I resisted reading anything by Thomas Hardy as a teenager because I was a lazy oik that made a snap judgement his works would be tediously moral because of when it was written. (I liked my literature either full of classical gore or American 20th century languidness.) Having seen the latest screen adaption of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ directed by Thomas Vinterberg and penned by David Nicholls, I concede I made a grave mistake and could have saved myself a lot of heartache in life because it is essentially is a dating manual. Screw ‘Men are from Mars, women are from Venus’, with its beautiful camerawork, spot-on casting and abundance of men using pointy objects to express their sexual frustrations, this film is the only guide you need.
Important lessons learned:
- There are essentially three types of suitor in this world: the good, solid but perhaps shit at being dashing and forward types; the older, glamorous man who subconsciously or not believes that their greater life experience means there is more onus on them in the relationship to be in charge and be the protector; and the cad with a rakish smile and their hands up someone else’s skirt.
- Don’t fall for the cad. Especially ones who lure you into isolated areas to whip their sword out at you and then walk away. If they try to make you jealous by mentioning their previous more beautiful lover, definitely don’t marry them – they’ll gamble away the fortune you made from your farm, try and leave you for said ex-lover and harass your geese.
- Older men who look a bit feverish, try to bribe your hunky farmhand into no longer being a threat for your affections yet ask said man on tips to woo you and already have clothes ordered for you with your first name and their surname embroidered in them before you’ve even said yes, are best avoided too.
- But sending an insincere Valentine’s card to a man is still being a bit of a dick though.
- Don’t turn down a marriage proposal from a man who precedes said proposal by offering you an orphan lamb to rear. He’s clearly a catch. Especially don’t tell him he’d never be able to tame you because boy that will bite you on the arse when he’s the only one who can cure your flock of sheep and you’ve got to go galloping across the countryside and grovel for his help.
- Men who lie about how sharp their swords are then lop off part of the hair you’ve presumably spent years growing are dicks. Don’t marry them.
- Make sure both the bride and groom know which church the ceremony is taking place in. It would save a lot of people a lot of problems.
- It is normal in a marriage proposal for a man to promise you a piano as part of the marriage package. I guess if you don’t play you could use it as a very big sideboard.
- Farming appears to produce some very nice looking gentlemen, maybe go to a farming association event to find your husband.
- And for god’s sake, don’t ever ask a man for an honest opinion and expect to always like the answer. Men – when a woman asks you a question, the right answer is the one that makes her feel better. Always.