He’s tolerable, I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me.
But to be fair to Mr. Darcy, is it really worth it to try to date any of the men in Jane Austen novels? The books are a delight, and I find some of the relationships to be wonderful. But Mr. Darcy as relationship material? I’m not so sure.
Here’s a brief look at how Jane Austen heroes stack up in my mind and whether they’re worth dating. (Note: This list is not complete. I haven’t read all Austen’s work, so I can’t comment on whoever from Mansfield Park. Sorry?)
- He has a lot of money.
- He is nice to his sister.
- He’s a dick, but he’s honest about his dickishness.
- He has lovely curly brown hair (probably just thinking about Colin Firth now).
I know, I know. The whole thing about Darcy is that he seems to be an unbearable prick but is actually a decent dude. But he seems like a lot of work. You’d have to really drag his feelings out of him and that seems exhausting. Also, he’s prone to making snide remarks, and so am I. Most of our relationship would probably just be saying really rude things to each other.
If I were to choose a man from Pride and Prejudice to date, I think I’d lean Mr. Bingley. Super earnest, nice, willing to show affection toward women. Plus, I love it when he tells Darcy “I hate to see you standing about in this stupid manner” and “I wouldn’t be as fastidious as you are for a kingdom.” Yes, Bingley. Give him what for. Downside? The Bingley sisters are unbearable. So maybe not.
Captain Frederick Wentworth
- He’s a captain, I guess?
- Doesn’t hold much of a grudge.
- Willing to be friendly with you even if there’s an awkward break up.
There’s a lot to like about Persuasion. It’s a weird little book that grows on me the more I think about it. I like that there’s a heroine a little more advanced in age and so more in line with modern sensibilities. I also like that Anne made a pretty huge error that she regrets. There’s something to be said about second chances and the quiet pensive feel of this novel.
So what is a Went really worth? More than any of the other jackasses in this book. Yeah, I’d probably date him. Even if his life, his love, and his lady are the sea.
- His family has a super weird creepy house.
- He actually reads and will talk books with you.
- Will back your play and stand up to his dick dad.
Who has even read Northanger Abbey, seriously. I mean, I’ve read it twice and at the same time, somehow, have never read it. Let’s just agree we have another book full of assholes and at least Henry can be, like, a nice dude. I’d probably date him just so I could try to see a ghost in the family manor, honestly.
I just love Emma Thompson, okay. Don’t think I’d date Ferrars.
- He sees the value in being kind to people.
- He’s willing to humor your weird relatives.
- He goes on lots of walks.
- He will, in fact, call you on your bullshit.
I don’t hate Knightley, but ultimately, I don’t think he’s my jam. All the characters with money in Emma are a little much for my tastes. Also, he’s like 20 years older than Emma or something and I know it was the times or whatever, but comes off a little weird for my tastes. Rein it in, Knightley.
Emma is a book rife with terrible men for dating. Mr. Elton and Frank Churchill being prime examples of suck. If you gotta go for a guy in this outing, it is definitely Robert Martin. I would 100% date and marry Robert Martin. He is the most dateable man on this list. A hill I will happily die on.
Jane Austen writes a good book. Her characters are sharp and because she keeps an eye toward social commentary, many of them are entertaining but also huge jerks. The leading men in these books can be charming at times and impossible at others. But in the end, you probably wouldn’t want to date a guy who was raised in the 1800s. He’d probably have appalling opinions.
Except Robert Martin, of course.