Anne T. Donahue
March 05, 2015 2:41 pm

The first time I saw Bridget Jones, I was 14 and the only person who recognized Colin Firth from Pride and Prejudice, which my Nana had rented for me one March Break and which undoubtedly changed the way I would see the world forever. (I have been in love with Colin Firth since I was 10, and I have no regrets about any of it.)

I was also a single 14-year-old, and since high school hierarchy dictated that you must either have a significant other or walk slowly into the sea, I found solace in the story of Bridget, a woman who had a) horrible taste in dudes (like me!), and b) managed to walk away a winner (aka standing in the snow, making out with Colin Firth, who was also a winner — everybody wins).

So, it’s with great joy I bring to you this: the lessons I learned from Bridget Jones’ Diary, a movie whose sequel we’re going to pretend doesn’t exist. Put on your Christmas jumpers and/or bunny costumes — this time, it’s personal.

1. We have all met a Hugh Grant

And I know his “real” name is Daniel, but I prefer to call him Hugh, because to me, Hugh Grant the person always trumps Hugh Grant the characters, so let’s just leave it at that.

But in terms of dating Hugh Grants and/or Daniels: we’ve been there. We’ve all been there. It’s happened. They are the gentlemen (or not so much) whose love of self comes before the respect of anybody else, and eventually causes the demise of both your relationship and yourself, a terrible rock-bottom state summed up perfectly by Bridget singing “Can’t Live” in her pajamas. GIRL, I FEEL YOU. Frankly, those guys all go on to teach us something about ourselves (read: that we need to figure out why we keep choosing people like them). And while they’re not always bad people (although some of them are), during the ordeal? They’re the worst. And they always show up at the most inconvenient times to say, “Oh, JK I really like you, actually — just as I see you like someone who’s actually worth your time.”

Fortunately, the older you get, the more inclined you are to say “I’m way too tired for this” before it even gets to hanging out with Hugh Grant once. There’s just too much other stuff going on.

2. Every movie fight should be set to “It’s Raining Men”

And if you think I’m joking, you’ve got another thing coming. Imagine The Avengers and/or X-Men being set to a Geri Halliwell cover of a Pointer Sisters jam. It’d be amazing. No villain can take themselves too seriously coupled with the chorus of “HALLELUJAH.” Especially because the song is about physical men falling from the sky. No wonder Hugh Grant and Colin Firth crashed through a window. They were mesmerized.

3. Some of us aren’t meant to keep diaries

After I saw Bridget Jones and read Bridget Jones, I wanted to keep a diary. This was a goal I’d had since being given one at age eight, but surprise surprise: I couldn’t do it. I’m terrible. (In life, but especially when it comes to keeping a diary.) I am Rachel Greene, who fills out one page, all about how excited she is to write in it, and then I never write in it. To be honest, I can barely finish a planner before getting frustrated with how messy it’s gotten and buying a new one.

And why’s that? Because I hate having a record of feelings, which I know is terrible, but to be honest, this is the gif that describes me best:

I’m just bad at them. I process feelings at the movie theatre, like, alone (crying during Wild), and not via the written word. (And I’m a writer.) So no, diaries aren’t for all of us. Especially ones in which you record your weight. Please don’t record your weight. You are fine. It will make eating dinner seem like a chore, and no thank you.

4. Bridget Jones WAS perfect just the way she was

Remember when Colin Firth says that and everyone’s SURPRISED? (I mean, her friends aren’t because Bridget Jones’ friends are the best.) But the point is, nobody in this movie could believe a guy had said that to her. And like: WHAT? Why would this be surprising? Bridget was killing it at her career, she had a nice flat, good pals, and was learning not to take any nonsense from terrible men. And yet, she kept thinking she had to change. And that actually brings me to my next point.

5. We all know we don’t need to be validated by the people we want to date, right?

Which, of course, is an easier question to ask others than ourselves. But for the majority of Bridget Jones, the whole point is that she’s looking for validation from dudes. And again, we’ve all been there. But in the end, it’s when Bridget’s like, “I’m fine with who I am — I’m going to travel with my posse!” that Colin Firth steps up and is like, “Yeah, I was an idiot, and do you want to date?” Which is great! (Not him acting like an idiot, but the #communication we see going down here.)

Ultimately, I have learned in my 29 years that you will never find what you’re looking for in another person, and that if you’re searching for that thing, the people who aren’t in it to win it are the ones who will spring up and make you feel special for about three minutes before doing the opposite. And it’s a process! Bridget builds up, and so must we. (And the process feels terrible and necessitates a lot of snacks and “HOW DO I LIVE” freakouts with friends, so don’t freak out — it’s normal) Ultimately, even if we’re all a bunch of weirdos who wear reindeer jumpers our parents bought us and make us wear on Christmas, it’s our job to like ourselves “just as we are.”

And just to end on probably the most important lesson of all: in the words of Jack Donaghey in 30 Rock, when it comes to Colin Firth, that man can wear a sweater.

(Images via, via, via, viavia.)

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