Friday, November 15, 2013

Dear Prince Charming: You’re Fired.

Dear Prince Charming,

I am pretty sure that your only job is to ride around rescuing maidens and performing knightly deeds for damsels in distress, and based on this job description, you are fired.

It is not necessarily because you are doing your job poorly; rather, it is the broader implications of your position that need to be eradicated. I am not sure how much learning large words is part of your training, so I will try to put this in terms you can understand.

It’s not you, it’s me. 

I don’t mean this in that the problem is with me; unlike many people who use this phrase to “let someone down easy,” I am not lamenting my inability to love you despite your impressive list of accomplishments. “If only I weren’t so broken,” they wail, “I would love you, wonderful person that is in front of me.”

No, I don’t mean it like that, because – shall I be blunt? – that’s a bunch of malarkey anyway. When people say that, it means that they can’t for the life of them get the attraction juices flowing, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, for some reason people think they need to simper and apologize for a basic human right: to fall for who we fall for without having to explain or justify it, and to not fall for someone with the same rights.

No, what I mean is that the idea of YOU showing up in my life has made ME lazy. My entire life I have been told by every Disney movie, most other movies, media in general and a big black paradigm cloud that if I’m a good girl and I wear nice dresses and suffer soundlessly and get my nails done so my toes don’t look gross when you put that glass slipper on my foot, all my problems will go away and my dreams will come true when you show up. 

I was also told that I’d better not act like I need you or need anything from you when you get here, because nothing will scare you away faster. Instead, you will naturally intuit all that I want and need, so I'd better make sure what you're intuiting is what I want. I’ve been told to play hard to get; to dumb myself down, and that there’s nothing sexy about being myself when I could be a simpering, bustle-wearing beauty instead.

It’s actually not you OR me, but US, Prince Charming. Because I never learned to chop wood, knowing you would do it when you showed up to show off your manly prowess, and you never learned to cook, because that was women’s work. I never learned to slay dragons, because that would emasculate you when you finally did come to call, and you never learned to cry, because if you were crying, then who would I lean on?  No, your job was to be stoic and mine was to faint at the site of danger, despite the fact that eventually I will have to muster everything to shove our child out of my womb in a mass of pain and blood, and if that is not a brave or emasculating endeavor, then just what the hell is?

I know it’s not your fault, Prince Charming. I know you can only know what you have been taught, and they certainly didn’t teach you how to appreciate a woman who would have the dragon spitted when you got there, or how to swaddle a child. They didn’t teach you to open up to me, because feelings are not manly. Instead, they taught you to want to rescue me, and me to want rescuing.

I suppose now that I’ve fired you I’ll end up an old maid, because according to “them,” there is no in-between: you mind your p’s and q’s and wait quietly for your prince to come, or you die an old maid because you didn’t deserve him in the first place; you must have done something wrong if you ended up alone. There is no room there for the kind of relationship that would truly be of equals, because that would be too much to expect or ask – and also, it’s not the stuff that fairy tales are made of. No, no man is wowed by a woman’s brain. Instead, her beauty sets her apart, makes her different and desirable. If I ask you just where the hell you got the idea that it was my job to clean your boots and be impressed by the fact that you killed a deer and tracked its gore into my kitchen, well then, I’m just being ungrateful. No one says anything about the rabbits I snared that kept us fed when you went sullen and decided you didn’t want to hunt for a month while your drinking buddies were in town.

Oops, I’ve gone and done it now. I’m all fired up and speaking my mind. God forbid. I am certainly not the stuff that fairy tales are made of, because that would mean that I was docile, unable to care for myself, and that I needed you to think for me and protect me from others AND myself. I guess I’d better go work on that shawl. It will keep me warm when you aren’t there, because even if I hadn’t fired you, nothing in your experience has taught you to appreciate what I could give you: an equal, a confidant, and a partner. 

No, for that I’ll have to go somewhere else. Maybe there’s a woodsman in need of a wife; maybe there’s a shepherd who hasn’t heard anything about a need to rescue a woman perfectly capable of rescuing myself. Maybe there’s some man out there who has not heard anything about this superiority crap, who can just appreciate my humanness and my femininity without making it into a game of whose genitals and temperament are superior. However, if he sees you when he shows up, he’s going to turn and walk away, because it’s a logical conclusion to think that no self-respecting woman would be sitting at your feet, batting her eyelashes and oooing and aaaahhing at your stories. 

So off with you, Prince Charming. I wish you the best, but please don’t come around anymore. From now on I’ll slay those dratted dragons myself and wait for someone who will be willing to do the dishes if I’m willing to learn to chop the wood. If that person never shows up, I won’t be worse off, because I’ll no longer be waiting for that space to be filled, or an imaginary hole in my life to close. 

Love and fired up kisses,

Princess Morgan