Tuesday, April 10, 2012

All I Needed to Know About Men I Learned from Jane Austen, Part 4: Mr. Bingley

"Well, my comfort is, I am sure Jane will die of a broken heart, and then he will be sorry for what he has done."

-Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 40

My Dear Reader,

When surrounded by Wickhams and Collinses, you would think that a Mr. Bingley would be a sight for sore eyes. And, for a short time, he is. Mr. Bingley is, after all, not a sleaze bag. He's even a pretty good guy. Sometimes, that's more than enough.

The problem with a Mr. Bingley, though, is that's he's all wrong for you. There is something about him. It doesn't make him a bad person; it just makes your personalities incompatible. Maybe you find him boring or irritating. Maybe you think he's too cheerful. Maybe he's in love with your sister/best friend. Maybe he's from Canada. For whatever reason, the two of you are destined to be no more than friends.

And sometimes, that can just break your heart.

Not because you have feelings for him, per se. Your heartbreak will stem from the fact that after wading through an ocean of jerks and idiots, you've finally found a good man, and you just can't make yourself fall in love with him. Oddly enough, this can lead you to even greater despair than you were in before. Before you met Mr. Bingley, you thought that good guys didn't exist. Now, you know that there are good men out there, but you're just as far away from finding a mate as you've always been. It's almost insulting.

And, of course, you can ignore all that and try really hard to make it work. You can tell yourself that finding someone compatible with your personality isn't really important. You can even tell yourself that if you can't make it work, there must be something really wrong with you. And maybe there is, because at some point, you will be sitting across the table from a Mr. Bingley, and something about him will make you want to drive your steak knife through his heart.

That doesn't bode well.

Sure, your Madre and Padre will probably miss all of this. Sure, they will chalk it up to sexual tension and start planning your wedding. And sure, you'll be thinking of other places where that steak knife could go. But I find that when it comes to aggressive, misguided parental matchmaking, you can choose to be offended or amused.

I always choose to be amused.

Of course, Mr. Bingley would be perfect for someone else. What annoys you might easily attract another. So, you're happy to set him up with your sisters/friends. You're even over the moon when it works out and they end up happily ever after. As long as he's marrying her instead of you, everyone can go about their business without getting stabbed in the chest.

And when your sister/friend runs into a rough patch with Mr. Bingley, you will happily let her cry on your shoulder and tell you all her troubles. You, after all, have a unique perspective. You hold no malice towards the guy, but you're not blinded to his faults. So, when your sister/friend tells you her side of the story, you can easily see who is actually to blame. If you're a good sister/friend, you'll take her side regardless, but your clear insight will help you give her the right advice. And you even hope that if their relationship doesn't work out, he'll find someone who will be better to him than you could ever be.

I usually try to befriend the Bingleys I meet. A girl can't have too many guy friends, in my opinion, and surrounding yourself with quality male companions has infinite benefits. Not only will they be able to come over and lift heavy objects at a moment's notice, but they will remind you that you deserve somebody who deserves you. If you surround yourself with Bingleys, you will know what you are worth. They will make sure of it.

And, if Jane Austen is to be trusted at all, there is a good chance that your Mr. Bingley and your Mr. Darcy play basketball together. So really, you're just getting closer.

But more on that next week.

Regards, best wishes, and plenty of sister/friends and brother/friends,

-Cecily Jane

1 comment:

just a little bit mo said...

It's true. Not everyone can stand a Bingley, since not everyone is a Jane. There are also Elizabeths, Elinores, Mariannes, and more who couldn't marry a Bingley. But it'd be stupid and shame to not like the guy and his modern-day counterparts. I've thought more on this topic than is probably healthy. But I'm glad to know I'm not alone. :)