Dan and I spent New Year’s Eve watching Les Miserables. I saw it on Broadway 23 years ago, in the cheap seats during my sophomore year of college.
As an insecure 19-year-old, what resonated most for me at the time was the story of Eponine. Perchance you haven’t seen Les Mis, it goes like this: Eponine loves Marius, but he just thinks of her as a friend. Then he catches a glimpse of Cosette, the heroine who represents all that is good and pure in this truly dark narrative. He instantly falls in love. Eponine joins the rebel group and dies saving Marius’ life. He is grateful for a brief moment. Then a bunch of other stuff happens and he marries Cosette.
Despite liberal doses of feminism at an early age, my greatest fear in the world — to be painfully blunt — was that I would never find a life partner. My 19-year-old world seemed full of Cosettes who were far more beautiful and thin and fabulous than me, and they all seemed to have boyfriends who would never even notice a lowly Eponine like myself. I wanted nothing more than to be Cosette.
Then, twenty-three years later, I watched the movie version with my husband. And I noticed something very quickly.
Cosette is lame.