I read The Importance of Being Earnest while in the airport yesterday, and among its many quotable quotes (see below), I came across this one: “well, in the first place girls never marry the man they flirt with” (Act I). At first this idea seemed absurd, and perhaps it was only meant as humor, but it struck me as holding a certain amount of truth.
A friend of mine works in the public service industry, and one of his clients, a young and pretty (according to him, I’ve never met her) woman, has formed an attachment to said friend. Although he never told me directly, I can tell that A really likes this girl, but (and this is a big but) she has a boyfriend of four years. Now, all I know is his side of the story, but apparently, they talk in one way or another every day. According to A it is always initiated by the client. He said he knows nothing will ever happen, but at the same time doesn’t end the relationship.
She is clearly flirting with my friend A, but is also supposedly in a committed relationship. Is she looking to get out of said relationship? Or is she like the women Algy describes—looking for some excitement outside of her comfortable, probably “suitable,” partner? Perhaps it’s the relative danger of striking up a more-than-professional-relationship with A when it is clearly against the rules that appeals to the woman.
I don’t know and I probably never will know, as I don’t think I’ll ever meet her, but the similarities between ideal Victorian women and today’s proper (and not-so proper) women intrigued me.
This wasn’t the only quote that applies to men and women of 2011. I found many others and luckily for me, I read the play on my Kindle could therefore easily highlight and share them with you all. Here’s a sampling:
Algy: “I really don’t see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal…The very essence of romance is uncertainty*” (Act I). This pretty much sums up my attitude and is probably why I’m not good at relationships. *my emphasis.
Algy: “Once a week is quite enough to dine with one’s own relations” (Act I). I don’t think this needs explanation. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but generally, holidays are enough.
Lady Bracknell: “A man should always have an occupation of some kind” (Act I). Nothing is worse than a person who doesn’t have activities or interests of his or her own. I think it is especially bad when it’s your significant other. Get those juices (brain, muscle… whatever) flowing!
Algy: “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his” (Act I). I started turning into my mother when I was 11 (love you mom, it’s not really a tragedy. At least not for us). It’s interesting to think about though, especially the part about men not becoming their mothers.
Cecily: “I think that whenever one has anything unpleasant to say, one should always be quite candid” (Act II). From experience, trying to sugar coat disagreeable things often leads to confusion and then even more awkwardness. Pretend it’s a band-aid and get it over quickly!
Gwendolen: “One should always have something sensational to read on the train” (Act II). Again, speaking from experience, it is very difficult to concentrate on “literary” stuff on the train. I need an exciting or dramatic book on the T if it has a chance at beating the cute baby or drunk rapper for my attention.
So there you have it. And if you haven’t seen the movie, run to Blockbuster or add it to your Netflix queue immediately!