It takes me about three minutes of cocktail party chat to sell The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After as the perfect graduation present to any father of a young woman in her teens or early twenties. Why? Well, they're men, and they love their daughters. They know male psychology from the inside, and they're terrified that the young women they care about -- educated and polished, extraordinarily competent in so many ways -- will lose in the battle of the sexes. Not in education, or sports, or the world of work, but in the bedroom.
Good to see this in a prominent place. Echoes much of what I've been thinking for a long time about the relationship wisdom of Austen's novels. And gave me new things to think about:
For example, I would not have thought it an advantage that the large parties and lack of one-on-one contact of Austen's day was an advantage in getting to know a man. But Kantor brings up a very valid point: "Keep enough distance so you can see the guy in perspective...without getting so close that they became prematurely "attached."
My interpretation? Instead of falling into bed on the first or the fifth date, you get to see him in action at a large, public event, such as a picnic (Mr. Knightley at the Box Hill fiasco), or a dance (Mr. Knightley gallantly asking Harriet to dance), or at a party (Willoughby acting as if he hardly knows you and paying his attention to another woman).
Anyhow, THE JANE AUSTEN GUIDE TO HAPPILY EVER AFTER sounds great, and I'm happy that someone wrote it!