Thanks to FD, I have a link to an advice column from the Guardian penned by one Mariella Frostrup which addresses the emotionally unavailable man.
As FD said in the email to me, the part in the beginning where she ladles on the pathos in an attempt to establish empathy was irritating, and her assumption about Mills & Boon heroes is way off the mark imo, but her point about the emotionally unavailable man is thought provoking.
I have to wonder if everyone went through the “tragic mate” phase in their 20’s, finding partners with the urge to fix and make them happy all the time – aka “the more tragic, the better.” Probably we all did at one time, if not the 20’s then at some other point.
But I take issue with Mariella’s point that Mr. Darcy is a malfunctioning man, a “monosyllabic” grump, and serves more as a canvas on which we readers paint our ideal tragic hero:
Darcy is a classic malfunctioning man, and the idea that he could be transformed into some Mills & Boon-style romantic hero by the barbs of a bright woman – no matter how persuasive actors like Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen have been in trying to make us believe it – is just schoolgirl fantasising. The sad truth is that the monosyllabic man in the corner of the bar isn’t usually thinking deep thoughts about the future of mankind; he’s a monosyllabic man in a bar. One thing you can’t knock women for is their imagination. We can fantasise miserable Darcy into a totemic love god, a plethora of myopic musicians into babe magnets, and an actor outspoken about his determination not to marry into the sexiest man alive.
From my perspective, and granted I haven’t reread P&P in a number of months, Darcy is socially awkward and certainly a snob who has to get over himself already, but emotionally broken hero? I don’t think so.
Do you disagree with Frostrup? Perhaps you never got the Darcy-mania any more than the Edward-mania, and find him to be as stunted and unattractive as she does? What’s the deal – do you think Darcy’s a broken male?