Everything I know, I’ve learned from the internet. Here’s a sample offering of what I’ve found out in the past week:
- I need to get my shit together re my hairbrush choices (apparently my one is wreaking havoc on my fringe)
- Nick ‘Ron Swanson’ Offerman auditioned for the role of Wolverine
- Today is the 201st anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice
That last one got me thinking, mainly about Mr Darcy. I know, any excuse – AMIRIGHT, LAYDEES?!
It’s almost a cliché to fancy Mr Darcy most of all the fictional men, but in all fairness he is one of the better ones. Granted, his competition isn’t amazing – Heathcliff is driven mad by bitterness, Gilbert Blythe called her Carrots, and who have we got in modern fiction? Sparkly vampires? Please.
Whilst it helps that Mr Darcy is a hottie (Colin Firth in 1995 is, to paraphrase the Whovians, my Darcy), what I like about him is that he’s kind of a social moron. I can get behind that.
Consider his introduction, where he is established as kind of a prick because he slags off Elizabeth Bennett. Does he do this to her face? No, but he doesn’t do it in an underhand way either. What happens is, she accidentally overhears a comment that was never meant for her ears. How many times have you been letting off steam and wound up making a bitchy comment about someone at school or at work, only for your friends’ faces to fall as the subject appears right behind you? It’s a social faux pas we can all relate to, and consequently fear.
In addition, I feel for Darcy because he’s clearly not a party guy – he is just too polite (and bound by social convention) not to show up to this one. When he snaps that there’s nobody worth dancing with, he hasn’t actually looked – he’s pissed off and wants to go home. Essentially he’s behaving like a dick because he’d rather be somewhere else – and once again, I get that. My own tactic in these situations is to get a bit drunk and hope for the best, but I’m not sure that’s necessarily a better coping mechanism.
Another thing I like the fact that he changes his mind about things during the book, and admits it, like an ordinary human. I appreciate that the ‘they hate each other! Oh, now they’re in love’ schtick is a bit of a trope, but the way this is presented is reasonably realistic. Your first impression of someone (‘tolerable, I suppose’) is not always the most lasting. My first impression of the man I now live with saw me firing off a text to my dad to the effect of ‘it’s OK, they’re just a bunch of Doctor Who geeks’* – arguably not the most glowing recommendation. It was another two years before I came to consider his eyes as being particularly fine.
I also feel affinity with the way Darcy totally mucks up his declaration of love for Elizabeth. I’ve been there, man.** Solidarity. And afterwards, much to his credit, Darcy considers the wording of her rejection and resolves to do better.*** It’s hard enough to take constructive criticism, never mind what Elizabeth dishes out – but he manages. It’s inspirational, is what it is.
In conclusion, I’m resolving to start taking more responsibility for my own actions, and I’m also going to start dressing like a regency gent. Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice.
*To put this in context, I had previously been really nervous at the thought of meeting him as he was the editor of a student comedy publication I liked, and I was concerned I’d show myself up as the fraud I was when I walked into my first writers meeting.
**Yes, with the aforementioned fine eyed Doctor Who geek
***I did not do that, in case you’re curious – I first pretended nothing had ever happened, then proceeded to pretend I wasn’t that bothered.