It's because of these.
I love these books and their respective miniseries adaptations. And when I say "love", I ain't just whistling Dixie. It is a very strong devotion. Just ask anybody who's ever watched them with me. Ask my dad, who remembers too well the way my friends and I would audibly swoon over Colin Firth the many MANY times we watched Pride and Prejudice as teenagers. Or ask my husband, who knows very well the smile that is plastered on my face after watching North and South.
Seriously, get through this scene without smiling. I dare you.
So I very much plan on introducing these books and movies to my daughters, should I have any. And I think it will be very painful for me if they don't love them, too. That's the first thing that could get me in trouble with daughters. Them not loving the books. See how I'm hopeful that I introduce them book-first, but that doesn't always happen. Not only did I see Pride and Prejudice before reading the book, I religiously watched Anne of Green Gables before I even knew how to read (boy, did my brothers love that). But while these hypothetical daughters are reading, I'm going to be so antsy, hoping that they love these books, and can I mask my disappointment if they don't?
My first "ship".
The second thing that could get me in trouble is wondering if they'll be able to endure watching the movies with me. Because there are times when I realize I have not changed how I watch them.
I was 13 when my mother first rented Pride and Prejudice. (I still can't believe I reached eighth grade without even hearing of it; I read it almost immediately after seeing the miniseries, though.) When she invited me to watch it with her, I had no idea of the love affair that was about to begin. This was in the days of VHS, and she had only rented the first half of the movie! So when it ended and we were left on a cliffhanger that I had no idea of how it was resolved, it was bad. And the only thing I remember about the extent of my mother's enthusiasm was that she wanted to get to the video store (remember those?) to rent the second half that same evening (fortunately, it was still available when we got there), and she knew the story and how it would turn out. So it's obvious she's into these movies and likes them. But she definitely isn't a crazy enthusiast like me.
If I have a daughter I introduce Pride and Prejudice to, will I be able to keep calm and act like a normal person? I am very good about watching beloved movies with first-time viewers -- spending the summer of '07 introducing North and South to allllll my friends trained me --, so I don't think I'd give anything away, but I react. Boy, howdy, do I react. Still! After seeing them countless times! Shouldn't I be the mature one? Here I am, 30 years old, very much an adult, and there are still things I swoon over. Audibly. And happily. And sometimes loudly. Shouldn't my behavior have changed since I was 15? Or is it all right that I still act silly?
Last year I watched North and South with my mom and sister. My mom was the one who introduced the book to me when I was 19, but I was the one who told her about the movie four years later . . . or maybe she'd heard of it, but she didn't watch it until I raved about it. So Mom had watched it before. My sister had never seen it. And they watched so calmly, so quietly. (I did, too, but again . . . my sis was a first-time viewer, and I'm very nice in those situations. I think.) I had no idea if my sister even liked it because she gave very little reaction! I think she did, but I was going crazy inside because I had no outward confirmation! (Contrast that with my friends, whose reactions ranged from "best movie ever" to the memorable "I hate you, Megan" -- in the sense that I introduced her to a movie that ruined her for other movies.) I'm pretty sure my sister's never been as dramatic as I am, so it's only natural she doesn't watch movies the way I do. I'm not saying her way is wrong. What I am saying is: what if her way's right? And I'm just too insane? Have all my friends who were just as crazy and loud as I was now grown-up and able to watch them without uttering a word? I don't quite want to give up my enthusiasm, because I know it at least entertains my husband (seriously, he laughs at me and then tries to blame it on the water he's drinking), plus I have fun being a little loony. But what if I'm wrong and I just need to grow up and calm down?
Because any future daughters of mine should probably think of me as the grown-up in the relationship, and watching these movies with me could seriously undermine that idea.
But I guess that's what assigning chores are for.
"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder." -Alfred Hitchcock