My head is still spinning from going to the Jane Austen Society of North America’s Annual General Meeting last week and I’m in the middle of moving (again) as my husband’s been relocated to a new state! After 8 weeks of him being there Monday-Friday and sometimes being home less than 36 hours, we were excited to spend some time together at AGM. It was touch and go with childcare, but things finally worked out to leave our kids at home.
AGM was great as a Janeite and the author side of me is super pumped for writing. Unexpectedly, it was also great for my marriage. My husband gave me reasons to fall in love with him all over again.
He is actually quite Darcy-like and is introverted and reserved. He is sometimes shy about meeting new people. He hates small talk, meeting new people and being on display. I begged him to come with me back when I registered because I was nervous about meeting new people. He’s not a JASNA member so he couldn’t come to all the activities, but I had thought I’d end up all alone and he’d save me from certain misery at the end of the day. Fortunately, in the intervening months I became closer friends with other AGM attendees. Finally meeting them in person was a dream come true!
My husband proving his excellent character and gentlemanliness was beyond anything I could imagine. He already spends every weekend taking care of the kids so I can write. He also does most of the laundry and the dishes. He reads everything I write and lets me hash ideas with him.
He went above and beyond during AGM. He never batted an eye when I volunteered him to help us set things up and never complained when I left him all day for activities and then most of the night for girl time. He was quick to offer his help to me, my new friends, and random people in the elevator. He didn’t get to relax very much. He dressed up in a suit. He talked to strangers. He danced with me! All for me.
He’s not the most romantic guy, but I know he loves me a lot and will always be my best friend, my most ardent supporter, my defender and my rock. I just have to listen to the way he’s telling me he loves me.
“Much as I respected them, I believe I thought only of you.” -Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 58.
Please, no one take this too seriously. I’m not out to start some kind of Darcy war. For all our Janeite rabid protectiveness of Mr. Darcy- and I even had a blog called The Darcy Obsession- I feel compelled to remind us all that he’s really a fictional character and it’s pretty possible real life men can be even better. So here’s my list from my own personal Mr. Darcy in comparison to the Metro article 10 Reasons Why Mortal Men Will Never Match Up to Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy.
Note: I’m intentionally, and exaggeratedly, snarky to match the tone of the Metro article.
1. He can take it ALL off for me.
Ok, so usually this means he walks around the house in his boxer briefs from the second he gets home at night to the absolute last possible second he has to dress for work, but there are times when it all comes off. I’m not left wondering what’s under a giant, wet, not see through shirt. And unlike Firth’s iconic scene, our less than properly clothed time is totally part of our script. Keep your fantasies of what Firth has under a baggy piece of linen. I’ve got a big hunk of real life manliness to keep me occupied and fuel my dreams. Eat your heart out.
2. He knows my name.
In the Metro article this selection is that Darcy’s name is more appealing because it’s Fitzwilliam (what this has specifically to do with Firth’s portrayal, I’m not sure). I won’t share his name since I use a pen name and he’s asked me not to share his. But what’s more important than Mr. Darcy’s name is that my husband knows my name. He can actually say it. Because he’s real and all. More than that, I get endearments. Sure, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth is nice but that was only after she was called “not handsome enough to tempt me” about a year before and coldly, “Madam” in his letter. I’ll take “honey” and “snorey pants” over that history. In fact, even when infuriated by me he still calls me honey. And what makes this even more fitting is that the moment I realized I was in love with my husband was when he called out my name while we were visiting his family “estate” (ok, just a nice house with lots of land). I swear, time slowed like a movie montage. Anyway, he knows MY name and that’s way better than Fitzwilliam, which was just Austen’s way of saying “Look, his first name is essentially hoity-toity money bags.”
3. His hair
Oh yeah, I can run my fingers through them any time. And that thing I do? Yeah, he really likes it. So stare at Colin Firth’s mop top that frequently looks like it needs a good washing and a comb. I’ll keep this. Oh, and it’s really LOVE and not just school girl lust because his is starting thin and yet I still love him.
4. Facial hair.
My guy had a full on beard at 17 in high school. In fact, the girls in our government class declared the two boys in our class should not shave for a week, which they happily complied with when 10 pretty girls say please, and we happily reaped the benefits. The other boy only got to a respectable level of scruffy but my husband- we weren’t even dating yet- had a real beard. Yeah, I’m going to be honest and say that contributed to my choice. That’s a lot of manly testosterone pumping through his system. Yum.
5. He makes me coffee
I didn’t even know how to make my own cup until last year. This man has been making me coffee for years. In the morning. As he wakes beside me each and every day. Sometimes we fought the night before. Sometimes we had quite a good night kiss. Sometimes I was up all kinds of hours nourishing his children with my body. He’s there, he’s real and he has a cup of steamy all betterness in his hand.
6. He rides a motorcycle and can fix my car
Thanks for filling up, honey. I think we need an oil change, dear. Oh, you vacuumed the whole car and found what appeared to be two packages of crackers and then five whole packs of raisins under the car seat? Thanks for taking care of that! They’d be teenagers before I cared. And then he will walk on the wild side and ride a motorcycle.
7. His eyes
Blue. Enough said. But, wait, there’s more. It’s not a common shade of blue and he has such looooong eyelashes.
8. He’s more photogenic than me.
Seriously, I blink in every picture. And that smile? It cost his parents a few thousand bucks but now I swear there’s that cartoon “ting” every time he smiles. Funny, Firth never smiled. Not even once.
9. He is clean.
Irish Spring and Old Spice deodorant makes a lovely combo. Honorable mention is that sometimes he uses the Fitzwilliam Darcy Soap I bought him from Shirley’s Handicrafts.
10. He actually looks nice.
Firth takes Darcy stand-offishness to a whole new level. I can’t decide if it’s painful constipation or if he’s plotting ways to kill people in the woods. Dexter may be more cuddly.
Whether you have your own Mr. Darcy (or other Austen hero) or are still looking, I encourage you to take heart. Mortal men can be loving, respectful, kind, generous and unselfish. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with daydreams of whichever hero you prefer and the actor of your choice.