Plenary sessions, I have come to believe, are designed to scare off would-be academics. You put a bunch of professors in a room together, they bemoan everything from the rise of Youtube to the loss of tenure-track positions and by the time the PhD candidates add their two cents about the job market (or the lack thereof) you find yourself thinking, “Hmm… maybe writing is a more sensible choice than academia.”
(At least that’s what I took away from this weekend’s end-of-conference round up. Presumably the superstars of dance scholarship left feeling recharged and excited by the “challenges” of the twenty first century.)
I had hoped that my trip to Tallahassee would help me to narrow my choices in terms of where, when and how to pursue my PhD but I’m just as confused as ever. The US or the UK? History or dance? Remotely or on campus? And, more importantly, now (as in before I get married and live happily ever after) or never?
Speaking of confusion, I’ve been thinking about the way things went down with the Bovary Reading Bachelor. (What else is a girl to do when she’s got a huge suite and king bed all to herself for three lonely nights?) It’s occurred to me that he and I were entirely too similar to have a shot at success.
I’ve written before about Jane Austen’s assertion that a woman’s “imagination” jumps from “admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” In this regard, I am definitely guilty as charged; I’d even go so far as to call myself a poster child for the rapid “jumps” of a “lady’s imagination” and although this has caused me a far amount of grief over the years, I like to think it’s never had a negative effect upon anyone else.
Then I met the Bovary Reading Bachelor. And two delusional hopeless romantics do not a good relationship make. With no one to keep those “jumps” of the imagination in check, the potential for romance spins out of control. I thought it would be nice to date a man who wore his heart on his sleeve, who liked me and didn’t mind telling me he liked me, who assured me he could quit his job in a few years and join me in London if there’s where I chose to return to school, but our “break up” felt akin to a nuclear meltdown—complete with the guilt that I was the one who initiated this meltdown— and we’d only spent four hours in each other’s presence!
Last week’s unexpected turn of events would suggest that it’s okay for one partner to get caught up in the possibility of having found “the one” but not both— that a lady’s imagination can make those rapid jumps from admiration to love to marriage without significant damage to the other party if and only if the man’s imagination isn’t doing the same thing. As a result, I’m left wondering when it’s okay to be “hopeless romantic” and when it’s not.