Tuesday 15 May 2012

On being dated

This is not a post about dating men, or boys. It is about being dated, or feeling it.

Chatting in a lovely restaurant to dear D I realised how dated a book like Bridget Jones now feels. Please don't misunderstand, I still find the honesty and humour of Helen Fielding's novels- and their film adaptations (well perhaps not the second) comforting and hilarious (actually the skiing and pregnancy test purchasing are side splittingly funny in the Edge of Reason film).

Bridget arrived in the world when I was first in London- as a student- dreaming of going to sophisticated book parties and having such worries as having to choose between Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver. I could afford the Chardonnay but not the flat in Borough.

I knew Bridget was a bit of a mess but she also has a good job in a publishing house and the previously mentioned seriously intelligent man candy to worry about. I didn't aspire to be her but there were parts of me that were like her and identified with her (the parts that have bad hair days, that want to be slimmer but still drink wine and vodka- you know).

I realised that nowadays eighteen year olds probably wouldn't drive to central London to see the film (yes I did that, with friends, with the soundtrack to the film we awaited blasting out of the car stereo- on CD, we thought we were very cool because my car had a CD player- which was worth more than the car).

It is not just that nowadays a girl in her (gulp) 'thirty second year of being single' would be seen as not just a tiny bit lost (Bridget was always that, in a way) but probably thought of as being silly. I don't entirely hold to that- Bridget had great friends and great fun. I would accept that she was a bit frivolous and a student of chaos theory.

However when I meet people just a bit younger than me- mid to late twenties rather than early thirties- they talk far more about actively getting on the property ladder, they seem to really mean it about moving out of London if they need to which Bridget and her like wouldn't dream of.

They also do sensible things like order soft drinks between proper (i.e. alcoholic) drinks (even I now always have water with all proper drinks). The single ones also don't blow lots of money on shoes they can't afford, they buy them in New Look even though they could afford to buy them somewhere more upmarket. I wonder what they would have thought of the student me whisking around the Student's Union in my Kurt Geiger shoes at eighteen or nineteen when they probably wouldn't go there now. [Note I personally think everyone, girl, should know the joy of buying really leather shoes- though perhaps not quite as many as I have over the years].

Ultimately I think the difference was that Bridget wasn't really a mess. She was actually an attractive size 12- 14 woman, probably more a 12. She had a good job which she must have been reasonable at- an enormous flat which okay was rented but oh well. She had options and a fun life. Things have changed, now it's not really enough to be a normal to plump size, with a good job and a good home. Perhaps now is better and perhaps the recession has played a part in younger people being more sensible. I think they are probably right actually but it does sometimes leaving you feel a bit- dated.


Anonymous said...

Dear Rose

I'm a decade older than you and recall reading Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones column in the Independent. The thing is, it was a spoof: a send up of those mid 90s over-sharing columns that started to spring up in the broadsheets. Like the columns, BG became mainstream. The grotesque,ironic creation became an icon. What does that tell us about our culture?

I enjoy your blog!

Rose said...

Hello Julie- thank you! yes you're right of course, she was a spoof, but she was so well written that she feels part of my life like an old friend. There's no equivalent column now is there, that everyone looks forward to, whether they love or can't stand the character

Jayne said...

That's an interesting point, the fact that Bridget at her messiest was actually doing better than most people. I think I always felt that, though - apart from the vodka guzzling, I didn't have an awful lot in common with Bridget! Although I do now work in publishing... no flat in Borough, sadly.

Metropolitan Mum said...

Very interesting. I am still definitely more a Bridget than a Kate - if that makes sense. I feel like today's end 20s/early 30s make a lot of very sensible (read: boring) decisions I can't really appreciate.

You are gorgeous and brilliant and funny. You are more than enough, dear Rose and I know that your time will come. We just have to find you a Mr Darcy and ban all the Daniel Cleavers in your life...


AJ said...

It's a shame neither of the films could actually show that Bridget was reasonably good at her job. I found her a bore and so never bothered to read the books the films were based on.

Never been bored visiting this blog though.