I’ve never thought of myself as a romantic. Mushy, lovey-dovey things make me uncomfortable and I never understood the appeal of Romeo and Juliet or Wuthering Heights (besides the beautiful writing). Instead, I want to reach inside the pages and shake some sense into these stupid people. And don’t even get me started on Twilight. So, I was surprised when I started Georgette Heyer’s The Talisman Ring and found myself identifying with Eustacie, the most romantically inclined heroine since Anne Shirley.
Eustacie longs for adventure and romance and wishes she had gone to the guillotine in France wearing white. She says to her cousin Sir Tristram, “But consider! You would be very sorry for a young girl in a tumbril, dressed all in white, pale, but quite unafraid, and not attending to the canaille at all…” (Heyer). See the similarities to Anne Shirley? Fantasizing about her death and how much everyone will miss her? Later Eustacie hatches a plan to run away and become a governess. Of course, the eldest son of the family, will fall in love with her and they will be married—after much initial discouragement from the son’s family. What’s romance without a little struggle?
Clearly the French Revolution is over and there aren’t any guillotines in the Boston area that I’m aware of. Nor do I plan on running away (although running to Mexico given the job market has some appeal). So why did I find myself relating to Eustacie? Recently, I too, have been subject to dramatic romantic daydreams.
Before going home this Christmas I imagined myself and a certain nameless boy from home having one, if not more, romantic evenings. I should probably back track here and fill you in on our history. I was (and still kind of am, but that is arguable) a shy person. In high school whenever I called said boy to invite him to group things (one-on-one dates were totally out of the question) I’d get super, super nervous. One day he even asked me if I had just come back from a run I was so out of breath! Well so continues our relationship, all through high school and college. Eventually it got to the point where we could hang out and I could hold a decent conversation, even if it was just the two of us. Then, last year on New Years a group of us all went out to a bar and towards the end of the night we started dancing and in my inebriated state telling him of my unrequited love seemed like the perfect next step. He was surprised (which in itself is surprising because everyone else knew) and then he kissed me.
As you probably guessed, said nameless boy and I did not, in fact, have any romantic moments this year. We were never alone together and last year was not mentioned. I generally don’t believe in long distance relationships, and was not expecting anything of the sort. Instead I wanted acknowledgement? Reassurance that it wasn’t a pity kiss? Some sort of understanding that he has similar feelings since he currently is, and probably always will be, one of the rulers to which I measure guys?
Well, just like Eustacie, when my current daydream crumbled I created a new one. I would meet a nice, attractive guy at the big New Years party, we’d share a midnight kiss and he’d fall madly in love with me… or at least we’d date for a while. I looked great, the party had a rockin’ theme—everything seemed to be in my favor. But, instead of stealing glances and flirting with the man of my dreams that night I ended up dancing with a guy who got a little too excited… if you know what I mean… and then kissing his friend (in my defense, I didn’t know the two were friends until overly-excited guy pulled me away from his friend).
Trashy, no? Not the picture perfect evening I had planned. I place the blame entirely on my stupid daydream. When I met each guy I knew neither was the one for me, but maybe, just maybe, it will work out with one of them. Because after the first dream crumbled, this one had to come true. Obviously, unlike Eustacie, my romantic fantasies did not come to fruition. Instead I ended up with two phone numbers I didn’t want and feelings of regret. Am I really that desperate?
Well no more! I now resolve to be more like Miss Sarah Thane, the other heroine of The Talisman Ring. A romantic who seeks her adventures through travel and new experiences. And hey, in her travels she found and fell in love with Sir Tristram. Perhaps one day I’ll find my Sir Tristram and if not, well, I’ll have had a hell of a lot of experiences.