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Dating these days can be hard. Sometimes it feels like everything is simpler in books, where finding a partner doesn’t require a witty profile on a smartphone app. How might some of those characters advise us on dating now? Here are some noteworthy romantic characters with love advice to spare:

 

Fitzwilliam Darcy

I certainly have not the talent which some people possess of proceeding about courting rituals with aplomb and a breezy sort of disposition. But I have found certain attitudes and dispositions that have served me well in the past. To wit: affect a manner both haughty and aloof, so that everything and everyone appears beneath you. This will no doubt make you an object of ridicule, but hold fast: eventually, any one with any sense will recognize your worth. This approach is particularly effective if your continence resembles the actor Colin Firth.

 

The Phantom of the Opera

First, you will have established yourself in the catacombs of some cultural institution. It doesn’t have to be the Opera, I’m not saying you have to be EXACTLY like me and do EXACTLY as I instruct but there are CONSEQUENCES if you do not. An art museum may be acceptable for some – as long as there is a sufficient maze below your building and a business you can threaten above with death traps, you should be able to find romance. It should be nothing at all to find a young, beautiful person, vulnerable, perhaps with an elderly relative to care for, with tragedy in her past and a limitation of options and pretend to be an ANGEL, implying, of course, that you are sent by her dead father, or perhaps, you ARE her father. Kidnap your young person, who is very beautiful, and insist she is terribly flawed if she doesn’t love you instantly and completely, and that even though you chose her, in great part, for her looks, that she is terrible for even considering your death-head flame eyes as a dealbreaker. Give your beloved an ultimatum. Girls LOVE ultimatums. And a man with a death-trap. WHO IS MARRIED NOW? I AM. This is, of course, advice about YOU. Which you will take, because otherwise IT MIGHT BE VERY DANGEROUS TO EVERYBODY’S HEALTH.

 

Anne Shirley

Isn't it splendid to think of all the people there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world, with so many interesting lives. All these people, and to think any one of them could be the one that could make your heart soar like no one else’s. There must be some way to find the one person that would make your happy for ever and ever. Though why stop at one? I imagine that with all the many, many people who make up this world, there aught to be at least two possible partners for every one. Maybe even three or four, or five. You won’t know, really, unless you ask them all I suppose.  Or, you can just remain utterly oblivious as someone close to you falls in love with you without you realizing. That is also an option.

 

Hannibal Lecter

Romance only works when we have a genuine desire to know ourselves as we are. Not as we would like to be. Would we deny the monsters we are, in order to ensnare an innocent partner, one who is unaware of the salivating jaws that they could be walking into? Or should we bite ourselves, creating pain for our own gratification and sparing others? No.

The most beautiful quality of a true relationship is to understand and be understood with absolute clarity. Find someone who sees you for who you are, and that will be a relationship that will last to the end of their lives. Is there a greater romance between the diner and that upon which he dines? I think not.

 

Miss Havisham

I’ll tell you what real love is. It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart and soul to the smiter. It gnaws at everything you are, leaving you nothing worth keeping. Ladies, do not love, but instead destroy your admirers one by one, until they have crumbled to cobwebs. Gentlemen—a term I use in the most generous manner I am capable of mustering—by all means, love away. Love until it rubs your heart raw, wearing it away, bit by bit, until there is nothing left. Let that be the end of you, and the end of love.


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Jadzia Axelrod

Jadzia Axelrod is an author, an illustrator, and a world changer. Throughout her eventful life she has also been a circus performer, a puppeteer, a graphic designer, a sculptor, a costume designer, a podcaster and quite a few other things that she’s lost track of but will no doubt remember when the situation calls for it. She is the writer and producer of “The Voice Of Free Planet X” podcast, were she interviews stranded time-travelers, low-rent superheroes, unrepentant monsters and other such creature of sci-fi and fantasy, as well as the podcasts “Aliens You Will Meet” and “Fables Of The Flying City.” The story started in “Fables Of The Flying City” is concluded in The Battle Of Blood & Ink, a graphic novel published by Tor. She is not domestic, she is a luxury, and in that sense, necessary.