Sunday, April 1, 2012

Beauty and all the Beasts

I find myself enthralled with Amelia’s book collection.   Although she is much too young to comprehend Goodnight Moon or the Berenstain Bears, I am overcome with a sense of nostalgia as I flip through the once familiar pages.  Last night’s selection, Cinderella, brought back not only childhood memories, but adult ones, as well.  After digging through my old vault of college essays, I happened upon the “anti-Disney” phase of my life.  Instead of lighting the book on fire like my twenty-year-old self would have done, I read it to her a second time. 

If you’ve already read this old feminist rant of mine, I apologize for the redundancy.  If you haven’t, I promise I’m back on Walt's bandwagon.

   Beauty and all the Beasts (2008)
I learned Santa was an obese hoax at the ripe old age of four. I knocked out almost all of my teeth during an aggressive game of Red Rover in kindergarten, and so there went the Tooth Fairy at five. I can’t remember my exact age when the Easter Bunny was let out of the bag, but I’m sure I still had training wheels.

They can open up about the Tooth Fairy (cheap bastard), they apologize for a bunny rabbit, and they can even bring themselves to hit alt, control, delete on old Santee Claus himself, but they never thought to unveil the biggest revelation of all time. After all the years of Disney stories and all the Brother Grimm fairy tales, no one ever thought to mention---Prince Charming doesn’t exist. There. Someone finally said it.

I always felt so relieved at the conclusion of Cinderella when I realized that despite her filthy hair and camaraderie with mice, Prince Charming could still love her regardless of her odor. And Snow White----she cohabitated with seven other men, yet Prince Charming overlooked her promiscuity and loved her unconditionally. I read these stories cover to cover, night after night, transfixed by an unblemished prince who was chivalrous, faithful, and loyal. I pretended I was Sleeping Beauty, poisoned by the infamous apple, and would lie still in bed until his imaginary lips woke me to a world of voluminous hair and ripped biceps.

With every relationship gone bad, and with every Prince-not-so-Charming I would meet, greet, date, and dispose, I found myself asking the age old question that all damsels in distress most certainly ask, “Where the hell is he?”
It took me twenty-two years to realize that Prince Charming was the leading man in all three of my favorite fairy tales. I awoke in a panic at the enormity of my discovery. Prince Charming and Cinderella; Prince Charming and Snow White; Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauty. Same damn guy. It hit me like a ton of bricks---Prince Charming was a womanizer.

You’d think I would be distraught to learn that my ever-elusive Prince was in reality just a man who charmed the ballroom gowns off of vulnerable, often times drug-induced women. You’d think my faith in mankind and in happily-ever-after would be shot to a kingdom far, far away. Yet somehow, I was relieved.  No wonder I couldn’t get it right---even Cinderella was duped. 

They should have told us---yes, thinking back, we should all be warned while still in diapers that like Santa and the Tooth Fairy, a flawless knight dressed in shining armor will never arrive on our doorstep. He’s just a hoax like the rest of them; a childhood myth they should debunk at birth.

We wait our entire lives to meet a soul mate of such epic proportions, only to find he falls short of the bedtime stories. We explore high schools and colleges and planet Earth in search of him, convinced this one remaining mythical creature just may be out there.  

I still skim through the remains of my childhood storybooks, but Prince Charming’s once shiny hair now looks greasy and gelled; his biceps steroid-induced. He’s just a man, I tell myself, and a Grimm one at best.


  1. You really do need a literary agent, cousin. Excellent as always. Eric Petty

  2. I agree with Eric. You write so well! I can't wait to read each and every addition to your blog. I am really looking forward to reading all that Switzerland inspires...another cousin, Connie Werkman

  3. Good as normal but to defend us men, it takes getting the women drug induced and intoxicated to engage in the conversation that’s going on in are head out in the open. Over all if it wasn’t for the hoops we run/jump/craw through we wouldn’t appreciate what we found at the start of our new begening.