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Friday, August 22, 2014

How to Fake Being a Jane Austen Fan: a guest post from Cecilia Gray

How to Fake Being a Jane Austen Fan

If you love Jane Austen then read no further. You already know what to do in a room of Austen fans. You already know what to say when surrounded by other Austenites.

This article is for the rest of you.

Still reading?

You know who you are. Maybe you don't like Austen. Maybe period dramas make you claw your eyes out. Maybe you just never got around to it. Maybe something is dreadfully wrong with you…but I digress….

You exist in a world where tons of people love Austen. Like…luurrrrrve Austen. Your friends. Your boss. The in-laws. You're tired of defending yourself when forced to admit to your (questionable lack of) taste.

I'm here to help, with my top two tips to fake being an Austen fan…or at least fake having read or watched Austen. My caveat is to sprinkle sparingly to keep up the ruse. No need to unload these on a daily (or even weekly) basis.

Tip 1: Memorize a few male characters and their primary traits to describe people or situations in real life.

Darcy: the rich, hot guy who won't give you the time of day but is secretly perfect for you.
He's so infuriating and annoyingly perfect and he knows it – he's so DARCY that I canneven…

Wentworth: the ex you regret breaking up with (because you were young and dumb) and who had the nerve to get hotter and richer.
His company got acquired and he lost 20 pounds? Sucks being Wentworthed.

Willoughby: that jerk who led you on with no intention of starting a relationship – regardless of whether he may or may not have had real feelings for you (srsly...it's up for debate).
After asking you if you were free this weekend he never called? What a Willoughby.

Wickham: that guy who used you for money or sex.
He totally posted our sex tape online! I should've known he was a Wickham.

Tip 2: Co-opt her famous quotes for yourself.

Original quote: It's a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
How to use it: Replace the second clause. As an example, let's say it's the first weekend of the month, you've gotten paid, and an Austen acolyte has asked your plans for the weekend. You could say: It's a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of her paycheck must be in want of new shoes. You can also just use a shortened phrase "truth universally acknowledged" as a way of agreeing with an Austen fan, like a nerdier version of "truth!" or "word." Sort of like an Austen high-five.

Original quote: I am half-agony, half-hope.
How to use it: This is used by Wentworth (see above if you have to ask who) to admit his long-hidden feelings for the heroine who he is worried has moved on. No need for you to be so dramatic. You can be half-a-lot-of-things. You can be half-exhausted and half-excited or half-pissed and half-amused. Half-wet and half-confused….(sigh…)

Original quote: In vain have I struggled. It will not do.
How to use it: The quote comes from Darcy (see above) admitting he is in love – but he says it in such a way that he manages to insult the object of his affections. It can be used in its entirety as a response, ironically, when you well and truly adore something and aren't struggling against it at all. Let's say you're eating a whole tub of ice cream, and your Austen-fan-friend is giving you judgy looks, you can shrug and claim, "In vain, have I struggled."

Original quote: That is not good company, that is the best. (emphasis mine)
How to use it: Whenever an object or experience is described as "good" feel free to throw this out to show zealous appreciation of it. When your Austen friend says Guardians of the Galaxy was a good movie, tell her "That is not a good movie, that is the best." (It kind of was the best movie, you guys, I loved it!)

Original quote: If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.
How to use it: Replace "you" with anything you adore. You can also use it ironically or as hyperbole. For advance points, replace "loved" with "hate" and it still works.
Sample: If I loved ramen less, I might be able to talk about it more. (It just so happens I talk about loving ramen like..every five seconds.)

So there you have it – a few quick ways to fake being an Austen fan and ingratiate yourself into the good graces of someone who loves her. After all, it's a truth universally acknowledged that a person who loves Austen must be awesome in every way. Remember not to use these tips for evil. Don't be Willoughby or Wickham about it.

I hope you're able to fake it until the day you realize what you've been missing.

Cecilia Gray is the author of Kirkus starred series The Jane Austen Academy which reimagines all of Jane's heroines as modern teens attending the same California boarding school. Good for Austen and non-Austen fans alike! Check out the title and view the series trailer on her website.

[Note from Misty: it's things like this and this that make Cecilia one of the best. ONE OF THE BEST.]

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  1. "truth universally acknowledged" as an Austen high-five. This slays me.

    1. well now I am absolutely going to try to work this into my next social exchange

  2. I just sent post to my (non-Austen fan) husband working downstairs in his office...and what does he shout up the stairs five minutes later? "Hey Babe, if I say start saying this stuff will I get lucky?" What a Wickham thing to say!!! [Thanks, Cecilia!]

    1. That husband is a keeper!! (A little Wickham never hurt anyone.)

  3. What. A. Hoot! I laughed so hard, Cecilia.

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    1. Should I be surprised the name of this poster is Collins? Hmmm? Eh??? (#TruthUniversallyAcknowledged)

    2. Hahahaha! I was going to delete the comment, but now I'm kinda tempted to leave it up. ;)

  5. You spoke about Austen's quotes, so I must speak about the post. It was really, really enjoyable!

  6. That was funny. I enjoyed this post. In vain I have struggled not to smile.


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