but that relief doesn’t last for long because suddenly they’re telling you Tamlin from A Court of Thorns and Roses is their favorite character! That’s right friends, we’re talking red flag bookish opinions today.
I think we’d all agree the biggest red flag bookish opinion out there is not reading at all. Sometimes though, there are worse things your date can say. Starting with…
Bad Book Habits
“I always return my library books late. They don’t really care.”
Yikes! Who hasn’t returned a book or two late to the library? But there’s just something so shiver-inducing about someone who doesn’t respect book due dates! The thing is lots of people may want the same books you’re reading— it’s only fair to return them on time!
“I read the ending first and then start at the beginning.”
Sure, there’s nothing morally reprehensible about this, but we have to wonder: why? The ending won’t make any sense and it will only spoil the story! If a date of mine told me she’d read the ending of Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid before ever starting it, I think I’d just lose my mind. Legit.
But there could be worse opinions out there. Such as…
Concerning Character Choices
“I wish more female protagonists could be like Katniss from The Hunger Games.”
On the surface, this is fine! But usually people who compare female characters to other female characters aren’t coming from a place of admiration. Katniss, in this example, is used to bring down other female characters that many young girls and older women alike connect with! Katniss is awesome, yes, but so are so many other characters!
[after saying who your favorite character is]
“Really? That’s so dumb, why do you like them? I think they’re––”
Is there anything worse than someone you like telling you that your opinion is dumb? This is less of an opinion, certainly, but it’s still a red flag. When you’re dating someone, you should be able to express your thoughts respectfully. And so should your partner! They should not make you feel stupid.
Especially if they’re following that thought with…
Terrible Author Tastes
“My favorite author is [insert problematic author here].”
We have to cut people some slack here. No author is perfect, but it’s important to acknowledge their flaws and shortcomings. Authors are able to both influence and hurt their audiences with what they write, and they have to be held responsible for that! But they mess up, just like everyone! Still, you can bet if someone told me their favorite author is H.P. Lovecraft… Well, I’d have some questions!
“The author is a woman, but she’s still a great writer.”
Um… excuse me? Because what, women can’t be excellent writers? It’s nice to know that misogyny is alive and well. You’d be surprised how often things like this can be said in full confidence on first, second, and even third dates. Sometimes people just don’t know how to not be awful!
And they make that abundantly clear when they say things like…
Questionable Critical Thinking
“This book should be banned because [insert dumb reason].”
We’re passionate about fighting book banning here. If your date endorses it then you don’t need to run, you need to teach them exactly why they’re wrong! Or maybe run because you can’t always rationalize with people like that. It doesn’t help that usually their reasons for wanting a book to be banned are rooted in systemic issues of racism, homophobia, misogyny and/or extreme religious indoctrination.
“I think that having trigger warnings at the start of books is kind of stupid.”
Oh, this is just the worst to hear! People who think trigger warnings are silly are always worth more than just a side-eye. If you ever encounter someone who mocks trigger warnings, it is a sure fire sign that they will not respect yours. Best to leave them in the dust with the rest of their outdated views!
“Every protagonist in literature is either bisexual, gay or a person of color now!”
Sorry reader, I had to hold down my lunch. Surely we don’t have to explain why this is ringing massive alarm bells! Representation is super important, and anyone who finds it something to complain about isn’t worth spending time with. Hateful people never are!
Okay. So, to reiterate: everyone has flaws. Some opinions are a little kooky, but ultimately harmless. These red flags though? Well, they’re red flags for a reason! So, next time you’re out on a date with a fellow bookworm, keep an ear out for something alarming— everyone always seems nice until they’re wishing The Crucible gets banned!
To read more bookish opinion pieces, click here!