I’m glad Mark Darcy is dead.
Given that yesterday was the long-awaited launch of Helen Fielding’s “Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy” I felt compelled to exorcise some Darcy demons from my matchmaking days.
In order for you to fully understand how an otherwise caring and nonviolent woman might revel in the death of a well-loved and seemingly upstanding fictional character, I wanted to share with you a typical consultation with one of the thousands of Bridget Jones-a-likes I met during my six years as a matchmaker:
She unravelled her scarf and plonked down on the seat in front of me like a heavy bag of shopping. Then ruffled her dirty-blonde hair and stared at me expectantly.
I took a deep breath, leaned forward, pen poised and asked her what she was looking for.
‘I like tall men,’ she began. ‘Brown hair. Brown eyes.’
I nodded, gesturing to the waiter to bring us some Chardonnay.
‘He has to be intelligent,’ she continued. ‘And successful. I need a man with a good career. Something meaningful too.’ She looked to the ceiling then back down at me with a dreamy expression. ‘Like a Human Rights Barrister.’
I suppressed an eye-roll.
She went on. ‘He must be good-looking. Slim. But not skinny. I prefer an athletic build. I like eloquent men who can hold a conversation at a dinner party.’
I looked up at the ceiling and stared at a crack in the paint.
She continued, nonplussed. ‘He must be caring and sensitive but also assertive and masculine. Confident but not arrogant and calm and capable in a crisis.’ She paused for breath, the dreamy expression returning. ‘I like broad shoulders and muscular thighs. Are you writing this down?’
I looked back down at her, wondering if now were an appropriate time to suggest she date Steve, the 5ft7, twice divorced IT consultant from Southampton.
Two hours later after she’d concluded her future beloved’s list of attributes with an appreciation of fine wine and manly hands, I downed my wine and cursed Helen Fielding for ever introducing Mark Darcy to the female population.
It’s not that the average woman in her thirties doesn’t deserve love or happiness. We all do. What bothered me the most though, is since Bridget Jones’ Diary graced our bookshelves and our screens, the qualities of the perfect man have somehow morphed from the desired to the expected. If a ditzy, chain-smoking, borderline alcoholic can have Mark Darcy chasing her around London, professing to love her just the way she is, then that gives hope to the rest of us.
When in truth, the real-life Colin Firth chose to love his stunning size 6 Italian film-producer wife, Livia Giuggioli, just the way she is. Which let’s face it, can’t be that much of a struggle.
We all love Bridget, but if I’ve learned one thing from personally matching thousands of women like her, is that the only thing worse than no hope, is false hope.
Now what did I do with Steve’s profile?
Read more matchmaking antics in Haley HIll’s bestselling novel ‘It’s Got to Be Perfect: the memoirs of a modern-day matchmaker’