Five Ways Something Ruined My Life

Five Ways ‘Bridget Jones's Diary' Ruined My Life

Two weeks ago I found myself with a terrible cold, home sick from work, in my new home of Los Angeles. And by new home I mean, I didn’t have an apartment yet so my husband and I were staying with our friends so not only was I inconveniencing them with my stuff, but also my illness. Luckily now we have an apartment… with two folding chairs and an aerobed. Oh gosh, when can the movers arrive with our things?! But anyway, as a result, I found myself one Friday in need of some viewing material from my horizontal state. And after scanning my friend’s DVD collection, I got to watch Bridget Jones’s Diary, which I haven’t seen in about a year. (For some reason, I don’t own it…I somehow blame my husband.)

Of course, immediately upon starting this movie, all I could think was, “Why am I not always watching this movie on a constant loop?” And all of my 2001 feelings about this Bridget Jones’s Diary came rushing back. This movie was a staple of my freshman year of college and frankly, needs to become a staple of the year 2012 and beyond for me, as well.

Also, how good is Renée Zellweger at quitting scenes in movies?! (Jerry Maguire, anyone?) Spoiler alert: so good!

Also also, poor Shirley Henderson. Crying in the bathroom here and as Moaning Myrtle.

Let’s see five ways Bridget Jones’s Diary ruined my life:

1. Taught Me To Introduce People With Interesting Facts

The beginning of Bridget Jones’s Diary moves along so quickly and so many funny things happen that it’s hard to hone in on everything hilarious that’s going on. But, for me, I just can’t get enough of the whole sequence of her going to the book launch. Between her deciding what kind of underwear to wear since she and Daniel have been flirting to almost confusing “herbert” with “pervert” and just having Daniel and Mark see each other and knowing “Ugh, Bridget doesn’t know the whole story!” Everything is solid.

But my biggest takeaway from this part was the idea to introduce people with interesting facts. Whenever I have to introduce someone I always think about this scene in my head.

Maybe I can start introducing MYSELF with interesting facts too! Wouldn’t that be fun?

“Hi, nice to meet you. My name is Erin and I’m deathly afraid of spiders.”

“I’m Erin and I once met Olympic speed skater Dan Jansen.”

Maybe this is why other people decide the interesting facts for you…

2. Assume it’s a Documentary of British People and I Therefore LOVE Them

Do you know what I mean? I mean, as an American woman I can say that we, as a people, are trained to instantly find anyone with a British accent attractive. It’s just science. So when you have a romantic comedy where the guys are British it just kind of trains your brain into this thinking of “man, British guys are GREAT. We should probably all be dating British guys.”

Oh, it didn’t do that to you? Weird.

Okay, I guess Daniel Cleaver is NOT great. But he IS attractive. (I’m sorry!) Okay, he’s a real big jerk but he’s great for the story.

But it’s a weird situation since Bridget is played by an American and you’re an American and she has Hugh Grant and Colin Firth fighting over her (sometimes literally) and then you think that you’re about to study abroad in Dublin and maybe this could happen but in Ireland but then you’ll have to dust off your Irish accent for it to work because you’re this Irish Bridget and oh goodness, I can’t say “loove” again!

Or whatever.

3. Started the Colin Firth / Hugh Grant Conundrum For Me 

I have had a crush on Hugh Grant for a while (just add him to the list of male actors my mom thought was “disturbing” that I liked as a teen and pre-teen). This was obviously exacerbated by Notting Hill but also just by everything he was in. I mean, I saw Mickey Blue Eyes in the theater, you guys (having a friend equally into Hugh Grant really helps).

And I spent a lot of time just being content with my crush on Hugh Grant. But then Colin Firth came on my radar in this movie.

And hence the Hugh Grant/Colin Firth Conundrum.

Firstly, Hugh Grant was not playing a great person in this movie. Does he have great lines? Yes. Does he still look great? Yes. But he doesn’t get those awesome lines that you just repeat over and over with your friends. And then like, don’t even get me started on Love Actually because I’m pretty sure I willed that movie into existence just through hopes and unicorns or something.

My British friend was in NYC shopping and wanted to know if I thought a salesgirl was hitting on him. So he tells me he was in the dressing room, trying on jeans and she was helping him and she giggled at something he said or something and then told him he looks like Colin Firth. (Which, okay, he IS British, and he is tall, but he does not look like Colin Firth – and I simply mean that as a fact, not as a slight).

So I told him as simply as possible, “If an American girl tells you you look like Colin Firth, she’s hitting on you.”

Because, that’s just the truth.

4. Made Me Obsessively Keep a Diary

It’s kind of like when everyone saw Julie & Julia a couple years ago and was like, “Why isn’t MY blog a movie?!”

I had always kept journals (though, just like Hannah Horvath I prefer to call mine notebooks) but sort of stopped in high school. So freshman year of college I decided to start keeping notebooks. And now I obsessively keep notebooks.

I have notebooks in almost every bag I own. I have to tell myself NOT to buy a new notebook with an orangutan wearing 3D glasses because I JUST bought a new notebook and I try to finish a main notebook every year.

I don’t usually keep detailed entries like Bridget’s. Usually it’s to-do lists or ideas for things or doodles or reminders. I kept a written list of all the books I finish and I have a notebook started this year of all the movies I’ve watched. (I’m only up to #68 somehow!)

5. My Main Goal Became Finding Someone to Like Me Just The Way I Am

Mark Darcy: I don’t think you’re an idiot at all. I mean, there are elements of the ridiculous about you. Your mother’s pretty interesting. And you really are an appallingly bad public speaker. And, um, you tend to let whatever’s in your head come out of your mouth without much consideration of the consequences… But the thing is, um, what I’m trying to say, very inarticulately, is that, um, in fact, perhaps despite appearances, I like you, very much. Just as you are.

Granted, this should be everyone’s main goal in relationships. If you’re single and you’re NOT looking for someone who likes you just as you are, you’re doing it wrong.

Not that we’re all perfect people but you should definitely be looking for someone who you like without any changes and who likes you without any changes. This isn’t a Build-a-Bear workshop, people!

But this was when everything clicked for me. Freshman year of college, watching this movie with a bunch of girls from my floor, having just broken up with my high school boyfriend and just crying and saying, “YES! THAT’S WHAT I NEED!”

And then my friend Natalie wrote me a post-it saying she liked me just as I am and Natalie, if you’re reading this, I still have that post-it and it is awesome.

By the way, I definitely DID buy that orangutan wearing 3D glasses notebook. Because, duh.

(Main image via and other images screengrabbed by me from the DVD)

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