Why All Boys Should Be Required to Read Jane Austen

Before we get started, I think you should thank me for showing you three of the most unflattering pictures of me I could possibly find.  Really.  I look better than this.  You guys owe me.  Big time.
So moving on, I am an old-fashioned girl.
I remember the trauma of the school and church dances.  I was a certifiable wallflower, and let me tell you, it got old really fast.  I was restless and decided to buy into the lie that girls can create their own fun by asking the boys to dance.
When I look back on my high school journals, I just seethe with rage that I had to do all the work at those dances.  I should have boycotted them all together.  No!  I should have started a protest right outside with picket lines and chants and big signs that read, “Jane Austen Lives!”
One of the many dances where I had to do the asking.  Hi Justin!  How are you doing?

The horror!
I know.  On paper it makes sense that the girls should be able to ask the boys and everything should be equal and all that hooey.  I’ll tell you what really happens when the girls start asking.  The boys just up and quit!  They never really wanted to ask the girls in the first place!  While the girls might have been wallflowers, the boys become squatters.
I will be forever scarred because a BYU basketball player rejected me.  In order to protect his identity, I’ll disguise his name.  Let’s just call him kraM tnarruD.  He was becoming a sort of hazard since his legs, fully stretched out by the way, reached midway across the dance floor.  But when I asked kraM to dance, he just coolly looked at me and said, “I don’t dance.”
“Then why are you here?”  I retorted.
You better believe I watched kraM that whole night, and it was true.  He didn’t dance.  Once.  If I had to do it all over again, I would have jumped kraM with twenty other girls (that’s how many it would have taken) and duct taped his legs all the way from his ankles to his knees.  Then when a girl asked him to dance, he could say with all sincerity, “I don’t dance.  Or walk for that matter.  By the way, could you cut off the forty rolls of duct tape wrapped around my legs?  They’re cutting off my circulation.”
So sue me if I love Jane Austen.   Believe me when I say I’m in love with all of her leading men.  But after you’ve read Pride and Prejudice seventeen times, where can the relationship really go?  Still, I love the gallant man that asks a lady to dance at the ball or invites a girl to go on a walk or takes one of the fairer sex  for a drive in the country.  I just soak it all up and so do hoards of other women that go to every Jane Austen movie, read every Jane Austen spin-off novel,and start their own Jane Austen book clubs.  There’s even a book and movie about that for crying out loud!
So getting back to my sand bucket list, a list of things I want to do with my kids before they grow up.  I’m on a mission to create four gallant men at my house.  (Fortunately, the captain already is one.)  If that means I have to be a helicopter parent and spy on my sons at their dances, then so be it.
I actually have already spied on Reed once, and let me tell you, it worked.  Reed had his sixth grade cotillion, and so technically I was invited to watch him dance a couple of the dances the student had prepared for their parents.  But when it came to free dance time, my son was totally and utterly clueless as to what to do.  So I struck up a deal with him.
“Reed, you ask five girls to dance, and I’ll throw you a party next weekend.  You can invite any boys to your party that also asks five girls to dance.”  Believe it or not, word got around.  Boys came up to me to asked me if it was true.  Was I throwing a party?
“Yep!  But you gotta ask five girls to dance.”  Sure they scratched their heads a little, but hey.  A party’s a party.
Reed with some of his gallant buddies
I just wanted to crack up watching Reed dance with different girls.  His head was cocked up like he was admiring the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, but it didn’t matter.  The girls were so delighted that he asked them to dance that they didn’t even mind if he stepped on their feet a few times.  We women can be pretty forgiving when the men make the effort.
Oh I wish I had done my hair!  Remember!  You owe me!
Reed was so proud of himself after the dance.
“Mom!  I asked eleven girls to dance!”  Reed is a gallant man indeed.
A few more items on my sand bucket list
 Encourage each of my boys to ask 100 girls to dance before they graduate from high school.
 Encourage my boys to open the door for 100 girls (me included) before they graduate from high school.
Read one Jane Austen book to my boys.
So tell me honestly what do you think?  Do you think girls should wait to be asked to dance?
Tune back tomorrow so you can hear me gripe about girls that don’t let boys open doors for them.


  1. You're amazing Becky! I never even thought of doing that with my boys. It's a great idea to get them to learn to be social and be able to strike up a conversation…I guess I was more relieved if they weren't interested in girls till they were in college…yet nature kicks in sooner or later.

    I bet all the girls at the dance could have hugged you for the movement you began and the boys probably had more fun than if they had leaned against the wall!

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