At lunch with a gal pal we were talking about a perpetual subject in my life – new dates. The stories I have regarding the men I’ve dated and the dates I’ve endured provide my “committed” friends with a combination of amusement, pity (it’s okay, I can deal), and personal gratitude for not being in the dating pond – there’s a lot of scum (male and female) to scrap through to see clearly. Nonetheless, my inveterate single girl status firmly positions myself in the arena of interesting story tellers. I once was told by a friend when exclaiming utter bewilderment of how I find myself in some of the life and personal situations I swim through, “Girl, you put yourself there!!!!”
If I had not even a nickel, but a penny, for each time I am presented with the question about why I am single (seriously, people, stop – just stopppppppp!) I wouldn’t have to work a day job while studying full time and I could submit my research papers and writings via the satellite reception from my yacht cruising the South of France. But I have not received any compensation or royalty from that dreaded question-probably-intended-to-be-a-compliment so instead this post comes to you courtesy of my bedroom/office in my Central Phoenix cozy condo!
But! The answer to the oft-presented inquiry? Ms. Austen and her one and only Mr. Darcy.
One Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, to be exact. (and, yes, friends – his name is Fitzwilliam and is mentioned only a couple of times in the novel… for obvious reasons). Mr. Darcy’s problem is his aloofness projects his pride as arrogance. In fact, he is referred to as ABOMINABLE at one point by his future love, Elizabeth Bennet. She even tells him that he is the last man she would ever consider to marry – he made a proper hot mess, to say the least! This fact has not been lost on me and I am so dazzled by his bright and shining heart and considerable soul in the end that I can easily forgive his cold demeanor as Elizabeth Bennett also forgives and falls in love with (Sigh) Mr. Darcy. He is so dapper and so dashing – and he has intellect, morality, kindness – and for those of you have seen the BBC version, looks mute-inducing-ly sexy climbing out of that English estate country pond in that very sheer white shirt (thank you, Colin Firth!)… Mr. Darcy is just plain and simple wholesome swoon and lust worthy!
(Just Google “Mr. Darcy + Lake Scene” and you will see what I mean)
The problem is the other bright and shiny wannabe Darcy’s I don’t immediately recognize as frauds, or in keeping with my Austenesque references this evening, these Mr. Wickhams. Darcy’s aloofness did not equal the arrogance for which he was accused. I see the potential Mr. Darcy when there’s nothing Mr. Darcy about a man. I both love and wish I could hex Ms. Austen. I have been looking for an 18th century (okay, technically early 19th century) fictional Englishman in the 21st century America of my reality.
Not to get too pragmatic with myself – I do wonder if I had read Persuasion first…. Would I crave the demonstrative and kindly dapper gentlemen such as Frederick Wentworth instead of the aloof, arm’s-length bearing frogs that I hope will turn from lily pad lounging amphibians to the exciting, impassioned, purpose-driven, fallible, yet honest and caring Mr. Darcy of my very own?