Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy: Life Ruiners
By Courtney Clark
It is quite possible that Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are the ultimate life ruiners. Before reading Pride and Prejudice, I had always been an idealist, carefully constructing the perfect outcome to every situation in my mind. However, since people seldom acted as I imagined they should, I learned to adjust my expectations accordingly. Pride and Prejudice changed that by giving me the perfect ending I craved but with imperfect people who made flawed decisions, and as I read Mr. and Mrs. Darcy start their new life together, something new began in me, as well; a romantic was born.
As any good romantic knows, nothing begins as it seems—the beast is really a handsome prince, unforgivable rudeness is just a misunderstanding to be later overcome, and a playboy bachelor is just a faithful man who has not yet found the right heroine. So this romantic went, for more than a decade, believing this fundamental truth about relationships—that nothing ever begins as it seems—until last Tuesday at 6:19 PM Central Standard Time. Like most of my epiphanies, it hit like a freight train, without provocation or warning, and now it is my sad duty to share with you the wisdom I have gained: perhaps Pride and Prejudice is—gasp—wrong, and attempting to apply the knowledge I learned in my favorite novel has in fact led me astray in life.
Case in point, on a Tuesday night at 6:19 PM CST, I sat alongside a friend who was in a great deal of pain, mostly from the tattoo needles repeatedly stabbing a lovely poppy design into her side, as we discussed the befuddling men in my life because what better place for a heart to heart than in an establishment called “Hell Bomb”. After I once again explained the mixed messages of which I was being barraged, my friend looked up at me with a slight grimace on her face (from both the tattoo and the repetitive nature of my conundrum), “If you like him, you should give him a chance. Just because he says he is only interested in casual relationships doesn’t mean that he won’t want something serious once you start seeing each other.” BAM! The freight train carrying a cargo of epiphanies hit, and I realized that Jane Austen, poor misguided Jane Austen, was wrong. More often than not, reality is just as it seems.
In the story of my life, the “hero” was telling me exactly what he wanted from me, the antithesis of what I was looking for, but here I was ready to completely overlook what was in favor of what might develop, romance novel style. I decided to take further inventory, looking for real life examples to prove the validity of the romance plot lines in which I so desperately wanted to believe. The results were damning: no rude men who secretly wanted to marry me, no close family friends who were secretly pining away for me, no good-hearted men secretly engaged to other women when all that they really wanted was to marry me… The list went on and on, and instead of finding the Jane Austen characters I hoped to have in my own life, I had men whose behaviors and actions were fairly accurate indicators of how our relationships would go. All of this introspection has forced me to say (somewhat sarcastically), “Thanks a lot Jane Austen. Thanks for giving me the stories that I wish were mirrored in real life. Thank you Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy for being the romantic couple I can only wish to be.” Yep, the expectations given to me by Mr. and Mrs. Darcy have definitely ruined my life, and to grieve my loss, I think I’ll reread Pride and Prejudice. It always makes me smile.
He's every woman's idea of the perfect man: a middle income job, a receding hair line that only Mr. Clean would envy, and a body fit for the beer Olympics.
Who could resist?
Meet Addison Anderson. Although Addy is happy with her life—she has a job she loves, family and friends who support her, and her very own sidekicks in her neurotic Superdog named Lola and a nefarious looking cat named Moustachio—she’s missing the one thing that every girl wants, a plus one to couple's game night. Enter Charlie. Not exactly the man of her romantic fantasies, Addy is quick to put him in the friend zone, but as he rapidly becomes an invaluable part of her life, Addy must make a big decision: which is more important, that elusive spark or someone to share her life with? Join Addy on her comic voyage as she discovers that not every story is a story of love, sometimes it's a story of like.