Cindy wrote a post recently extolling the virtues of “princess” movies and how they aren’t that bad for young girls. I call bullshit. Growing up I was sold a bill of goods by Mr Disney and frankly, all of Hollywood. I was told that “one day my prince would come.” That I shouldn’t waste my time dating because my dream man would one day waltz into my life — or arrive by horseback, fall off a ship into my arms or simply crash into me walking around town.
Now you may say, Danielle, surely you knew better. Surely you knew Prince Charming was a figment of some male animator’s imagination and unless you’re a princess who walks around with a singing bluebird on her shoulder, this fairy tale concept is simply that, a fairy tale. Some part of me acknowledges that I was deluded by fantasy. But hear me out. When you’re bombarded with stories of people meeting cute and of men who sweep women off their feet, you start to feel like you want that — nay — you DESERVE that. So when basic everyday Joe Schmos ask you out, you decline, because why waste your time on ‘peasants’. Your one true love is out there somewhere and you need to be ready.
Of course add to this that I was an overweight teen and young woman, so meeting anyone wasn’t easy or likely. I lost myself in the fantasy of these films because I could never be the Princess or the heroine. I was never the beautiful woman that all the men wanted but only the Prince ended up with. But I could pretend to be. I could hold out in real life for someone special, someone amazing, because I deserved that. (In my mind anyway.) I knew I could be the charming woman that made men want to be with her, if only given the chance. One day, someone would see through my exterior and realize how special I was, just like in the movies.
So I waited. And waited. And waited. High school came and went with no boyfriend. Then college. I sort of dated someone my senior year from another school but it really was hooking up. Because he wasn’t “the one” so why bother. Then post college the dating didn’t get much better. Where was he?! (Cue Charlotte in Sex and the City) By the time I met my now-ex husband, I think I was just ready to be loved by anyone. So I re-wrote my fairy tale. Of course in the end this wasn’t the right decision for my “happily ever after” but it did give me many years of happiness and of course, Mr. Delicious. But, things could have been so different if I hadn’t held out for so long. If I had dated more and had more failures with all the Mr. Wrongs.
Now my dating life is just that, a series of Mr. Very Wrongs. But I also realize there is no happy ever after and my prince — or average Joe that I might want to spend the rest of my life with — certainly won’t be waltzing into my life. I do have hope that I find someone special and deserving of my love, but I realize that relationships aren’t like the movies and they take real WORK. Meeting is the easy part. Staying together is what they never show you after they head into the sunset. So I am done seeking Hollywood romance and simply looking for something honest, real and tough. Because that’s what love is.