I think we can safely say that George Wickham was a daft pretty boy, or a DPB as I like to call them. He charmed all the residents of Meryton and was immediately dubbed trustworthy because of his pleasing countenance and happy manners. No one needed any concrete evidence of his completely pure soul because you could see it there on his face--he was inherently good and transparent.
We all know how well that worked out for the Bennet family, don't we?
A good friend of mine recently put together a playlist for me, and she does this amazing thing where all the song titles strung together create a story of sorts. Here's my favorite list:
"CRZY" by Khlani
"Guys My Age" by Hey Violet
"Daft Pretty Boys" by Bad Suns
"Waste" by Foster the People
"Signals" by Nicole Millar
"Don't Need Nobody" by Ellie Goulding
"Good Luck" by The Undercover Dream Lovers
Is this not perfection? Cracks me up every time I read it.
Anyways, I want to hone in on Bad Suns' "Daft Pretty Boys" because it symbolizes just what it is to date a 20-something boy in the 21st century. The lyrics are gold.
Girl you waste your time on daft pretty boys
With all the time in the world for chasing pretty girls
...I've got no time to waste on another pretty face
(It's like a note to Lydia Bennet.)
I want to talk about what it means to get sucked into a DPB. Now "daft" is directly defined (by Google) as "foolish" or "silly"--not inherently terrible qualities in a boyfriend. We all need some silliness in our lives to make it fun. It's when you start to look at the synonyms of "daft" that you start to get the more negative definitions: absurd, asinine, bedlamite (archaic word for "stupid" or "crazy"), demented, deranged. The list goes on.
Now what's the problem when you become acquainted with a boy who is as pretty as he is daft? He's practically irresistible. He's unpredictable and exciting, not to mention fine as hell. Let's just say it: DPBs get away with a lot.
It's easy to forgive the bad behavior of daft pretty boys. Because they're pretty. Let's be honest, cute guys get away with a lot more than they should. As the Bad Suns point out, "There's a dangerous kind of cool" about those daft pretty boys, and it's because they look "so fucking perfect on the outside."
Daft pretty boys represent something almost fictional, or more specifically, the ideal. The ideal is a figment of our imagination that we've fabricated and projected onto this attractive person with a mediocre personality. Okay. Maybe he doesn't have a mediocre personality. He probably has great qualities that you find attractive. But that doesn't mean you two are automatically a good fit together. But the idea of you two together, the couple that you are on paper who snuggles in bed on a rainy Sunday morning doing the crossword together in pen, the couple you could be, forces you to take his actual, real-life behavior into account.
I recently found myself sucked into a...we'll call it an infatuation with a DPB. He's basically perfect. Educated, attractive, ambitious, pleasant. Everything that I'm looking for--on paper. But I can say with 100 percent honestly that I've never truly been myself around this guy. I got so caught up in the idea of us and how compatible we were on paper that I kind of forgot to check in and see if we were as good in person as we were on paper. I became so fixated on him and his needs that I forgot to check in and ask myself, Hey, are you actually happy about the way this relationship is progressing? Are you happy being the one who always texts first and is the last one to respond before bed? Does it make you feel special when he's 30 minutes late to a breakfast date because he overslept?
I think Elizabeth got a bit swept up in which it would be like to be with a man like George Wickham, a man who was by no means wealthy or or great consequence in society but who seemed like a good sort of man. It's easy to be misled by charm and good looks alone. I don't think any of us can blame Lizzy for hoping Wickham's outside happy, kind manners would match his inside. Alas.
I don't know about you, but from all my years as a reader, I've come to distrust truly pretty boys, the ones with almost too good of looks that make you immediately assume he's a total asshole. Just because he's hot. It's like, not everyone should be blessed with everything, right?
So we've established what a daft pretty boy is, as well as who he is in Jane Austen's world. Now what is the best way to deal with a daft pretty boy? My advice to to let them show their true colors. Time was really all it took for Wickham to show his true colors. Debt is bound to catch up with you at some time or another.
Just give it time.
That's what I did, and I'm relieved that I can now say I know what his deal is. He's just a daft pretty boy, completely asinine. I don't regret giving him a chance either, because he had potential to be something truly special. And sometimes, it takes a long, drawn-out encounter with a DPB to set you straight and help you figure out what you really want out of a relationship. My infatuation with a DPB opened my eyes to something with a better potential for happiness, which is where we'll pick up next week with a continuation of my Hey, Bartender meet-cute.
Because...there have been some developments. Some.