I know the content on my blog is generally of a serious nature and I’m happy with that. But after a brief flash of inspiration in the shower (TMI?) I decided to switch it up a little and present you with my take on those classic fairy tales so many of us grew up on and why they make it so apparent why I had such a screwed up view of love and relationships when I was younger.
Case in Point #1: Cinderella
So a girl walks into a ball…Ok you get the idea, but seriously, only after Cinderella gets all gussied up in a new frock and gets her hair done does the Prince even notice her. Talk about class-ism. Then once she fits into everyone else’s definition of “beautiful,” it’s “love at first sight” with Charming and they dance the night away before her abrupt exit, leaving a glass slipper behind (I won’t even start on how unrealistic wearing glass on your feet is). No wonder I used to sit in class waiting for the cute guy to come up and approach me in my new Scratch and Sniff T-shirt (yep, I owned one of those). The consequences of this fairy tale on my love life have been pretty far-reaching I think. PS, where’s my fairy godmother?
Case in Point #2: Beauty and The Beast
We’ve all dated that guy that was a monster and I don’t know about you, but I never found a heart of gold, nor did I discover a rose in a secret room that when the last petal fell and I kissed said beast, he turned into a hot looking GQ model wannabe. Just sayin…
Case in Point #3: The Little Mermaid
First of all, I don’t have a tail so this one is a little hard to relate to (though I do have a limp!). The one thing I do like about this one is Ariel does the saving. She’s a headstrong, independent mermaid. And who wouldn’t want to have Flounder as their best friend?! My main problem with this is that the real story ends a wee bit different than the childhood movie we all love so much. Ariel and the Prince do not live happily ever after. He never falls in love with her, marries the other women, leaving the selfless Ariel to turn into particles after she refuses to kill the Prince in order to get her tail back and return to the sea. Ok, so in her selflessness this story has some pretty redeeming qualities.
Case in Point #4: Sleeping Beauty
After an evil, jealous queen banishes her to sleep after pricking her finger (there we go again with the pitting one woman against another), only true love’s kiss from Prince Smooth Operator can awaken Aurora again. So the poor girl has to spend years upon years waiting around in various REM cycles for this dude to get around to defeating the dragon (aka the Evil Queen) and THEN she can finally wake up? I much prefer this story line: the princess grabs a quick cup of joe at Starbucks, and slays that dragon herself. The prince is so impressed, of course he wants to marry such a catch!
Obviously I jest a lot here and those of you that know me well, know how much I love Disneyland and how excited I was when I got to go on the Little Mermaid ride for the first time…four months ago. I may or may not have taken about 15 photos while I was on the 10 minute ride. I also loved these fairy tales growing up, just as much as I loved playing with Barbies. These stories also taught me to believe in love which is never a bad thing. But I do think it’s some good food for thought. How much do all these faux-ry tales we’ve grown up on affect how we see love…how we envision relationships? I know I never thought I really had to do anything to find love or a relationship. I just assumed the right guy would come up to me one day or we’d meet in class or at a concert and it would just go from there. I didn’t quite get that sitting in the back of class and never speaking to people did not exactly make me seem approachable for a Prince or otherwise. Lack of self-confidence can be a doozy sometimes but see previous posts for my musings on that topic.
The bottom line is love and relationships aren’t fairy tales. I had a boyfriend tell me once they were but he also had more baggage than a 747 turbo jet so you have to take his words of wisdom with a grain of salt. Are both fantastic and thrilling and fulfilling with the right person though? Of course they are. But they also take work and don’t just happen with the snap of your fingers. I’m sure some people see each other across a crowded room, dance all night, and a relationship blossoms but that’s not always the way it goes. Fairy tales never show the fights you have to have to work through things sometimes. They don’t show what happens after the two love birds ride off in to the sunset. Sure they ride off into happiness but what they ride off into is also real and it is imperfect, and that may not be a fairy tale but you know what? That’s what I want. I don’t need the ball, the glass slipper, the rose, the Prince. I just need love. Real, true, imperfect love. He doesn’t have to be Prince Charming and ride in on his trusty steed he just has to be faithful, honest, and love me for me. It’s time to rewrite the fairy tale ladies and gentleman and start writing our own stories!