A lot has changed since Jane Austen wrote about women's quest to find a perfect match in 19th century Britain.
But one fan of the writer believes many of Austen's lessons on love still ring true today. She reveals how much of the advice applicable to Regency-era courting is just as relevant to the Tinder generation...
Rule One: Be A Woman, Not A Girl
In Persuasion, Austen shows us the womanly fortitude of Anne Elliot is far superior to the girlish shenanigans of Louisa Musgrove. Louisa's flirtation with Captain Wentworth does not work, either to win his heart or to keep her dignity - little wonder she ends the novel by literally having her head examined!
Anne, by contrast, follows her own much more noble course and, in doing so, gives a lesson to us all. We should put away those childish tricks and conduct ourselves as an equal to our man.
Rule Two : Find A Man, Not A Guy
There is a particular kind of creature who looks like a man on first encounter but who is, in fact, a very different species. Jane Austen would have called this creature a 'puppy' or a 'coxcomb'; we would likely refer to him as a guy.
But however we choose to name him, we should always take care to avoid him!
Mr Knightley ends that novel in the hope that Frank Churchill may mature under Jane's guidance, but he is wrong. Boys may grow into men, yes, but guys never do!
Rule Three : Listen to What They Say
Pride and Prejudice begins with one of the most famous lines in English literature - 'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife.'
Indeed he is! It seems that women like Mrs Bennet - and like your mother and mine - do know a thing or two after all! Time-tested rules are never secret, rather, they are universally acknowledged.
Rule Four : Don't Just Sit There, Say Something!
'Sometimes, men just want to drive in silence without saying a word. Let them. Maybe he's thinking about how he's going to propose to you one day.'
But for the Jane Austen woman, the idea of sitting demurely in the passenger seat, not just of the car but of the conversation, is, frankly, offensive!
Elizabeth Bennet, for one, would never do any such thing, and sparkles throughout Pride and Prejudice with her lively and witty repartee - 'Tease him, laugh at him' is how she deals with the stand-offish Mr Darcy.
Rule Five : No Girlfriends
Sense and Sensibility's Lucy Steele is a great enthusiast for 'girl-talk'. But 'girl-talk' has that toxic tendency of making us more indifferent to what is real, transporting us to a realm of hyperbole in which nothing much matters - hence Lucy's utter carelessness as to which of the Ferrars brothers she ends up getting married to. Steer clear of 'girl-talk,' says Jane Austen, and keep your romantic analyses for the only one who merits them: your man.
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