Divorcedy: How romantic comedy heroines get you through a break up
by Lindy Ascher
One year ago, I woke up officially mid-thirties, with a type of gross, crows-nest hair that was held up vertically by the unique styling concoction of tears, Moroccan Oil, and a little soy sauce… maybe. Had I eaten sushi for dinner the night before? Oh, and there was definitely dry-wall dust cementing all those precious ingredients together.
I did not look like the young producer who had sold two shows the week prior. I looked like shrapnel. Self-induced-surprise-divorce-
Bridget Jones would have acknowledged her universal truth that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces. I tried to motivate by telling myself that if I could just get out of bed I could be one pot of blue soup away from Colin Firth being my boyfriend.
I confess, when I’m caught in a moment where I don’t know exactly what to do, I occasionally conjure my favorite characters for a little imaginary advice. Call me the least-jaded movie viewer of all times, but I often think that the line we draw between fantasy and reality is finer than we’d like to admit. I mean, if millions of people use the book The Secret, to try to align the universe to execute their will and get better parking, then why couldn’t Elle Woods bend-and-snap her way to brilliantly getting her friend out of a murder conviction?
As a strong, young, female producer, I’ve been in meetings where I have felt like Helen Hunt v Mel Gibson in What Women Want. I have run outside in pjs like Sandra Bullock in The Proposal, chasing good cellphone reception like it’s an Olympic sport, in order to talk with writers I love. But could conjuring fictional characters help me get me back on my own two feet in reality?
Back at that soy sauce hairdo, it was 6:45am. In walked ten workmen who were tasked with turning my windowless, ceilingless, shell-of-a-house that would make Nancy Meyers vomit sisal, into a home I would fantasize about during mediocre sex. I thought that perhaps I was like Diane Lane in Under The Tuscan Sun — gorgeous, single, sad and a heartbeat away from my own villa. But my contractor was staring at me blankly. I realized I was, in fact, nothing like Diane Lane in Tuscany, or West Hollywood, or anywhere, sadly.
I wanted to heal. But I didn’t know how. And my friends were all kind people who wouldn’t force me to do the things I needed to do, like shower. I needed something more immediate than therapy. So, as my alarm blared, it connected me to a moment.
Channeling Holly Hunter in Broadcast News, I set my alarm for ten minutes away. I pouted, I force-cried more easily than any contestant on The Bachelor, and when my alarm blared, like Holly, I very simply pulled myself the fuck together.
It was amazing. With the beep of the alarm came a wonderful, forced-festive, fake-new lease on life. It was the best denial I’d ever felt. Tears? No! Shampoo? Yes!
With help from Holly Hunter I could get out of bed, trust the future, be fabulous. Even if it was for just twenty minutes.
With a library of imaginary characters who had my back, I didn’t just get through a rough year — I thrived. And it was just a few months in when Sally Albright suggested I start dating…