When I was much younger and read Pride and Prejudice for the first time I liked Bingley because you couldn't help liking him. Affable, friendly, unflappable, unprejudiced, ne'er a harsh word to be said of others... But in the attraction stakes how could you ever settle for a Bingley when there are Darcys in the world? That cynical air, that haughty demeanor, the idea of capturing a Darcy and knowing that you were privileged as opposed to a Bingley who due to their nature love anyone. I think I wrongly supposed that there was passion and romance and something unique and special in a Darcy that was missing from the simpler affection of a Bingley.
I sought Darcys for a good portion of my teens. In a very adolescent way I wanted the tall, dark, mysterious, closed hero of many a book, and thought those that loved Bingleys were simpler. I was far too complex to love a Bingley.
I had a lot of male friends growing up, most who I realise remained platonic friends simply due to their Bingleyness. I could not take them seriously as a "lover" and they were relegated to the status of friend with nary the slightest twinkle of seething attraction between us. Even yet some of my best friends are male, their good humour and general joie de vivre making them some of my favourite people in this world.
You would think therefore, that when I did make the choice to give my affections to a worthy suitor that only a Darcy of the highest order could ever have made the grade. Someone aloof, inscrutable, perhaps even a shade of arrogance through the development of an extraordinary mind and experience...
Yet here I find myself, veteran of 8 years of one of the most beautiful and precious relationships that I have ever encountered, marked by children, marriage, serious illness, poverty, stress, life and death decision making, and all in partnership with one who makes Bingley himself seem a pale caricature. And I've never been happier.