Did Jane Austen Date?

Jane Austen

What are you trying to tell me Jane Austen??!!

In an effort to be better at dating, I read a book called Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating. I have a lot of respect for Jane Austen so my initial thought was, “Hey, who better to give me dating advice?” But as I read through all the book, I began to have grave doubts. I mean, did Jane Austen even date??? I don’t think so because that would have been highly uncommon during her lifetime- and by “uncommon” I mean she would have been called a whore. Sure, her novels are the epitome of romance but what does that have to do with modern dating? Nevertheless, I pressed on and finished the book in the hopes of discovering one shred of applicable advice. This is what I learned.

I am a “Jane”. There is a quiz at the back of the book that tells you which of Austen’s characters you most resemble. Apparently I am Jane Bennet. Which I think means I am super beautiful and shy. But, do they even know what I look like? I mean, what if I started walking around like I was a beautiful Jane  but in reality I was a homely Charlotte Lucas? That would be terribly embarrassing. And, if I am indeed a “Jane” does that mean I’m waiting for a Bingley? Because, I’m pretty sure all the Bingleys are dead. In which case, I’m screwed. Is that what you are trying to tell me Ms. Austen? Am I doomed? Also, this was a pretty cowardly way of telling me. You could have just haunted me until I got the message like any decent ghost with a message from beyond would do. And even if a Bingley still existed, what did he do for a living? I mean, I know he was rich but did he have a job? I need someone with a job. Is that asking too much? Is that what Jane Austen is trying to tell me??? I mean, I read this book but I have yet to discern what Jane Austen was trying to tell me- Girl on the Contrary (as I’m assuming this book was written only for me). Here are my best guesses.

1. Girl on the Contrary, your love-life is truly doomed. Accept it now and live your life as best you can.

2. Girl on the Contrary, the love of your life won’t have a job. You will have to support him. Enjoy never being able to retire.

3. Girl on the Contrary, I’m dead. What do I know about modern dating?

4. Girl on the Contrary, stop reading books and start going on dates. This is common sense. Why do I have to explain it?

5. Girl on the Contrary, there are loads of hot guys in the afterlife. I’m just sayin.

6. Girl on the Contrary, if I had dated, I would have been called a whore. Count your lucky stars. You whore.

I don’t know. This has actually made dating a lot harder because I am caught up in the mystery of what Jane Austen is trying to tell me from the beyond and don’t really have time to date with all the seances and ouija board conversations. I haven’t connected with Ms. Austen yet but I did have a lovely conversation with someone I believe to either be a kindly spirit or a demon. Time will tell.

A Year In Books. Week 1.

One of my new years resolutions was to read a book every week for the entire year. Last night, I decided as a part of that resolution, every week I would write about the book I finished reading the previous week. This way, you can learn about books you want to read and I have all my Monday posts for a year planned. Huzzah! I believe they call this a win-win. Unless you completely abhor my taste in reading material. Then you lose. But life is tough and it’s time you learned you can’t always win. So, I’ve taught you a lesson. You do win. Huzzah!

(FYI- because of my charming quirks, I alternate between reading non-fiction and fiction so if you aren’t a fan of one or the other then just wait a week and you will be more pleased with my selection. Although, you should like both because I think it hurts the books feelings if you don’t.)

The first weeks book was Notorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll

Notorious Royal Marriages

I really enjoyed this book. It was like reading historical tabloids. I mean, if there had been an E! channel back in the day, then these would have been the marriages they would be talking about. And honestly, Angelina and Brad got nothin on Napoleon and Josephine (or “Rose” as she was called before she married him- little known fact). And Taylor Swift and her many beaus just can’t compete with Henry VIII and his many wives. (Although, to be fair, she uses music to cut whereas he favored the chopping block) And I don’t care how explosive a celebrity divorce is- the divorces chronicled in this book literally changed nations. Top that Charlie Sheen. (Actually don’t. Just chill out for a while maybe.)  Also, some of the true love stories, which were quite rare, are so beautiful that they make every romance movie I’ve seen in the last ten years seem gray and dull. And you want to talk scandal? The language some of these “gentlemen” used in their love letters left me shocked. Gentlemen, indeed. (I’m pointing at you Napoleon- you should be ashamed. For a lot of things really, but specifically for your use of some very colorful and offensive language. No wonder it took Josephine a while to warm up to you. Trust me, using that word is no way to win a woman’s heart. Just a tip in case you have some sort of reincarnation. You’re welcome.) This book isn’t meant to be biographical but it does give you some very interesting and little known facts about these monarchs. And actually, learning some of these personal details made some of their political decisions a little bit clearer to me. Of course, I didn’t always agree with how they are portrayed (especially the authors take on the formidable personalities of Katharine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn) but there wasn’t anything that I viewed as out of the realm of possibility (I mean, it’s a bit difficult to know what portrayal is closest to the truth because we can’t actually know any of these royals personally. Unless you have a time machine, in which case, I want in. I want in bad.)

Basically, if you have any interest in European history then this book is certainly worth a read. Also, if you have any interest in scandalous affairs, courtly gossip, and slightly pornographic love letters, then this book is worth a read. If you only crave happy endings, then you might want to pass on this- because many of these marriages ended not-so-happily ever after (I’m talking execution people). Enjoy!

*I would love some great reading recommendations so please comment and let me know what I should be reading this year.

Twitter Thinks I Suck At Flirting Too

Twitter has opinions on my love life. Very strong opinions. I had no idea Twitter was so invested in my love life. Oh, but it is. It’s very invested. So invested, that it has taken to suggesting that I follow romance novelists exclusively. I mean, I used to get suggestions for random celebrities and news organizations but now it is without exception romance novelists. Does Twitter really think this is going to help me? Apparently, it does.

Also, who do you think you are Twitter?! Getting all up in my business like that. You think you, who is nothing more than code and good marketing, can tell me what’s missing in my life? Sure, I’m not a good flirt. Sure, it’s been a while since I’ve had a relationship. Sure, I’m not very suave or charming when it comes to romance. Sure, I have a hard time speaking in front of attractive guys. Sure……oh, I see your point. Well played.

Ok, ok. I could use some help. You’ve won the argument there, but romance novels? I have a very hard time seeing how that is going to help at all. I’ve always had a distaste for these types of books. I find them to be unrealistic and the female characters weak. But, I haven’t read all that many so I could be wrong. Except for the unrealistic part. I’m pretty sure that these books are across the board extremely unrealistic. And unrealistic is the opposite of what I need. I already live too much in my imagination. I don’t need anything else in my life that pulls me from reality. Trust me, I’ve got that one more than covered. What I need, I think is something realistic. Something substantial. Something that gives me a lightbulb moment and suddenly makes flirting and romance easier. But, that seems pretty unrealistic in itself. Hmmm. Even my realistic wishes are unrealistic. Alas.

What I’m trying to say, Twitter, is this: please stop it with all the romance suggestions. Yes, you are correct in assessing that I’m lacking in that particular area of life, but your suggestions aren’t helping. In fact, they are just sort of silly. And sure, maybe I will come back to this in about 15 years when I’m really getting desperate but for now, please just go back to random celebrities as suggestions. I really do appreciate your concern but I think this is something I have to figure out for myself- without the “help” of romance novels. Ok?

Also, could I at least get more than 140 characters on my birthday? Like, as a gift? Just thought I would ask.

A Letter to the Couple Making-Out Behind My Car

Dear couple making-out behind my car,

How are you? Actually don’t answer that. From the heavy petting and sloppy kisses I am now witnessing I can assume you are doing well. Very well indeed. I am also doing well. I have a problem, however, you are MAKING-OUT BEHIND MY CAR. This is both oddly fascinating and incredibly inconvenient. Fascinating because I’m not sure why you chose my car, out of every car in this parking garage, to make-out behind. What was it about my car that screamed romance? I have a cute hibiscus flowers bumper sticker, did this image  of a tropical flower remind you of some pleasant hours spent in some tropical location? I am really quite interested in the answer to this question. Why my car? I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining but you are making it very awkward to walk up to my car because I feel like I’m interrupting your special moment. Although I guess from my perspective, your special moment is actually interrupting my ability to get in my car and go home. I guess there’s blame to share.

Here’s the thing. I really, really, want to go home. I have had a very long day at work and I would like to get in my car, blast my radio, and drive home. I am having trouble getting to my car, however, because you are blocking my path to the driver side door- also, even if you weren’t blocking my way to my door you would still make it impossible for me to drive away because you are MAKING-OUT BEHIND MY CAR. Please move. I am now approaching my car and I have slowed my walking hoping you will notice and move on. No? Ok- you have instead decided to begin groping each other obscenely. I can’t help but think you are doing this to disrupt my journey home. Might I ask why? What have I done to deserve this type of obscene inconvenience?

I am now clicking the automatic unlock button on my king ring. This flashes my tail-lights. You are now being illuminated by red light. This is really my last course of action before I have to ask you to move. Surely you notice the red lights blinking at you. No? No? You want to continue MAKING-OUT BEHIND MY CAR? Ok. Ok. You have left me little choice here. I will be going home today whether that interrupts your make-out session or not.

I am walking right up to you now. I am about to ask you to move. All of the sudden you both look at me with an expression that says “You dirty little voyeur”. Now that was simply out of line. I am not a voyeur. I am just a girl on the contrary who is looking forward to going home after a long day at work. You are the offender here. Not me. Finally, you realize you are embracing behind my car. You throw me another hateful look and walk away still madly groping one another.

I am writing you to ask for an apology. I think I am owed one. Yes, I have written this letter in my head as I am walking towards you. Yes, I interrupted your weird parking garage centered sexual fantasy. I admit those things. I do think, however, this entire episode could have been avoided if you had chosen another car to make-out behind. Perhaps your own car? Might that have been a better choice? Oh well. That is neither here nor there. What’s done is done. I do think, though, you owe me an apology. Your little make-out session caused me to have significant amounts of anxiety and awkwardness. All I need is an apology, and a promise this will never happen again.

Hoping you are well,

Girl on the Contrary aka the girl whose car you were MAKING-OUT BEHIND

Below you will find a re-creation of the situation. I think this makes it clear how awkward this was.

Pink Car

This is a car being blocked in by a couple making out.

Couple Making Out

This is a couple making out