30 October 2012

thither and felicity: talk like Jane Austen day

It's Talk Like Jane Austen Day, according to Twitter—and if only I had known before noon today. So many missed opportunities for Jane-ness! I could've demanded someone bring me tea in bed or made the guys at the front desk of the gym call me Miss Walker early this morning.

{However, if I were true to my Jane Austen-ness today, I probably wouldn't have gone swimming. Even my very practical one piece would be rather shocking, although perhaps if I called my swim cap my "bonnet," I could've gotten by.}

There's a website devoted to Talk Like Jane Austen Day. You can see it here, but I would like to warn you that it's not the prettiest of sites and it includes this gem: "All tolled, Jane Austen published four novels in her lifetime..." as if her novels were part of the Illinois Tollway and you need an iPass to get from here to there.

So, praytell, how does one talk like Jane Austen?

For starters, work in the word praytell wherever you can.

Also, use one a lot. Whenever you would say you, you should say "one," even if leads to awkward constructions/social moments.

For example, when offering someone coffee, ask, "Does one take cream or sugar?" This will make the person feel like 1) you maybe can't remember their name and you're disguising it by being so formal, 2) you were raised by the Queen of England, 3) you don't like them very much—certainly not enough to call them "you."

To increase the social awkwardness, one might want to ask about how much money one "has" every year. It's basically asking for their salary so that you can judge them worthy of your company at the ball you're both attending.

That's the other thing: if you really want this Talk Like Jane Austen Day to be a success, you might want to attend a ball. Then you can say, "To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love." People will be impressed that you're quoting Pride and Prejudice, but do watch who you say this to. Imagine if one said it to someone one didn't care for very much: it could give the wrong impression.

{Bonus Jane Austen fact: The original title of Pride and Prejudice was First Impressions.}

Or you could watch this clip from You've Got Mail where Kathleen Kelly {Meg Ryan} tries to convince Joe Fox {Tom Hanks} to read Pride and Prejudice, which she has read about 200 times.

{And which I re-read every year, making it easy for me to offer these very helpful Jane Austen tips.}


Work all three of those into conversation tonight, and you will officially be a Jane-ite and part of the club. We meet quarterly and wearing an empire waist dress is not required.

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