Some years ago, I wrote an article — a manifesto of sorts where I spoke out against fairy tales and my disdain for them (see below for the reprint).
My opinions haven’t changed much, but I was recently introduced to a new endeavor aimed at showing little girls what can happen after happily ever after. Titled Princesses with a Twist (PWAT), this book series was created by a mom who is apparently my kindred spirit in fairy tale frustration and instead uses her literary skills to show little girls that there is life after Prince Charming while stressing that the dashing princess protagonists have marketable talents that have helped them escape their adversities.
We can’t inhibit a lot of the negativity in this world, but we can contribute to the self esteem and success of young girls. Take a look, and if you’re so inclined, contribute to their Kickstarter campaign.
Does Prince Charming Really Exist???
Am I the only woman who doesn’t believe in fairy tales?
Some years ago, one of my goddaughters had become fascinated by her Auntie Gina’s lifestyle and demanded to know if I lived alone and whether or not I had a husband. She was heartbroken when I told her that I’m not married, pleading, “But why? Why don’t you have a husband?”
Now . . . I’m not the best with kids, so I immediately began down a laundry list of reasons that were, quite frankly, TMI for a five year old. I stopped myself and tried to explain as delicately as possible without creeping the kid out, or giving her parents a lot of questions to answer later.
After I got her on to a happier topic – something to do with toys or candy – I began to wonder why she was so distraught about my single status.
Eventually I figured it out. It was those damned fairy tales!!
She thought that, by then, I certainly should have kissed enough frogs to have found my prince.
Fairy tales are fun to believe in and they make beautiful animated movies. Little girls love Cinderella and Snow White, and while it’s a sweet phase that’s full of innocence, naivete, billowy dresses and shiny shoes, I couldn’t WAIT for my godchild to grow out of it.
But, what’s even scarier? I’ve realized over the years that some of us NEVER grow out of it. There are adult women who roam the earth dreaming of that glass slipper. Some of us want to believe in fairy tales – whether they’re the traditional or more contemporary adult fairy tales, alias Chick-Lit.
Chick-lit is fun to read, but the books are little more than modern-day fairy tales born from the minds of authors who are undoubtedly trying to work out their own love lives. (When I’m being crass, I refer to chick-lit as a writer’s whack-off.)
Don’t get me wrong. Some of my best friends are chick-lit authors. I love the stories, and some of them are extremely well-written. But they should only be used for escapism.
Sure, it’s a wonderful idea to think that we each have a rich, handsome prince who is going to find us, save us and make all of our dreams come true for the rest of our lives. It’s also a nice thought that your handsome next-door-neighbor is really a millionaire in disguise who is secretly hiding his wealth to see if you truly love him. However, if your age is in the double digits, and you haven’t received the reality memo, let me help you out. You have a better chance of winning the lottery. Three times in a row. Without playing.
Several years ago, one of my friends rated each man she dated against a list of more than 30 attributes. Some of her must-haves were very specific, like “must own two pieces of property.” The rest of them were nitpicky, down to hair and eye color and the books in his collection. While I’m an advocate of list-making and being cognizant of what you’re looking for, she had taken it way too far, and would have been better off going into a lab and creating her own man. (Which would actually be a great option, were it possible.)
When none of the men she dated could live up to her expectations, she finally realized that the man of her dreams existed, yes, but only in her dreams. She restructured her list to fit a person who might actually exist in this world.
I can’t help but think that adult fixations on fairy tales set believers up for disappointment. I’m not suggesting that anyone settle, or that your hopes of finding a great man are off-base. I’m merely encouraging everyone to be realistic. There are some good guys out there, but most of them aren’t identical to the characters drawn in the gilded pages of an enchanted fairy tale. Nor do they resemble the leading man in chick-lit novels.
If you catch yourself falling into fairy tale mode when looking for a mate, keep in mind that most of us would be in huge trouble if all men were looking for dainty princesses.
I have some work to do with my goddaughters. I plan to guide them to a place where they’re not looking for a trademarked Mr. Wonderful, while remaining appropriately optimistic about their “ever afters.”
But I’ll give them part of the dream. Even if Prince Charming doesn’t exist, they should at least have a Fairy Godmother.
XO, Gina B.
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