The Jane Austen Social Scene Part VII: John Willoughby

Oh, wow, have I been absent from the blogosphere! I just realized my last post was back in May, and I am officially embarrassed!

Seeing the date of my last post, I wondered, “What have I been doing all this time?” Well, I like to think that I have been out experiencing the Jane Austen Social Scene for myself this summer.

My experiences with dating and relationships could very well turn into excerpts for a book whose ideas for a title could include It’s Actually Not My Fault That I’m Single, Buttmachine* and Bike Helmets, and What To Do When Your Date Leaves You To Walk Back Alone At Night. Trust me, there are also other working titles and the chapters would be even better.

After taking a break from attempts at dating, I decided to give it a whirl again this summer. I tried different venues in the past from going to events to the slew of online sites, so I wanted to try a dating avenue I did not pursue before but had heard much about: Tinder.

I am an optimist. I see the best in people. I am honest, genuine, and direct. I apply the golden principle of “Treat others as you would want to be treated” to my interactions with fellow creatures.

Unfortunately, I can not say the same for others.

When I think over the dates and the people I have met because of Tinder, I likewise think about where in the Jane Austen Social Scene they would inhabit. And there is one character who comes to mind: John Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility.

Willoughby is a character who essentially leads Marianne on and ends up hurting her. He shows interest in her, they share common interests and engaging conversations, and he creates an implicit attachment between them. It’s also revealed that he got a girl pregnant, refused to take responsibility for his actions, and was disinherited as a result. His financial crisis leads him to needing to marry someone rich, which he does.

Now, the guys I met did not necessarily match Willoughby’s plot (thankfully) nor will the Willoughby type in general (at least I hope they don’t). The Willoughby guy is the type who at first presents himself as charming and expresses an interest. Once this interest is reciprocated, they give the appearance of a desire to get to know a person. This desire, however, has an ulterior motive to serve their own means which are usually selfish.

How does one deal with a Willoughby type? By having the good sense to exercise sensibility.

*Buttmachine refers to title of a song. No, I’m serious. Google “Buttmachine song” and see for yourself.

 

The Jane Austen Social Scene Part VI: Captain Frederick Wentworth

Photo Source: fanpop.com

Photo Source: fanpop.com

Can I be completely honest about the Jane Austen Social Scene? I love Mr. Knightley and Mr. Darcy, of course, but it’s Captain Frederick Wentworth who, in my opinion, has the most romantic speech:

I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W.

Captain Frederick Wentworth. Even his last name is telling of how far is he is willing to go to be able to be with the woman he loves, essentially making himself worthy (get it, he went and got worth?) to be with Anne. Note: it’s here that I defend Anne being persuaded the first time around to break off the engagement with him. Lady Russell was only trying to look out for Anne’s best interests because she didn’t want her to marry someone with questionable economic prospects.

The Captain Wentworth type is the man you rarely hear about encountering in real life, usually being the romantic archetype of romances where he is the male character who has only truly loved one woman his entire life and has worked so that she might consider him again the next time she sees him. Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot are a couple who broke up, drifted apart, and then went back to each other after several years.

So does the Captain Wentworth type exist outside of the realm of fiction? Perhaps a better question would be is it possible for a relationship to be like that of Wentworth and Elliot, where someone can break another’s heart but there is still a chance to redeem the love?

Maybe Austen titled the novel Persuasion to not only refer to the power of persuasion present in the novel, but for the novel to also serve as a tool to persuade us, as readers, to believe, just for a moment, that this love is possible.

The Jane Austen Social Scene Part V: Marianne Dashwood

Photo source: barnesandnoble.com

Photo source: barnesandnoble.com

Okay, confession time. I was apprehensive about writing about Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility. Marianne was a character I did not give a lot of thought to when I first read the novel except to think “Silly girl.” When I decided I was going to write about Marianne for The Jane Austen Social Scene, however, I had to give her more thought.

Sure, she makes her attraction to Willoughby very public to the point where everyone thinks that the two are engaged and then has to endure the embarrassment of finding out that he not only rejected her, he gets engaged to another woman for her money (ouch!). She’s spontaneous, a romantic, and seems to wear blinders when falling for Willoughby. The first time I read the novel I kept thinking “Someone needs to slow this girl down and tell her to think before she acts. She’s making an idiot of herself all for some guy!”

Making the decision to write about Marianne for this blog made me realize something I did not when I first read the book: I have a bit of Marianne in me. Hence, this post becoming a bit of a confession.

The Marianne Dashwood is someone who forms strong attachments to people they are interested in, not caring if they look slightly foolish or imprudent in making their interest known. Slightly naive in regards to love, the Marianne Dashwood type will come to understand their folly in time, usually after they find out that the person they were interested in does not necessarily return their affections in full. Upon accepting this, the Marianne Dashwood will move onto someone who actually loves them (Col. Brandon, anyone?).

The Jane Austen Social Scene Part IV: Mr. Darcy

Oh, Darcy.

Photo Source: ebookbees.com

Photo Source: ebookbees.com

One of Austen’s most beloved male characters, Mr. Darcy is a character seemingly synonymous with Jane Austen.  So, I got to thinking: what is it about Mr. Darcy that makes him so attractive?

I admit, Mr. Darcy was not my favorite Jane Austen character for a while.  He’s distant.  For all of his dissuading Mr. Bingley from proposing to Jane Bennet the first time around, he doesn’t exactly send clear signals to Elizabeth Bennet that he likes her.  When he does tell Elizabeth that he loves her, he also insults her family.  Hardly romance material.

And yet there’s still something attractive about Mr. Darcy.  He’s awkward.  He mucks things up at the beginning between him and Elizabeth but makes them right.  He acknowledges that he was wrong.

He’s not totally unlike a guy you’d encounter in real life.

The Mr. Darcy type is someone who is not best known for their clear communication of their feelings.  You might not be sure how they feel about you, or you might think they think of you at best in amiable terms.  The Mr. Darcy type is someone you are not initially attracted to, but later realize that you do like them.  And once you realize you like them, you find yourself unable to articulate a proper conversation with them.  It’s okay.  The Mr. Darcy type wins hearts mostly with their actions rather than their words…although their words are pretty memorable.

“In vain I have struggled.  It will not do.  My feelings will not be repressed.  You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Project Thankful: Reason #187

A week from today I go up to New Hampshire to look at potential apartments.  It didn’t really hit me before now that I really am moving.  Soon.

When I used to think about what it would be like when I finally moved, I didn’t think it would be like this.  I thought I would be at a different point in my life.  To be honest, I thought I would move when I found that special someone and we became engaged.  I didn’t think I would ever move when I’m single or move to attend grad school.  I always thought I was bound to Boston in a way, having grown up in the Boston area all my life.  As an undergrad, I commuted from home.  Although I applied to non-Boston area schools for grad school, in the back of my mind I always thought I would attend a Boston area school for grad school and live at home, again commuting to school.

I’m the type of person who has a tendency to plan their life, and usually what happens is that my life basically goes in a direction I did not plan.  I like to think of it as the Universe’s way of reminding me that I can not control everything and that what I view as the best plan is not what’s actually best.

When I graduated from college, my plan was to get a job that was just a paycheck while I focused on my writing career, which back then I thought was going to take off almost immediately.  I also thought I was ready to be in a relationship with a person I could see myself settling down with.

What ended up happening was I quickly realized the realities of how hard the economy is, especially to college graduates, and that the publishing industry was as harsh after college as it was when I was in college.  As far as my love life went, I did meet a guy who I thought I could see myself settling down with one day; unfortunately, he turned out to be the type who says all the right things, but doesn’t follow through on them.

I’m thankful my life didn’t turn out the way I planned it because if it had I would have missed out on so many wonderful opportunities and would have ultimately ended up being unhappy.  As I move forward, I am eager to see which direction my life takes me.  For the present, that direction is New Hampshire.

Project Thankful: Reason #175: On Loving Smarter

I’m friends with one of my ex-boyfriends, and we still talk on a semi-regular basis.  By talk, I mean text about “Game of Thrones” and about how our jobs are going.  Ah, friendship in the 21st century.

This ex-boyfriend is the One You Wonder About.  He’s the “What if?” ex-boyfriend.  “What if things had been different?”  “What if the Universe is trying to tell me that I’m meant to be with this person because he always seems to be there?”  *In this ex-boyfriend’s case, “there” refers to going to the same middle school, high school, and college as me along with still living nearby post-college.

I’ll be celebrating a significant birthday in a couple of months.  The type of significant that causes one to undergo a lot of reflection.  For me, that reflection involved this ex-boyfriend.

Here’s what I’ve found, not just from my experiences with this particular ex-boyfriend, but from other relationships and dating experiences as well.  To answer that “What if the Universe is trying to tell me we’re meant to be?” question, if two people are really meant to be together, they’d be together.  No wondering, no “what ifs?”  To answer the first question, “What if things had been different?” then maybe.  But things being different wouldn’t have been enough; we would have needed to be different.  

Simply put, we want different things in life and back when we dated, some part of us knew that too.  We’re headed in different directions and that’s how it’s supposed to be because those different directions lead to our different versions of happiness.

I’ve learned to love smarter.  To step back and take my time to see if someone’s vision of happiness is similar to my vision of happiness.

Project Thankful: Reason #156

Today, my mom and I went shopping for apartment stuff.  Although I don’t where exactly I’ll be living or what my apartment will look like, I will still need some essentials.

I bought a few things before today, but those items were purchased when I shopped by myself.  Whenever I went in to look for apartment essentials, I always became worried if I was making the right decision buying this rolling pin or this pizza pan.  Because I knew that I needed my mom there with me, helping me through not just choosing what to get for my apartment, but through this whole moving out, being-on-my-own experience.  

When I think about moving and saying goodbye, it’s not the house I’m most sad about leaving, but my mom.  My mom means so much to me, and thankful doesn’t encompass how grateful I am that she’s my mom.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and all the mothers out there!