janeite

Caroline Bingley : You are such a great man Mr Darcy. I admire you very much.
Mr Darcy *annoyed* : Thanks.
Caroline Bingley *trying to charm* : I wish there was something between us.
Mr Darcy : Me too.
Caroline Bingley *getting excited* : Really  X) ! Like what ?
Mr Darcy : A WALL.

Soulmates

Soulmates. How can one word pack in so much debate? It’s a pretty mighty concept for someone to tackle, but I’ll try my very best to represent both sides–I’m Switzerland. I don’t know if soulmates exist; I don’t know if they don’t exist, either.

Over the past week, I posted on my Instagram and Twitter asking all of you what you think of soulmates, whether it’s fact or fantasy. 56.7 percent of you claim soulmates do in fact exist; the remaining are of the negative. From this informal data collection, I cannot draw any conclusions–the data is not sufficiently statistically significant (oh, how happy my Stats professor would be if she could see me now) enough in one direction or the other. So, I’ve decided to tackle/clarify just what our society considers a soulmate to be.

Urban Dictionary defines “soulmate” as “a person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet–a connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experienced before.” 

In the comments, some of you shared the idea that soulmates are quite literally souls we’ve met in another lifetime–falling under the category of reincarnation, if I’m not mistaken? And thus posing the question that the souls we meet in this life are the same souls we met in previous lives, and now we have unfinished business to resolve. 

Others were more skeptical, claiming that some people can be more compatible, but this does not indicate that soulmates are actually a thing. After all, what are the chances of finding that one perfect person in the millions and millions here on Earth? Which opens up the question of courageous people who remarry after being widowed–something I image to be an incredibly difficult decision, filled with great deal of soul-searching.

Let’s say a woman claims to have met her soulmate. They marry, have a few kids, and then he passes away suddenly and unexpectedly. His widow grieves, but after a few years, decides she doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life alone–reasoning that her husband would want her to be happy. She remarries to a new man, who divorced a few years back; they instantly click. She still misses her late husband, but feels like she was also supposed to find this man, too. Is it possible to have multiple soulmates? This is a question I’m actually posing, because I wonder how a person moves on from losing a spouse. I can’t begin to imagine the process of moving on from something like that. I admire people who have the courage to love again; I hope to find the courage to love just once

So we’ve kind of covered “soulmate” in the more traditional sense of the word. But someone else pointed out that your soulmate “may not be your lover, just your perfect friend.” I for one love this–very Sex and the City.

I love the idea of friends being each other’s soulmates. It’s comforting to know that in every breakup, you have friends for support. Friends are such an unique social construct, because they choose you. Your family is more or less forced to love/accept you. You could certainly be just friends with you significant other (maybe, maybe not), but you’re bound together by the stronger, physical aspects of a romantic relationship. Though some people use it casually, sex is a very strong connector. But your friends aren’t bound to you–they choose you. How reassuring a fact is that? There are actually other people in the world who could literally spend their time doing anything, and they decide to spend it with you.

For me, there’s another kind of soulmate: the false soulmate. I think a lot of people can agree that there’s that one person we can always come back to when things don’t work out with someone new–that nagging what if or what could have been. I’ve been experiencing that feeling a lot myself as of late. Maybe if I’d reached out sooner, I’d be the one he’s dating instead of this other girl. Maybe if I’d done this or that differently, things would be different, better.

This insatiable need to play out the relationship to answer what could have been does not mean he’s my soulmate. And if it doesn’t work out and he ends up with some other girl, then he’s not my soulmate, right? Because by definition, soulmates find each other.

 A new friend also pointed out something very important, and very valid. I only want him because I can’t have him. And you know what? She’s absolutely right. I only went on four dates with this guy, yet I continue to pine after him, and think about what might have been if he wasn’t off dating some other girl. I can’t continue to measure new guys with his fictionalized standards. (You know how sometimes you only remember the good things about a person after the relationship ends? Like you want to cling to a decent memory that somehow becomes perfect when you turn it over and analyze it in the funhouse mirrors of your mind.) 

And even when your mind plays tricks on you in your sleep, it doesn’t mean he’s your soulmate. You can have dreams about people you don’t consciously think about. Nighttime Halle is an entirely different person than Daytime Halle, as it turns out. Nighttime Halle dreams of a particular Wickham that she apparently still hopes (after 10+ years) will turn Darcy after his frat days are over. But he won’t–at least, not for Daytime Halle.

Daytime Halle is like…

But nighttime Halle is more…

So I’m left wondering, are we really capable of being able to call a person our soulmate? I want to believe there is someone out there that will be my perfect other half, but I question how realistic that is. I’m not even sure whether or not we can call Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth soulmates. By definition, a soulmate is someone you instantly connect with. And though this gaze is everything, they weren’t exactly fans of each other during the beginning of their acquaintance–and for Elizabeth, the love didn’t develop until much, much later.

But then I think about how good they are together in the end, after everything is said and done.

“He was exactly the man, who in disposition and talents, would most suit her. It was a union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved; and from his judgement, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance.” 

Maybe we can build up to soulmates? Or maybe they were destined to go from loathing to love? 

Even though I’d love to draw a conclusive conclusion on soulmates, I don’t feel that I can; it’s subjective and personal. You can only definitively claim that soulmates exist if you yourself have experienced it; I unfortunately have not had this pleasure (yet). All I can say is that I hope soulmates do exist, and if you find a mid-20 something British guy with brown hair and green eyes, send him to Minnesota–his Elizabeth Bennet is waiting (not so) patiently for her Mr. Darcy.

Concerning the Genius that is Jane Austen.

Jane Austen + theories about hidden stories in her works, coming right up…

So, I decided to compile what I’ve learned through scouring Arnie Perlstein’s blog. It’s rather all-over-the-place, and he only gives you bits and pieces of what you want to know because he’s writing a book about it all, but I wanted to write out what I’ve seen in one place for anyone who is interested and doesn’t want to sort through Perlstein’s 1000 posts. 

What am I talking about, here? Jane Austen’s “shadow stories.”

Keep reading

The Friendzone

You know that little space between “girlfriend” and “girl friend?” That’s the Friendzone. As potentially depressing as it is to say, I consider myself to be an expert on the art friendzoning–for it is after all an art form. Sometimes I friedzone, and I don’t even know it’s happening–let alone the poor guy. (That’s how good I am.)

The Friendzone is the place where we corral the men we don’t completely want to date, but we still want them in our lives. As I mentioned in “Laws of Attraction,” each person we surround ourselves with sustains attractive qualities, even if said person isn’t necessarily attractive to our specific tastes. These are the people we friendzone. 

Mr. Collins is the perfect example of a man stuck in the Friendzone. As ridiculous as the man is, he found himself in a rather good situation at the service of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, though he didn’t have much else to recommend himself with. His manners were unpolished, thought not necessarily offensive (unless you’re Mr. Darcy and he skips social protocol by addressing you first–the impertinence!).

Poor Mary Bennet should have been his bride, possibly the only woman in the book who could’ve improved him in both manners and mind–rather than the toleration and coexistence that resulted from his union with Charlotte Lucas. 

Most guys obtain female friends in the hopes of the relationship evolving into something a little more…physical? Sure. Girls can have guy friends (though personally, I’ve never been able to successfully accomplish it).  But the difference is that once a guy is deemed a “friend,” it’s very difficult to move up into the ranks of “boyfriend.” 

Such a girl has deemed a guy suitable of being her personal confidant, but she doesn’t necessarily find him attractive enough to actually date. So instead, he is situated firmly in the Friendzone, where he must listen to all her problems (including boys problems), but alas, he reaps none of benefits of being the boyfriend. 

There are the occasional exceptions–the ”He was here all along!” stories. But I’ve never experienced such a moment myself. My friend Katie had that moment with her boyfriend Rob. Junior year of high school, they were set up by our other friend’s boyfriend, Rich. Everything started out sweet, all those adorably long text messages that you get in the beginning of a relationship–still shaving above the knee, if you know what I mean. But when she graduated a year early and moved away to college, she wanted to see what else was out there.

It took her a few months to realize what has been my daily struggle–good men are hard to find, so when you do find one, hold on to him. She bounced between frat party to frat party and kept finding the same sort of guy: well dressed in J. Crew, but with little interest in any serious intention of a relationship. (”I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation and all, but I just don’t get how guys dress today.” No words better encapsulate my sentiments about basic-looking frat boys.) After experiencing the horror of what it is to be single at a school dominated by the Greek system, Rob and Katie got back together and are still dating. (I suspect a serious proposal imminently.) 

Returning to the idea of a friendzoned guy not receiving the perks of a boyfriend–is this why guys get so pissed about being friendzoned? Because believe me, I can’t say I’ve ever received positive feedback from friendzoning. Sometimes I get frustrated–just because I’m nice to a guy and want to spend time talking with him doesn’t mean that I have to like him as more than a friend. Can’t a girl just be nice without having any ulterior motive?

This is where the stereotype arises that men and women can’t be friends–have you ever seen What If? with Daniel Radcliffe? (He plays a British med student–because having a British accent wouldn’t make him desirable enough, they had to make him a doctor, too.) Are all male friends secretly waiting in the shadows, hoping for a status upgrade to boyfriend?

I think something many men don’t know (or don’t consider) about the Friendzone is that if you’re there, she’s already taking you into consideration as “boyfriend material.” The difference is that you didn’t make the cut. This means she said “no” when she could’ve said “yes.” (I realize that’s harsh, but i’s the truth.) So as a compromise, she now gets to keep you with all your wit and whimsy, while continuing to look around for Mr. Right–or in my case, Mr. Darcy.

I often feel bad for men. In my personal experience, it’s much more common for a man to be the friendzonee, rather than the friendzoner. Men have to put up with a lot of crap from us fickle women. 

One of my best friends is firmly set on me marrying a kid we went to high school with. Granted, he’s adorable and very deserving of his senior award for “Nicest Guy,” but I’m not as certain she is that he’s my Mr. Darcy. I love to talk with him, and and he’s always available to listen to me, but I’m just not convinced that I feel “that way” about him. And if I’m not sure, then obviously I’m going to keep looking for something I’m sure of. 

I hope that I’m being clear that we women don’t friendzone for no reason. If you know that you’ve been friendzoned, it’s not because she doesn’t care. Once she knew it wouldn’t work or that there was no chemistry, she didn’t want to lead you on and hurt your feelings. 

It’s not intentionally bitchy–she’s just being honest. There is no ulterior motive for telling a guy “Hey, I’m just not that into you.” It’s saving both parties time and energy they could be spending with someone who could potentially be their Mr. Darcy or Elizabeth Bennet.

I started this post thinking I’d shed some light on friendzoning, and I hope I’ve done at least that. (Though, I don’t think I’ve quite gotten to the root of why it happens so often in my own relationships.) I have to believe that I friendzone for a reason. I’m not intentionally hurting anyone’s feelings, and in reality, I’m saving you precious time that you could be using to actually find a girl who loves all your little quirks that I just couldn’t get past.

Think about Lizzy and Mr. Collins. She rejected him, and that allowed him to move on to Charlotte–a woman who could accept him for what he was. A fundamental part of the friendzone is the unwavering resolve to not settle for something that is less than what we want.

At times, I’ll admit, it can be an option used too frequently–an eject button if a relationship moves too fast or we start to have doubts. I’m certainly guilty of overusing it myself. But the main takeaway is to ensure that both parties involved can find a happier ending, and isn’t that what we all want? Isn’t that why we date? 

The point of dating is not to just keep on dating; it’s to find love. We date so that after the twists and turns of life, the unreciprocated “I love you”’s, that weird guy who you went out with that one time who braided his beard, after all the no’s and uncertainty, we may all find a happiness that equates that of Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s epic affair of the heart. 

omg??? a lot of ppl answered yes to writing with a Jane Austen character!! y’all!!! this makes me so happy bc I am a newly converted Austenite / Janeite and I really want to explore her characters more through RP and I just!! I LOVE JANE AUSTEN!