After tearing at the end of a Disney movie I have seen many times before, and naturally feeling like I might go out tomorrow and meet my husband in the Michigan Diag, I began to question: Is it bad to tell girls that they will, someday, find prince charming?
I understand the feminist argument that women shouldn’t be waiting around for men to save them and that we are perfectly capable of wriggling out of the dragon’s grasp without a man’s help, but is the idea that prince charming exists really such a bad message? Is it setting us up for disappointment? Will we all someday feel the magic that Cinderella felt when she laid eyes on her prince?
Is there a prince charming waiting out there for everyone? After a breakup can you really find solace in the fact that it is a mere part of the “broken road” leading you on the path to that one person you are meant to be with, as the princess of the Disney animated movie explains it, “forever and ever”?
I have been thinking a lot lately about love including first love, true love and happily ever after love. Can you experience these three different versions of love with three different people? Or is your husband your one real first love, true love, and happily ever after love who will make your other so called loves feel much less like loves in comparison?
I would explain the feeling I thought to be love as being completely comfortable with another person, wanting to tell them everything, missing them after leaving them for five seconds—laughing and realizing that, at that moment, I felt the happiest I had ever felt.
I wonder, however, if I am going to look back on my high school romance and question how I ever thought that was real love. Will those feelings that I interpreted as love will be the equivalent as the feelings of love I have with my husband, or will they be much more powerful?
I think about my parents, who, despite their fair share of arguments, seem to be really, truly in love with each other. I hesitate to say madly in love because I have not witnessed that first hand, but I wonder if they would describe their love that way. When my mom met my dad, I wonder how long it took her to realize he was the one. And with all of their differences and long standing disagreements, I wonder if at the end of the day, none of it matters because they are each others prince, and princess charming… or, I wonder, if that is a naïve way to think about it.
The first time my parents informed me of a friend’s parents getting a divorce, I was heartbroken and quite distraught. Yes, I felt sorry for my friend but my heartbreak came from my confusion and sadness I felt for her parents. How can you fall out of love with someone you chose to devote your entire life to loving? “Its more complicated than that,” my parents explained to me, but why did it have to be? Didn’t marriage mean eternal love? It was tough to come to terms with the fact that marriage in our society does not in fact signify one true love, instead signifies the first (or second or third) shot at it.
Is the concept of one person to spend the rest of your life with becoming archaic? When I envision my life, I never envision myself getting a divorce, but then again, it’s not like those who end up getting divorced set out to do so.
So should we still preach for prince charming, or tell kids that prince charming is a myth? Should we tell them that, in reality, 50% of prince and princess charming’s don’t live happily ever after? Or is it important to keep that hope burning inside of people?
“He’s out there,” my mom says to me, “you just haven’t met him yet.” Well, I guess all I can do is wonder if that’s really true, if meeting him will be much like I see in the movies (heart throbbing palms sweating), and if he will be the person I am sitting in a rocking chair with at 85, living out my happily ever after. At this point I’m choosing to remain optimistic that the shoe will fit… eventually.