by Mac Walton
He listed some of his favorite authors, and he had to have composed it ahead of time, kind of like a mix tape, alternating somewhat unevenly between obscure novelists, and what she thought of as the understandable titans, like Jonathan Franzen or David Foster Wallace, writers whose popularity, because they were only popular in certain circles and social strata, did not hinge upon a sacrifice of quality, writers it was not only acceptable but necessary, if one was to be taken seriously, to love, or if not to love than at least to study and appreciate and maybe find some token objection with which to disguise a fundamental failure to connect (or maybe you just read it at the wrong time in your life). She noticed right away that the list was about 90% male (he listed 14 authors, all men save Margaret Atwood, of all people) but she didn't know how he would react if she confronted him about it. He seemed intelligent and passably feminist or at least receptive to feminist ideas and critiques, the ones that jived with his experience anyway, but she wasn't sure what to do. She was grateful for the conversation, and didn't want to end it just because in all the times he had recited this list no one had ever had the guts to tell him that he needed to read more books by women, and she didn't think she did either, except that by not telling him would she be screwing over the next girl he recited it for? And so she didn't tell him, at least not yet, reasoning that the odds of him ending up in love with another feminist wouldn't beat the odds of him ending up in love with either herself (or someone else who didn't particularly care) or a non-feminist, and thus it wasn't worth risking their nascent relationship over. Then she thought: or was it?
Mac Walton is 22 and shy, and kind of a musician.