List #211: What Not to Say to a Librarian

It's never easy to meet people when you're out and about in the city. I mean, we all know that bars don't make the best place to meet someone. And well, sometimes the circumstances inside bars don't make for the best conversation.

And most of the time, this doesn't bother me at all.

If I'm at a bar on a Saturday night, chances are I'm with a group of friends. We're catching up with each other, we're drinking, and though we are friendly and talk to people around us we're certainly not thinking that love connections will happen in between rounds of beer.

But somewhere in the course of the night, some guy will come up to me as I'm standing by the bar, and start talking. And just like any normal conversation people my age tend to have, he'll ask me what I do.

And I pause, for just a moment. Because when I take a deep breath and tell him that I am a librarian, this is what happens:

  • Eyes move up and down my body. "You don't look like any librarian I know."
  • Utter disbelief, "Librarian?! Is that still a thing anymore?!" And many other variations of the same.
  • Confessions of not having read a book in years. Really? This is what you think is going to get you somewhere.
  • Comments about how my job must be relaxing, easy, and of course, quiet. 
  • "I have fines. Will you waive them?" I mean come on, that's a lame pick-up line. And of course the answer is no.
  • "Are you a naughty librarian?" Either way, you're not going to find out.
  • "Oh, you must really like the Dewey Decimal System." Actually, I'm on the way of phasing it out of my library.
  • Laughter.
So men, here is a tip. We librarians are educated professionals. I'm not expecting everyone out there to know that in order to be a librarian, you have to have a Masters degree. I'm certainly not expecting everyone to know that the little old lady who scans your books is probably not your librarian. And I wouldn't dream of you understanding all of the ins and outs of my job, just like I don't know the ins and outs of yours. But really? Be a little more respectful. 

Just once I'd love to someone to even say "Wow. I've never met a librarian. What's that like?" Because let me tell you, it's entirely favorable over you mentally undressing me while putting down my profession at the same time. 

And if you happen to have a library card, know that librarians are more than people who read books all day, and actually seem interested in having an intelligent conversation? You're more than halfway there. 

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