On Sunday, I will be a graduate of The Ohio State University. Seventeen years of schooling will be done. No more papers, no more book, no more teachers dirty looks and all of that. To be honest, I didn’t mind paper-writing that much. Especially in classes that I enjoyed and ones that were a little less ‘academic’. My favorite class I’ve ever had was a 1 hour seminar on Jane Austen and the romance novel. Basically, Jane Austen created this new genre, every romantic comedy since then has been a variation on Austen. I wrote my favorite papers in that class. One was a re-hash of a paper I had written the year before for AP English comparing the book to the 2005 film version. The second was a missing entry from Bridget Jones’ Diary….which well, I identify with Ms. Jones, so that was fun to write. But my favorite paper ever, in the history of writing papers, was the last one, in which we discussed our views on romance and if the class had changed them in anyway. I got to use “fuckwit”. That alone made the paper worth it. It was also one of the most honest papers I’ve ever written. So, in the spirit of never having to write a paper again (although, hi, I’m a communication major, and want to go into PR and have a blog so it’s not like I’m not writing things ever again) here is my favorite paper I’ve ever written.
Yeah, I know, I’m a dork. Feel free to make fun.
When a woman thinks about romance, there are some thoughts that come to mind immediately, most stemming from media. You have your supermarket checkout cheesy romance novels featuring a guy that always seems to resemble Fabio. (Or does Fabio resemble them?) There’s the numerous romantic comedies following the same storyline-boy meets girl, girl and boy fall in love, girl/boy have a misunderstanding, boy and girl reunite to live happily ever after in the perfect house living the perfect life, or some variant of that like in Bridget Jones’s Diary. And for some, Jane Austen and her novels come to mind. Especially her beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice and their relationship. Or just Mr. Darcy in particular. Sometimes even just the image of Colin Firth in the wet, white shirt comes to mind. But that is starting to stray to another topic completely.
Coming into this course, I was quite cynical about love and romance. But I still had ideas of what romance was to me, most of which happened when I was in a non-cynical mood. In January, most of my romantic notions came from television like Grey’s Anatomy or romantic comedies, like Bridget Jones’s Diary, and of course, books such as Pride and Prejudice. I do not think that over the course of this class I have changed my opinions of romance in any large and drastic way.
Most of my ideas of a fairytale romance came from Pride and Prejudice. It has been a favorite novel of mine for many years, and I enjoy both the 1995 and the 2005 movie versions equally, but for different reasons. Many of my friends also believe the story to be extremely romantic. Really thinking about it, it seems quite odd. When you really think about it, Mr. Darcy is not the most romantic gentleman in this story. Most of the story he comes off as an rude, unapologetic jerk. I think the first proposal is a perfect example of this. He diminished his feelings for Elizabeth, and Elizabeth herself, because of her family. It is not until well into the second half of the novel does his actions become romantic. But women still flock to the idea of being in a relationship like the one that Darcy and Elizabeth share. It seems like everyone is more than willing to forget about his (and even her) prior reactions to each other and believe in the happily ever after. We were raised on fairy tales and Pride and Prejudice is a fairy tale for grown-up girls (and boys).
However, my ideas of a real romance fall more into lines of what is seen on romantic comedies. And the particular romantic comedy that I believe I relate to the most is Bridget Jones’s Diary. I feel, that while exaggerated, it is still something that is very real. The exaggeration was a necessity on the authors part, to make the story more appealing. But the basic premise is one that I think most women, and most certainly, myself, can relate to.
Bridget is not perfect. She views Daniel as being perfect (well, perfect enough for the moment) and sees herself as flawed. Very flawed. She meets another guy and there is a misunderstanding, and then BAM! She realizes Mr. Right is only Mr. Right-now, and maybe Mr. Perfect is really Mr. Right, even though she did not even like him to start out. I have to say, in that, Bridget and I have a LOT in common. And I think every woman has at least one “emotional fuckwit” Daniel Cleaver of a boyfriend, and one “top barrister” Mark Darcy (and only one of those, because you do not let them go). Bridget’s story is what happens today. It is not trying to be a fairytale, it is trying to be a real tale. This Darcy is not suave and perform overtly nice things for Bridget. He wears funny jumpers his mom makes him wear.
I think the reason that my ideas of romance have not changed over the past ten weeks is because I developed this idea a long time ago using some of the examples we used in class, Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones’s Diary. I believe in and hope for the fairytale and I know that the real tales are what happens. And come on, real life is more exciting than those perfect romance tales anyways. We do not all get to be Elizabeth. There has to be some Bridgets. But in the end, we all get romance in our life. And if we don’t get our Darcy, whether he be Fitzwilliam or Mark, Fabio is only two dollars and ninety-nine cents away.