Every educated woman has seen two films: Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. But not everyone can tell the difference between the two heroes. As a woman who has been happily married to her Mr. Darcy for over fourteen years, I’ve put together a little chart contrasting Darcy and the Beast. Neither of them is very popular at first, but one is surly, the other shy. Mr. Darcy is a paragon of virtue, the personification of Aristotle’s magnanimous man. The Beast is the personification of every domestic abuser ever. To save you trouble and help you land Mr. Right Darcy, I give you 14 ways to tell Mr. Darcy from the Beast:
MR. DARCY has boundaries.
He will ask before making a move on your person. He offers space and choices in how to interact with him, even when he’s overcome by his feelings.
THE BEAST has a prison in his house.
If a man brags about his handcuffs on your first meeting, he is not interested in your personality or your fulfillment as a human being. Run away.
MR. DARCY treats his servants well.
This is a man who is bragged about by people who work from him or rely on him. In a restaurant, he tips well and shows respect to every person he meets.
THE BEAST not so much.
His sense of entitlement blocks his view so that he can’t see other people’s humanity. The checkout clerk and table servers cringe when he’s around.
MR. DARCY is hospitable.
He makes people feel at ease in his home or on his home territory (office, religious building, familiar restaurant or café).
THE BEAST has a prison in his house.
This man may know how to impress, but he does not know how to welcome. If you could replace yourself with a clip of audiences clapping without him noticing, he’s a beast.
MR. DARCY respects your relatives, even the ditsy ones.
It may pain him to be around your obnoxious sister or your clueless dad, but he will not try to break your family connections.
MR. DARCY proves his love by saving your sister from ruin and sparing your family’s reputation even at great personal cost.
Well, at any rate, he looks out for your reputation and will do what he can to help you maintain your dignity.
THE BEAST gets in a fight with another jerk over who gets to keep you.
Don’t mistake jealousy for love; the beast fights for property, not people.
MR. DARCY is loved by old people.
Those that knew him as a boy are proud of the man he’s become. Memaws want him for their granddaughters. Old men are glad he’s in the world to carry on after them.
THE BEAST is feared by old people, or, you know, they put a curse on him and his entire castle for his being a selfish and inconsiderate jerk.
If a man thinks it’s funny to threaten his elders -with a nursing home, with mockery, with violence, he is not a good guy. He’s a beast.
MR. DARCY doesn’t blow up when teased.
He knows how to not take things personally, and he does not dignify fools by reacting to them.
THE BEAST blows up over just anything.
The Beast’s anger is not in proportion to the events around him. He may even choose to get mad at people for being kind to him or admiring him.
MR. DARCY admires smart women.
He keeps an eye out for women who read.
THE BEAST thinks books are just props to make prison tolerable.
This guy is not interested in building you up as a person; he only wants you to be impressed that he thought of giving you something you like.
MR. DARCY introduces you to his sister.
Helps you make friends.
THE BEAST isolates you.
The Beast is so afraid you’ll leave him that he tries to keep everyone else away, so you don’t get any uppity ideas about freedom.
MR. DARCY takes care of his house.
Or apartment. Or laptop. Or car. And you.
THE BEAST destroys things in fits of anger.
Here’s a tip if you meet a Beast: men who will destroy things in anger will very likely grow to destroy people as well.
MR. DARCY respects himself for good reason.
Feels he owes it to his own character to do good.
THE BEAST hates himself.
There’s not really anything you can do for a person who does not value himself; he cannot value you, either.
MR. DARCY really repents when he does something wrong.
He can barely think of what he said without abhorrence. If you’ve found a Mr. Darcy, you’ll have arguments sometimes, and you’ll both make mistakes. But he will be the first to admit his. He will try to make things right.
THE BEAST is about as genuine as when two 5 year olds are forced to reconcile by a grownup.
In this category goes any man who says, “I’m sorry you were offended,” when he says or does something cruel or lewd. Leave this guy right away; he’s a Beast.
MR. DARCY seeks you out on neutral territory.
Mr. Darcy will put you at ease when you meet. He’ll do all he can to make sure you are empowered to act as you see fit.
THE BEAST makes you come to him and is threatening.
Maybe a modern day Beast won’t kidnap your dad, but he will at least imply that you can’t do better or that you don’t deserve better treatment than what he chooses to give you. Ditch this guy for a Darcy.
MR. DARCY uses his power and influence to make people safe and secure.
His employees and coworkers know he has their backs. He probably does volunteer work in the community.
THE BEAST uses his power to hurt people and punish them for his own inner turmoil.
He’s strong and owns the castle, so he uses people around as emotional punching bags. Newsflash: you shouldn’t be one of the people around him.
To summarize, you can have a great relationship with Mr. Darcy because he’s a great guy. You can have Stockholm Syndrome with the Beast, because he is just horrid.