Defintion: Bearing: dignfied manner or conduct.
Therein lies the problem these days of finding Mr. Darcy. Women, Real Women, that is, are so weary of Men Behaving Badly. I recently read Julie Buxbaum's book The Opposite of Love where the main character observes men these days don't understand women are looking for "Lloyd Dobler, not Gordon Gekko." We don't want machismo, men having pissing contests in corners offend and bore us. Strength of character matters more than the definition of a man's biceps.
Emily Bronte's Heathcliff is widely considered to be a romantic hero, but he was abused and abusive. I've read Wuthering Heights a dozen times or more and while he's portrayed as a passionate lover, he only loves Catherine and treats every other character like cattle, including his own son. Rather than rising above his circumstances, he's a character who is a victim of them and depends on that arugment for pity. He acts like a big baby, too, screaming out across the moors "Cathy! Cathy!" I cringe for the same reason when Stanley Kowalski yells with primal ferocity for his wife Stella to come to the window in Tennesse William's play A Streetcar Named Desire.
Mr. Darcy doesn't want or need our pity. He never loses his dignity, even when apologizing and righting wrongs. Uptight and uncomfortable, absolutely. But he always conducts himself like a gentleman. He doesn't jerk people around, he uses his power and resources for incredible good without bragging about it, he's misunderstood but doesn't plead victimhood.
Whether escorting the nasty Caroline Bingley to a country ball,
or stuck socializing in a parlor full of strangers,
a true gentleman behaves politely and generously, biting his tongue and letting others go first. Hard lessons to teach our sons these days when we're saturated with Men Behaving Badly, but I argue Mr. Darcy is proof that Nice Guys Finish First. That's why I'm always reminding Team Testosterone about Good Manners and Not Being Rude. Self-centered, whiny brats don't grow up to have comportment, it has to be instilled in them when they're young. Teaching comportment is as much my job as feeding my sons vegetables and making sure they do their homework. Comportment is NOT an old-fashioned Victorian ideal, although gentlemen have become an endangered species in today's world. I can think of a dozen modern-day Heathcliffs with little effort, but reader, can you name a modern-day Mr. Darcy?