Despite popular (i.e. my sister’s) belief, I am reading Gone With the Wind.
…just at a snail’s pace.
Seriously, this book is a monster and I only manage reading a chapter at a time as I get frustrated with Scarlett’s flawed reasoning and put the book down, only to pick it up again because (a) I’ve promised myself that I am going to finish it and (b) despite being a complete pain in the ass, Scarlett is still an interesting character to read about, if only because I know she’s going to do something stupid again.
Hmm, I wonder if this is what some people felt while reading Jane Austen’s Emma.
Anyways, I’m nearly 300 pages in, and the latest in Scarlett’s ridiculous exploits is reading Melanie’s letters from her husband, Ashley.
Why would Scarlett care? Because she’s in love with Ashley, and she’s trying to find proof that Ashley’s not in love with Melanie.
Ashley’s letters are contemplative and thoughtful, full of thoughts from the warfront and of home.
Scarlett thinks this is a good sign, since it’s just “boring dialogue”, lacking passion and heartache.
Meanwhile everyone else is thinking, “You really are an idiot, aren’t you?”
The reason why Ashley and Melanie are so well suited for each other is because they both enjoy having conversations with the other. They have discussions, debate, and want to explore the metaphorical implications of a situation. Ashley doesn’t write of heartache to his wife because he doesn’t need to—that’s not all their relationship is about.
Which is why Scarlett doesn’t get it at all.
Scarlett thinks romance is all poetry and gestures, with no substance to follow up. Which is a pity, because that means she’s missing out on a lot.
I mean, I’m all for poetry and gestures—that’s the stuff chick flicks are made of and the occasional romantic fantasy, while unrealistic, is good for cheering me up. Plus, I’m a sucker for good poetry.
But when it boils down to it, I stand by that saying: “Marry someone you love to talk to, because as you get older their conversational skills will be just as important as any other.”
I may be completely off base here, because at first glance, “conversationalist” doesn’t sound like “romantic partner”. But I would rather marry a best friend that I could talk to for hours than a wild infatuation that will put me on an emotional high (for a god-knows-how-long period of time).
But there’s this part of my mind that nags at me like the romantic it is: Isn’t that a little too logical for love?
So, internet, I’d like to know: on a spectrum of “Melanie” to “Scarlett”—what do you think a romantic relationship should be?
Feel free to define it with whatever literary character you find matches it best—be it “Mr. Darcy”, “Hermione Granger” or (while I sincerely hope not) “Paris” (from the Illiad)(really, he was an ass).