I’m not what you might call romantic. I don’t cry at the things that make my poor wife cry; in fact, I’m not often overcome with emotion of any sort. In the game of love, my wife and I have had to settle for my being “agreeable.”
Fortunately for me, “agreeable” is a highly valued commodity in some romantic circles. I first heard the word in the movie Emma, which I was agreeable enough to see with my wife despite its notorious lack of superheroes and space stations. Jane Austen, the great-godmother of romantic literature, slow-cooked a romance between Emma and the remarkably agreeable Mr. Knightley. Emma never knew what hit her. The novel was reworked into a contemporary film called Clueless, which I preferred to Emma because it at least had cars and pop music and (I suppose you could argue) a bit of time travel.
I do my best to be agreeable whenever possible, and as a result I’ve seen more than my share of chick flicks. The most recent was when Pride & Prejudice hit the theaters. My wife saw it on her own and wanted me to see it, so we made plans. In the meantime I came across the DVDs for another production of Pride & Prejudice, just in time for Christmas. Lets just say that for a week I had a steady diet of one or another scene of Miss Elizabeth Bennett being alternately disgusted and enchanted with the reluctantly bewitched Mr. Darcy.
Now, I will grant that both productions of Pride & Prejudice are well made and enjoyable in their own way, but come on! I usually don’t give this much devotion to anything, with the exception of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which was funny, and 24, which involves a lot of explosions.
Then again, watching Ferris or 24 doesn’t require much from me, because either one can be watched in utter solitude. By contrast, Pride & Prejudice craves, almost demands to be watched in the company of another. It cherishes the kind of agreeability that sees a chick flick coming and says, “Sure, why not?”
So if I value my agreeability, I’ll continue to make space for films like Pride & Prejudice and the emotions that are sparked by them. I’m no Mr. Darcy, I’ll readily admit, but I can be like Mr. Knightley, and he’s as much a romantic hero as anyone.