Someone on Buzzfeed posted 18 top dating lessons from Mr Darcy. Yes, that Mr Darcy. There are lots of gifs of Colin Firth and Matthew Mafadyen, in period costume, scowling. It's very cute and very positive... and completely wrong. Here are the real dating lessons that we can take from a book written nearly 200 years before dating was a thing.
1. If you like someone, boss him or her around.
2. If you don't like someone, insult that person. And also everyone that person cares about.
3. If you're attracted to someone, double down on the insults and bossiness. This may seem counter-intuitive, but you've got an end-game in mind.
4. Are you really rich? It helps if you're really rich. People are very forgiving of the rich.
5. But do remember that people are occasionally very unforgiving of the rich. Practise acting a little self-conscious about all your money; this will make you appear humble.
6. Are you really good looking? Dating is much easier if you're really good looking.
7. If you should happen to develop an attraction to someone, glower a lot and then, finally, communicate your feelings during the course of a single conversation while by being as bossy and as insulting as possible. Include references to your immense personal fortune. Definitely propose while you're at it.
8. Nurture a painful family secret. This will give your character the illusion of depth, and provide an excuse to fall back on when you're called out for being bossy and insulting.
9. Hold grudges. Like, seriously, hold them for decades. If for no other reason than that you'll have something to talk about with the object of your affection besides your bossiness and snobishness.
10. Stand a little too close when the object of your affection is reading or playing the piano. This will force him or her to talk to you.
11. If you can't stand a little too close, just stare at your would-be sweetheart. For maximum impact, try going for several minutes without blinking. Practise in front of a mirror.
12. Buy yourself a really big house. Consider this an invenstment in your romantic future. The object of your affection will think twice about you once he or she sees your massive spread!
13. Cultivate a truly loathesome relative, preferably one who's richer, bossier and more insulting than you yourself. Make sure to introduce the object of your affection to your loathesome relative. Imagine how great you'll look in comparison!
14. Remember the part where you're really rich? Discover or engineer a tragedy in the family of the object of your affection and then secretly spend your money to help out. Spend lavishly.
15. But be sure to tell your most talkative mutual acquaintance about your secret spending. We wouldn't want all that effort to go to waste!
16. Trot out that humility thing you've been cultivating when the object of your affection seeks you out for confirmation of the lavish spending.
17. When you inevitably have the opportunity to propose a second time, keep the insults and the bossiness to a minimum. The object of your affection will think that this constitutes 'change' - even though we all know people don't really change! End-game achieved.
BONUS 18. Apparently people really like it when you take some of your clothes off and hop into a scummy pond. Choreograph an opportunity whereby you may do so, with the appearance of unknowing spontaneity, in the presence of the object of your affection.