Okay, we were young and impressionable. There can be no other excuse for our gullibility, and heaven knows, we need an excuse.
We were raised on fairy tales, or at least, I was. At the risk of dating myself, I have to ask, do you remember the Disney show? Not the Disney Channel. Walt was only allotted an hour of air time a week back then, but he packed it full of life-altering entertainment.
How about Sleeping Beauty? A lovely young maiden without one acne spot to mar her porcelain complexion falls prey to her wicked step-mother―a total hag―and is tricked into biting into a poison apple that plunges her into a death-like sleep. Only the kiss of her intended prince can awaken her. Need I tell you how many “princes” I kissed trying to emulate that particular heroine? Then, when the prince arrives and kisses her, the bit of apple falls from her mouth where it has lain for God knows how long. Romantic? It seemed so to me at the time. What if the poison had been transferred from her lips to the Prince’s? And why didn’t I think of that while I was married?
So, let’s move on, shall we?
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. Need I say more? I will, though. Here again is a lovely, pale-skinned chick thrust into an untenable situation while she awaits her prince. I personally sat around with freckles and a moderate case of acne while I waited―nay, actively searched―for mine. Oh, sure, I kissed my share of frogs, but I regret to say each and every one of them retained their amphibious characteristics. Still, I kept trying. Some folks just never learn.
Back to Snow White and the Seven Horribly Sloppy Little Men. Did our girl really enjoy cleaning their house and doing their laundry and spending her evenings mending their tiny little garments? I didn’t, and I only had one…at a time. I sure as hell didn’t sing and dance around with birds. Or was that Cinderella?
Okay, let’s move on to Cinderella. Beautiful (naturally) young (of course) woman slaves to please her ungrateful step-mother (Why is it always the step-mother? Aren’t there enough ungrateful natural mothers around to choose from?) and her two ugly (what a surprise!) step-sisters. She cheerfully allows them to tread all over her while sweetly lamenting her fate. Now, I ask you: what was the message to all us malleable girls? Wait on your family with a smile no matter how unreasonable their demands―although I have to say that particular moral served me well during my years as a secretary.
So we have Cinders longing to go to the ball, and up pops a fairy godmother. Where do you find these people? Believe me, I looked. The only reason I didn’t advertise in the personals is because I feared they wouldn’t accept VISA. Imagine it:
Wanted, Fairy Godmother to transform frumpy, middle-aged woman into gorgeous princess, carriage and horses optional.
Would you take on such a challenge?
Transformed, our girl goes to the ball and flees at midnight, leaving behind one delicate glass slipper. The next day, the prince’s minions comb the kingdom in search of the dainty foot that will slide effortless into the shoe.
And therein is of the cruelty of that particular fairy tale. Not only did my own true prince never show, even though I kept a packed valise by the door for years (my husbands never could understand that), but my feet grew. And grew. Long and wide, and the bigger they got, the more certain I became that I could never be a princess.
Years later, on a visit to Disney World, I met Cinderella. She was as lovely as I’d expected, with perfect skin and a tiny waist. Prince Charming stood at her side, tall and handsome, with shining blond hair that fell gracefully across his forehead, representing everything I’d dreamed of since I was a child.
It took two of my friends to restrain me from snatching Cinderella bald.
I won’t even mention Beauty and the Beast. Yes, I will. Our stereotypical maiden is kidnapped by a hideous monster, whom she learns to love. Sigh… And guess what? He turns into a prince. I married any number of monsters who weren’t nearly as hideous, and guess what? They didn’t.
So what’s your “Fairy Tale”? Come on, don’t be shy. I surely can’t be the only cynic out there. If I am, please don’t tell anyone about this blog…or I’ll sic the Big Bad Wolf on you, sharp teeth and all.
Lynda Fitzgerald is the author of three books, ranging from Romantic Fiction to Mystery. She firmly believes that humor is the best communicator, particularly about the most difficult subjects. Check her and her works out at http://www.fitzgeraldwrites.com.