Horn-Rimmed Spectacles

5 November, 2005 at 5:16 am (library)

There were a spate of articles in the recent past about Singles Supermarket shopping evenings, that would allow unattached foodees to scope each other out while simultaenously being able to check out what they were planning on carting to the check-out.

New ways of organizing the event of meeting people is apparently good business and therefore good news, and so we have also read articles about speed-dating, internet dating, singles nights at dog-walking parks, and the like. I’ve always felt that if there were enough single people to provide fodder for all these techniques and still keep both personals columns and bars populated, then there must be enough single people out there that it shouldn’t require vast machinations to meet them.

Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Informations SciencesSays the single thirty year-old man. Anyway…

The British Library has recently publicized their second library-based singles evening, an event that is taking place in conjunction with their “Beautiful Minds” exhibit. I very much enjoyed the sales pitch for the event — called a “mingle” — which mentioned that the exhibit is about “the history of the Nobel Prize, focusing specifically on 30 individual Prize-winners, over the whole range of six prizes — Peace, Physics, Chemistry, Economic Sciences, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature — from the past 100 years. What better backdrop for people who are bold, bright, bored and single to meet their match?”

Unfortunately, the event may pall next to the rather ordinary backdrop that the British Library provides for the passionate. Guardian writer Will Hodgkinson claims that one doesn’t need to get dolled up and go to a special exhibit at the library, when it is already teeming with sparks.

[S]exual tension… crackles like electricity throughout the building. In the old British Library, this tension exploded on to the toilet walls, where quivering dons would scrawl profanities too shocking to repeat here, but in the new building it is mostly confined to furtive eye contact and the occasional conquest. “I met my three last boyfriends in the British Library,” says Glaser. “You’re working in the abstract, sharing space with these people who you cannot imagine existing in the world outside, and the sexual and personal life is repressed for most of the day. But believe me, when it comes out, it comes out with a vengeance.”

None of the above should come as a surprise to the students and librarians closer to home. There was a minor flap in 2001, covered by the New York Times as well as Rolling Stone, I believe, when the Yale “Porn and Chicken Club” decided to make a student-produced and -performed blue movie about the not-uncommon phenomenon of students having sex in the aisles and shelves of the library. Apparently, the film was never completed, at least not for public release. And with the vast array of quote-unquote “amateur” pr0n out there, I’m sure that it’s not a great loss to the world. It certainly won’t have much affect on frantic fumblings between mutually beautiful minds in the stacks. One of the many reasons why high school librarians tend to prefer designing their demesnes with half-height, well-lit shelving.

And just because I fully expect this entry to be egregiously blogrolled by automated blogspot traffic aggregators because of my use of certain vocabulary, let’s go for broke: make sure you give a spin to The New Pornographers’ “Mass Romantic“.

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