When Bridget Jones Diary first came out I was 33. I read it , as we all did and laughed at the way many of Bridget’s insecurities reflected our thirty something urban lives. We worried about our careers, drank too much, smoked too many fags and were starting to divide up into singletons and smug marrieds. Bridget was a little bit of all of us – we had all lusted after a man like Daniel Cleaver, turned up at parties wearing innapropriate outfits and had many embarassing big pant moments.
At 33 I had a toddler and another on the way, so was definately one of the smug marrieds (even if we were all furiously arguing with our partners and wondering if the feminist movement had ever happened) but nonetheless, Bridget (Like Alison Pearson’s Kate Reddy) took a witty look at what it meant to be a thirty something women in the late 90’s.
I do however remember thinking Bridget was ever so slightly annoying and I longed for her to stop being quite so wimpy and stand up to the many alpha males she encountered in her life. Mark Darcy appeared be a decent enough bloke, but one couldn’t help thinking, given a couple of years and promotion to partner at the law firm, Bridget would be hanging out with the North London Yummy Mummy’s, ferrying Tilly and Ollie to mind expanding toddler activities and wondering what happened to her tv career..
If Bridget was a little bit of all of us, the last 18 years would have seen her juggle her career, relationships, elderly parents and possibly children. Our 30’s and 40’s are challenging as we struggle with our changing roles and the prospect of aging, but hopefully we emerge out of the fog of child rearing and career building, as stronger, more confident women, sure of who we are and what we want. Gone are many of the insecurities of our 30’s, as we realise that life is quite simply too short (in the words of Shirley Conran and my BF) to stuff a mushroom.
Reading extracts in the Sunday Times from Helen Fielding’s latest Bridget Jones’s Diary, Mad About The Boy, we find that Bridget is now 51, a single mother of two ( Mark Darcy has died – we don’t know how, as we have to read the actual book) and has a new 30-year-old toy boy boyfriend, Roxter, who she met on Twitter.
It seems Bridget has grown older but hasn’t really grown up – which can be a good thing. Quite frankly in my head I’m still about 25, yet find many aspects of aging liberating and empowering.
Not so for Bridget it seems, she has not been blessed with the wisdom of age and her continuing obsessions with her weight, men and now wrinkles, don’t (for me) make her a convincing character any more. I don’t want to laugh at her and feel like her life resonates with mine, much like I don’t want other people to see 51 year olds as sad, desperate cougars who spend too much time looking in the mirror wishing they were young again.
Oh how I wish Bridget had turned into a feisty, cause driven feminist, with an interesting career, lots of amazing female friends, a great relationship with her kids and a new outlook on life, which doesn’t revolve around men. She could still be funny and chaotic, drink too much and make mistakes – don’t we all – but surely she should have learnt something about life by now, after all, what’s funny at 30, can be tragic at 50 – and that’s why I wont be buying this book in a hurry – but who knows it’s early days, perhaps she will surprise us after all!