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Another Stereotypical Love Story
He was handsome – strong as a lion, powerful as a falcon. She was beautiful, delicate as a butterfly, graceful as a swan. It was a perfect match in all possible ways, except for one: they did not love each other.
Jacques and Elizabeth first met at a small coffee shop in Paris. Elizabeth had been reading “Pride & Prejudice,” a classic novel by Jane Austen. She raised her cup of coffee to her lips just as a loud crash sounded throughout the café.
“Monsieur, I am so sorry!” exclaimed the horrified waitress as she stared helplessly at the shattered glass and spilt coffee.
“Be more careful next time,” growled the man as the waitress hurried to clean up the mess. The man had harsh features, Elizabeth noticed: a sharp chin, perfectly trimmed hair, and cold, black eyes. She instantly did not like him. He reminded her of the prideful Mr. Darcy from the book she was reading. Miffed by his rudeness towards the innocent waitress, she stood up and strode boldly over to where he was sitting.
“Monsieur, is it common for you to treat people with such contempt?” she inquired.
The man looked up and studied his interrogator’s face for a moment. Elizabeth felt uncomfortable under his piercing gaze but held her ground. After memorizing each of her features – the lush, soft golden-brown curls, the fiery hazel eyes, and the elegant, almond-shaped face – the man responded.
“Those I treat with contempt deserve it.”
“And what type of person do you deem worthy of being treated with such contempt?” Elizabeth asked sarcastically.
“Those that are lazy, those that are clumsy, those that are too bold, or too shy, or too inquisitive,” said the man, heavily emphasizing the last word.
Elizabeth sat down in the chair across from her and set her mouth in a thin, straight line. “You think I am too inquisitive, then?”
“For a woman – yes. It is the woman’s duty to be seen and not heard,” replied the man.
“What an ancient view you have on women! –Indeed, that is how women used to be viewed, but not currently. After all, we are in the twenty-first century. I suppose you also believe women should be meek and submissive to their husbands, and their sole responsibility is to bear children and clean the household?”
“You have a sharp tongue,” noted the man.
“You have a dull mind,” quipped Elizabeth, whose dislike for the man was growing increasingly stronger by the moment.
“What is your name?” said the man.
“Why is it of importance to you? I am a woman; I should be seen only, not heard.” Elizabeth stood up. “I am through with this conversation. Good day, Monsieur.”
“Good day, Madam.”
“Do not call me ‘madam,’ for I am not married.”
“My apologies, Mademoiselle.”
Elizabeth stomped away, her blood boiling. This man was prideful – no doubt about that – and cruel and rude. He also had quite a twisted view of women! For a solitary woman that enjoyed her freedom, his comments about “being seen and not heard” were insulting and pricked her pride. But as she exited the shop, Elizabeth shook these frustrations off. I will never see him again, she thought.
How little she knew!