Don’t pretend you’ve never acted like Lydia before (at some point or another). We all know what Lydia’s like: “a boy-crazy, totally un-self-conscious teenager” (according to Shmoop). We’ve also all tried to put as much distance as possible between ourselves and Lydia’s character traits. After all, who wants to be thought of as a silly girl? Certainly not me. I put a lot of time and energy into not being a boy-crazy teenager.
That being said, Lydia actually does have some strengths–strengths that not everyone has, natural gifts (if you will). Lydia maintained that raw, natural confidence that I just don’t have with guys–actually a place where I could stand to be a little more like Lydia! She’s gutsy. When I think about it, she’s sort of a variation of the ever-elusive Cool Girl. Men are drawn to her confidence, whether or not that confidence is real or just a projected facade masking her insecurities is up for conjecture.
The other day, I had a sudden, and sharp, moment of clarity: I’m hard on Lydia, but I occasionally find myself acting like her. (I don’t want to say “frequently” because…it’s still Lydia.) The fact of the matter is, we all get a little boy-crazy now and then–like me, for instance, a couple days ago. In fact, I think it’s even a little bit healthy (but I’m prone to lying to myself, so stop me if you don’t resonate with this feeling at all).
I was at the gym, doing some planks, just workin’ on my fitness, and this guy, who looks like Nyle DiMarco from America’s Next Top Model, lays down his mat not too far from mine and starts doing pushups.
But I digress.
So instead of continuing along my way, making progress on my own less-than-perfectly sculpted body, I decided to fangirl over this complete stranger. That includes taking creeper Snapshots of him in the mirror. I can’t say this enough: I’m not proud of this. But I share this more than slightly embarrassing moment with all of you, because Lydia always gets a bad rap. Yes, for her time period, she was certainly out of line. And yes she was a 15 year old, too, though a 19th-century 15-year-old is a very different thing that a 21st-century 15-year-old.
Lydia was, for all intents and purposes, an adult. She should be held accountable for her behavior. I mean, she did run away with Wickham (and that was bad–definitely not saying she should have done it), but I totally get her obsession with the militia–more generally, cute boys. But still, when I think of how I acted around cute, older boys at that age, it makes it slightly easier to sympathize with her. After all, our society has changed, but our basic biology hasn’t.
But for a minute, let’s put a pin in Lydia. Maybe you just hate Lydia and can’t see any common ground with her, and you’re thinking, why am I even reading this post? I can’t learn anything from Lydia frigging Bennet. I get that. She’s an unlikeable character. But what about Marianne Dashwood? She was ready in a heartbeat to give her heart away to someone she barely knew (and look where that got her). Sound like anyone else we know? The difference between Marianne and Lydia is that Marianne is a hopeless romantic, and Lydia is a hopeless flirt. I can find tiny moments of self-recognition with both of these characters. There are days when I’m a lot like Marianne, pining for a love that moves the stars and earth (when really reading us a Shakespearian sonnet is enough). And then there are times when I get butterflies upon seeing a super cute guy.
I’m not to the point where I go up and flirt with loads of guys. I’m not actively picking up guys. But sometimes, it’s just fun to freak out when you see someone that is so obviously out of your league that you can just let your imagination run wild–maybe that’s even something that Marianne would do. That’s why it’s so easy to get sucked into a celebrity crush. It’s fun to act silly (sometimes).
By now, you all know that I have a pretty big celebrity crush on Rupert Grint from Harry Potter. (And if anyone knows him, I’ll be in London the last week of September–just throwing that out there.) It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the fantasy of what it would be like to stumble across him in a bar somewhere and (for some unknown reason) he finds me more irresistible than every other single fan who has fawned over him for the past decade. I’m so frigging realistic. But again, I’m digressing.
It’s fun to fantasize about cute boys that you know you can never/will never have–like this uber hot gym boy.
The irony is, I wasted the rest of my workout more or less gawking at thisabsurdly attractive boy. And when he left, I was like, whelp, I’m done now. As I was leaving, I noticed him in the cafe inside the gym facility. So of course, I walked in, promptly spent $6 on a smoothie I didn’t even want (and shouldn’t have had because I’m not supposed to have soy), and didn’t even work up the courage to talk to him. So he left. And I was left with all these coulda-woulda-shoulda-prada thoughts.
I quickly realized I was acting like Lydia Bennet. Initially, I scolded myself. Who wants to be compared to Lydia? But you know what? It’s fun to get a little silly over boys every now and again. I. Get. It. As Mr. Bennet points out, a girl likes to be crossed in love now and again–or maybe just crossed in like if she’s not looking for the Real Deal. Occasionally it’s just fun to be silly and boy-crazy and give zero fucks if he likes you back.
Unfortunately, I can’t even act like Lydia correctly. I was the worst version of Lydia–worse because I kept all the silly, childish behavior without Lydia’s raw confidence. I would kill for that confidence. Sometimes, I’m capable of faking it. And sometimes I genuinely wonder if confidence is just who can fake it the best. Aren’t we all a little insecure from time to time? I think, in terms of Lydia, her confidence stemmed from a place of immaturity. That being said, if a man rejected her, she doesn’t strike me as the kind of girl who would take it to heart. Couldn’t we all stand to be more like that? To stop obsessing over guys who make it super clear that “hey, I’m just not that into you.” I don’t exactly have the thickest skin in the world, so it would do me good to buck up and not care. Show some confidence.
So here’s what I’ve learned from my embarrassing fangirl experience, which I rarely come across when it’s not celebrity related. (But as I pointed out, he looked like Nyle DiMarco and my teeth were chattering just being in the sameroom as him. Just imagine if I’d had Lydia’s courage to talk to him!) We could all stand to be a little more like Lydia. Yes. She’s a horrible flirt. But hey, she, for some reason or another, oozes confidence–guys pick up on that!
I’m not saying that you should run away with the first man who feigns interest in a you for a big payout, but just step forward in confidence. Know how fabulous you are and how lucky he would be to have you. I know from experience that rejection can be tough, but rejection doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you–it just means that you weren’t right for him. But someone elseis.
Remember, you’re looking for a Darcy, so don’t waste time pining for a Wickham. We might envy her confidence, but we still know better.