Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dating Lessons from Jane Austen

I know...I'm a horrible person. I haven't updated my blog in so long, but you have to understand what my life has been for the last little bit. The opera (Three Penny Opera by Kurt Weill) took over my life for a few months, as I brought to life my own version of a bitter old lush A.K.A. Mrs. Peachum...it was phenomenal fun, but its over and I couldn't be happier. Then, I had about 2 days to rest before the Brahms Requiem took over my life. I joke, but seriously in my heart of hearts, believed that Brahms from beyond the grave somehow managed to pay for my vocal cords to take a luxury vacation on a cruise ship, and he didn't bother to invite me. After this weekend, they came back from their long vacation just in time for my voice lesson final and finals week.

I've also been consumed by a social life that is a little more active than I'd like.

In the last three months I have been accosted by 3, count them 3 ex-boyfriends, all with a desire to get back into my good graces. I hesitantly bestowed my good graces upon them again only to have them run screaming for the hills.

These three consecutive experiences have taught me two very important life lessons:
1) Break Ups suck (a lesson I thought I'd already learned, but apparently God wants to make sure that I have the memo)


2) Exes are exes for good reason

Lesson Number 1 (break ups suck) finds me in a contemplative mood. I'm at the stage in the break up grieving process where I want two things : truffles and Jane Austen.
This contemplative mood coupled with Jane Austen has brought me to a baffling theory that I think everyone should hear, because, GASP! I think its true....

Here is my theory-

My name is Brittany Ann Winberg, and I am addicted to Willoughbys....

You think I'm crazy, right? Well, here is what I have come to understand about Ms. Austen's writings.

In her books (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park) our dear friend Jane has perfectly categorized the different types of men.

From Sense and Sensibility we get three types of men:

1) Edward- loyal to a fault, this type of man will keep his promises even if it causes him great unhappiness. If you develop a friendship or an attachment with an Edward, you will find that even if he has great feelings for you, if he is dating someone else he will brood and painfully let you go for the sake of honor because he feels he has promised himself to someone else. Barring remarkable circumstances that allow him to break his previous attachment, you can forget ever having more than a friendship with an Edward.

2) Willoughby- young, exciting, romantic. The Willoughby type promises you the moon, the stars, and all the passion that you want out of a love affair. Beware the Willoughby. While they make promises, they leave a trail of broken hearts where ever they go. A Willoughby may form an attachment with you, but the first sign of true love and responsibility, he will turn his tail and run, convincing himself that there are "greener pastures" awaiting him. Girls with more money, more prospects, or that are prettier

3) Colonel Dashwood- the Antithesis of Willoughby. Colonel Dashwoods are generally older, but steady and firm in their resolve to protect and adore the women they love. They love deep, they never forget the one that got away, but are hopeful that they will find someone to make them forget the hurt and pain of what they've lost. They have passion, but it is under many layers of decorum and propriety. Colonel Brandons have a tendency to save the day, and the women they love from sticky situations whether it be in public or private.

From Pride and Prejudice we get 4 types of men again:

1) Mr. Darcy- apparently, according to most Austen lovers, Mr. Darcy is the epitome of manliness. He has much goodness, but hides it behind brooding eyes. He is bound to his family and all of the responsibilities of life. He feels that he must marry someone who can live up to his families expectations, but he longs for passion and love. He hopes that he can someday find someone that will meet both his expectations and his families, but has good enough sense to follow his heart when its slapping him in the face.

2) Mr. Bingley- jovial, a Bingley is bound and determined to love the world, everyone in it, and everything about it. Bingleys form deep attachments to the women they admire; however they rely heavily on the advice of their friends and family. If you form an attachment to a Bingley, be aware of this and work to get into the good graces of the people he will trust most. If you fail at this you run the risk of losing him but not being able to be mad at him for it because he is such a good guy you won't be able to think of anything mean to say about him.

3) Mr. Collins- the creeper...the Mr. Collinses of the world usually end up marrying girls who wish to settle...just don't go there.

4) Mr. Wickham- the wolf in sheep's clothing. A Wickham is all charm but seeks only for his own advancement in life. He tries to blame everyone else for his problems and tries to get you to pity him. If he succeeds, he will try to find a way to get you to shortcut your standards so that his petty needs will be met instantaneously...beware of the Wickhams, they are the kinds of men that will cheat on you repeatedly, but will get away with it for years because they hide it with their charm and compliments.

From Persuasion we find 2 types of men

1)Captain Wentworth- this is the man that you knew you loved but you let him get away because friends and families encouraged you to believe that this would be a bad idea. He comes back into your life, he wants to hate you, but he can't so you settle to be friends; however, underneath your friendship is a passion that will not die. With any luck, he will not be able to contain his feelings any longer and he will confess that he is still in love with you, allowing you to have a second chance.

2) Mr. Elliot- Usually, the Mr. Elliot type is someone who you know from the past, or who has connections with your family in some remote way. The Mr. Elliot type always has ulterior motives. He seeks to marry only when it will benefit him (he wants arm candy or money) his affection might be real, but at first he chases a woman only because he feels it will help him in his career or life in some way. It is unknown whether the Mr. Elliot can be changed, but rest assured he has options on the side and won't be too hurt if you choose to go another direction and leave his sorry keester in the dust...

Finally from Mansfield Park, we get 4 types of men

Edmund- An Edmund is brilliant. You crush on him for years, but never dare tell him the truth about your feelings for risk of ruining your perfect friendship. He almost doesn't see what's under his nose. If you are in a relationship with an Edmund, it generally takes a heartbreak or a traumatic experience in which he can turn to you for comfort for him to realize what he's been overlooking. If you manage to snag an Edmund, you will find you never lack in love or respect. He will adore you and worship the ground you walk on, and because you were friends first he will know you better than you know yourself at times.

Tom, Jr.- This boy is all about play. He doesn't care much for work, and you find that much of what he has in life has been handed to him. There generally isn't much substance to a Tom, if you have a crush on a Tom, try to find a nice Edmund, Colonel Brandon, or Edward immediately. Its for the best honey!

Henry- For an Henry its all about the thrill of the hunt and chase. He wants only to leave a trail of broken hearts. If a Henry happens to marry, its only because he is forced into it. You will know a Henry because all he wants is instant gratification. He is much like a Willoughby, except he doesn't have good manners or decorum in private. If you are stand-offish enough, you might persuade an Henry that he is in love with you, but after a final rejection he will leave and find someone to help him heal his wounded ego.

Mr.Rushworth- Clueless, a Mr. Rushworth will believe anything you say. He looks at marriage much like he would a business proposition. He isn't very romantic but he is tolerable. If you choose to marry a Rushworth, look out- they aren't prone to being very forgiving.

So....after all that, allow me to reiterate- My name is Brittany Ann Winberg, and I am addicted to Willoughbys.

Let me explain. As I look back at my recent dating past and all of the men who "done me wrong" I find that all of them have been Willoughbys.

I blame my romantic notions....I want passion, I want romance, I want someone who tells me that I'm amazing and perfect....I just don't want them to run away, but they do...they always do because they are Willoughbys and that is their nature.

I can conclude then, that Jane Austen tells me that I should seek for a Colonel Brandon- but here is my problem...I don't know if I can handle a Colonel Brandon. I don't know if I have the patience to peel back the layers to find the passion. I could grow fond of a Brandon, and all of his steady assurances, but I fear that I wouldn't be truly happy unless I had passion....

(you see what I mean about being contemplative?)

I'd love everyone's input. I know I should resolve myself to look for a Colonel Brandon, an older, steady, sweet, doting man who conceals in public what is felt in private, but its so difficult to give up the Willoughbys.

After this most recent wound has healed, perhaps I will be able to refocus my efforts. I undoubtedly know that Willoughby is what attracts me, but I need to find a Brandon...does anyone know any Colonel Brandons?

Hugs and Loves until Next time!


Lisa said...

YAY! I'm so glad I found your blog! So... here's my thought on your thoughts. :) I married a willoughby. Except he didn't run away. In fact, the very fact that he constantly tells me I'm beautiful and perfect and wants all the passion in the world is what made ME stay with HIM. Plus the fact that he stuck around. Don't give up your dream Brit. I've seen too many friends settle for what they think they need only to live a lonely sad life. You'll find who you were meant to be with and it will be SO RIGHT! :) Love your guts! Glad I found you!

Meikjn said...

I totally know guys that are awesome and single, but they live nowhere near you. I just want to say that I second that you like Willoughbys. I have seen the kind of guys you like. I also want to say that in my own dating I went for the bingly,willoghby, and the occasional tom types naturally, but they were all wrong, and I ended up not liking them at all and did the breaking up myself. Andy was totally clueless about girls. and immune to all my girly wiles. it was aggravating. I am not sure how we fell in love. but instead of getting sick of him (am I a willoghby?) I could not get enough of my Mr.Darcy/Edwardian hero. I think you need to go for someone a little more shy. shy guys take work to get close to, and it is very rewarding (Andy is not the only person to teach me that). and opposites attract. I'm coming from experience. I had a whirlwind of a dating life too. shy guys appreciate in quieter ways but you learn to recognise how they express themselves. My shy friends are great. I think you need to change your expectations, you may be surprised. Andy for instance is fantastic at giving gifts. and try to free yourself of your perception of others expectations. you are talented, successful, and beautiful, you have nothing to be ashamed of.I am very happy with how things turned out for me, even though Andy is very different than my ideal. and besides geeks are the best breadwinners. Archetypes are not real people anyway, find what fits, but also what allows you to be yourself.