How I Really Feel About Darcy
What I am about to say might ruin my career. One of my wise Lady Authors has assured me that if I were ever to reveal what I am about to reveal it would be career suicide. Upon occasion when I have uttered this confession, people have gasped audibly.
So I really, really shouldn’t say it.
But I’m going to say it anyway.
Confession: I don’t get the appeal of Mr. Darcy. Not as written in Pride & Prejudice, not as portrayed by Colin Firth or any other broody, pasty English actor. Mr. Darcy hath not inspired a swoon, or sigh, or fangirling squee in me. My true feelings for Darcy = Meh.
So naturally I decided to write a romance novel featuring a Mr. Darcy. This was a terrifying prospect because people who love Darcy, LOVE DARCY. I was treading in delicate territory here. It was also a challenge, because it really helps for a romance author to have some warmth toward her characters, and I thought he was kind of a jerk. And not a sexy jerk either.
If I was going to write my own Darcy hero, I would have to understand why women loved him, what made him tick. I had to fall in love with him myself.
I took notes as I researched (watched Pride & Prejudice, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Bridget Jones’s Diary) and wrote. Notes like:
He is the dullest man alive. wtf.
What is he interested in? I don’t know.
Ugh, why is he so awkward?
Then I tried to answer my own questions.
He is the dullest man alive. wtf.
Well, maybe not. Almost every version of P&P is written in the first person, from the heroine’s point of view. We never get to see what’s going on his head. He could be like “I am hot in this overcoat and someone used too much starch in my cravat” or “Ugh, these peasants” or “omg there she is be cool man be cool.” Because we don’t know we can imagine he’s thinking the worst, or something wonderful. It’s much more fun to imagine him acting like an aloof jerk because he is actually obsessing over a girl. It’s little junior high, but we’ll give it to him. But then again, he’s probably really good a slyly checking a girl out without her noticing. #lifeskillz #heroskillz
What is he interested in? I don’t even know.
That infamous ten thousand a year made me think he might be a Big Deal business-wise (Or, in the case of my Darcy, aristocratic estate wise). Thus I conclude that he would be interested in his business/estate/parliament/Serious Stuff. After all, he’s definitely not one of those rakes who loafs about at White’s all day, drinking and betting on stupid things like which raindrop would reach the bottom of the window first (which is a true thing that actually happened). So he’s probably pretty smart (sexy) and dedicated to his work (sexier still).
But the flip side of this is that he is trapped by his responsibility. There is so much he Must Do that there isn’t much time left over for want he wants to to do—hell, he probably doesn’t even allow himself to consider it. That sense of duty and dedication is appealing because just imagine if he felt that way toward you. He’s a man you could count on.
Ugh why is he so awkward.
Darcy is a total buzz kill at parties. Even the most ardent Darcy fans have to admit this. He doesn’t dance, the women aren’t handsome enough. He’s totally a judge-y bear. A huge snob. See above re: peasants. See also: his TERRIBLE first proposal to Elizabeth/Bridget/Heroine. But maybe that’s not how he really feels deep down, it’s how he was raised to feel. On some level, Darcy is just Society and women are just Elizabeth and the romance is getting to be seen and loved for who we are.
Or maybe its not that he’s awkward, but that he is just too awesome. (Or maybe this is what all of us awkward-at-parties-bookworms want to believe and emphasize with). And you have to admit that it’s pretty awesome being Darcy—the money, the status, the legions of adoring women. One would want to keep a good thing going. So he would be interested in perpetuating his very own status quo. Inevitably, he would become a jerk to anyone who challenged that. Not because he’s mean but because he’s all like “But I’m Darcy.”
He falls. Hard.
Enter Elizabeth/Bridget/Heroine. He’s totally into her, but trying to play it cool. Cute! Because he’s Darcy, he’s really focused on keeping everything under control—whether it’s his business, estate, family, the country, etc—because that’s what Darcy does. And dedication is hot. He’s awkward because he’s trying to stifle is true love and real feelings. And when he can’t hold back anymore…when he falls, hard, for a woman who challenges him…when love wins over fear of what people will think
Well that makes even me swoon.
Sorry about the times I misjudged you!
But really–am I the only one who feels this way? Or is everyone here die hard Darcy fans?