Gentlemen, have you found your ways of wooing wanting?
Do mothers across the county curse your name?
Are you finding it increasingly difficult to make a match that develops into matrimony?
Perhaps it is time that you found yourself some new men on which to model yourselves! Men of integrity, wisdom, and intelligence. While the ladies may swoon over the brooding Mr Darcy now, it is only because we have seen his gentler side. If all we could see was his initial pride and coldness, none of us would want any part of him. (Well, perhaps some parts…)
Do not be like Darcy, insulting the very woman he is proposing to! Behavior such as that is the product of vain gloriousness and a popular, granted, yet very incorrect of view of how to win women’s hearts. All one need do is extend respectful admiration and friendship to win our good favour.
Which sirs would I have men consider in their interactions with our fairer sex? An excellent place to start would be with Mr Tilney of Northanger Abbey. Quite an admirable example of manhood, Mr Tilney engages his lady of interest in earnest conversation, listens to her opinions without interrupting, and takes genuine interest in what she has to say. Such manners! It makes one giddy!
Yet another paragon of gentlemanly behavior is Mr Knightley, friend and spouse of the vivacious Miss Emma Woodhouse. While his exterior may be a touch prickly, his affection and concern for those around him is clear. He is always honest with Miss Woodhouse and though he may occasionally reprimand her, he never attempts to control her nor infringe on her buoyant spirit.
Many may think it unfair that I have slighted Mr Darcy earlier in this writing, but I use him only because he later on learned the error of his ways. That is what saves his reputation as a good man: that he can recognize the error of his ways and work toward rectifying the situation. Indeed, there are far worse characters available for scrutiny.
Dear gentlemen! By no means should you hold as heroes the likes of Mr Thorpe, Mr Wickham, or Mr Willoughby. Brutish, deceptive, and greedy, they are not to be imitated by any except those which desire to be the most loathed men in the country!
There are so many better men of character on which one could model oneself. I cannot think of a better man to hold up for scrutiny against those I previously mentioned than Colonel Brandon. Here we have a man who greatly admires his paramour and yet does not foist himself upon her. He knows that a love that is forced is no real love at all. The Colonel always conducts himself with the highest integrity. Would that all men would follow his example!
In conclusion, good sirs, have a care in how you treat the ladies. There is nothing to be gained by viewing the womenfolk around you as dolls to do with as you please or ornaments simply existing for decoration. When you offer respect and courtesy you may find that your life will then be filled with pleasantries, friendship, and perhaps even lasting love.
(Though, I would not discourage you from brushing up on your athletic skills if you are so inclined.)
Written by Improvised Jane Austen cast member, Josephine Longo