The Mr Darcy Syndrome

18 Oct

On Friday night at Round Two of Ryan’s Bar, I met a lovely man. He was an attractive professional, a member of a surf lifesaving club, had a good job and seemed like a decent and kind human being. He was also single. But he said something very disturbing (and no it wasn’t, “Are you in the mood?”). He told me he never speaks to women he doesn’t know.

Now I’m sure some of you are probably thinking, “What kind of man can’t approach a woman?” or “I want someone who’ll take charge and approach me.” Well naturally, we all want that deep down. It means we can be lazy and leave the awkward, scary stuff to the guy. But ladies, in this city, there’s a strong possibility it won’t happen.

There was no reason why Mr Lifesaver couldn’t successfully approach women. After my short conversation with him, I realised I was speaking to a great guy, someone any woman would be happy to get to know. But he doesn’t feel any more comfortable approaching women than the average woman feels approaching men. Any why should he? Lack of confidence keeps him safely in his corner enjoying a drink with his friend. Sound familiar? I think most of us can relate.

This scenario isn’t new. Since the moment Eve plucked that juicy apple from the Tree of Knowledge we’ve been hounded by insecurity. Luckily for Eve, she’d already found her man by then. And while most of us smile at the memory of the “less formally attired” Mr Darcy stumbling upon Lizzie at Pemberley, sometimes we forget that even the most respected, kind-hearted man can feel “ill qualified to recommend [himself] to strangers.”

Later in the evening, when I’d reached my survey quota, a lovely wing-girl came to meet me for a beverage. She’s not a CBDer and was curious about Suit Night. Despite the weather’s drizzly attitude, we positioned ourselves outside at the end of a table, close to open space where men were gathered. As we sat and chatted, two nice, normal looking guys rested their beers on the table near us. They stood there for a while, but we didn’t talk to them and they didn’t talk to us. Eventually they moved away and I realised how ridiculous the scenario was. How have we arrived at the point where we can’t even say hello to someone standing next to us, just because they’re the opposite sex? We talk to bus drivers and shop assistants. We talk to hairdressers and beauticians. We talk to random girls standing next to us in toilet queues who we know we’ll never see again. So why can’t we just say hi to well-dressed, non-psycho looking guys at a bar? Have we lost that much faith not only in ourselves, but also in the people around us? Are we all suffering from Mr Darcy Syndrome?

So here’s my soapbox moment. It’s time to reclaim our faith in fellow Sydneysiders. For our own benefit. We need to believe not only that there are men worth introducing ourselves to, but that we’re women worth meeting. Finding out where the single men socialise is only the first step. The next step is up to the individual.

And so as encouragement, I’ll leave you with this extract from Pride and Prejudice (for those with dirty minds, the instrument referred to is a piano):

“I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,” said Darcy, “of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”

“My fingers,” said Elizabeth, “do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault – because I would not take the trouble of practising. It is not that I do not believe my fingers as capable as any other woman’s of superior execution.”

Perhaps it’s time to practise.


8 Responses to “The Mr Darcy Syndrome”

  1. sheena byrne October 19, 2010 at 8:04 am #

    lucie, I have decided to take your research a little further and investigate if the men in the Northern Hemisphere show similar characteristics of those Sydney men. will report back with my findings ASAP!!!
    Love Sheena B

    • Lucie Stevens October 19, 2010 at 9:32 pm #

      Hi Sheena,

      I’d love to know what the situation is over there – especially if you’re investigating what cute Irish guys think!! 🙂

  2. Catherine October 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    I feel like I’m seeing this more and more too. Sometimes women just need to take the lead. But then I hear that men want to initiate. Well then … initiate! I don’t have all day and I’m not getting any younger!

    • Lucie Stevens October 21, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

      Yes here here to that Catherine – what a different world it would be if we all initiated!

  3. beachblogger October 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    How true, how true, I find when it’s a set up like a bar where opposite sexes go to meet each other, I’m actually much more self conscious than if I just bump into a bloke as part of every day existence … then it’s really easy to chat and be friendly …

    • Lucie Stevens October 24, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

      Hi BB,

      I was thinking about you the other day and how it must be easier to get up now daylight savings is here. Pretty awful beach weather this weekend though!

      Yes it is a tricky situation when you feel like you’re ‘on show’ or worse, at a meat market. I suppose the best thing to do is start at places where you feel comfortable, do a bit of practice there then move to somewhere new when you’re more confident.

  4. Reggie October 24, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

    I hope you’ve scheduled to see Mr. Darcy the lifesaver again, what joy! Not only would he look good, he could save you if you ever swam out too far.

    • Lucie Stevens October 24, 2010 at 7:56 pm #

      Well Reggie, I have to say, a lifesaver would be a good choice for me because I am a terrible swimmer, despite the number of lessons I had as a child. In the end, they told my mum I was never going to get any better and she was wasting her money on my lessons…ouch…
      I gave Mr Lifesaver my card, so we’ll have to see if he contacts me. I’ll keep you posted!

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