Thoughts on Love and Other Oddities of Life

7:30 AM

[Due to the intriguing confusion in my soul brought about by this post, I bring you the following.]

Ever since reading Emma I have been a cynic of love. To be sure, a cynic in this sense does not necessarily mean an abstainer of it; the whole thing is rather an interesting and unnecessary study: perfect for a female teenager such as myself. Now before Emma I was quite the unbridled romantic. I even convinced myself that Ella Enchanted could have some base in reality. I am rather a bridled romantic now (my notebook contains lists of husbandly attributes, romantic reflections and articles on Calvinism one after the other and sometimes written on the same night).

Nonetheless I vowed never to be so stupid as all that. That Emma and Harriet could change affections so frequently is, of course, the epitome of everlasting love; but I could not help feeling uncomfortable by it. And the whole business of Frank Churchill marrying Jane Fairfax and Mr. Knightley wedding Emma - nothing fair or natural in love there. (I hardly dare admit to being the only girl in the world who thinks a little less of Mr. Knightley for loving Emma so unconditionally - perfect as he is otherwise.)

I myself have imagined myself in love, oh, zero to five times, depending on the definition of the word. We girls spend a whole lot of energy thinking of Certain Young Gentlemen to whom we dare not even hint (passionate tumbles of the abdomen notwithstanding) we like - we dursn't even talk to him. We look at him, hands twisting, hearts fluttering, and he doesn't look at us, and we go home sighing, "I think he really must like me after all!"

In my humble opinion, conservative Christian girls love with all the passion, confusion and effectiveness of Echo. It's all rather romantic, isn't it?

And the thing that's so hard about loving is that it takes two people to get anywhere and that the opposite sex is so perverse and enigmatic at going about it. I mean, wouldn't there be more marriages in the Christian community if guys just married the first girl who fell in love with him? There would be an explosion of marriages - though I admit there might be problems if all the girls in one church loved the only eligible young man there.


That was my thinking before I became an EEC (Enlightened Empowered Cynic, pronounced "eek!"). After becoming reconciled to reason, I began to see how ridiculous young love is. It's pointless, in the sense that state law prohibits most marriages in the teens and parents proscribe where the state falls short. To make matters worse, it's all so complicated and nobody agrees on the rules. For instance, conservative girls insist that talking to young men poses too many dangers; slightly conservative girls say that we can talk to boys and just be friends; liberal girls - well, you know liberal girls, bless them.

But the guys didn't get the memo. I've found that when I don't talk to young men I fall in love with them, and if I do talk to them they fall in love with me. And that's almost as frightening.

As I said, nobody agrees on the rules. Nice, modest young ladies generally act demure, cautious and sensible - they get labelled as rejects for being boring as rocks and unapproachable; smiley, happy, carefree girls are flirts to the modest girls and friends to the guys (though, of course, those aren't the marriageable types). The whole thing's downright confusing. If I smile at him, rumors of love get floated around; if I don't smile, I need to lighten up and get more comfortable. If a guy is nice to me, I naturally assume twelve roses ought to show up in his hand soon; if he isn't, I can generally convince myself he adores me anyway. So we have it that any move - smile, step, blink, breath - naturally leads to the conclusion of his passion. Were he to stand asphyxiated, frozen, not doing anything lest he do something lover-like, it's obvious he is smitten with love. Even I know that.

We have all agreed to be pure and above-board and chums but not chummy and we still fall in love. Or it actually works and leaves the entire Christian populace unmarried; to wit, I have to be merely friends with guys, but if I do, I won't get married because we're just friends; they can't fall in love with me even if I'm willing for they suppose I'm just interesting in being friends alone.

But I'm not sure being in love is worth much, after all. People you admire most for sanity turn tongue-tied and red and sappy, saying things cut from a cheap romantic flick and doing things that, were it not for your patient charity, wouldn't cause even a camel to fall in love. People lose their minds. Things that aren't funny suddenly are. Stupid things are particularly clever. Certainty becomes uncertain and everything's muddled up in a fragrance of roses and chocolate. I think lovers create alternate universes: population 2.

Thus in conclusion, I must say that it's a wonder anybody gets married at all.

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18 impressions

  1. If most girls simply pondered things, as you do, there'd be a LOT less mistakes made in the marriage department!

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  2. You definitely make some good points here! :) (And I had to giggle at a few of the oddities that you pointed out...very true!)

    It's funny that you should post this today as I finished watching 'Emma' *for the first time* in the wee hours of this morning... and my sisters and I have been sighing Mr. Knightley's name ever since. LOL ;)

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  3. I think I need to read this through again - my eyes watered so much it all looks like a blur. :)

    -- *cough* --

    Your last sentence is quotable m'dear, just quotable.

    *hugs*

    ~Bethany

    P.s. I predict that you've scared half of your readers to not comment. :D

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  4. Mrs. Howard, so true. I think the general attitude toward this sort of thing is, "A girl isn't required to be sensible when she's in love!" And I'm afraid I'm just as guilty. *nervous grin*

    :o) I'm not a veteran in the Mr. Knightley Fan Club either, Erin...we girls spent our evening giggling over Emma about late spring. It's quite embarrassing how much one can laugh and blush during one scene. Gotta love Jane Austen.

    Ah, Floppeth, you are a breath of innocent sanity - though I must admit I am shocked you didn't even comment on the Emma photos. You really must be ill.

    BTW, you'll notice I don't have to worry about scaring away half my commenters, as the average is three. Ha. ((hugs))

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  5. "Well, you know liberal girls, bless them." That made me laugh. In fact, for the most part I agree with your post. As to whether love is worth it or not, I suppose that depends on the definition of love. But I believe I know what kind of love you're talking about, and it's not at all the model of Christ! However, I've been there myself before, which makes it more upsetting to see other girls seeking after this kind of shallow, fickle sort of "love". Thanks for writing a post that made me smile (and laugh). :D

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  6. Well, I do love to be above average, Enola dear. ;)

    Good post, and I sympathize with you on most points (other than Mr.Knightley. :P He is my favorite Austenian Hero, after all. ;))

    You're right. There is a fine line in conservative circles as far as 'falling in love' is concerned. But I guess the most assuring thing I could think of at the time, was that God will prompt the feelings nessasary to reach the marriage altar, for the proper person and at the proper time.

    All this from me, the someone who has yet to experience the real thing. ;)

    *HUGS*

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  7. Well, I was going to comment on the photos but then I thought it too off topic. :D

    And I finally thought of a tip to help me remember how to spell definitely. The fin ate Elly. ;o)

    ~Bethany

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  8. Lol, Bailey! I was one of the young ladies who went a mile out of my way to avoid the available young men and wouldn't have thought of smiling at them. I did have numerous young men ask me out, but never dated anyone except Mr. Pyatskowit. When he came along, I fell head over heels in love, yes, romantic love is REAL. I can't explain it to you, but somehow you just know that he's the one God has for you.

    ~Mrs. Pyatskowit

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  9. You say you haven't thought about this subject much? Seems you've given a lot of thought into this post. I am still amazed how such a young, unmarried young lady can be so wise in any of the matters you've had on your blog. You are sixteen, right? Not 45?
    Luv ya!

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  10. Sara: LOL This whole post was written tongue-in-cheek...though I have had some exasperating run-ins with all sorts and variations of this thing called Love, I haven't given up on the real thing. I would cease to be female if I did. ;o)

    Lizzy! Ah, well, you can challenge me to a duel over Mr. Knightley whenever you please. I knew I was stepping on sacred ground. :o) You're so right about God putting the feelings there at the right time - that's what I cling to too. Someday I may write a serious post about love...if I ever figure it out. ((hugs))

    Flop: But if you remember "The fin ate Elly" you'll be tempted to spell it "definately." And we can't have that. By the by, sisters get the privilege of going off topic. Love ya!

    Mrs. Pyatskowit: :o) You're right, and your marriage proves it. The thing with romance is that, in my mind, I'm not sure what is real and what isn't. My mother says you'll just know too. I guess I'm the sort of girl who wants a nametag proclaiming, "Hi, I'm your future husband"...but that takes out the mystery of love. I have no doubt I will find out the truth of your comment once Mr. Right comes along. Until then, I must be an avowed skeptic to save my dignity. (Kidding. :o))((hugs))

    KT: I'm afraid I've thought about this more than I want to. Unfortunately, some unmarried person's got to go at it and figure it out. I'll let you know when I do. And generally I believe I'm sixteen, except when I'm acting my shoe size...which is five. Luv ya too!

    (By the way, ya'll, I cannot hide behind a facade of intellectualism on this matter. I think I am the mushiest, gushiest romantic on earth.)

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  11. Lots of food for thought here Bailey! As usual, I find it hard to believe you're telling the truth about your age, hehe.

    There was one thing though in your post that made me wonder. You said you thought less of Knightly for loving Emma so unconditionally. Let me ask you this - none of us are perfect and we all have many failings. Wouldn't you want your husband to love you unconditionally, in spite of your faults? Even if you *were* headstrong, selfish, vain, and stupid half the time (I'm referring to Emma here, NOT you!)?
    I was just wondering what exactly you meant by that. And just so you know Knightly isn't my favorite J.A. hero, so I'm almost completely unbiased here :)

    Anyway great post girly!!

    Love you!
    ~Elissa

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  12. I think everybody is taking this post too seriously. :o) But I do need to explain: Thinking less of Mr. Knightley has more to do with my opinion of Emma than him or his unconditional love. Perhaps it would be better expressed as I was disappointed in his lapse of judgment in loving her unconditionally...not loving unconditionally. (Which doesn't make sense because if he loved someone deserving of him then it would be conditional....) The reason for that is I'm never happy with Emma at the end of the book/movie. Her "I wish to God I never met her [Harriet]" always makes me seethe. Poor little Harriet. And so it's always my gut reaction to blurt, "Mr. Knightley! What made you love her in the first place?!"

    Being serious now, I'm totally for unconditional love. It's what I run on every day. I don't think conditional love is even love in the first place. But I still say it isn't fair and not always logical...which fits into the other absurdities in the post. I don't mean that as a disrespect to love - that's what makes love so special and exciting.

    And after Lizzy and I finish our duel, we shall have to schedule one...for it's obvious Mr. Knightley is the grandest Austenian hero ever. ;o) Love you too! Thanks for calling me out. ((hugs))

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  13. Hehe thanks Bailey. I could tell the post wasn't quite as serious as it sounded. Now that you've explained I understand what you were saying. :)

    Oh dear, did I let that little secret slip again? (durn it!) I've slipped down a peg or two in my dear daddy's estimation since I told him that Mr. Knightly wasn't my favorite. Now I've done it again. When will I learn to hold my tongue and just smile and nod when everyone's gushing about Mr. Knightly? Hehe. Honestly though, I really do love Mr. K, but I think Tilney would have to take #1 as my favorite Austen Hero. Captain Wentworth and Mr. Knightly probably tie for second place. :)

    *HUGS*

    ~Elissa

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  14. Ya, "love" is a confusing thing in life. (Write poetry about it and see what you come up with.)
    In some ways, I wish love were more simple, and you could swim in guy's minds to see what they are thinking. And you wish it didn't have to be such a long process. And then there are other times I'm glad love is such a mystery and suspense. I've heard people say they fall in love even more when the other person is so hard to get or they keep their suspicions high.
    This whole "love" issue is so confusing, painful at times, and will come with struggles, but I think it is such an exciting adventure to now be starting to begin (since we're all getting so old and we have so many that have interest in us...you can relate.)
    And it is so much fun to have girlfriends to complain, cry, laugh, and jump up and down with. Or you have those girlfriends who is considered the matchmaker... ahhh... I wonder who that could be? LOL!
    I sometimes wonder how we know who will be the one and only one for us. I know I am so indecisive, I have mixed emotions and feelings, and change my mind.
    Yes, it is a wonder how anyone get married at all? LOL!

    At least there is nothing confusing with girlfriend love and friendship. Love ya! Stacy

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  15. I pity you, Elissa, I really do. I cannot imagine the tension your sacrilege creates in your home...you must have a very gracious daddy, to still be sharing the same roof.

    :o) No, honestly, I've only read P&P and Emma and have absolutely no idea what Henry Tilney is like. I admire your bravery. Austen fights are freaky.

    Ah, Stacy. Thank goodness for you and my other girlfriends. I wish love was formulaic too...because then you could avoid it. :P And I have heard about the attractiveness of mystery. That's no good, for then everybody you're trying to avoid is going to fall deeper in love. ACK! Does anybody have a de-aging potion? Quick! Five-years-old on the double!

    Just, you know, don't matchmake me yet, dear...please. ;o)

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  16. ha ha... Fine,I will try to withhold myself from being your matchmaker. LOL! ~Stacy

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  17. Elissa, I won't pretend to know you, but I just want to empathize: while I think of the Knightleys as the perfect example of love in any century (starts as friendship, their love is unconditional, and other necessities such as those), I cannot understand what everyone sees in Mr. Darcy. As a book character, I love him. But as a person, he's so strange and pointedly flawed! His faults are played up to the point where when you're supposed to like him, you find you can't shake the memory of his previous awfulness! And all those girls (and women!) who think they'd be perfect for him... Well, ladies, did you ever consider the fact that his perfection is mostly derived from his undying love for Lizzy? Which would mean either he could never love you, or, if he did, he would no longer be perfect.
    It's a wonder they never thought of that.

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  18. I find it quite funny that I happened on this particular old post of yours, considering the fact that I just watched Emma this past weekend. Plus, it's one of my favorite movies ever and Mr. Knightley might be on the top of my list of favorite fictional men.

    I thought about adding something actually sensible to this comment, but I'm not sure my brain can handle it at the moment...

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