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.

12 thoughts on “Did Jane Austen Date?

  1. Diane Bennet says:

    Dating had not been invented yet. In fact, when Marianne Dashwood heads out for what we would call a “date” with Willoughby, driving unescorted around the countryside for hours, she is chided for her irresponsibility by her sister Eleanor. And no, no one would have called anyone a whore. You are projecting your modern manners onto another era.

    I rather pity the people who think arranged marriage was still the order of the day. They don’t know much about history. These people will all too readily fall for propaganda like “White man practiced germ warfare against native Americans” and probably think “The Patriot” was a really good and accurate movie.

    Read Austen’s letters. She fell in love a few times, she received more than one offer of marriage. She also was familiar with randy conversation–see Miss Crawford’s comment about rears and vices, an allusion to buttsecks in the navy.

    If you’d like to understand Austen better, you might try reading “A Jane Austen Education” by William Deresiewicz. It’s a very enjoyable read.

    As for her having advice to give on a subject that didn’t even exist during her lifetime, it would probably be something like: “What a horrible way to find a prospective partner.”

  2. LOL! I think you just complicated a very complicated thing called dating trying to get advice from someone that I too doubt would have dated! Didn’t they have arranged marriages during her time?

    I’m sure you’ll find your true love.

    The fact that Mr Bingly was rich means that you could have retired early and lived a life full of indulgences 😉

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