Five things I learned from Bridget Jones

Bridget Jones' Diary Penguin Ink Edition

I am about a decade late in watching the Bridget Jones films, and even later in reading the first book. But last night, after reading for three straight hours, I finally finished it. I have to say I like the movie more than the book because the movie version is more polished and has a better flow. But the book goes deeper into Bridget Jones’ life and thoughts. I appreciate the way it is written, and there are very important lessons in life and love that Bridget made me realize, even (or especially?) in her drunken, depressed and emotionally fucked-up states.

Losing weight is not much of a concern as losing your self-respect. I’ve really just started gaining weight the last three years, but all my life, I’ve always had the appetite of a hungry bear before hibernation. I love food. I love cooking and I love sampling different types of cuisine. Dieting is as surreal to me as shaving my legs, which I’ve also never done. I’m realizing now that I do have to control what I eat and have to spend more time working out, but to go on a diet to the point of losing self-respect just to please other people? Other people can fuck off, thank you very much. 🙂

Married people are sometimes as fucked up as single people. I really don’t understand the notion that married people are better off in life than—as Bridget says—singletons. Why? The two are totally incomparable ways of life that have pros and cons. Why must some married people look down on singletons? And why must singletons feel sorry for themselves because they are not bound by marriage to someone who cheats anyway? While finding a mate for life and reproducing children sound appealing to many, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only acceptable way to live. Finding the love of your life is great, being married to that person—even better. But for some, the love of their lives means living the way they want to, traveling the world, interacting with new people on a regular basis and just establishing friendships all around the world. One’s happiness doesn’t depend solely on finding a husband and having children. Personally, I think that those are just bonuses for living an honest and sincere life not hurting others.

The Edinburgh Festival. When I read about the Edinburgh Festival, I immediately knew I wanted to attend one in my lifetime. I feel naïve for not knowing anything about it before Bridget Jones, but now I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s got art festivals, operas, plays, street performances, slam poetry (!!!), music festival, book festival, and everything else I love most in this world! I get both sad and excited just reading about all the shows and performances. They all seem amazing. I know it costs a fortune, but I swear I will go to the Edinburgh Festival, even if it takes me decades (and it will) to save up for it.

The Daniel Cleaver Syndrome. We all know someone like Daniel Cleaver—the smug and successful yuppie who thinks he’s God’s gift to women. What’s annoying about Daniel Cleaver is not his blatant flirting, which is only advantageous to him. It’s not even his deliberate disregard to commit even to his most trivial promises. The thing I hate most about Daniel Cleaver is his knack for manipulating Bridget into saying and doing whatever he pleases, and he does it so cleverly that she doesn’t even realize at first that he’s manipulating her. He ignores her to the point of insanity, and then when she’s finally made up her mind that she doesn’t want to do anything with him anymore, he swoops in back again all sweet and amazing, just to prove—mainly to himself—that he could break down her wall and win her over again, making her throw away self-dignity. What makes it more pathetic is that she thinks he’s wooing her because she’s special. And he does it over and over and over again, it’s repulsive. All Daniel Cleavers must be eaten by bears.

The Darcy Appeal. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the man Bridget ended up with is named Darcy. Mark Darcy does remind me of Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy in that he has a weird way of showing affection. What I love best about him is that he isn’t a man of many words, but what he does for Bridget just melts your heart. There was a part in the book where Mark Darcy doesn’t call Bridget for over a month, which makes Bridget nuts naturally. But she finds out later that the reason for the no-calls was that Darcy was in Portugal dealing with legal matters in which Bridget’s mother is involved and he didn’t want to come back or tell her until everything was taken care of. I find things like that nice. Well, not exactly having the most powerful lawyer in Britain come to your aid, but just having someone not act on impulse all the time; someone who’s not in it for a hookup, but who sees the big picture; someone who takes his time and respects and trusts you enough to do the same.

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