I first met Bridget Jones in the basement of a friend’s from high school. I was 15, she was 32 and had already been around for a few years. I have to admit, at first I really took her for granted. Ms. Jones had the misfortune of sharing a bill with Love, Actually, which featured a more densely Harry Potter oriented cast as well as a dorky storyline about a little boy with a clownishly adorable face. The fact that I didn’t walk away from Love, Actually recognizing that the only love story that mattered was that of Emma Thompson and Joni Mitchell should be held as an indictment of 15-year-olds ’round the globe and their trash taste.
Bridg and I were reintroduced by a very dear friend and roommate of mine back when I had my brief stint at Carleton University. This roommate and I were having a great time playing adults, though admittedly she was quite a bit better at it than I. While she was building strong professional ties in the academic community, I was getting invited to staff parties at The Wine Rack… despite not actually working there. I was what was commonly known as a ‘hot mess’, and my friend knew just the gal to introduce me to.
Bridget was framed to me as someone to turn to for any and every occasion. Rain? Bridget. Tears? Bridget. Hangovers? Bridget. An excuse to order far too much pizza? Bridget.
Bridget and I were fast friends. We both drank too much, smoked too much, weighed too much, and never wore the right underwear for the right occasion. Where we diverted from one another was in her love of
Mark Darcy Colin Firth. I simply couldn’t be convinced away from the assholish wiles of Hugh Grant. I was 19 and my tastes were strictly sociopath.
With age, I came to understand the desire for the dependability of Mr. Darcy. There’s only so many jerks you can spend time with before that allure tends to wear off. Sure, they make for great stories and they do make everything seem exciting… but they’re also quite squarely the worst. Daniel Cleaver isn’t going to stick around to see how cancer works out. Mark Darcy will.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Bridget Jones’s Diary. I doubly can’t tell you that I’ve even watched Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in a number somewhere in the unacceptable movies. But Bridget is a dear friend, and sometimes friendship means you rewatch movies you know to be complete crap. You rewatch them an unreasonable amount of times. You support your friends.
Tonight, I reunited with Bridget for a new chapter. I came to her as she would have wanted me, makeup free, sweatpants adorned, and with a serving of popcorn that would best be described as uncouth. I sat alone in a mostly empty movie theater cackling and crying throughout a film that somehow knew that I’m in a very McDreamy stage of being right now.
It felt good to be with Bridget tonight. We’re both a bit older, a bit wiser, but still creating the occasional disaster. I was worried that a movie about pregnancy and babies would alienate me from my dear friend, but it actually brought us together. I didn’t feel bizarrely jealous of a fictional character’s ultrasound or unexpected pregnancy, instead felt really warm and hopeful for a fictional character. I had cancer, but Bridget had the Edge of Reason. Life can serve you up some shit, but it can wind up okay in the end. Sometimes, it can wind up kind of wonderful.