Me and Bridget Jones, we got a thing going on.

A couple of days ago I had finished a book and was looking for something light to read for the remainder of the evening. I went down to look at my bookshelves for something fun and not too taxing, and I saw my old copy of Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Remember Bridget Jones, BEFORE she became the star of not one, but two major motion pictures, BEFORE the Edge of Reason, and BEFORE she was Mad About The Boy? Those were the days. I will confess that I never saw the movie – and I don’t plan to see the upcoming one – because I loved the book so much I couldn’t bear to have it ruined. I didn’t enjoy the North Americanized Edge of Reason or Mad About The Boy, because I adored the very British peek into life in London. Silk Cut cigarettes! Weighing yourself using stones as a measurement! Milk Tray and Pimm’s Cups.

I eagerly opened the book and there, on the first page, was a diatribe about “learning how to programme video” and “creating themed mix tapes.” Programming video! Mix tapes! What year was this written, anyway?

1996. People, Bridget Jones’ Diary is twenty years old.

I’ll let that sink in for a bit.

I didn’t read it when it first came out; it was a year or two after that. I was working my first real job at a petroleum company, and I remember reading it on the train to work. I wore heels, nylons, and business suits to work every day, and that alone feels like a massive throwback. I wasn’t a thirtysomething Singleton, like Bridget, but I was a young working girl and sometimes it felt like I was playing a part. I could relate to her, even if I didn’t smoke and wasn’t having an affair with my boss.

1996. It doesn’t feel like twenty years ago, does it? Time, it flies.

Popular in 1996:

The English Patient

Oh, remember the dreamy, sexy, intensity of Ralph Fiennes? Hoo boy, there were some hot scenes in that movie, even if every man I’ve ever talked to about it thinks it is terribly dull. Whenever I think of The English Patient I think of Ralph Fiennes: I have been WALKING for THREE DAYS. Remember their dance scene? Did it just get hot in here? And poor darling Colin Firth as the sweet and cuckolded husband.

Other scenes of note: I have always had a bit of a crush on Willem Dafoe, but I have never actually watched the scene where he gets his thumbs cut off. I’m sure it’s not even graphic by today’s standards but still. And Juliette Binoche is absolutely perfect in that movie, along with Naveen Andrews as her lover.

I think I need to rewatch it!

Jerry Maguire

Where would we be without Jerry Maguire? We’d never say things like “show me the money” and “you had me at hello.” I just realized the adorable child in that movie must be about thirty by now. Huh.

Seinfeld

It was the height of Seinfeld mania, and that show still (mostly) stands the test of time. Yada yada yada.

Friends

Ross and Rachel were the big story, and every girl in town – myself included – had a Rachel haircut.

Tickle Me Elmo

Remember how innovative Tickle Me Elmo was? It was the toy at Christmas that parents were stampeding over each other to get. People were practically committing murder – or at least armed robbery – just to have a Tickle Me Elmo under the Christmas tree. In reality, Tickle Me Elmo was kind of a crappy, one-trick-pony toy. It also led the way for other creepy animatronic toys.

Macarena

The Macarena was very popular in 1996 and I was surprised to hear that my kids learned how to do it this year in the phys. ed. dance unit. Heyyyy Macarena.

Do you have a favourite memory from 1996?

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3 thoughts on “Me and Bridget Jones, we got a thing going on.

  1. Oh, 1996! The year I met my husband. Friends and ER were my “Must-See TV” every Thursday night. I too adored Bridget Jones although I was just graduating from college and had no career yet, so I didn’t identify with her in the Singleton world she barges through, but rather I loved her haplessness and her complete honesty.

    I actually think the first movie is quite good. Normally Renee Zellwegger annoys me, but she gained enough weight to be credible as Bridget (and what a ridiculous kerfuffle the gossip mags made of that–“HOW WILL SHE EVER LOSE THE WEIGHT?”–and Hugh Grant and Colin Firth are hilarious. You might want to give it a try for old times’ sake.

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  2. Hands down, my favourite memory of 1996 was finding everything I wanted in a drugstore – and starting to date him. 😀

    Twenty years later it appears to be working out.

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