I'm a sucker for a BBC adaptation. I will shamefully confess that I have read few of the grand novels that grace the screen, and if I had, I certainly prefer the film versions over the printed page.
So, pajama-clad, I snuggle down and smile to myself as I watch maidens being wooed and gentlemen doing something dashing. Like rescue heroines. Yes, it would be better if the gals could rescue themselves, but that wasn't likely in 19th century classics.* (Margaret in North & South was a fabulous exception, saving the day all the time. Best of all the movies, totally.)
In Sense and Sensibility, the loudly heartbroken Marianne Dashwood has to be carted home from London to her mother (never mind that Elinor is suffering the same disappointment, but someone has to take care of everything, right?) and the only means to do so without troublesome expense is to share a ride with the Palmers, whose estate lies temptingly close to Willoughby's.
Claiming a need for a refreshing walk, with proclamations that it shan't rain, the silly goose Marianne heads for Combe Magna—just to gaze at it—and gets utterly soaked in a deluge. When she is missed, Colonel Brandon (fabulously cast in the 2008 version) goes looking for her and rescues the idiot.
Since her constitution was weakened due to her exhaustive weeping, Marianne is gripped by a violent fever and almost dies.
I tended to focus on the whole dreamy heroics of the Colonel, so I didn't give Marianne's near-deadly actions much notice. But seriously, girl. Do you want to give the scumbag (who seduces and abandons 15-year-old farmgirls) who threw you over the satisfaction of knowing that you literally can't live without him?
Jane Eyre does the same thing! Even though she's so capable, so witty, so resilient. She overcame hardships that would have Marianne whimpering in a corner. Yet, when she discovers that Rochester has a crazy wife in the attic, what does she do?
She leaves Thornfield in the middle of the night, no plan in place—her only short-sighted intent being to get as far away as possible. Women with little money and no friends do not have the luxury of forgetting their worldly goods in a coach. She ends up wandering the moors until, starved, chilled, and probably near death (a favorite of Gothic authors?), she collapses on St. John's doorstep.
Look, I know. Getting jilted (Marianne) or being robbed of a happily ever after (Jane) sucks. Rejection makes the rejectee think that she is without value. All one wants to do is curl up in bed, give up on face cream, and let the figure go.
But is that the way to get back at the man who pretended to be single (Rochester)? Hell no!
When Jennifer Garner graced the red carpet following her breakup with Ben, the term the media went with was "revenge." She has never looked so fabulous. Trim, glowing, and devastating: Eat your heart out.
You have worth. Even if he decided he didn't want to cherish you.
Have a Marianne-level good cry. Then splash the face with de-puffing cold water, and get to work. Retinol. Cosmetics. A slammin' outfit.
*Disclaimer: While I enjoy such situations on the screen or the page, I harbor no fantasies of being rescued myself. If anything, I would be mortified. "No, I'm okay, really, please don't call Hatzolah, I'm sure this broken bone will heal in no time, kindly go on your way, thanks very much."