banned Love in the Great Gatsby, Romeo & Juliet, and Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock
Stephanie Meyers’s Twilight series has resuscitated popular interest in stories about banned love. Around the globe, Twilight readers have been buying out copies of books like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, and the Undead Hair Handbook.
However, Meyers’s series has been criticized for giving impressionable teens and tweens unrealistic expectations about romance, to say nothing of that whole vampire-baby-eating-its-way-by-your-uterus thing.
With Facebook groups such as “Why Isn’t Edward Cullen Real?” and “Twilight Has Ruined Any Chance I Have at a Realistic Relationship” becoming increasingly trendy, many scruffy, poorly-dressed teen males fear that their chances at romance are dwindling. (To already the playing field, every other media outlet has kept its inverse female-beauty / female-clothing ratio at an all-time high.)
This bombardment of unrealistic expectations is more than many of us can take. For those who prefer their banned love oldschool – agonizing, embarrassing, and possibly fatal – here are some classics that should come as a breath of fresh, depressing air.
Painful Scenario Number One: Mutual Destruction. banned boy meets banned girl, banned boy and girl wed secretly, banned newlyweds accidentally die in an elaborate plan to skip town. This is the Romeo and Juliet strategy to love and it happens… well, not all the time, but it happens.
Reasons We Like It: You know how fairytale always end right after the beautiful damsel and the charming prince get married? That’s because nobody wants to hear about diaper changes or mortgage payments. A violent end cuts out all the boring stuff, plus it taps into the early, reptilian part of our brain that links sex with danger and death. Which, by the way, is not the same thing as un-death.
Painful Scenario Number Two: Silent Longing. Boy meets girl, boy decides girl is out of his league, boy swallows his feelings and vows to die alone. This is the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock approach to love and, according to our secret diary research, it does in fact happen all the time.
Why We Like It: We’ve soooo been there. Avoiding confrontation is a great way to not only protect your dignity, but also keep the fantasy alive: we’re betting that special someone doesn’t ever burp, fart, or drunk-dial your mom. On top of it all, the scenario also appeals to our depressive fatalism. It’s not like this self-pity’s gonna wallow in itself.
Painful Scenario Number Three: Self-Destruction. Boy meets unattainable girl, boy embarks on a lucrative life of crime to impress girl with fancy mansion, boy gets totally shafted. Er, shot. Make that both. This is the Great Gatsby wooing strategy and, though alluring independent, we don’t recommend that you try it at home.
Why We Like It: Dying for a cause can be very noble – and getting filthy high along the way has its perks in addition. Then, when your love interest turns out to be selfish, entitled, and so not worth your time, you can enjoy the special satisfaction that comes with knowing you’re a superior being. This feeling will last several whole seconds before that bullet thing becomes an issue.