Ah, Mr. Knightley, the love of Jane Austen’s Emma. He’s been portrayed on the screen by the handsome likes of Mark Strong (dreamy sigh), Jeremy Northam (who?) and Jonny Lee Miller (meh), and of course the adorable Paul Rudd in my generation’s timeless adaptation of the story, Clueless. This guy is supposed to be a dreamboat, right? Some might say he’s “challenging,” or “he holds Emma to high standards.” Hmm, his charming name notwithstanding (is it still a metaphor if his name is actually the object of the metaphor itself?), let’s take a minute to consider whether or not we’d truly want to be married to this rather judgmental and critical man.
Strike 1 against: He’s your dad’s BFF.
You: Honey, come to bed! I’d like to spend some time with you, if you know what I mean.
Knightley: Hey babe, your dad and I are having a really great conversation here. I’ll catch you later.
Your dad: Don’t worry, I’ll send him up in a few minutes and you two lovebirds can go crazy!
He’s known you since you were a child and was kind of into you even then.
You: Oh no! I think I see a gray hair on my head.
Knightley: Ugh, I much preferred you as a nubile tween. I think it’s time for me to trade down. Do you have any younger sisters? How about kids you babysit for?
You: Knightley, what do you think of this dress?
Knightley: Seriously? You look like a manatee in that. Which is strange, because you don’t eat like a manatee. All they eat is vegetables, and you’ve been pounding tea cakes all day.
You: I think I’d like to go see my friend Laura today.
Knightley: Oh you would huh? You’re probably going to try and talk to her about some aspect of her life and then give her some kind of advice, right? Zeus, you are so selfish and manipulative.
Hmm, doesn’t sound so great to me. I think I’ll pass, Ms. Austen.