You know what’s hard to do? Write a book about boys and dating when you currently have no interest in boys or dating. I know, I know…I wrote an entire 40 episode web series on boys and dating. So…there’s that.
And I can’t really describe to you what’s changed. The fundamental paradigm shift that’s happened in my brain and body that led me from wanting love and marriage to wanting nothing to do with them. We’re definitely in uncharted territory over here.
It’s a particularly difficult realization to come to. Finding out that a book consisting of all my funniest stories revolve around the men that I’m not with. The guys that I’ve kissed. The boys that I do not miss. Every time I sit down to write, I think to myself “Is my life all about boys? Is the sum of my life’s work, the roster of dudes that I’ve been involved with one way or another?????” When I think about it, I make this face…
And then this mentally happens….
And before you know it I’m on a full-on shame spiral where I am left examining all past mistakes through a very judgmental microscope. It’s not pretty. No one wants to be around that level of Debbie Down. I don’t even want to be around me sometimes.
Here’s what I know…I left New York for a reason. It wasn’t where I needed to be anymore. And I’m the kind of person that has no problem changing my circumstance. When things go bad or are no longer healthy for me, I change them. I move or get a new job or join a gym or stop drinking soda. It’s often as simple as that. I moved because I wanted to be able to find someone and fall in love…that was the reason. That’s what I said in the last episode of my web series. Remember…
That was not the truth. I think I thought it was the truth at the time. Is truth a relative thing? It was true then, but it’s not true anymore. Does that make it a lie? Was I lying to myself when I said I just wanted to fall in love? Cause right now…I know that I don’t. It’s the last thing I want for my life. This messy existence I’m currently living, love would only make it messier, if that’s even possible. And I have plenty of tangible, understandable love from my family and my friends. But romantic love? No thanks.
No wonder I have writer’s block, since what I’ve given myself to write about are stories about something I no longer want. I still want to share my experiences with you, world. I want you to benefit from my experiences. To learn from my mistakes. To understand me better by understanding where I’ve been. But I’m having a hell of a time doing it. I’ll be lucky if I have any hair left for my picture in the book jacket…
In the meantime, while I figure it all out, I’m going to attempt to return to the blog I love. The blog I have neglected lately. The blog I started long ago and often take for granted. This is my brain on blog so, read at your discretion. And if you choose to, thanks for coming along for the ride!!
I confess. As I’ve watched Downton Abbey the last 2 seasons, I’ve come to wish that Branson and Mary would try and make a go of it. After all, they get along famously and make each other genuinely better people (especially in Mary’s case.) Plus little Sybbie and Master George are growing up together anyways. Why not just go ahead already?
But, after Sunday’s episode, I have finally accepted that it isn’t meant to be. Mainly because Mary married another dude. So all my dreams of the perfect ship have drowned.
In the aftermath of disappointment, a new feeling and deeper understanding of Mary and Branson has taken shape. Theirs is the perfect example of a platonic friendlationship done splendidly right. Possibly the only one on TV that I have ever witnessed. (Arguments could be made for Jerry and Elaine from Seinfeld or Phoebe and Joey from Friends.) See, what happens most of the time (and especially on soap operas) is that man meets woman, man loves woman, man loses woman, man finds new woman, man loves new woman. And the same is true on the women’s side as well. Anyone with television watching history knows that the best couples start out either on opposite ends of the spectrum (hating each other) or as the very best of friends (and not realizing they love each other.) Enter Mary Crawley and Tom Branson. Not only did they start out at opposite ends of the spectrum (he a chauffeur, she a rich aristocrat and them hating each other) but after the deaths of not one, but both of their spouses, they became the most unlikely pair of best friends. Hence the thought that they might end up together.
Instead, they remain dear and devoted friends. (In fact, Tom was the best man at both of Mary’s weddings. Chew on that one!) They are friends who love one another deeply, but who didn’t so much as look sideways at one another in a romantical way (despite my fervent prayers for it to happen.) Perhaps it was because he was married to her sister. It could be that the class lines just couldn’t be crossed. But I think it’s because sometimes, every once in a while, men and women can truly just be friends and nothing more.
I have to say, this has not been my experience. If I haven’t had feelings (unwanted or otherwise) for a guy, a guy has had feelings (unwanted or otherwise) for me. In fact, the best friend I have, who is of the male species, is my brother.
Platonic Friendlationships are very hard to come by. And harder to keep. Which is why Mary and Branson not getting together (and fulfilling my hopes and dreams) is a really, really good thing. I often desperately need to be reminded that men and women can be friends without the mushy stuff getting in the way. That it isn’t all about roses and rainbows and kisses in the rain. Sometimes it’s about honesty and kindness and a person you can rely on to always be there, even when it’s hard.
(Deep breath and shoulder shrug) I wish it was as easy as having a team of writers craft the perfect scenario and just being directed to follow a script. If that were the case, then maybe I could have written it so that the men who’ve come into my life could have just been my friends. There would be no suspicion of ulterior motives. There would be no longing for something more. Just friendship at it’s finest. Honestly, I don’t even know what that would look like. Girl friends, I get. But boys? I’m 33 and I still can’t figure them out!
I will take a lesson from Tom Branson and Mary Crawley (I suppose I need to get used to calling her Mary Talbot now?) I will keep hope alive that men aren’t always trying to get into my pants. That maybe there’s a Branson out there who just wants to be in my life and see me happy, even if it isn’t with him. Perhaps especially if it isn’t with him. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I wanted to take a look at one of the most romantic figures in all of literature…Mr. Darcy himself. I’m hard pressed to find anyone that matches up to this paragon of moral fiber. So instead of pitting people against him. I’ll pit him against himself and share some of my favorite Darcy’s with you.
I admit, it was hard to rank them, if only because everyone who I’ve seen take on the role has brought something delightful and fully their own to the great visage of Mr. Darcy. And has only managed to cement my love of Darcy with each and every scene. From movies to television mini series to the You Tube phenomenon. Here are the Darcy’s I know and love. Let me introduce…
#1: Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy
No one more embodies the qualities that I look for in a Darcy, than Mr. Colin Firth from the BBC mini series version of Pride and Prejudice. These days when I read the book over and over again, it is Firth’s face that I picture offering Elizabeth his hand in marriage. It’s Firth that saves poor Lydia’s reputation from the evil clutches of George Wickham and it is Firth that comes to Elizabeth again and asks if her heart has changed towards him. He is THE Darcy for me. So he deserves his place at the top! I dare you to defy this!
#2: Colin Firth as Mark Darcy
Is it any wonder that when Helen Fielding wrote Bridget Jones’ Diary she was inspired by Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy as the hero of her story. BJD is a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (for those of you who didn’t know.) And in casting Fielding’s homage to the original Mr. Darcy, who better than the original Mr. Darcy. Enter Colin Firth…again! For all the reasons that he makes a truly great Darcy, not only in a period drama, but in modern times, I refer you back to point #1!
#3: Sir Lawrence Olivier as Mr. Darcy
Next up is the classic, the incomparable (I know, I am in fact comparing him) Sir Lawrence Olivier. This 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice was actually my first introduction to the Jane Austen story. (I admit I never read the book when I was supposed to in high school.) One night this treasure came on TCM (my favorite channel in college) and I was enchanted. Starring Lawrence Olivier as Mr. Darcy and Greer Garson as Elizabeth Bennet, it was the first time I gave Pride and Prejudice a real chance. And yes, you read that right, it wasn’t until college that I truly fell in love. And it was Sir Lawrence who did the wooing. This adaptation actually strays from the book in many places. Lady Catherine comes to like Elizabeth and even recommends her to Darcy. We never even see Georgiana Darcy. And the costumes are not representative of the correct time period. But it just goes to show that sometimes accuracy does not always entreat the deepest of loves. This film sparked my love of all things Austen, which is probably why Olivier holds so high a placement on this list. I won’t apologize for it. He belongs here. And I still have a copy of this movie on VHS to prove my love!
#4: Daniel Vincent Gordh as William Darcy
As each adaptation is released and spun in a new direction, I find brand new ways to love this age old story. Enter The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. A You Tube web series that in fact inspired me to try my hand at telling my own stories through the use of a web series. Lizzie Bennet is a grad student in mass communication and starts a vlog. Charlotte Lu, her best friend, helps her shoot and edit the videos. William Darcy is the haughty owner of Pemberley Digital, a media company that Lizzie eventually visits as part of her study. Darcy doesn’t even get screen time till Episode 59. The viewer relies on Lizzie’s retelling and reenacting of events and is the better for it, because Ashley Clements’ Lizzie Bennet is definitely one of my all time favorites. Will Darcy is significantly more hipster than his predecessors, but the result is simply delightful.
#5: Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy
While Macfadyen makes a very good Darcy, I have so many issues with this version of Pride and Prejudice. The line “Well then, your hands are cold” said by Elizabeth Bennet after Darcy confesses his love a second time, irks me to no end! And his declaration of “I love-I love-I love you”… BLECK! Even Mr. Bingley telling Jane Bennet that he’s “been an unmitigated and comprehensive ass” rubs me the wrong way. But Macfadyen makes so high an entry on my list, not based on the merit of the entire film, but on his performance as Darcy alone. There is a moment when he and Elizabeth are flirting about Lizzie’s proficiency at piano and he smiles at her…that smile alone earns him a high ranking! But the rest of his performance is sufficiently Darcy-esque. And it should be noted that I also really enjoy Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet, it’s just the other liberties that grate.
#6: Martin Henderson as Will Darcy
I have such a soft spot for this Bollywood adaptation, Bride and Prejudice. The flourishing musical numbers alone sold me on it. But the way they weaved the story into the culture of India’s Bollywood is effortless and maintains the integrity of the original work. Martin Henderson’s Will Darcy is appropriately charming at times, but can also play a snobbish prig as well. His chemistry with Aishwayra Rai’s Lalita Bakshi is straight out of an Austen novel and it just works!
#7: Matthew Rhys as Mr. Darcy
This Darcy is a newer entry for me. I never read the P.D. James novel, Death Comes to Pemberley (mystery novels are more my mother’s speed.) But I can never seem to pass on an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. So when Netflix suggested that I watch it, I did! And boy am I glad that my Netflix knows me so well (scarily well!) Matthew Rhys has everything one could want in a classic Darcy. This PBS Masterpiece mini series is a continuation of the story of P+P. Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam have a son and are living in marital bliss, until there’s a murder at Pemberley and the infamous George Wickham is a suspect. Darcy starts to question everything, including his devotion to his beloved Elizabeth. I have to tell you, this is a sexier Pemberley than Austen lovers are used to. There’s even some Darcy and Elizabeth make-up sexy times. Didn’t see that one coming! If you haven’t seen this movie…head to your nearest Netflix and do it!
#8: Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy
I already shared all my thoughts about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies earlier this week. (Click Here) But I’ll reiterate the merits of Sam Riley’s hardened, zombie-killing Darcy. He is prejudiced. He is prideful. He is a charming bad ass!! Look at that gif…oh the brooding!! He has what it takes to earn the Darcy title. He is only so far down on the list because all of his Darcy predecessors stole my heart first. Else, I’d say he definitely deserves higher placement. There just isn’t any room. Sorry, Sam!
#9: Elliot Cowan as Mr. Darcy
Enter Elliot Cowan’s Mr. Darcy in the mini series, Lost in Austen. Cowan is also an excellent Darcy, but again…he suffers the number 9 spot because everyone else beat him to it. But excuse me…there is an homage to Colin Firth’s Darcy that cannot go unmentioned. When Amanda Price trades places with Elizabeth Bennet and finds herself smack in the middle of a story she has grown up knowing, watching and loving, she takes it upon herself to try and keep the characters true to their story lines. And even interjects some deliciousness here and there. Including this moment where Mr. Darcy emerges from the water (after Price told him he had to jump in and do this to appease her.) YUM!
#10: David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy
Ah! Poor David Rintoul. Here he is rounding out the end of my list. David is an excellent Darcy, as Darcy’s go. What he suffers from is a very slow paced, 1980’s version of Pride and Prejudice that I find much harder to watch then every other adaptation on this list. Rintoul has all the appropriate airs and looks darn good in a top hat and ascot, if I do say so myself. But this is not a version that I pop in on sick days. In fact, rewatching it for this list was mildly painful and I didn’t make it through the whole thing…just skipped to the good parts. If you don’t know what the good parts are, then you have homework to do and better get to it!
There you have it. My comprehensive list of Darcy’s. I’ve got a crush on all of them, but how about you?
Ladies, which Darcy floats your Valentine’s boat?
Men, is there a Miss Bennet that you prefer above all others? One of these days I’ll get around to ranking the Elizabeth Bennets of the small and silver screens.
In the meantime, don’t miss Friday’s #NerdySlumberParty. We are talking all about crushes! Which means Darcy will definitely have to be mentioned! 😉
If you are a die hard Jane Austen fan, like me, then perhaps you are or were skeptical about the merits of a book that adds blood, gore and the undead into the prim and proper world of Austen’s Regency Era story. Guess what…the resulting work is simply astoundingly fun! A match made in heaven or rather…hell!!
Let me assure you…the movie is no less awesome than the book! I was worried that the film adaptation might skimp on the story and go straight for the gory, but the sweeping romance of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet’s love story was not sacrificed.
I was also skeptical about Sam Riley’s, Mr. Darcy. He does not have the countenance that I have come to expect from my Darcy’s. But I have to tell you on the scale from Colin Firth to David Rintoul…I’d place Riley above below Matthew Rhys, but above Elliot Cowan. If only because I’ve never met a Darcy I didn’t like and there are 10, in my estimation, that deserve ranking. Sam Riley definitely gave a solid Darcy performance and upon multiple viewings, I expect him to rise in esteem. The curious thing to me was the timber of his voice. It had a gravelly quality to it that at first I did not care for. But given the dark nature of the zombie apocalypse it started to fit in better than a more refined English accent. All in all, a very charming addition to the Darcy family.
As high as my standards are for Mr. Darcy, they are even higher for the second oldest Bennet sister. Perhaps it’s because I identify so closely with her that I hold her in such high and lofty esteem. Lily James has everything that an Elizabeth Bennet should have. A love of longs walks, a ready wit and oh yeah, she kicks serious zombie ass…a quality I never knew I always wanted in Elizabeth Bennet. Her chemistry with Sam Riley is tangible. Especially in the famous proposal scene, where Mr. Darcy makes his love and his reservations about their match known. Let’s just say Elizabeth, a trained warrior, doesn’t take the insult of his proposal lightly and more than just verbal sparring ensues.
It’s the first time I was ever rooting for Mr. Collins, even if just slightly. The incomparable Matt Smith enters the scene as the silly, ridiculous, irreverent Mr. Collins. But where his predecessors have played the role with nauseating smarm, Smith manages to make Collins seem charming (the only other Collins who achieved a level of charm is Maxwell Glick’s Ricky Collins from the You Tube sensation The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.) It probably helps that I’m incredibly biased towards loving all things Matt Smith, seeing as he is Doctor Who and all! He will always get my vote. I was happy that Charlotte Lucas got to have such a delightful match, though Charlotte herself in this film is quite forgettable.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh
I cannot go further without mentioning another powerhouse in the world of geeky fandom. Lena Headey, Cersei Lanister herself, rounds out this cast as Mr. Collin’s benevolent patroness, the Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Except once again, with delightful twists in store for the fan of this classic story. Lady Catherine is no mere aristocrat sitting on her laurels and passing judgement on the Misses Bennet. She is a hardened warrior who has slayed hoards of zombies and even has an eye patch to show for it (a patch used for necessity, not vanity.) When she confronts Elizabeth about whether or not Darcy has made her an offer of marriage, she does more than ask a few tough questions.
The rest of the players are aptly cast, though widely forgettable. Except for the nefarious Mr. George Wickham who is played by the very charming Jack Huston. So charming, in fact, that I was hoping Wickham would end up being as delightful as the man who played him. Alas, Wickham remains a scoundrel in this adaptation as with all the others.
The Walking unDead
As a fan of all things zombie and all things Jane Austen…my standards on both sides are always very high. I equally expect my romance to be sweeping and my head shots to be brutal. So I am happy to say that I was as satisfied with the portrayal of these beloved characters as I was with the zombie effects. The shots were so resounding that I could feel them in my chest. The zombies were believable…the blood and guts visceral. And the action was fast paced and hard-hitting. It’s as much an action movie as it is a romance. What better way to get boys to appreciate the wonderful world of Austen…just add zombies!
All in all, a really fun movie. I watched the entire thing with a gigantic smile on my face. But, reader… I did not walk away unscathed…
Thanks to Lootcrate for infecting me with the zombie virus!!
As usual, to pick only 5 is a very hard thing indeed. I have so many movies I love and find comfort in. But here are the 5 that I turn to the most.
#1 – Star Wars
Star Wars is my favorite of all! So naturally it’s what I turn to most. I put it on in the background when I have work to do. I sit down and avidly watch it and quote along on rainy Saturdays. I can always turn to Star Wars no matter what. And I know what you’re thinking. ‘Why are the prequels on here.’ Because I like them, that’s why! They may not be my favorites. They may not even be good. Who cares! When I say Star Wars I mean all of Star Wars. And every time I watch any of the Star Wars movies there is a comfort in the watching. There’s a feeling like I’m back home and safe and watching something I know word for word… all 6. Sure the original trilogy has something the prequels could never hope to reach, but that doesn’t lessen the fact that I like the prequels for what they are.
#2 – The Philadelphia Story
This has long been a favorite of mine. It has two of my very favorite actors of all time. Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. And Jimmy Stewart is nothing to sneeze at either! It’s got some great lines like, “I’m such an unholy mess of a girl.” or “I promise to be yar!” I was practically raised on black and white movies and there’s something romantic and enchanting about them. And this above all others is the one I go to when I’m in a mushy, romantic sort of mood. (Which happens more often then you might think!)
#3 – The Court Jester
This is an old family favorite. My brother and I must have watched this about 100 times when we were kids. So much that I have every song memorized. Humor is definitely my kryptonite. I love to laugh and this movie makes me laugh every time I watch, even though I know the jokes are coming. That’s the mark of a truly good comedy. The humor never gets old. Danny Kaye is a master at his craft and this is an example of some of his very best work!!
#4 – Muppet Treasure Island
Another family favorite. (There’s something to that!) You can never go wrong with The Muppets. They sing. They dance. It’s family friendly and it has Tim Curry, who is always amazing. This is another film that I have pretty much memorized from watching over and over again.
#5 – The Mirror Has Two Faces
This is one of my all time favorite romantic comedies. Barbra Streisand… Jeff Bridges. Need I say more. That’s enough to hook ya right there. It’s delightful. It’s romantic. It’s one of me and my mom’s favorite movies. And if you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and go rent it!! It’s a treasure.
What movies do you turn to for comfort? I wanna know!!
Back when I was 15 and a wide-eyed, romantic high school kid, I believed whole-heartedly in ‘The One.’ I believed there was One predestined, preordained (I won’t say perfect, but pretty darn close) person God had picked out for me. And it was just a matter of time till he found me or I found him. Our paths would one day cross (ideally by the age of 22), he’d be captured by that thing that seems to capture men’s attention in the movies and we would be married and well on our way to ‘happily ever after.’
Cause that’s how it works right?
Well, 22 came and The One never did. 25 came and I was still single. 30 came and I thought something must have been wrong. Isn’t ‘he’ supposed to have found me by now? What was taking so long? Was I really that hard to find?
Then, one day, my pastor preached a sermon on love and The One at church. He said that there is no such thing as The One. This is not a concept created by God. He’s not up there weaving his magical tapestry of our lives and preordaining every single thing we do, including who we do or do not marry. Yes, He knows what our choice will be and I think to some people that seems to mean the choice isn’t there to begin with, if He knows the outcome. But I don’t believe that. He created so many different people for us to meet and connect with and love. It’s the choice that makes the difference. It’s the choice that makes us free. And it’s the choice to choose to love someone that makes falling in love so much better than just accidentally letting it happen and having no say in the matter. (Check out the sermon series here: Journey NYC)
Besides, if there was only One person out there for me to end up with… what if he got bored and married someone else? What if he had a tragic accident leaving him unable to come and find me? What if he died prematurely, never allowing us to meet at all? Would that be it for me? Would that be the end of the romantic story of my life?
Can you imagine… you spend your life waiting and one day you die and you get to Heaven and ask God,
“What happened, God? I thought you wanted me to get married and have kids, but my One never came around. Did I do something wrong?”
And God says, “Totally had someone for you, but he fell onto the train tracks one day and died before he met you. Sorry about that. Nothing I could do, my hands were tied. But he would have been perfect for ya! I promise.”
By limiting ourselves to one person in a sea of billions, we limit the possibilities for our lives. We limit God’s imagination for us. And we limit ourselves to some unattainable fairytale.
I am an optimist. I am a romantic. I believe in love. I just don’t believe in love at first sight or destiny. I think it’s hard work to love someone. I think it will be hard work for someone to love me. I think that it’s a choice and I just haven’t chosen to take that step with anyone I have met so far. Rather than waiting for someone to see that magical thing in me that inspires love and devotion, I’m waiting to see it in someone. It takes two to tango and I won’t wait around to be chosen. I get to do the choosing! And that is an encouraging thought. God has placed the ball entirely in my court. It’s up to me to make the move.
If you’ve never seen the movie Stardust, then you are missing out on a cinematic treat. This movie based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, is funny, romantic and action packed. It’s as close to a modern day Princess Bride as any movie could possibly get. And since it was recently added on Netflix, I have been re-watching it lately. So I encourage you not only to go pick up the book because… reading is cool, but to also watch the movie because…movies are cool too!
Here is my attempt at recreating this look. You can’t help but feel like a shining star with this hair. My co-worker said it looked like the perfect wedding hair. Love it and I’ll remember that if I ever need such a thing.