Why this 200-year-old romance just hits different
(@darcyperiod / Instagram)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that, regardless of the preferred movie adaptation, we all wish we were Elizabeth Bennet.
It’s a desire that transcends generations. The forty-something English professor who’se read Jane Austen’s original text a dozen times and refuses to watch any of the film adaptations. The Boomer book club with an excessive attachment to the 1995 miniseries (and by extension, Colin Firth). The 18-year-old classics enthusiast who would lay down their life for Kiera Knightley in a period film (not speaking from experience).
No matter your niche in the Austen community, one fact rings true: in everything beside the unfortunate first name, Fitzwilliam Darcy remains literature’s most compelling man.
Although the appeal has survived 207 years, 17 adaptations, and one receding hairline (I’m sorry Matthew Mcfayden), there is no contest when it comes to which film incites the most yearning.
Joe Wright’s divine masterpiece of a 2005 adaptation redefined Elizabeth and Darcy’s romance and inspired a generation to head to their local Barnes and Noble to give the classic a shot. With September marking the film’s 15th anniversary, I think it’s time we discuss why we’re attracted to Mr. Darcy.
It all comes down to the magic three: the hand™, accidental negging, and knowing when to shut the fuck up.
The implications of the hand flex carries more sexual tension than all three Fifty Shades movies. It's the culmination of 25 minutes (and 32 seconds, but who’s counting) of lustful frustration, witty banter, and a will-they-won’t-they dynamic Friends wishes they could combat.
In 19th century Europe, when the most scandalous thing you could do was bare an ankle or refuse your first cousin’s marriage proposal, the reality of skin against skin was essentially pornographic. And in 2020, when physical touch is once again forbidden, it’s difficult not to revert to classical tendencies.
I will die on this hill.
I’m not saying that Mr. Darcy was an incel before he met Lizzie, but I’m also not insinuating a man named Fitzwilliam has had any relationship experience besides those arranged by his aunt. One minute she’s “barely tolerable,” but the next he’s “been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow.”
Funny how bitches turn into my fans.
There’s nothing sexier than a white man who knows his boundaries. For all the insults and the bickering, Mr. Darcy continues to do what so many will not — give Elizabeth the right to choose.
After a failed proposal and no less than one remedied elopement, Darcy unleashes the quote that has left both middle-aged women and book stan Twitter in shambles:
“My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever.”
Modern translation: If you’re still disgusted by me, I’ll delete my number from your phone myself.
And in a post-Tinder world, isn’t that all we ever want to hear?
Kaylinn Escobar is a Staff Writer at Rowdy Magazine. She's fond of underrated claymation, sitting in extravagant chairs, and yearning to the sound of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice soundtrack. She adores classics, healthcare, and re-told historical fiction. Reach out to her at email@example.com for more info.
Veronica Nocera is a Staff Writer at Rowdy Magazine. Her simple pleasures include hoarding stationary, rewatching 90s rom coms, and romanticizing the lives of 20th century female authors. She's intensely passionate about the power of language, social justice, and the overlap between past and present. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!