Operating incognito as the Love Investigator, my goal had been to conduct 1000 intimate interviews with men in their man-caves. I estimated it would take me exactly one year to accomplish my task. Did I ever miscalculate! Who knew men would talk so much! Six long years and 527 men later, I had become The Woman Who Heard Too Much.
Far from the strong, silent stereotype that we’re trained to expect, this wildly different cross-section of men – all ages and all occupations – invariably started spilling their souls before I even had time to hit the record button. Alas, during those many years, one man got away. Until today!
Exclusive to the Love Investigator: Mr. Darcy – billionaire resident of One Snyde Park breaks his silence.
We sit side-by-side in matching armchairs facing a roaring fireplace while the snow drifts gently from the gray London sky and passes his penthouse window. The walls of Mister Darcy’s private library are lined with leather-bound books of every hue and title. A striking metal sculpture the size of a Volkswagen and the shape of a wiener dog occupies a far corner of the room. “That’s a Jeff Koons!” I say.
He nods. “It was a gift from Angelina.” His accent is upper class British and so charming that I find myself drooling. With shaking hands I click on the recorder.
SILKSTONE: Mr. Darcy, I have interviewed over 500 men about women, love, and relationships but you are my first fictional character interviewee.
DARCY: Please call me Darcy.
SILKSTONE: (My eyes begin to bat as if possessed by caffeinated butterflies.) Okay…Darcy. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
DARCY: A sense of humor coupled with a dose of sarcasm. Lizzie Bennet is a perfect example. She often sits right where you imagine you are sitting. She wears silly poodle slippers decorated with googlie eyes and button noses. Lizzie says the most outrageous things but uses the slippers to speak for her. Now that is funny.
SILKSTONE: She sounds delightfully daft.
DARCY: I would not call her daft, just clever in unexpected ways.
SILKSTONE: Please share your personal definition of love.
DARCY: I think love is a place of certainty that allows for constant change.
SILKSTONE: Hmm. That line sounds familiar.
DARCY: I read it in your book, The Adventures of a Love Investigator.
SILKSTONE: (I wither under his smoldering gaze. This is going to be more difficult than I anticipated.) I’d much prefer answers from your heart. No hiding behind my 527 men. By the way… why do you think those men were so free to discuss their innermost feelings with me in my Love Investigator persona?
DARCY: Men find it easy to talk to strange women, but they find it strange talking to familiar women.
SILKSTONE: Are you insinuating that I am strange?
DARCY: You’re sitting here in an imaginary building, gazing into an imaginary fireplace, talking to a character from a novel. I would say you are a tad bit strange… in a nice way.
SILKSTONE: (Bat! Bat! There go my eyes again.) I will take that as a compliment. Tell me about women you have loved and lost.
DARCY: I have never lost a woman; although I have misplaced Lizzie now and again.
SILKSTONE: What are you looking for in a woman?
DARCY: I would love to find a woman with whom I could be vulnerable.
SILKSTONE: Try me…. I mean… excuse me?
DARCY: I believe I have found that woman in Elizabeth Bennet.
SILKSTONE: Why do you think modern marriages don’t last, not like they did in Jane Austen’s day?
DARCY: (He stares into the crackling fireplace choosing his words carefully.) A woman wants her man totally engulfed in her. And the gent may be but he has a hard time demonstrating that. A man comes home exhausted from his work, and she’s there like a little puppy dog. He can’t respond to her, and she feels totally crushed.
SILKSTONE: I know that is a line from my Love Investigator book! You keep quoting other men. My readers want your personal responses. By the way, the reverse is just as true. Women are now also breadwinners, and they do come home from work just as exhausted.
(I turn to the Proust Questionnaire in the hopes of getting Darcy to reveal himself.)
SILKSTONE: When and where were you happiest?
DARCY: When Lizzie accepted my proposal of marriage.
SILKSTONE: Which one?
DARCY: I’ve lost count. Do you know how many Pride and Prejudice variations exist? I have proposed and re-proposed so many times that I am bewildered.
SILKSTONE: Aside from being bewildered, which talent would you most like to have?
DARCY: (He gives me the look.) I’ve been blessed with many talents from my horsemanship to that thing I do with my chocolate brown eyes. Can you keep a secret? I would love to be able to tap dance.
I can’t get the image of a tap dancing Darcy out of my head.
SILKSTONE: Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
DARCY: Colin Firth.
SILKSTONE: But he’s a real man.
DARCY: Who can tell where reality ends and fantasy begins?
SILKSTONE: One of the most intriguing responses I received from the 527 men I have interviewed was their answer to the following question: Would you be willing to die for the woman you love?
DARCY: If you are asking me if I would be willing to die for Lizzie, the answer is yes. Within all the Pride and Prejudice variations, I am sure I have died for her many times over.
SILKSTONE: Do you have a personal motto?
DARCY: If Lizzie is happy, everybody is happy.
SILKSTONE: Except Caroline?
DARCY: That goes without saying.
SILKSTONE: Tell me about Caroline Bingley.
DARCY: I shall be discreet. Women are much more focused on what they have to do than men are. Whatever it takes to get close to a man or to get rid of him. You meet too many women who want you to fill a hole in their life. And it turns out the hole is like 95% of their life. That’s Caroline.
SILKSTONE: How would you like to die?
DARCY: I doubt that is possible. As long as romance beats in a single female heart I will live on.
SILKSTONE: If you could come back as another Austen character, who would it be?
DARCY: Bingley. Then I could be my own best friend.
SILKSTONE: That sounds rather egotistical.
DARCY: It does, doesn’t it? Let me try again.
(He scratches his dimpled chin as he ponders the possibilities.)
DARCY: Lizzie! She gets to spend a lot of time with me.
SILKSTONE: Very funny! I can’t help but notice you have been rather evasive. Why do you think men tend to be evasive?
DARCY: Men won’t usually come out and say something if they can sneak around a bush and get you to think that’s what they’re thinking. That way they don’t have to be held responsible for saying it. Not that I am like that. Not at all!
SILKSTONE: Once again you are quoting from my Love Investigator book. Stop that! Define the perfect “Darcy” marriage.
DARCY: It is about being best friends. I should be able to tell her anything without being judged or criticized. It is about mutual support without any distractions. We would both really like each other’s company.
SILKSTONE: Do you have a final word for our female readers?
DARCY: If you give a guy a piece of candy and then pull it away and make him look for it, he’ll want it that much more.
SILKSTONE: Hand me my Love Investigator book right now!
DARCY: I have one question for you. Why did you title the first book in my series, Mister Darcy’s Dogs? It sounds like the book is about dogs and not my romance with Lizzie.
SILKSTONE: It sounded more tasteful than Mister Darcy’s Bassets.
So Many Men… So Little Time.
“Barbara is able to capture how men constantly wrestle their inner demons. Even if he’s the model spouse, he is not immune to the thoughts and desires that afflict every man.” ~~~ Scott Kudia, Ph.D Relationship Expert
To celebrate my first post on Austen Authors, I am giving away a copy of Mr. Darcy’s Dogs. Leave a comment below to be eligible. The contest will close at midnight on Friday. If in the U.S., the winner may choose between an eBook or print copy of the book. If international, an eBook copy will be provided.