When I was in high school, I was going to read the Cliffnotes version of a Jane Austen novel. I was all set to write an essay via summaries, until I read the opening line:
“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)
And with that I was hooked. I gave cliff notes a big eff you… and read that novel. I never read it again, but PP to this day, remains one my all time favorites (along with the beautiful BBC adaptation… didn’t care for the Kira Knightly version sigh).
I think I saw or wanted and still want to see a bit of myself in the Elizabeth Bennett: Pretty, but not extremely beautiful (ok, maybe nobody wants to see themselves as that…ha ha)
Elizabeth is smart and kind and witty and willing to forgo an ill-matched marriage just so that she can live a life of comfort. She then forgoes marriage to a man who loves her in-spite of her being beneath him socially and economically.
I love this! The part where she turns Darcy and his backhanded compliment of a proposal down was priceless.
But when I stop being whimsical and polite and start being real, I am struck with the realization that I am Mr. Darcy! We all are. How many times have we told a friend “he/she can do so much better than that”?
I have my rules/list and although things on that list may shift from time to time, I am wont to stray too far from it. And even when I do, I this only serves to sabotage the whole thing.
hmmm I wanted to give examples, but I don’t want to put myself out there, just in case Mr. Right goes perusing these entries and starts something… ha ha…
But the point is that we all have things that we think make us valuable, worth it, better than that, whatever you want to call it. Whether it is education, career socio-economic status, earning potential, race… (you get the picture)
Some of these barriers, particularly when it comes to education are things, I think as a woman that I have to think about. Unlike Tyler Perry I don’t think necessarily think that the answer to the dearth of marriageable,educated (black) men is NOT to look to blue collar men (although that is a solution for some).
I don’t hold it against anyone if they were not able to pursue high education. And while I know that a college degree does not signify the kind of curiosity about life and cultures that I like to think that I have, it’s been my experience that without higher education, people don’t have the opportunity to take advantage of the global society in which we live, or articulate the main issues we face in it.
So yes, to move from my position on this, Mr. Right would have to be one heck of an Elizabeth Bennett (and yes, I realize that EB was actually quite cultured)…. and I would still approach him like the original Darcy, not the reformed one at the end of the novel.
And of course, as stated previously, this is not an issue of education only, there are a lot of things that I hold dear, and would be a pretty snooty about.
So here’s to my holding on to my Pride and my Prejudice.