The Mr. Darcy Principle
Yesterday was my first official bookclub meeting and we read one of the best classic romances of all time, Pride and Prejudice. The question is, why is P&P so popular? I have the answer for you!
Mr. Darcy is sexy, rich, aloof. A type of man that you can’t have…so that means you obviously want him, right? But we all know that Mr. Darcy isn’t exactly a perfect specimen. He calls Elizabeth “plain” which is another word for ugly. He says there is nothing about her that could be tempting, which is another way of sayin she’s ugly, and most importantly, he refuses to dance with her, refuses to be “in her company” and acts like a total jackass to her because he thinks she’s UGLY.
He doesn’t exactly have a glowing personality, right? Everything about him in the first third of the novel points to the assumption that he’s a douchebag. The second third of the novel isn’t any better. He falls for Elizabeth, supposedly, but then when he proposes the first time, he claims that he is going against his better judgment, his breeding, and the fact that her parents are idiots, because he “loves her.” Was it love when he told his best friend to stay away from Jane because she came from a poor family with a marriage-hungry mother? No, no it wasn’t.
So why do we like Mr. Darcy? Why is he so awesome? Are sexiness, wealth, and an aloof personality really enough? Obviously not because that’s the reason so many women opt for divorce. However, it doesn’t hurt. I strongly believe that Elizabeth started falling for him when she was really able to SEE his wealth. She says so in the book!
“It has me coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberly.”
I also think that his aloof personality, what Elizabeth and the rest of the P&P cast refer to as ‘vanity,’ is actually something that she possessed herself, which is why she felt akin to him. Mary, Elizabeth’s sister, says the line in the book that really cinched the title Pride and Prejudice . She defines Vanity and Pride, and both definitions really apply to Elizabeth and Darcy.
“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates mroe to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
You see what I’m talking about? Yes, Elizabeth likes Darcy for his money and for his aloof personality. Sexiness? That goes without saying. But again, that’s really not enough. Dary still acted like an ass for most of the book. The key lies in one paragraph in Chapter 6 of the novel.
“Occupied in observing Mr. Bingly’s attentions to her sister, Elizabeth was far from suspecting that she herself was becoming an object of some interest in the eyes of his friend. Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticise. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression in her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying…of this, she was perfectly unaware; to her, he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with.”
So there is the key behind the Mr. Darcy principle. Even though he made her think his opinion of her was negative, he was thoroughly engrossed with her intelligence that was an ultimate turn on.
And herein also lies the reason why so many women love this book. Because Mr. Darcy saw beyond the surface, like so many men are unable to do. He fell for Elizabeth because she was smart, sassy, and she would match him word for word.
Another element that really tips the scales in Darcy’s favor is his ultimate dedication to making her happy. He dealt with his long-time enemy, paid him in cash, to make her happy. His actions demonstrate that he’s fit to act as a provider, a man who can take care of his woman, and who doesn’t want that?
So that’s the Darcy Principle! Unplugged. Darcy is into smart chicks, and Elizabeth is into wealthy, sexy providers who have a similar personality, whether it be vanity or pride, as she does. The vanity/pride debate is for another day.
What do you guys think about the Darcy Principle? I’d love to hear other viewpoints!