Jennifer Aniston used to annoy the piss out of me.
She’s paraded around with known heartbreakers like John Mayer and Bradley Cooper. She’s subjected herself to countless interviews about her ex and his adoption-addicted wife and her lack of a suitable marriage prospect. Doesn’t she have any self-respect?
But I’ve started looking at her in a different light. She now seems more like a Weeble than a wimp. No matter what comes barreling through that woman’s romance door, she refuses to stay down for the count.
That’s why I think there are some things we can learn from Jen and another celebrity/sometimes basket case, Jessica Simpson, who broke up with Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo earlier this summer.
In a society where women are increasingly being told to play games and keep cool in their dating lives, these women seem to go against the grain. Cosmo and every other dating “authority” would slap a big “X” across their faces because they “try too hard” and “don’t leave enough mystery.” They wear their hearts on their sleeves—Simpson proclaimed Tony Romo the “love of her life," even though the feeling quite obviously isn’t mutual, and Jen kept going back to John Mayer.
On the outset, Jen and Jen look desperate and needy. Maybe they are—but they own it. They’re not going to listen to lady mag advice and pretend they “don’t need a man” or that they would rather go on archeological expeditions to Brazil than cradle a baby in their arms. They are determined to get this love thing right, and there’s something admirable in that.
Not everyone’s love life can be tied up in a neat little package. We’re happy for the Eva Longoria Parkers and Katherine Heigls of the world (OK, fine, we’re really not). But happily ever after doesn’t come so easily for all of us. Jen and Jess are proof that when the going gets rough, you keep going, no matter what anyone else says or does.
Jen and Jess are champions for every woman who has had to deal with her ex immediately running into the arms of another woman; for every woman whose peers and family consistently badger her about why she isn’t married and for every woman whose younger siblings have won the race to the altar and motherhood (though we hope when the time comes for Simpson, she comes up with a better baby name than Bronx).
Both Jen and Jess, save for some weight gain and a few drunken moments, seem to have kept their grace throughout love’s ups and downs. Both can still make fun of themselves. Both have expressed hope that they will be wives and mothers somewhere down the line.
Jen told Elle magazine in this month’s issue that, "If I'm the emblem for 'this is what it looks like to be the lonely girl getting on with her life,' so be it.” She also told Australian Harper’s Bazaar, “I’m still a romantic. I still believe in love.” Jess, days after Tony Romo broke up with her, Tweeted "Everyone needs to know that hope floats ... grab the strings and pull it back to you."
So while the media will continue to poke fun at their lack of luck in love, Jen and Jess will continue to grin and bear it. And maybe other women who are still waiting for their Prince Charming will too. But since love can show up at the most unexpected times, they probably shouldn’t wear mom jeans while they wait.