I am agitated. Fuming. Why you may ask? Because I’ve discovered the flirty, adorable Brazilian I’ve been chatting with has a girlfriend. And how could I not find him adorable when he strikes up a conversation with me about yoga, of all things.
We started off chatting about calisthenics, what it’s like for me as an instructor myself, how he ended up here from Brazil. I quickly discovered he was rather charming, one of those guys that knows just the right thing to say at just the right time. (That should’ve been a red flag.)
I quickly flocked to his Instagram (as any sane girl would), and scrolled through his pictures. Nothing of suspicion arose. But a true sleuth (and a practiced Facebook-creep) knows to dig deeper. So deeper I dug. I clicked on his tagged photos. My screen suddenly filled with pictures of him and some pretty blonde girl with captions like “missing my handsome guy” and “you make me smile when no one else does.” If this girl wasn’t officially his girlfriend yet, then she was well on the way toward the label.
So I chose to do the right thing. I stopped responding to his messages. That didn’t stop him from sending them, though. Finally, when he invited me to see a hockey game with him sometime, I responded with a simple (passive aggressive) “I don’t think your girlfriend would be too keen on that.” His response made it very clear that I hit a nerve.
First she was not my girlfriend and second after I come back from Mexico...forget it, I didn't know you were arrogant.
If he’d responded like a normal person, the situation might’ve been able to be explained rationally. But guilt does funny things to us, doesn’t it?
And where are they now? A quick scan of his tagged photos reveals that he’s still with the blonde girl—stuffed penguin on Valentine’s Day, the whole shebang. So clearly I was arrogant in assuming he had a girlfriend, because he clearly doesn’t.
These are the sort of men—nah, boys—I deal with on a day-to-day basis. I often feel like a modern day Elizabeth Bennet searching for her Mr. Darcy in a world filled with Wickhams.
Perhaps I’m being too unrealistic. Some fall victim to Hollywood’s airbrushing and Photoshop, looking for a hunky Chris Hemsworth-type to magically appear in a bookstore like the beginning of some clichéd rom-com. I prefer to blame Jane Austen. There’s just so much to love about her world—a world brimming with grandeur and civility, a world where women are wooed, a world where love is straightforward and lasting.
Does Mr. Darcy give up after Elizabeth’s rejection of his proposal? Or does he spend the second half of the novel cleaning up the messes he’s created for Elizabeth and her family. He tracks down Wickham and Lydia, forces and funds their union to spare Lydia—not to mention her family—the social disgrace. He doesn’t stop there, either. Darcy encourages Mr. Bingley to finally follow his heart back to Jane. And after all his efforts (that weren’t entirely selfless), Darcy wins the hand of Elizabeth, and all parties end up happily ever after. (Excepting Lydia and Wickham, for I cannot see Lydia’s disposition and Wickham’s reckless spending ending in marital happiness.)
What does a 21st century Elizabeth Bennet get when she attempts the uncertain waters of dating? She definitely learns that most of the fish in the seas are toss-aways. In place of romance and courtship, we receive half-assed effort. Apps like Tinder only heighten the romance of our generation. Want to Netflix and chill?
In what world would I want to go out with a guy who uses this as a pickup line? “You look like you could turn a normal yoga class into a hot one just by showing up.” (K. Thanks, but no thanks.) Since when did calling a girl “hot” instead of “pretty,” or “beautiful,” or, God forbid, “intelligent,” become okay? A girl is more than just her looks; as Austen points out, she should also be accomplished. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, dancing, and drawing to deserve the word. Mr. Darcy agrees, “all this she must possess and to all this she must add something more substantial in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.” (As luck would have it, he married an avid reader. Coincidence, I think not.)
Wouldn’t you rather be told you’re smart and interesting rather than just a hot piece of ass? This is what my struggle comes down to. I won’t apologize for expecting more out of the men in our generation. We deserve someone who will treat us as we ought to be treated. As women, we fight a losing battle on a daily basis. For every leering stare elicited by some random creep, for every unwarranted catcall, for every blow-off at the hands of some self-important man, don’t we deserve someone who, well, doesn’t do any of that?
Looking for Mr. Darcy openly challenges the dating world we live in today. I for one am tired of pretending, and need a place to vent. I cordially invite you to follow me as I brave the uncertain world of 21st century dating. In a world filled with Wickhams, can we find Mr. Darcy?