The damage has been done and there’s no going back. Only now have I discovered the culprit who has caused such misfortune and misery amongst women. I’ve known this person for such a long time. I first encountered her in my early teens and if I’d known then what I knew now, I might have been able to do something about it. Ok, this is turning into something slightly melodramatic but I’m single handedly blaming Jane Austen for the shortcomings in my love life.
Though you might not have ever picked up a copy of Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma or any other novel spouting total romantic nonsense, you would be fooled into thinking you were safe. You’re not, her work is culturally embedded! What child of the 90’s hasn’t seen Clueless?! Whether she was raising our expectations unnecessarily or simply describing romantic attitudes of yesteryear, she has still perpetuated the belief that if you’re a polite educated young woman, you will (with perhaps some maternal meddling) marry a man of good character and fortune. Disney movies are also probably to blame, but still. It. Is. All. Lies.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” – Pride and Prejudice
Universally acknowledged that a man who has a bit of money wants to marry? Oh Jane, had you braved a Thursday night out in Bank or near Liverpool Street you would no longer believe this to be such a viable theory. This is not to say that all wealthy men want to run around and cause trouble but it’s certainly no universal truth.
“Men of sense, whatever you may choose to say, do not want silly wives.” – Emma
Because we’ve never seen successful, interesting men surround themselves with idiotic women??
“But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.”
“Must” & “will” are the killers here. Can we pin our hopes on this assertion? Definitely not!
The thing is, is that the majority and certainly the most famous novels always begin and end with the same premise. Pretty, intelligent girl ready for marriage. Single successful man, usually a gentleman with a HUGE country estate. They hate/ misunderstand each other/ have some sort of a disagreement when they first meet. The friction provides the best setup for romance and surely enough they end up getting it on. Always a happy ending no matter how many complicated situations present themselves in between. Even Bridget Jones got her Mr. Darcy.
That said, Jane Austen hasn’t completely failed us. There’s some sense in this last little excerpt.
“There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere.”
Enter the world of modern dating! Ladies forget your heartbreak, put down the ice cream and go and find your comfort in whatever form he may take. It’s what the weekend was made for!