I am a hopeless romantic. I love Romantic Comedies, provided they are not too silly. And some of my favourite books have always been the Jane Austen and Bronte Novels. Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre are two of my favourite books, and I own DVD movies and miniseries for most of them.
Except that most of my life I have been a thwarted romantic. Until three years ago, when I met the love of my life, and convinced her to become my wife.
About two years ago, my wife bought me an entire set of Jane Austen Novels, plus a few other classic romances. And I realised the other day that I have not read any of them since I got married. In fact… I have never even finished Persuasion, which is the book I was reading when we met.
And it got me to thinking about how women often complain that Jane Austen gave them unrealistic expectations of men. The theory seeming to be that Jane Austen men are too good to be true, whereas I was reading not to find someone, but to find out who I needed to be to find someone. In essence I guess I was trying to learn how to be the perfect man.
I was also losing myself in the fantasy world of being able to be somebody’s Mr Darcy, or Henry Tinley. (Who is much cooler in my opinion.)
So now that I am married, and have found my romantic heroine, and have spent over three years learning about what true/real love is, and how it works in the real world, I wonder if I will find the novels better (because I can read from experience) or worse (because I have the real thing, and don’t need the fantasy.)
With that question in mind, I am going to re-read all the books the next two months. Including finally getting through Persuasion.
What do you think? Does romantic fiction teach us about how good love can be? Or give us unrealistic expectations?