I remember my mum excitedly mentioning Bridget Jones's Diary repeatedly throughout my pre-teen years. She promised that as soon as I was old enough, she'd buy the DVD and we could watch it together. If I had known before I'd watched the fecking thing how much it would change my life, maybe I would have treated my first viewing of this film as the momentous occasion that it should've been.
Nowadays, Bridget Joness Diary could probably be my Mastermind subject - and nobody can tell me that that's embarrassing. I won't let myself be shamed into thinking that things marketed towards women aren't clever. Bridget herself probably helped to cultivate that type of thinking.
Here are the important lessons we learned from Bridget Jones' Diary:
1. Being an absolute mess of a person is completely okay.
Bridget had some bad habits. She was a bit of a binge drinker, a little bit too dependent on the men in her life, a chronic smoker and a word-vomiter. But nonetheless, her friends adored her and she was professionally successful when she put in a little bit of time. Maybe she taught us the most important lesson of all: the best part of being single is leaving your dirty knickers everywhere.
2. Nothing breaks the ice like a group performance of a classic 80s hit.
Like the pivotal scene in BJD 2, the best way to get a large group of people that you barely know onside is to start an impromptu choir. This is especially true when you are drunk - if you don't believe me, start singing KC & The Sunshine Band's "Give It Up" on the streets at 4am.
3. Never be afraid to be as sexy as you can dare to be.
We've all had that moment of second-guessing ourselves before we wear or do something particularly minxy. It's that minute of shuffling your boobs so they don't look so booby, or that pause where you think "maybe this polo shirt is too tight around my 'ceps". For Bridget, there was never a costume too daring or a cleavage too ample. She'd straddle her beaus like the bad bitch she was - and eff you if you'd think she was going to apologise for it.
4. It's not the worst thing ever to be on your own.
Yeah, okay, there's a case to be made that Bridget was very much not happy being on her own. But that's a basic-ass, amateur opinion. Bridget could only find satisfaction in her life when she realised that she could be satisfied with herself (ie. when everyone tells her that they love her just the way she is). Some of Bridget's best times happen when she's alone, like making her way into journalism.
5. Being a woman is a struggle.
"Women in the developed world are actually completely equal to men and there is no place for feminism and I am certain this is true because I am a straight, white, middle-class man and because of this, I believe in myself". Glad I got that out of the way. Although it's difficult to class the Bridget Jones series as strictly feminist, it definitely deals with female issues that can be overlooked.
Women are expected to wax themselves, be thin, look young and have a life partner while struggling with breaking through the glass ceiling in the workplace. The "Bridget quits Cleaver's office and walks out to 'Respect'" has to be the movie scene of our time.
6. Colin Firth is the most handsome man that will ever exist.
With his delicately groomed sideburns, earnest chocolatey eyes and statuesque form, Colin Firth is to 00s rom-coms as a cold can of coke and a chicken fillet roll is to a hangover. Mmmm. He'd have you flooding your basement, if you pick up what I'm putting down.
7. Public speaking and/or performing isn't for everyone.
In your life, you may feel pressured to develop your skills on the mic. You bloody shouldn't because there's nothing worse than someone on a stage/podium/bar clearly absolutely shitting it. Besides, why do something yourself when you can just delegate? If you don't want to speak, make someone else do it.
8. Big knickers are socially acceptable and the people who think otherwise are wrong.
Thongs are for Americans who like to have thrush all the time. Nobody likes the feeling of denim against their bare bum cheek and sometimes thongs slide across to the side in the least opportune moments. Massive knickers that you get in a plastic packet of five in Dunnes Stores/Tesco are the way forward, the type that go up above your belly button.
9. Nobody cares what you think about current events or politics.
You can spend all of your time reading The Guardian and Time Magazine, even Breitbart, but that doesn't mean that people are going to care when you spout off what you think of what's going on. Nothing dries up a conversation like you dropping in your secondhand opinion on Scaramucci's dismissal, so don't bother learning about it.
10. You shouldn't hook up with people who sexually harass you.
So, this one should be a given but for some reason, it isn't. In the pre-Gospel of Bridget days, I took sexual harassment as flirtation and wondered why my self-worth was low. A bum grab does not a healthy, loving, two-way relationship make.
11. A "threequel" is not always a bad thing.
In the third book, Darcy dies and Cleaver is not dead but also there is a P.E. teacher involved. For the book-readers, the third movie was... a strange experience. But, when I got my head around it, I embraced the threequel with open arms. Shut the front door if you weren't here for the latest of the Bridget movies - I nearly wet myself with laughter the whole way through. It also had a far better Ed Sheeran cameo than Game of Thrones did. #justsaying
12. Sometimes you have to just have fun and not think about the consequences.
Whether it's sleeping with the person you really shouldn't be sleeping with or having that whole tub of Ben and Jerry's, just do it. Shia LaBeouf Just Do It, Nike Just Do It. If you're having a cracking time, whole-heartedly enjoy it because you won't always have the time nor the money nor the laissez-faire attitude.
13. Two men fighting can be more arousing than actual porn.
I bet you thought number 13 was going to be sappy, emotional and poignant. Like "always be yourself, no matter what" or "modern women can achieve whatever they set their minds to". Nah. Two beautiful Hollywood men kicking each other outside a Greek restaurant or in a fountain is sexy. Bridget Jones's Diary: igniting fighting fetishes across the postmodern world.