Take one beautiful Princess and introduce her to a handsome, charming Prince. Let them fall in love. Then add an ugly, wicked, evil Queen who spites the Princess for her beauty or her lovely voice or just because she’s bored. Place the Princess in peril or mortal danger and let the Prince rescue her. The happy couple will live happily ever after. The end.
That ladies and gentlemen is the basic formula for a Fairy Tale. I have always loved Fairy Tales. Cinderella is my favorite; although when I was a little girl I was convinced that she was two different people – the maid, and the girl who goes to the Ball. I never said I was a bright kid…vivid imagination though. Cinderella would be a totally different story if she had a split personality. Sybill-rella?
I have read reports saying that Fairy Tales are harmful to children, that these stories teach a kid that being pretty is the most important thing in the world. These people claim that attractive women and men are more “socially rewarded” than unattractive people. And this is due to reading fairy tales. It is also said that women expect their lives to end “happily ever after” because of stories like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.
To this I say – poppy cock. I never expected to be rescued by a Prince, and a wicked Queen has never cursed me. Well, not that I know of. I have been giving this matter a lot of thought lately, as I seem to have taken the relationship version of the road less traveled. I look on Facebook and see many of my old High School comrades married and with scores of kids, cars, pets and other trappings of domestic bliss. They seem to be living happily ever after. But is there more than one way to live happily ever after?
Sure there is. People in Fairy Tales have perfect lives and perfect histories. Cinderella and the Prince never get in fights about money, and Rapunzel never gained twenty pounds or cut her hair off for ease and comfort. Real people, meaning you and me folks, we have imperfect lives and histories when we meet someone and fall in love. Think about it. What if Snow White had an ex-husband? What if Sleeping Beauty had a couple of kids before Prince Charming walked into her life? And what about the Prince? What if he was great looking but had a low paying job or his feet smelled really bad? This is real life and if you want to live happily ever after out here in the real world, then these are the kind of things that you have to deal with.
I haven’t given up on finding my story book ending. I just don’t expect it to be perfect. I expect it to be fun and difficult and joyous and exciting. I don’t “need” anyone to make my life complete or to (pardon the Jerry MacGuire quote) complete me. I am complete. We need a witness to our lives. In a relationship you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the boring things… the laundry, the lay offs, the great sex and the happy birthdays. All of it. All of the time. Every day. You are agreeing with your partner to notice their life, you are saying – “Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.” (That was lifted from a film…)
So, I’ll take my imperfections and his as well. I’ll have a heaping portion of romance and reality in equal amounts and leave the knight on his gallant steed for some other girl. Because in my Fairy Tale the Prince loves the Princess and they fight and make love and dance and pay bills and have kids and well…