What's in a name?-A Guest Post

7/23/2011 The Romantic 4 Comments

A few days ago, we received an email here at the Anti-Austen. From several writers to another, we loved this email! I've read the beautiful prose myself time and again these past few days, mulling over whether or not I actually agree with what's being said. But, before I give you my opinion, I'll let you decide for yourself. So here it is dear readers, the infamous email from a reader that's put us in quite the tizzy for the past few days.
-the Romantic

It's a long, slow, messy, painful journey to relationship success, and as one who has not quite finished that journey, I can safely say that one of my greatest comforts along that road has been Jane Austen. But to call her a comfort alone would be a disservice to what she has really accomplished in my life. She has instructed, educated, and enlightened me. Most of all, she has given me a Daisy. A girl I can look for across the bay and feel the spark of hope within me ignite with that green light. I'm not Gatsby, by any means, but thanks to Jane Austen, I've caught his vision.

The appeal of a Jane Austen novel is the possibility that you might actually meet a Jane Austen-caliber hero, a Mr. Knightley, a Colonel Brandon, a Mr. Darcy. As a boy who has read the entire Jane Austen canon (and as evidenced by his current use of a pseudonym is not nearly comfortable enough with his own masculinity to confess this on the internet), I am confident that the draw of her novels is the charm of her protagonists. The hook that pulls me back into Pride and Prejudice again and again is Lizzy Bennett. I pick up Persuasion because I find Anne's personality delightful. You pick it up because deep down, all you really want is a guy who will spend eight of his prime "I could be dating around" years pining for you. A guy who will use those eight years to become the kind of successful, charismatic, accomplished man that your family would approve. A Captain Wentworth. The truth is, we read Jane Austen novels for the same reason we watch the food channel: because maybe, one day, we'll taste the product and it will be every bit as good as advertised. Every single girl who has ever loved "Emma" has really just loved the possibility that she could LIVE "Emma."

So as you consider what makes a girl charming, what kind of practical skills you can apply in wooing your own personal Darcy, I'd ask that you return to the roots of who you are and what you preach. Sure you call yourselves the Anti-Austens, but you're about as opposed to Jane Austen and her literature as the anti-Nephi-Lehis were to Nephi and Lehi and their prophetic counsel. You love Jane Austen, and your blog bears her moniker precisely because her novels are the pinnacle examples of successful courting.

Now this is entirely in your favor. As well-read Austenites, you have before you the greatest how-to manuals that exist on finding Wentworths, Knightleys and Brandons: Persuasion, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility. To get those guys, you need to be their girls. A Colonel Brandon will only ever be charmed by a Marianne. A George Knightley's only chance at true "marital bliss" is an Emma. And the most defining characteristic of those characters, the very trait that endears them to you and attracts me to them is their sincerity of person. It's the fact that for an entire book, Emma never deviates from who Emma is. She's meddling, she's dramatic, she's overconfident, and she's a little naive. But she is Emma, and she won't ever try being anyone else. Now that's attractive. As corny as all those after-school "Arthur" re-runs are, and as trite as all those posters that line high school walls across America are, their message is based on truth: be yourself. Be confident that who you are is exactly who you need to be to get the kind of guy you want. You all want genuine guys, guys who won't feed you lines to get desired reactions like a trainer manipulates his dogs. You want sincerity, not a guy who turns it on until he has you, and turns it off forever after. A guy who says sweet things because he means them. A guy who earns you, rather than waiting for the other way around. Those are the guys Jane Austen writes. The Victorian heroes of romantic literature. You know, the guys whose existence you occasionally find yourself doubting. But they're out there, and you believe that just as firmly as you believe in real, deep, permanent love. That's why you read those books in the first place. Not to get your fix of love, but to get your taste. You never finish a Jane Austen book satisfied, and that's the point. You're supposed to finish hungry for exactly the kind of guy all of your relatable heroines fall in love with. Exactly the kind of guy you want.

So be confident, be yourself, and most of all, be patient. Because you'll find that guy one day, and yeah, it may take as long as eight more years. But even if it does, then congratulations: you scored yourself a Wentworth.

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Jori said...

I'm liking this guy haha. So two guys have fessed up to reading this blog, eh? I'd say that's pretty Victorian hero-esque ;-)

The Charmer said...

Oh, I'm drooling.
If these men exist, why don't I ever run into them?

Summer said...

I agree! He did an amazing job, very insightful and beautifully written.

Anonymous said...

Oh, pang of truth in my heart,
Slow your racing vibrations.
I'm a girl afraid to start
Displaying her inner gyrations.
For once a man (there's always a man) Admitted he cared and left.
Questions of stone created a dam,
Does worth apply to who I am?
My thoughts, my loves, my quirks a sham
To men in courage, kindness and love are deft?

I urge, plead, prod myself to loose
The waters behind this stony noose.
And yet I still cannot.

Annonymous male lover of Ms. Austen: I hope you're right.