He's a 10 but ...
We needed this, and Jane Austen started it. Also: let's revisit Kate Bush.
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Happy weekend! We’re kicking off the weekend with some laughs, some sarcasm and sacrilege, and some social media craziness that we are bringing to you here, invading your serene algorithm-free inbox here on Substack and newsletter-land with some possibly unlooked-for meme-madness.
Some of you know what we’re talking about here. A while back, pre-Roe decision, many of us were deep into these “He’s a 10” formulations that were rocking social media, and perhaps we were all spending way too much time on Twitter.
But we loved your “He’s a 10” threads and found that the Jane Austen and classic literature versions were by far the funniest of the craze. And this is not surprising since Jane Austen is after all the queen of satire, sarcasm, wit, and meme-friendly moments.
So today to kick off our weekend we’re simply compiling and sharing (you might say: curating) some of these moments that you have created for us - thank you! And a huge shout out to the creators here who are cracking us up on social: You can follow them on Twitter, and they are: @what_eats_owls, @invnihvstrggled, @NovelistJessica, @bookishseawitch, @jelevision, @barelytolerable, @Maggietweets3 and @Firstimpresspod who are the co-creators of the wonderful First Impressions Podcast, @bookhoarding who is creator of the VirtualJaneCon, Professor Matthew Reznicek at @drreznicek, @NikkiPayne14 who is the author of the upcoming book Pride and Protest (and also a guest on the next season of the Austen Connection podcast, coming soon), and @broadviewpress the independent publisher of our favorite classic reads.
Here’s our ‘He’s a 10’ Hall of Fame - enjoy, and of course feel free to add in any others in the comments here, or tag us on twitter at @AustenConnect.
This post doubles as a game! Can you guess the novel from the “He’s a 10” statement? Likely you can - but you can also use this post as a fun dinner-time quiz to inflict on your friends and family (or teachers: make this into a game for your students!) to see if they can name the novel being referenced.
Have a wonderful weekend! Here you go!
He’s a 10 but his first name is Fitzwilliam.
Kicking it off here right away with the most romantic hero of classic literature: That’s right, your beloved Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Or to be more precise, as Margaret McDeadlines Owen reminds us, it’s: Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy (do we know his middle name? Please advise!)
He’s a 10 but his bitchy sister just kicked you out of your ancestral home.
Poor Edward Ferrars is so meme-vulnerable. We love this one that hits right at that vulnerability while also incorporating the cruelty of his sister, Fanny Dashwood who does indeed manage to toss our beloved Dashwood sisters, Marianne and Elinor, straight out of their ancestral home. This is of course a reference to that hellscape otherwise known as Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. As Jane Austen knew well, sometimes all you can do is laugh through tears.
He’s a 10 but I think his father might have murdered his mother.
Love it that we are getting into the mind of the naive Catherine Morland here, who turns out to be near- if not perfectly correct with her wildly imaginitive musings about the villainous General Tilney, father of our Northanger Abbey hero Henry Tilney. A reminder to use your imagination and keep your wits about you - and a reminder that whatever is going on in the family, a 10 is a 10 girl.
He’s a 10 but he likes to remind you that he held you in his arms at your christening.
Thank you novelist Jessica Bull for going right for the Ew factor in Emma - that little aspect of our favorite, complicated novel that we prefer to not mention so much: the age difference between Emma and hero Mr. Knightley. This is canon. Deal with it.
He’s a 10 but he’s the last man you could be prevailed upon to marry.
Yes!!!! Lizzy said it, and we stand by it. Even though she eventually relents, we love it that she said this out loud to his privileged, landed, upper-class face. Standing up not only for her rights but also for the right to change her mind.
He’s a 10 but his first wife is locked in the attic.
Now we are moving out of Austen and getting into Victorian and Bronte Sisters territory where things get rather extreme. Love “the moon wife” for boiling Jane Eyre straight down to the gruesome fact of the matter for us here. Discuss.
He’s a 10 but he proposed to your sister …
Bridgerton! So many problems! So many ways to ruin your otherwise 10-ness!
He’s not a 10 but he does have the patronage of the esteemed Lady Catherine De Bourgh.
Mr. Collins, our over-enthusiastic clergyman from Pride and Prejudice, would be so pleased to be included here. And yes he does seem to have the patronage of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Did he mention that already?
She’s a 10 but her uncle lives in Cheapside.
Did you get it? This is a good one for people who have read Pride and Prejudice at least five times, which is many of us here. And many of us have watched the screen versions 10 times or more, both the 1995 and 2005 editions.
But: Does this “Cheapside” reference appear in the screen versions? If memory serves, there is that moment in the 1995 series when Elizabeth Bennet, played by Jennifer Ehle, introduces her Uncle and Aunt Gardiner (who reside in Cheapside) to Mr. Darcy, when they all collide at Pemberley. As for the 2005 version, cannot remember. Please advise! Must re-watch 2005 version this weekend for research purposes.
He’s a 10 but the whole militia is stationed in Meryton and you just can’t narrow it down.
It’s helpful sometimes to get into the mental space of Lydia Bennet, Jane Austen’s sassiest, horniest heroine. Ostensibly, our illustrious narrator of Pride and Prejudice does not approve. But in the process, we learn something: That young women in the Regency are not just “elegant females” and neither are they necessarily “rational creatures” - basically, you can’t put them in a box! And some of them can be as rakish and reckless as your novel-friendly Regency rogues. By showing this, Austen tosses in the air some Regency-era preconceptions and binary thinking. Take that!
She’s a 10 but she gives her opinion very decidedly for so young a person.
This is one that I feel Jane Austen would absolutely adore, are we right?
He’s a 10 but he doesn’t support minimum wages at his cotton mill.
Mr. John Thornton certainly is a 10, especially in Richard Armitage’s version of his character in the screen version of North and South, but we, like Elizabeth Gaskell, do wish he’d show a little more support for his workers in industrializing 19th century Manchester. But perhaps that’s where fanfic comes in.
He’s a 10 but he doesn’t know anything about muslin.
… unlike Northanger Abbey’s Henry Tilney, who knows an awful lot about muslin, and assures us he’s “an excellent judge” of the material and that his sister “has often trusted me in the choice of a gown.” Really, maybe Henry Tilney is an 11.
They’re a 10 but they prefer endnotes to footnotes.
Thank you, Broadview Press for the most wonderfully geeky tweet in the history of the internets. We love you.
He’s a 10 but wants to be a tenant of Wildfell Hall.
More generational trauma and terror and obsessions about real estate sponsored by the Bronte sisters. Cheers.
He’s a 10 but he’s got a list.
He’s got that list, and we have every right to hold it against him.
He’s a 10 but he’s a total stalker with a cart full of generational trauma …
You can say that again - and is anyone out there revisiting Kate Bush’s track “Wuthering Heights” these days given the Kate Bush craze?! For those catching up, the Netflix series Stranger Things played a classic Kate Bush song at a crucial moment, and it’s sparked off a frenzy of discovery of the timeless genius composer and singer. And for those of you newly discovering Kate Bush, did you realize she also composed a song inspired by the Emily Bronte classic with her “Wuthering Heights” released in 1978?! You might also enjoy her interview with the BBC’s Woman’s Hour where she answers the crucial questions of yes, her family does watch the show, and yes she did love how her song was used in that episode. In case you missed it back in the 80s, here’s Kate Bush and “Wuthering Heights” - because we all need Kate Bush’s intense choreographic and vocal gyrations put to Bronte themes right this minute:
Thanks for checking in with us, friends, for sharing these meme-friendly reminders that the characters and the stories of Jane Austen and Co. absolutely resonate with our search for peace, love, and joy today. And search we must!
Wishing you all the well-adjusted joy and romance we can find, whether IRL, on the screen, or in the pages of whatever it is you’re reading. Let us know what you’re reading right now! Let us know your favorite “He’s a 10 but” if we missed it! And let us know any thoughts you want to share.
Yours ever so joyfully and truly,
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