June 24, 2012 | by Margaux Williamson
After a week of guest-editing, I leave you with this piece of advice from Canadian extraordinaire Margaux Williamson. À la prochaine mes Parisiens! —Thessaly
Dear Paris Review,
Sadie Stein recently answered this question in your advice column. And now I’m wondering: what books impress a guy? What should I read to seem cool, sexy, and effortlessly smart? Seriously.
Needing to Impress
The answer to this question all depends on how long you need to seem cool, sexy, and effortlessly smart for. If it’s for a one night stand, or for a decent favor, don’t waste your time on reading (that’s not cool!), just go ahead and lie about what you’re reading. If you see some dumb, over-praised book on said guy’s top shelf, you can ask what they think about it and then say, Oh yeah, totally. You can put that book on your imaginary top shelf too or imagine that you regret putting it on your imaginary top shelf. Lying can be real if you imagine successfully.
This lie can be a kind of empathetic gesture, an openness, a pose you can hold to see if you like something new. But this kind of lie is only advised for the short-term—don’t forget that it is only a trick! Can you imagine having to carry on with someone else’s interests for a whole week? Or longer?! Imagine having to pretend forever that you care—or even worse, forgetting that your interests didn’t start off as your own?—growing all sorts of wrong trees in your soul.