Once Upon A Time…
A little girl’s first taste of epic romantic love is fairytale stories. We are all familiar with the ingredients: A dash of Girl has horrible life, a pinch of handsome Prince falls madly in love with her, and 5 cups of Prince makes all her dreams come true, add glitter, song, and forest, for extra flavor. Isn’t that sweet? While these sugary stories are a great indulgence, eating too much will undoubtedly result in a tummy-ache.
Women well into their 20s take miscues from the genre, but fear not, you can break the spell! Sure, fairytales are just stories and as adults we know this, but when an idyllic story is fed to a child at such a young age the after taste stays with them.—So whether or not we want to admit it, a part of us thinks that’s how a relationship should be. While little girls learn to think one day we will be able to talk to animals, have a fairy god-mother that will advise us on fashion, and a man will do everything for her to show he loves her, little boys are watching superhero stories, and learning one day they may have superpowers but they are also being taught to believe in themselves and work hard.
Here are the misnomers and a better modern-day approach:
Most women love to be chased, it’s so thrilling and it really plays into our ego. We could use a self-confidence booster after living in rags for decades. Courtship is alive, but don’t expect your crush to engage in sword fights with ninjas because you smiled at him. You aren’t the only one putting yourself out there, and if you aren’t willing to give a little, eventually your crush won’t give at all. Pretending you are uninterested so he will try harder looks a lot like being uninterested because, well, you aren’t interested.
Being a Princess
In most fairytales the heroine’s entire world revolves around the prince. She is madly in love with him and is waiting for him to come to the rescue. Her best friend is an animal and she has limited interactions with the outside world. On the flip-side of the looking glass, superhero characters have a lot more going on. They worry about avenging a family member’s untimely death, the safety of the world, they have a sidekick (aka best friends), AND they have a damsel in distress. So, while the woman in a fairytale is fixated on the journey to be with the man, a superhero’s story-line is only partially about the damsel. This sends a message to a woman that the story of her life is about a man, and that she is only a supporting actress in a superhero’s action film. Don’t fall for this women! Even if you are in a relationship you are still the leading lady!
It doesn’t matter if you live in the same bedroom chambers or not, you should still do some of the same activities you loved before you met him. Too often a woman will melt so far into a relationship that not even the mirror on the wall can see her defining characteristics outside of being a prince’s girlfriend or wife. The right man doesn’t want to date himself (unless his name is Gaston), he wants to date you. You are the girl he fell for, including your passion for running marathons, bird-watching, or painting. This helps you maintain a more holistic life.
Here’s the truth: a relationship is two-sided and neither member should expect the other to do everything for them, regardless of what Disney told you. Sometimes it’s important to act like you don’t have seven dwarves doing your bidding. If you are dating someone and you get sick, don’t assume your prince will go on an epic journey to a far away land (Wholefoods) to get the secret potion (chicken soup) to heal you. If your prince is constantly waiting on you hand and glass slipper he may not be there for you when you really need his help. I say, if you can take care of something yourself without too much trouble, then do it, you are not helpless.
And They Lived…
Romance is not a poisoned apple, the antiquated notions are just a little ripe, and it looks different than the fairytales you saw as a four-year-old. The perfect guy for you is out there, and he will take you star gazing. He will challenge you in the right way, and he will love you for your perfections and your flaws. A modern-day fairytale will not be perfectly happy every day, but it doesn’t mean it won’t be happy ever-after.