Happily Ever After
This past weekend, another charming European prince married his princess. I had never heard of His Royal Highness Prince Guillaume, The Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg. However, I can’t help but be reminded of every fairytale I ever read that ended with: “…and they lived happily ever after.”
When I was very young, I saw Snow White – the Disney version, of course. I still remember sitting on the swings at recess as a young girl singing, “Someday My Prince Will Come.” Even though I was an intelligent girl with a (since-abandoned) dream of becoming president of the country, I still believed that I needed a prince to come along and sweep me off my feet. I suppose it might have been useful for one of the adults in my life to point out that princes weren’t actually all that common in the United States.
When Prince Charles married Lady Diana, I read everything I could about the royal couple. I wanted nothing less than to move to Britain immediately and locate Charles’ younger brothers. I was heartbroken when Andrew married Fergie – even though he was eleven years older than me. Of course, by the time I was in my twenties, both of the marriages had dissolved, proving once and for all that “happily ever after” wasn’t the most accurate ending to princely marriages.
Even so, I wanted to fashion my first marriage into a fairytale. My invitations featured a princess kissing a frog. I had a grand wedding with a big white-silk gown, a hundred-and-fifty guests, and a cake that would make a standard wedding cake crumble in shame. Unfortunately, my frog failed to transform into the prince I needed him to be.
After that marriage failed, I spent some time figuring out who I was. I realized I wasn’t Cinderella – for one thing, I can’t keep house worth a damn. I wasn’t Snow White – I was much more likely to have seven dogs around me than seven dwarves. And I wasn’t Aurora – although the chances of me pricking my finger on a spinning wheel were much better than me actually spinning anything. When I met my second husband, I put all my cards on the table – and he chose to love me anyway. I didn’t have to mould him into a prince, because he already was one.
Maybe we should write new endings for the old fairytales. Instead of Snow White taking the “beggar woman’s” apple, she should put a “no soliciting” sign on the door. Little Red Riding Hood should learn how to wield her own ax. And Cinderella shouldn’t run away when the clock starts tolling – if the prince can’t accept her as she really is, maybe he’s not the right royal for her.
In other words, if we women weren’t raised to believe that a man would come along and save us if only we were perfect enough, maybe we would use the brains God gave us to find our own “happily ever afters” – with or without a prince.