The Love Lessons of Bridget Jones
Chloe Birch asks whether Bridget Jones is a lot more than a failing damsel in distress, and looks at what her infamous diary and knickers can teach us in the love department.
‘Ohhhh but girls are so much more complicated’.
The recent cries of a friend in turmoil have once and for all inspired me to sit down and reflect on the perceptions of the opposite sex. Before you stop reading, this is not a feminist attack on the male species!
Its aim is to put the question out there as to why relationships in general are never as simple as they could be.
I take for my inspiration an on-screen heroine that holds a special place in my heart – the mother of all damsels in distress: Bridget Jones. Not only does Bridget highlight the key dos and don’ts of relationship situations right across the spectrum, but she also comes across as a typical ‘normal girl’.
And it’s not only BJD that offers a reflection on relationships, there are chick flicks galore that attempt to inspire with endings of ‘happily-ever-after’. Another favourite of mine is He’s Just Not That Into You, a classic in the realm of the Chick-Flick genre.
I’ve not seen a lot of films, but I can vouch for the fact that (as well as having many a hunky actor involved) this one gets right to the heart of the issue. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that you only really need to watch about 3 seconds of footage to hear the Holy Grail of all relationship advice: ‘if a guy is treating you like he doesn’t give a ****, then he genuinely doesn’t give a ****’. Heed this to the letter and I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong. It’s just a shame that this is the hardest task known to man… (Or woman!) and blinkered denial is so much easier.
The phrase that has been repeated more than any other this term from boys and girls alike is ‘we just need to find someone that doesn’t involve all this drama’. In lieu of my love of both He’s Just Not That Into You and Bridget Jones, and with potential for many a summer romance just weeks away, it seems appropriate to very briefly reflect on perceptions/interactions with the opposite sex with a little help from some Bridget Jones moments.
Not only does Bridget teach us the importance of having Ben & Jerry by your side in times of need, her diary teaches us 10 key relationship guidelines…
Turkey curry buffets can be very useful places to meet men.
Ok, maybe not turkey curry buffets per se – I’m not sure how many of those you’ll manage to find on campus. What should be taken from this lesson is that it’s when you’re least expecting to find someone, they may be right under your nose in the strangest of places! So next time you’re invited to a turkey curry buffet or cupcake decorating party on campus, think twice before you decline.
Don’t disregard the guy in the awful reindeer jumper.
Or at least not straight away! Whilst definitely questionable, mother-provoked fashion sense or no fashion sense whatsoever, doesn’t necessarily suggest a lack of sophistication or creativity: appearances are definitely superficial. Goofy choices in clothing do not necessarily correlate with goofy men and so on. Keep an open mind – you can address the clothing situation later.
However, also beware the pretty boy – if his straighteners and potions take up more space in the bathroom than my make up does, or he spends more time in front of the mirror than me, I might as well room share with my best friend and relieve myself of all the relationship stress!
At all costs, avoid snakes and ‘titsperverts’. Snakes lie, cheat and are venomous. And ‘titsperverts’ simply make you want to shower with bleach after spending any more time with them than you have to. After the first 5 minutes, bad boys aren’t sexy; they’re just a waste of time!
A leopard never changes his spots.
Yes Daniel Cleaver, we are most definitely talking about you. We all have a Daniel Cleaver in our lives – the one who can say the word and we’ll come running, thinking maybe this time it’ll be different. Daniel Cleaver tells poor old Bridge that it’ll be different over and over again, until his Thai prostitute arrives at his hotel room door, and he leaves her in a Thai airport under suspicion of drug trafficking. Avoid your Daniel Cleaver (or female counterpart) at all costs! At the end of the day, it’ll be your Mark Darcy that frees you from jail, even if he does fold his underwear.
Vodka is not be a long-term answer, but it is definitely a short-term painkiller. Breakups or rejections are inevitable and regardless of who pulls the plug, it’s difficult for both of you. Enter alcohol. We’ve all done it – drowned our sorrows and celebrated our new single status in Arena.
By no means am I condoning alcohol as a means to cope, but you’re allowed a certain amount of drunkenness to numb the pain following a devastating (or mediocre) breakup.
As Bridget herself says, “at times like this, continuing with one's life seems impossible… and eating the entire contents of one's fridge seems inevitable. I have two choices: to give up and accept permanent state of spinsterhood and eventually be eaten by Alsatians… or not, and this time I choose not. I will not be defeated by a bad man and an American stick insect! Instead, I choose vodka, and Chaka Khan.” You know the score – get your high heels on, spray your cologne and hit the dancefloor, not your ex…
Avoid smug married couple dinner parties. One of the most annoying things about being single is being asked by couples or married people why you’re single, as if it’s a disease. Even the most understanding and sensitive coupled individuals can’t fathom being in your solo shoes and getting up to your young, free and single antics– somehow forgetting that they were too once single themselves! If you absolutely must attend one of these events, be brave and go armed with witty comments. Pull a Bridget and throw divorce stats at people as soon as they start hurling inappropriate questions at you.
“I ran around naked in your paddling pool as a child” may actually be a good way to introduce yourself to romantic prospects. If this opener doesn’t fascinate men and conjure up images of je ne sais quoi, I don’t know what will. Seriously though, the point here is really that couples who have been friends since childhood can make ideal partners in adulthood. Not only do you have memories in common, but also family and possibly friends. And who knows what could happen with that friend you’ve spent the last three years bonding over your tutor’s attractiveness/boringness/pain of 9am seminars with…!
At all costs, avoid leaving your diary open. Yes, (after a very tense moment) it worked for Bridget (and scored her a new diary as well as a boom-ting kiss) from Mark, but let’s keep in mind she is a fictional character. In real life, any sane person would have fled the scene. Never, ever, divulge the secrets of your diary to anyone, be it a friend or a girl/boyfriend. After all, that’s where your most intimate of secrets, fantasies and passions are stored. No one wants to scare potentials off by unknowingly revealing their love for Justin Bieber.
Sometimes people are worth chasing, (even in your underwear in the snow). This lesson is purely metaphorical before any of you a) think I’m crazy or b) try running across campus in your Calvin Kleins. After forging through failed relationships and game playing, sometimes you stumble upon someone that’s just worth running after and making yourself vulnerable to. It may not always work out. But then again, it may… And let’s be honest… YOLO.
Someone out there loves you ‘just as you are’. If Colin Firth can turn to Bridget Jones and tell her he likes her ‘just the way she is’, surely there is hope in some form or another for us all! When love goes completely to pot, remember that there are others who love you, ‘just the way you are’. (Ok I just read that back and almost vommed – but it’s true).
Don’t forget about your friends, because partners will come and go, but friends will always be a constant in your life. Don’t burn bridges that you may later need to walk over. There are reasons for the phrases, ‘bros before hoes’, ‘chicks before dicks’, ‘mates before dates’, and ‘besties before testies’.
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