I have a confession to make.
I am embarrassed to admit this. Not sure why I should feel so uncomfortable, but I do. After all, I am an adult and there is nothing illegal about it. But why did I allow myself to be talked into this? I should know better. But here I am standing in line to get tickets to a movie while looking around to see if I recognize anyone, or worse, they recognize me. I should have worn a hoodie tonight. Seeing how uncomfortable I was, my wife finally spoke up, “Honey, you won’t lose your man-card just by watching Pride and Prejudice.”
Then why are the other men in line avoiding eye contact and acting just as awkwardly as I am? And just who is this Mr. Darcy?
This happened thirteen years ago as my late wife and I stood in line to watch the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice starring Matthew Macfadyen and Kiera Knightly. Now, older and wiser, I can admit the truth — a few hours after watching the movie, I became a Jane Austen fan. Later that year, I watched a re-run of the 1995 six-episode British TV drama version of Pride and Prejudice. Fortunately, I was able to watch it in the privacy of my home. Hey, I was still protective of my man-card. It wasn’t long before I noticed the TCM channel broadcasting the 1940 movie starring Laurence Oliver and Greer Garson. While each version had differences, they all were entertaining and insightful.
Pride and Prejudice was not the chic-flick I had assumed it to be.
The plot was compelling, and the dialogue witty and sharp; yes, it was a movie well made. But the insights into human relationships, the miscommunications, the misunderstandings, the impact of decisions made out of passion or convenience, all served to grab you. I am always impressed with anything that can make me laugh while I simultaneously grow in wisdom.
It proved almost impossible not to learn something about my pride and prejudices as I watched Elizabeth Bennet recognize her own virtuous flaws. Watching Lizzie deal with her social-climbing mother, reject the marriage proposal of the Reverend Mr. Collins, rebuke Lady Catherine De Bourgh, evolve in her relationship with the enigmatic Mr. Darcy, all served to provide insights into life skills needed for meaningful relationships, especially marriage.
Now some thirteen years later, I understand why I found Pride and Prejudice so fascinating. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy may have been from different social classes, but they were equally matched in so many ways. Most importantly, their love for each other helped them both become better people. Mr. Darcy had come to realize that he was a better man with Elizabeth Bennet by his side.
I guess that’s my truest confession and grandest take-away. In my lifetime I am blessed to have married two engaging, strong-minded, faithful women. Their names could just as easily have been Elizabeth. They both have brought out the best in me; both have made me want to be a better man. And like Mr. Darcy, I married up.
As such, I have lost all fear of losing my man card.
Thank you Jane Austen!