It’s Not You, It’s Me

South ParkYou’re Getting Old (S15, Ep 7) – Stan turns ten years old and suddenly things change and everything is seems like crap to him; music, movies, food, and life in general, and his friends can’t stand him anymore.

Despite the fact that my mother made life long impressions on my media tastes growing up, it was she who imparted her love of classic films and novels onto me, watching television with her could be patently unsatisfying.  I adopted an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach as I am sure most of us did growing up in single television families but came to love Poldark, Upstairs Downstairs, and Daphne Du Maurier‘s Rebecca to name just a few. Nevertheless this exchange was mostly one sided, my younger self simply couldn’t comprehend her lack of appreciation of  the books and movies I enjoyed. More than once she would state plainly “that would never happen…” when we were watching something to which I would mentally roll my eyes and think “there is no accounting for taste.”

Rebecca_1It wasn’t until I was watching Joe Wright‘s visually captivating version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, three years after her death that I began to see things from her perspective.  In the 2005 feature film when Lady Catherine de Bourgh pays a visit to the Bennett family, to ensure Lizzie is aware that she does not support a possible marriage between their families, she arrives after dark and the family receives her in their night clothes. It was at that moment the first traitorous thought entered my head, that they would never at that point in history have allowed any person not even intimates of the family to see them in such a state let alone a ranking member of the peerage. I sternly hushed that same voice when Lizzie went traipsing through the fields at dawn in a state of undress only to come upon Mr. Darcy in similar dishabille.


Don’t get me wrong, this version of Pride and Prejudice was achingly romantic, the seething passion between Keira Knightley’s Lizzie and Matthew Macfayden‘s Darcy almost eclipsed my favorite, the BBC version starring Colin Firth.

Beyond watching period pieces where I can give that nagging voice more latitude, because truly any history major will tell you that persons, particularly those of quality, circa 1850 did not expose their ankles let alone go haring about the countryside in their dressing gown! Lately I have found that more and more I am struggling to silence that inner skepticism with less and less success. Which begs the question “am I simply too old” to enjoy some of the books that I am reading? I celebrated my fortieth birthday recently and like Stan Marsh of South Park  fame, did following his tenth birthday, I have been eyeing things that I used to enjoy with ever increasing suspicion. So the next time I go off on a tear about the veracity of the existence of large groups of tattooed, muscular, intelligent emotionally available men you can reassure yourself that it isn’t you, it’s me and that I am just getting old.

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