I’m someone who takes my book boyfriends extremely seriously. It doesn’t matter the genre of the book – I’m always on the lookout for that character that makes my heart go pitter-patter.
And all I have to do is look at the enduring appeal of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice to know that I’m not alone. If I’m a weirdo, so is everyone else who has made this guy a prime thirst object for more than 200 years.
Such is the lasting impact of Darcy that we continue to see numerous historical romance and modern romcom heroes modeled after him, and if I had a dollar for every time I heard someone sigh some variation of, “If only I could find my own Mr. Darcy,” well, I would be a very rich woman. Darcy is arguably the gold standard of a romantic hero for many readers, as well as non-readers who can still appreciate a pond drenched Colin Firth or a hand flexing Matthew Macfadyen.
So what exactly is it about one Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy that continues to make us weak in the knees, all these years later?
1. He’s super hot and has a REALLY nice house
Sometimes you just have to state the obvious, you know?
Apparently Darcy is walking around this planet with a “fine, tall person, handsome features” and “ten thousand a year.” Which in Jane Austen speak translates to super hot and rich.
So basically the archetype of every historical romance hero ever. And for you modern romance readers, have you heard of the billionaire trope? Here’s your classic lit version.
And can we talk about this little place called Pemberley? Call me shallow, but a massive English estate definitely adds a little extra shine to Darcy. Any lover of Darcy who tries to claim that Pemberley isn’t a CONSIDERABLE perk is lying.
Also, you can’t deny the power of a waistcoat and cravat situation on an attractive man.
Is it warm in here?
2. He wants to start a book club with you
While dancing with Elizabeth at the Netherfield ball, Darcy attempts (poor guy, he really is trying here) to make conversation with her by introducing the topic of books:
“What think you of books?” said he, smiling.
“Books—oh! no. I am sure we never read the same, or not with the same feelings.”
“I am sorry you think so; but if that be the case, there can at least be no want of subject. We may compare our different opinions.”
Okay, first of all, asking you what you think about books while smiling with what one can only assume is the cutest smile EVER? I’m DONE. And then apologizing for any lack of overlap in your reading habits and suggesting that you swap and compare opinions?
THE MAN JUST WANTS TO CHAT BOOKS.
Darcy, I’ll start a book club or two with you, anytime. Call me.
3. He’s actually a super nice guy
Darcy is steadfast and responsible and even his housekeeper likes to brag about how wonderful he is. He dotes on his sister, tolerates Bingley’s awful family, and while interfering in Jane and Bingley’s romance was not great, he does do his best to make amends at the end.
There’s just something adorably anti-rake about Darcy. He’s trying SO HARD. And while I can enjoy a rogue moment as much as anyone, I can’t deny that a nice guy who is here to rescue your family from the brink of social peril does have a nice ring to it.
Plus, it’s not that Darcy doesn’t have deep feelings – in fact, he’s so tightly wound with feelings that when Elizabeth suggests that he might have simply talked to her and indicated his continued interest upon seeing her again, he responds with, “A man who had felt less, might.”
What are we even supposed to do with that?!?!
Fall back on our fainting couch, that’s what.
4. He likes you, just as you are
Okay, that line is possibly pilfered from Bridget Jones’s Diary, but since Mark Darcy (played by Colin Firth in the best kind of romcom inception) is actually a modern Mr. Darcy, I think it’s allowed.
At any rate, Darcy might come off as snobby, but he still finds you attractive even when you’re covered in mud from traipsing across the countryside.
And it’s not just your fine eyes – he likes your lively mind, too. He’s attracted to your brains!
It doesn’t get much hotter than that.
Plus, he not only loves you for you – he accepts your annoying family. That’s true love.
5. He admits when he’s wrong and then some
Even the most ardent Darcy fan can’t deny that his first proposal is ROUGH.
But the guy clearly takes himself off for some real soul searching. Darcy wants to do better. He takes Elizabeth’s criticisms to heart. He helps her family without any intention of Elizabeth ever finding out, and he keeps on quietly loving her from a distance – even after she tells him some hard truths.
In fact he’s so committed to turning over a new leaf from haughty to, “How may I help you?” that he’s the one anxiously soliciting Elizabeth’s approval when she randomly shows up at his house – you know, just scoping out her future estate with his helpful housekeeper.
And when Darcy proposes again, he does so only after he has real cause to believe that Elizabeth might be interested in him after all. And he makes it clear that the second she tells him to stop, he will. His concern is all for her wishes and desires.
I mean, honestly. SWOON.
That level of devotion is hard to resist, and it’s no wonder that generations of readers have thrown that same level of passionate devotion right back at him.