Posts Tagged Mark Darcy

It is a Truth Universally Acknowledged that Diaries Are Full of Crap: 10 Signs You Might be Obsessed with Bridget Jones

Driving home from a party several weeks ago, a friend and I got onto the topic of relationships and marriage, as single girls often do.
“You know,” she said suddenly, “I kind of have this picture of you with a Mark Darcy-looking husband, reindeer jumper and everything, holding a baby.”
“Hmm, that doesn’t sound half bad,” I admitted. “But don’t get my hopes up, because it is a truth universally acknowledged that attractive English gentlemen in reindeer jumpers don’t casually stroll into my life on a regular basis. If they did, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in right now.”

As I reflected on her words, I wondered just what they said about me. The truth forces me to admit that Bridget Jones’ Diary is probably my personal scripture—one that’s proven alternately bolstering and baffling, depending on my mood. ON the one hand, every other page, I find myself identifying with Bridget as I would with any of my “real” girlfriends, and Bridget’s endless stream of self-deprecation about her weight, lack of a boyfriend, and culinary ineptitude makes me feel better about myself. ON the other, if Bridget is such a realistic portrait of the late-twenties/early-thirties single female experience, then it should logically follow that we will all find our Mark Darcy, but I digress.

As I found myself running late for the same event after which the above conversation had occurred, cursing to myself over my inability to locate a clean pair of nickers, I had a frightening realization: “Oh my god, you’re turning into Bridget Jones. It’s finally happened.” I’m now convinced that “Bridget Jones Syndrome” is going to become the modern-day form of female hysteria. Compilers of the DSM, get on this, stat! I’ll even do some of the work for you: ten signs you might have Bridget Jones Syndrome:

1. You find yourself running late for a party, searching in a panic through your closet and hamper for a pair of nickers muttering, “Shit. Shit. Arghargharghargh. Cannot find nickers. Maybe will check behind sofa.” (You subsequently discover said nickers behind the sofa with no recollection of how they might have gotten there).
2. You think that a man whose wardrobe includes a reindeer or diamond-patterned sweater or bumblebee socks has a superior fashion sense.
3. When the guy you’ve secretly fancied for ages asks you on a date and you immediately send an email to three of your closest friends with the subject line: “State of emergency! Meet at Café Rouge! Now!”
4. When you find yourself preparing for a date by making a checklist that includes the following items: hide diary, grannie panties, and incriminating photos; clean flat; wax legs; exercise stomach muscles; develop inner poise.
5. When you refer to your commitment-phobic ex-boyfriend as “Daniel” and fantasize about him being beaten to a pulp (quite rightly) By Colin Firth as Mark Darcy…or Colin Firth as self, because essentially in the collective female imagination, the two have become irreversibly conflated.
6. When the phrase “Turkey Curry Buffet” is code for dinner party at your parents’ oldest friends’ home, where people who’ve known you since you were running round the lawn with no clothes on will make suggestive comments about your singleton status and biological clock and men you’ve called “Uncle” since you were 3 years-old who aren’t really your uncle will pinch your bottom and inquire obnoxiously about your love life.
7. When your ex rings or texts you and you find yourself pausing before reaching for the phone to whisper the mantra “cool, unavailable ice-queen.”
8. When not hearing from your current boyfriend for several days leads you to concoct increasingly elaborate theories about his silence, ranging from the simple “He’s just extremely busy” to the slightly far-fetched (or paranoid) “Oh God, he’s been kidnapped, or eaten by an Alsatian, or fled the country to avoid having sex with me.”
9. When you find yourself studying an atlas before dates with your extremely intelligent boyfriend in the event he quizzes you about the geographic location of obscure foreign countries (or, you know, not-so-obscure foreign countries, like Germany).
10. When you consider your boyfriend’s tendency to diffuse awkward situations by going into the bathroom as good relationship diplomacy.
So: there you have it. If you recognize any or all of the above signs in your behavior, you might have Bridget Jones Syndrome. Extensive research has shown that the best remedy is eating chocolate and drinking a Bloody Mary (tomatoes =vegetable serving to counteract low nutrition value of chocolate) while watching the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Now, I’m going to send this off with a suggestion for inclusion in the DSM, but—oh, goody! Telephone! Maybe is Mark Darcy! Byeeee!

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Livin’ it Up when I’m Goin’ Down: a Dream Ride on the Wonkavator

“If you had to be trapped in an elevator with anyone, living or dead, real or fictional, who would that person be, and why?”
For the past several semesters, I’ve begun every class I taught with this ice-breaker question. I do this for two reasons. Reason #1: the elevator has to be, without a doubt, the single most socially awkward small space in existence. In the same way that we feel socially obligated to wish people a “good morning” regardless of whether or not the morning is, in fact, “good,” we also feel that the rules of social etiquette require that we converse with our elevator companions, even if said elevator companion looks like the Craigslist killer and desperately needs a lesson in the proper application of soap and water.

On the way to teach my first class of the semester several years ago, I found myself—guess where?—in an elevator, panicking over the last-minute realization that I had no ice-breaker activity. Thus was inspired the above question, which has yielded responses from students ranging from their favorite celebrities or sports players to Luke Skywalker, because, according to the student in question, “He could just use the force to get us out.”

Reason #2 speaks to my twisted sense of logic; in a flash of alleged brilliance, I thought that being entertained by others’ fantasies about how they would spend their time trapped in an elevator might aid me in overcoming my own fear of being trapped in one. Over the years, I have been the victim of a recurring nightmare involving some elevator-entrapment scenario: I’m trapped in an elevator alone; I’m trapped in an elevator with a friend; I’m trapped in an elevator with Kevin Spacy in his role as the serial killer in “Seven”. Most frequent, however, is the scenario in which I’m trapped in an elevator that floats in midair and turns cartwheels—a kind of Wonkavator on crack…or an example of what would happen to the Tower of Terror ride at Hollywood Studios if left to its own devices.

After the most recent occurrence of the dream several weeks ago, I decided to conduct some extensive research on the subject. Approximately fifteen minutes spent on Google revealed the following from Suite101.com (and note, the falling and sideways-moving elevator scenarios are the closest to my recurring wacky Wonkavator nightmare): “Falling elevators might represent feelings of helplessness or inadequacy. If you dream that you are in a falling elevator, you could be dealing with something in your personal life that you feel is getting out of control…The good news is that if the falling elevator does represent something you’re losing control of, admitting it to yourself is the first step in the right direction.” Well, thank you, Suite101, for confirming that my life is out-of-control, because my high blood pressure and the empty vodka bottles are obviously an insufficient indicator.

On the subject of the sideways-moving elevator, Suite101 has the following nugget of wisdom: “This motion is neither forward nor backward; therefore, you are not moving anywhere.” Again, apparently the empty vodka bottles are an insufficient indicator of the lack of any positive forward movement in my life, so my subconscious feels the need to send me nightly bulletins. ON the upside (pun entirely intended), “one theory about lateral movement is that any movement at all is good movement; therefore if you are moving sideways on an elevator, you are making some kind of progress.”
Well, that’s comforting. I’ll be sure to pull this pearl of positivity out of my pocket the next time I find myself eating nutella out of the jar and channeling the energy of every available brain cell into conjuring Mark Darcy from the realm of fiction to appear sitting comfortably beside me on my sofa while I watch “Bridget Jones’ Diary”.

Challenge: to the first person who can correctly identify the song lyrics from which I’ve taken part of the title of this post, I will blog about any topic of your choosing. (No Googling, because that would be cheating, and we all know that cheating is an offense punishable by a term of imprisonment that involves watching the 2005 version of “Pride and Prejudice” until you beg for mercy. You’ve been warned. And if you’re wondering how I intend to monitor your honesty, well…that’s my secret. Let’s just use the Honor System, and bear in mind that god is Watching…when he isn’t too busy inventing new ways to confuse Harold Camping).

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Platitude, Shmatitude

Project Give Thanks day 7:

“You’ll get over it.”
“It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
“Time heals all wounds.”
“Good things come to those who wait.”
“When the right one comes along, you’ll know.”
“What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.”

Blah, blah, blah. I usually detest platitudes and the people who push them on me when I least want to hear them—especially those relating to love and relationships. It’s far easier to tell someone else that their turn will come when someone is warming your bed than it is when you’re clutching a pillow that still bears the faintest trace of an ex’s cologne and wishing that Mark Darcy would materialize out of the darkness, confess his high regard for your wobbly bits, and proceed to pleasure you until you’ve lost all sensation below the waist.

Having said all of that, today I am thankful that at least some of those clichés, crappy though they might be, hold a grain of truth. I am thankful today for healing. No one knows more than I do about waiting for good things to fall out of the sky into my lap; between the ages of 20 and 27, I went on exactly 3 dates and had (does swift mental calculation) 0 boyfriends. Call it a dry spell if you wish; I’d call it a sex drought of biblical proportions. It would naturally stand to reason that when something did fall into my lap by the grace of God, and, because we’re talking about me and my luck here, it didn’t turn out quite the way I’d expected, I felt gutted, to say the least. As my best friend would say, “It’s like waving a Wanka bar in front of a kid and then not letting him have it.”

I’m not the woman I was eight months ago, or even three months ago; I’ve learned, I’ve grown, I’ve loved, I’ve hurt. I’ve handed my broken heart to God and asked him to refashion it, but I’m not hoping for a more shatter-resistant model, because a heart that can’t brake isn’t a heart at all. I’ve thought, I’ve prayed, I’ve cried, and while I was doing all of that, God was tenderly and quietly filling in the cracks in my heart and healing it. Am I fully healed? Certainly not; am I better than I was a month ago? Undoubtedly. Am I ready to place myself in a situation that makes me emotionally vulnerable again? Not right now, but if you fracture your leg, you don’t go off and try to river dance the moment the cast comes off. Am I hopeful that some day God will bless me with another opportunity to share the love I know is mine to give? Truthfully, I don’t know, but I want to believe that when and if that time comes, God will remind me of everything I’ve been through and of the miracle that, despite it all, I can still love.

What are you thankful for today?

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Channeling My Inner Bridget Jones: My Birthday part 2

As promised in my last post, I am continuing to channel my inner Bridget Jones, and what follows is (roughly) accurate, give or take a few drinks. Names have been concealed where possible to protect the guilty from further incrimination.

Thursday, October 20. 6:30 A.M: I have to clean my entire house by tomorrow, besides working, continuing to edit my current dissertation chapter, and possibly making yet another attempt at world domination. Somehow, I will accomplish everything, and live to tell the story.

6:45 A.M: Apparently the world will end tomorrow (again), according to Harold Camping. Well, isn’t this convenient. How many people can say Jesus gatecrashed their birthday party? Of course, since my life is nothing if not a continuous reminder that God gave control of the universe over to Murphy’s law eons ago, the world would naturally choose to end during my first attempt in about ten years to celebrate my birthday with people outside my family who legitimately care that I inhabit the planet. I predict the moment of total obliteration at approximately the point at which I’m blowing out my candles and wishing that Mark Darcy would make a spectacular entrance, singing a rendition of “Happy Birthday” in which he actually knows my name.

11:25 A.M: I’m trying to decide whether I should clean my house, or torch the place, collect the insurance, and build a replica of Pemberley…on the beach…complete with stunning grounds, lake, and a live-in Darcy.

2:30 P.M: My house is cleaned. Maybe I’ll just convert this place into a mosque and ask everyone to remove their shoes at the entrance.

11:00 P.M: I should attempt going to bed, but can’t sleep. Have I got enough sauce for the meatballs? Will there be enough food? (Translation: to an Italian, “enough food” means that each guest can partake of at least 3 helpings of each dish, and there will still be left-overs).

1:00 A.M: Can’t sleep. I’m having visions of blue meatballs dancing in my head. This is all going to go horribly wrong. These meatballs are going to be the most incredible shit. Have I got any eggs in the house? If any of the food actually is blue, I might die of humiliation (or laughter). Unfortunately, K is probably the only guest who would spot the humor in the situation; K remains the only one of my local friends who appreciates the hilarity that is Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Friday, October 21. 6:30 A.M: The fact that I’m concentrating on remembering to defrost the meatballs before I’ve started the coffee says something about my fervent desire to avoid culinary disaster.

12:28 P.M: 6 and a half hours till my grown-up birthday party; this is either going to be the bash to end all bashes, or no one will show up, and I’ll wind up sitting alone in my apartment with a crockpot full of meatballs, watching Pride and Prejudice.

3:45 P.M: In a little over three hours, people will be descending upon me; what made me even think I could throw a party? I’m going to crawl into a dark hole with a bottle of wine and stay there until everyone goes away.

6:30 PM: mercifully, everything is done, with half an hour to spare. I’m going to stop compulsively rearranging the bread dish and pass the time constructively by watching an episode of Will and Grace.

7:00 P.M: R arrives, closely followed by K; K bears a birthday cake containing a cryptic message that she will have to read to me, R with “another surprise dessert”. I’m slightly alarmed, and have officially put K on poison control watch.

Several (possibly 2, perhaps 3) mimosas later– I have officially lost track of the hours and am measuring the passage of time in alcohol units: I have officially been crowned the birthday princess—I have the crown to prove it. A.A has decked me out in an “It’s my Birthday” hat and a string of pink beads that, not through any planned color coordination, happen to match the stripes on my shirt. Hurrah for an arbitrary moment of appearing to have a fashion sense.

K ceremoniously unveils what we have been referring to all week as “the cake of epic awesomeness”; it is, in K’s exact words, “totally a Mark Darcy cake”. She has written the following, in blue cookie-icing: “Blue is good, and so are you. Just as you are. Happy Birthday.” The message is bordered by decorative blue squiggles, meant to represent string. K later informs me: I actually went and looked up the scene to make sure I got it right.
Me: Wow! You actually did research for my cake. Now that’s cool.

My friends then proceed to read their birthday cards to me aloud, and K presents me with a gift of a copy of the latest film adaptation of /Jane Eyre/, because “Every girl needs a copy of Jane Eyre”

Later: R: Are you ready to try the other surprise dessert?
Me (hesitating): I don’t know.
R hands me a plate laden with something that, when I dig into it with my fork, feels lumpy and moist, but otherwise unidentifiable; I am instructed to taste and identify the substance.
Me: What’s the surprise? Is it Mark Darcy?
R: Yes, I’ve minced up Mark Darcy, and you’re eating him.
Me: Noooo! (Turning to K): I thought you were on poison control watch!
K: It looks safe. I promise. It doesn’t look anything like human flesh.

I take a fork-full of the as-yet unidentified dessert and, still hesitating, taste it.
Me: Yummy, and it doesn’t taste anything like Mark Darcy.
R: How do you know? How do you know what Mark Darcy tastes like?
Me: Because Mark Darcy doesn’t taste like pumpkin. (It has taken me several bites, but I have now identified the surprise dessert as pumpkin flan, which is perfectly delicious).

Me: This really is very good. Allow me to tell you how much I ardently admire and love your pumpkin flan.

Still later: A.M arrives and is forgiven for his tardiness because he comes bearing cake. Chatter and alcohol continue to flow steadily; topics of conversation range from our respective jobs to the reasons why it might be unsafe to place a blind person behind the wheel of a car. R makes a badly-timed joke while K is midway through swallowing a mouthful of wine, and she only narrowly avoids choking. We envision the headlines in the local paper the following day charging R with having caused K’s demise, and I lament the tragedy of having to write the article about Sherlock Holmes K and I are working on entirely by myself were she to randomly succumb to sudden death.

11:30 P.M: all guests have left the building, with the exception of K; after returning the apartment to relative order, we spend another half-hour or so giggling over an NPR “Fresh Air” interview of Colin Firth, inserting commentary when appropriate.

K (referring to Terry Gross’ description of Mark Darcy’s attire at the beginning of Bridget Jones’ Diary as “a silly sweater with a ridiculous moose head on it”): A silly sweater with a ridiculous moose head on it? Its! A! Reindeer! Jumper!
WE determined that Terry Gross is an abysmally bad interviewer, and Colin Firth is heroically attempting (not altogether with success) to keep an “You can’t see this, listeners, but I’m rolling my eyes” note out of his voice.
K (about CF’s description of the BBC’s humorous attempt to create underwear for the lake scene in Pride and Prejudice that resembled white silk sailor’s pants): God! That’s just screaming for someone to write fan-fiction about Mark Darcy in pirate pants.
Me: Don’t give me any ideas.

12:05 A.M: K has gone. I cannot sleep; I feel enveloped in large, invisible, snuggy-like warmth; I have the most amazing friends, there’s Bridget Jones birthday cake in my fridge, and the world did not in fact end according to the Camping calculation. I am at peace with the world and all its inhabitants.

This post brought to you by the color blue.

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Mark Darcy’s Gourmet Grocer: Specializing in the Most Increddible Shit

for quite some time now–possibly the last five years or so–I’ve been searching for solid, verifiable proof that prolonged exposure to graduate school
has long-term, negative effects on brain function. Finally, I think I can safely say I have it.

last night, I fell asleep with three things bouncing hither and thither in my brain:
1- the fact that my kitchen cabinets were dangerously approaching empty.
2- a conversation with a friend about the film “Love Actually” and the talents of a certain Colin Firth.
3- hesitation about whether or not to suggest cooking this weekend for a friend who’s never been exposed to my culinary experiments.

These three things in combination prompted perhaps one of the strangest dreams I’ve had in living memory. I was standing with a friend in front of a grocery
store, over which was posted the sign: “Mark Darcy’s Gourmet Grocer: specializing in the Most Incredible Shit.” Anyone familiar with “Bridget Jones’ Diary”
will recognize my brain’s reference to Mark Darcy’s description of Bridget’s botched attempt at cooking: “I have to say, this really is the most incredible
shit”. My friend and I stepped inside and found ourselves surrounded by items like stuffed olives and enormous blocks of cheese in roughly five-pound increments.
I haven’t yet decided why anyone would want five pounds of cheese–we’ll just file that under life’s mysteries. I realized immediately that, on my very
small graduate student teacher pay, I couldn’t afford to shop at such an upscale grocer and insisted that my friend and I leave immediately, because we’d
somehow managed to catch the attention of the proprietor–Mark Darcy himself–naturally played by a rather dashing, somewhat overbearing Colin Firth. Fortunately
we escaped before he could talk us into purchasing several pounds of some unpronounceable cheese and a very appetizing-looking bread that I think would
have cost my entire paycheck. At which point, fortunately–for me–I awoke.

NO one wishes more than I that this was made up; I’d dearly love to tell you that this has all been some ridiculous fabricated story cooked up by my overactive
brain to make you all laugh–and give you a concrete reason to have me chucked into the nuthouse. Admittedly, this was, in fact, cooked up by my overactive
brain, but I swear truthfully that it was not consciously done. I have thus reached three very important conclusions:
1- must acquire food.
2- Must attempt, whenever possible, to get eight hours of sleep (insert derisive noise of your choice here)
3- adopt new mantra: say yes to Jesus, no to graduate school.

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