Just the other day my skirt fell off while I was walking to catch the subway. I managed to collect myself and be on my way without attracting too much attention (although I was out of breath and unusually flustered as I stepped onto the train and took my seat). With the blood rising to my cheeks every time I remembered those few skirt-free moments on the street, I thought back Bridget Jones bearing her knickers on her way down the fireman's pole, and my own embarrassment began to fade.
In this the age of flawless selfies and highly curated Instagram feeds, even the slightest imperfection can feel like complete failure. Who is left to stand up for those of us who cannot prepare a four-course meal for 14 friends... and still make it to pilates on time?
The answer is Bridget Jones. As I've come to accept the hard truth that I may never be perfect, Bridget Jones has become a regular source of inspiration for me, and I've collected 15 lessons from the heroine of contemporary romance fiction that every Millennial would do well to keep in mind.
You're Never Too Old To Be Embarrassed By Your Parents
Along with death and taxes, familial embarrassment is just just a fact of life. So, as you grin and grit your teeth through another uncomfortable family vacation, just imagine what your life would be like if your mom — like Bridget's — was involved with in-store demonstrations of the "Have it Oeuf" Wise Crack egg peeler, and count your blessings.
Holiday Parties Are Always Awkward
Every year, as I stock up on little black dresses and try to remind myself to stay away from the rum punch, I somehow manage to forget how awkward holiday parties can be. Some of us are lucky enough to feel perfectly at home wherever the party may be, but for the rest of us, holiday gatherings are just plain weird, and we don't always compensate in the smartest ways. If you've found yourself on one too many morning afters cringing at the memories of another terrible night, just think back to Bridget's breakdown at the office party, and take comfort in the fact that you're in good company.
Ask For Help When You Need It
If Bridget can score a journalistic scoop with a little help from a friend, just imagine what you can accomplish if you reach out for assistance. We all need a helping hand from time to time, and if you ask yourself what Bridget would do, you'll realize quite quickly that reaching out for help is the surest pathway to success.
Always Read The Paper Before Heading To A Cocktail Party
There's nothing quite like the pain and suffering that comes from sitting through a scintillating conversation you can't possibly partake in. Of course, faking expertise or putting on airs pails in comparison to letting your true personality shine through — as Bridget quickly discovered after studying up on the situation in Chechnya before a fabulous book party — but it never hurts to brush up on the news of the day. At the very least, you'll have a solid grasp on the day's weather, which always seems to come up in conversation.
Love Interests Who Seem Too Good To Be True Often Are
As Ms. Jones so aptly demonstrated with the truly devious Daniel Cleaver, when the perfect partner magically appears, he may not be so perfect after all. So, try to learn from the mistakes Bridget made and and check beneath the hood before you decide to buy.
Don't Be Too Impressed With First Impressions
First impressions are just exactly that — first impressions. Just because someone shows up to a Christmas party wearing a hideous sweater and a prudish look doesn't mean he deserves to be written off entirely. If Bridget's experiences have taught us anything, surely they've reinforced the need to reserve judgment until all the facts are out in the open.
We Don't All Belong On Top Chef... And That's OK
Even if you can't butterfly a chicken or braise a pork shoulder, you will still be beloved to your friends and revered by your coworkers — we can't all cook, and that's OK. Heck, even the master chefs among us occasionally end up with blue soup. So, if you burned the meat and over-salted the greens, throw on a good album and break out the pasta. It doesn't really matter in the end, anyway.
Get Rid Of The Scale
We live in a society that fetishizes weight, but how much you weigh is not the hallmark of true beauty. Learn to love yourself no matter what the scale says, and you'll be well on your way to a more wonderful life, walking the path of true confidence alongside Bridget Jones.
Plan For A Costume Party With Caution
When it comes to costume parties, cautious optimism is always the best strategy. You never know what might happen between the moment that the invitation is mailed and the night of the big event. Changes in weather, theme, and your own mercurial mood can make all the difference in the world, so be vigilant. And, if you find yourself (as I did) a zombie in a Frozen-themed wonderland, think back to what Bridget would do: find a friend, and grab enough appetizers to keep you busy as you plot your next move.
It's Never Too Late To Live Your Dreams
Even once you've walked a good long way down one path, you've never gone too far to look back or change direction. If you're not happy where you are, walk away and try something new. If your current colleagues don't appreciate you (ahhh, Perpetua), or your long-time love (aka Daniel Cleaver) is letting you down, believe that you can do better and follow your dreams wherever they might lead you. There are bound to be bumps along the way, but as Bridget has so aptly demonstrated, the rewards are well worth the risk both personally and professionally.
When You Slide Down A Fireman's Pole Too Soon, The Only Thing To Do Is Start Climbing Back Up
Sometimes you lose your skirt on the way to the subway, and sometimes you slide down the fireman's pole before your camera cue, bearing your knickers to the world. We all fall down, fail, and embarrass ourselves publicly. It happens, and the only thing left to do when the lightening bolt of public shame strikes is to pick yourself up and keep on going.
Success Is Often Found Where You Least Expect It
Bridget Jones found success as a journalist in the realm of international relations despite long odds and significant competition. We all have strengths beyond our wildest dreams and skills we cannot possibly imagine. Follow your heart and open your mind to the possibility of success wherever it may lie, and you may just be surprised where you find it.
Don't Believe Everything You Hear
The best story isn't always the true story, and when the rumors are spreading like wildfire, the truth is often nowhere to be found. If you want to make your choices about friendship, love, work, and life based on the cold hard facts, learn from the mistakes Ms. Jones herself made, and don't take everything you hear to heart.
There Is Someone For Everyone
Whether you find your perfect match in a friend, in your family, or in a romantic partner, your soulmate is out there — there is someone for everyone. Just because you haven't found your special someone, don't despair, take comfort in the wild and winding road Bridget Jones took on the journey to love and keep on keeping on.
You are perfect Just The Way You Are
We are all flawed, troubled, imperfect beings, and we are all perfect just exactly as we are. We can always work to improve ourselves, to become better, happier, more enlightened beings, but our goals, our hopes, and our dreams should never prevent us from accepting the love we deserve in the present moment. Mark Darcy loves Bridget just exactly as she is, and you deserve that unconditional love as well, so don't let yourself accept anything less.
Image: Universal Pictures; Giphy (15)