Thursday, September 29, 2011

proposals gone wrong: the one that got away

I came to the horrifying, yet somehow rather amusing, realization the other day that all of my favorite period piece proposals are complete and total train wrecks. I'm not sure what this says about me exactly, but... Anyway, the guy gets turned down, looking completely heartbroken, and magically you find yourself frantically searching for ice cream in the freezer behind a veil of smeared mascara and tears. Why? Why is it so upsetting despite how many times you've seen it? Surely after half a dozen rewinds you know the girl isn't going to say 'yes.' These life-changing events give me SO MANY FEELINGS that I can hardly begin to translate them into coherent thoughts. But what I can say is that part of the reason that it's so mortifying is because, for my part, I feel I can identify so much with the heroine. You feel that you know her because you are her. And in cases where the heroine is so obviously throwing the fictional-love-of-your-life away with both hands, it's almost offensive, because if you could never do that to him, how could she? So, for instance, when Jo turns Laurie down in Little Women, you might possibly have thrown something across the room while screaming, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!?!" Hypothetically speaking, of course. Through the coming weeks, I'll be highlighting some of my favorite travesties on bended knee, BECAUSE I CAN! We'll start with the aforementioned idiocy of Jo March i.e. the only one I'll be talking about that isn't followed by an epiphany, change of heart, and second (or third) proposal i.e. GAHHH!!! Now, let's watch through our fingers as she does what none of the rest of us could have...

"I have loved you since the moment I clamped eyes on you." What makes it worse is you know it's true! Laurie, her equal in wit and spirit, has done everything in his power to demonstrate the love he has for her and her family from the very first. The most gut wrenching part of this proposal is that singular move away from her; the realization that they are not on the same page. The thought of her belonging to someone else disgusts him and her declaration that she'll never marry stings him because he knows, even better than she does, that it isn't true. Have a heart, Louisa May Alcott, what did poor Laurie ever do to you?! What did ever do to you? If I had a time machine, I would go back and make you rewrite this scene. Why did you do this? Why? WHY?!?!?! I will never get over this one! Why did you have to go and dangle it in front of me if it could never be? Just plain cruel. "And I'll be hanged if I stand by and watch." *INFINITE SOBS* Sidenote: and years later, when Laurie marries Jo's insipid sister Amy... salt in the wound, Louisa May, SALT IN THE WOUND!

You know, earlier in the movie, Jo remarks that she isn't the swooning type. This. explains. so. much. I only wish that that remark had mentally prepared me for a lifetime's creyes for eyes over this refusal. So what's the emotional forecast while watching this unfold? In the eye region, anticipate blinding tears. Directly back to the brain, you might fantasize about lunging at Jo's throat. Down towards the mouth, most likely "nos" followed by drunken hiccups. And finally, in the chest area there'll be prickly sensations that you are being stabbed repeatedly in the heart with a poisoned dagger (because you are).

So, in typical fashion de moi, I will conclude with a pro/con list on why I would or wouldn't have accepted this proposal. Pros: It's Christian Bale, I mean Laurie, and he's so charming and educated and handsome! And he plays piano! And he loves me! And I'll win every argument! One big happy family! Set for life! London! Cons: I might literally DIE of happiness. And... maybe he wears mismatched socks? To summarize, pros + cons = OF COURSE I'LL MARRY YOU, LAURIE! I LOVE YOU! LET'S KISS SOME MORE! 

P.S. What would you have done? And what are your favorite proposals gone wrong?


  1. It's too bad I don't believe in seances and whatnot because I would totally love to bring Louisa May Alcott back from the grave and ask her WHAT THE HECK she was thinking when she had Jo deny Laurie. It's one of life's great literary injustices that I shall never understand.

  2. I know. It's... horrible. It gives me a lot of FEELINGS and emotional baggage.