Maybe it’s not even our faults? After all, weren’t we reared on the Disneyesque “once upon a dream” dream? Those “happily ever after” stories and movies featuring Prince Charming—in all his many manifestations: either real prince or half god or bad-boy prince turned beast or bad-boy prince turned frog or (oooh, hey, let’s mix it up!) bad-boy street urchin thief turned carpet-flying prince. Hell, even the ones starring cartoon foxes and spaghetti-eating dogs feature an “outlaw” and a “tramp.”
Argue if you will. It won’t help. It’s my blog. Besides, I’m right. The bad-boy (prince or no—but always better if so) transformed (sometimes literally!) by the love of a good, brave, caring, gutsy girl and their forever happy life ever after is the staple of nearly every Disney movie ever made. At least the ones my generation watched. (Merida, Disney’s feminist princess, was decades away from the drawing board.) And did you ever know a little girl who didn’t watch her favorite a zillion times?
Small wonder the tripe—and its repetition—has served to subconsciously imprint an enduring feminine romantic fantasy that is nearly DNA deep. (If not totally indelible—it sure as shit is Sharpie-permanent.) It’s still the principal plot of most romance novels—only now we are more inclined toward whip-wielding billionaire playboys (Seriously, people! Seriously?!?) or war-scarred SEALS or haunted ex-cops (or twice divorced mechanics?) or any other seemingly unattainable, but built like a brick shithouse hunk of hurt in need of healing. Yep. The bad-boy turned good by the love of a good woman . . . a childhood fairy tale scenario that endures ineffaceably far into adulthood . . .
But there is a Magic Eraser (metaphorically speaking). Apply a little water (a lot of tears) and with effort (and time), it’ll wipe that shit right out. It’s called “reality.” And fortunately for some of us, it does come in a multi-pack—‘cause sometimes once just ain’t enough to unlearn the lie. The bad-boy remains bad. Ladies, listen up. And repeat after me: The fucking frog stays a fucking frog! And the good woman is left feeling like a fool for the fairy tale she envisioned wherein she could “fix” him.
Yet that is only half of the fairy tale fallacy. Even worse is the “happily ever after” programming whereby we fantasize a fairy tale ending to what is a beginning. Newsflash: Unlike books and movies—and fairy tales—life continues past the final page turned or the fade to black kiss. The credits don’t roll. And there is no Oscar-worthy theme song . . . though I am partial personally to Adele’s It Matters How This Ends . . .
‘Cause what if I never love again?
To be continued . . .