What I learned from Bridget Jones

At least a decade too late, I know, but one of my guilty pleasures is reading the Bridget Jones books by the hysterically funny Helen Fielding. While initially the only value seemed to be a good laugh and sharing Ms Fielding's appreciation for Jane Austen (giving Bridget's boyfriend Mark the surname "Darcy" is only the beginning) a recent re-read revealed a few "morals" to the story:

1) Crash diets don't work. Bridget's fluctuating weight is an excellent example of why you need a long-term diet and exercise plan (or, apparently, to be locked in a Thai prison for awhile which is not recommended).

2) Self-help books sometimes lead you astray and keep you from living life. Albeit throwing away her self-help books did lead Bridget to also throwing away Tom's cell phone and an ill-fated expedition across the world. At least she was living for herself not mentally repeating vague instructions from books as she went. She also realized that most of those books had ridiculous preconceptions about either sex and that personal experience (good or bad) and effective communication were the most important forms of "self-help."

3) Don't date co-workers. Bridget's experience with the nympho-Daniel is a classic example of how workplace romances can go badly... and how you could end up quitting that job to end up doing humiliating things on television (okay, maybe that last part isn't a typical experience).

4) Binge drinking leads to disastrous results including (and not limited to): drunk dialing your ex, checking caller id a thousand times, being late for work and major hangovers on the morning of family events.

5) When your friend recommends a contractor, do some more research first before your hire him. The perpetual hole in Bridget's flat all through Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason as well as the subsequent behavior of said contractor is very telling and not atypical in the "real" world.

6) Having some knowledge of geography and current events can be a plus in social situations. Don't let a man dump you because you don't know where Germany is located or make any social gaffes at your boyfriend's business dinner!

7) Saying bad things about your friends' love interests can backfire (see: any mention of "Vile" Richard whom Jude eventually marries) so keep it neutral to keep your good friends.

8) Take your friends' relationship advice with a grain of salt. Sometimes they are absolutely right but sometimes they are just jealous and misery loves company.

9) Don't jump to conclusions but first find out the facts. A little issue with an overdrawn account leading Bridget to try to frame the dry cleaner for theft should be more than enough to explain this one.

10) You don't have to be perfect to be "worthy" of love. "Top Lawyer" (is that an actual title or just a way of referring to him as better than the average lawyer?) Mark Darcy found Bridget charming and irresistible "wobbly bits," blond moments, social disasters, jail time and all. Sure, all relationships require some compromises but your true self shouldn't be one of them.



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Jenn's books

Mansfield Park
An Assembly Such as This
Eight Cousins
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Little House in the Big Woods
A Little Princess
The Captive
On the Night of the Seventh Moon
The India Fan
Mistress of Mellyn
The Hiding Place
Anne of Green Gables
The Apothecary's Daughter
Redeeming Love
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
The Diary of a Young Girl
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
I Know What You're Thinking: Using the Four Codes of Reading People to Improve Your Life
A Room with a View
Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon

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