The reality of fairy tales

Perhaps Cinderella had it right all along. To secure your handsome prince, you need – in this order – one mean step mother, two ugly step sisters, a fabulous pair of shoes and a party invite. Stage an intervention, dance like Ginger Rogers, flirt outrageously with the queen’s son and pretend to lose a shoe.

Oh, and have an affinity for pumpkins.The curious part in all this is that Cinderella knew nary a thing about her prince. Would he relegate her to the role of football wife each weekend? Would he always open the door for her, or did he only do it that one time to impress her? Did he fart in bed and clip his toenails when watching tv? Would he have a teeny tiny willy with absolutely no idea how to use it?

Yet, there she was, blithely happy to marry him; happy to clamber up behind him on his white steed and ride off into the stereotypical sunset. Interesting how happy endings always seem to occur at twilight. Unlike ones I’m more accustomed to which seem more likely to occur at 2am when the bar is calling last drinks.

We know they lived happily ever after. It says so in the book. It doesn’t say that they had to go live with his mother while they saved for a home. Or that they ended up with three kids under four and were too exhausted at the end of the day to say hello to each other, much less share a kiss and a pony ride.

So perhaps we should stop berating Cinderella for not being pro-feminism; for not dating more; for not getting herself a decent education, taking out a mortgage and developing a network of friends.

She went to a party. She had a few drinks and met a bloke. He looked all right. He had a bit of money and a nice house. He clearly understood the close relationship women have with their shoes as he was so keen to make sure she got her missing one back.

So why doesn’t the Cinderella theory work for me? Am I really just searching for a good looking bloke to cart me off on his horse or equivalent? What if I didn’t like the suburb his castle was in? What if I preferred he go out to work each day to give me some peace instead of sitting in his counting house counting out his money and getting under my feet?

You see, he could be a prince, but if he’s shorter than me, he doesn’t get looked up, much less a look in. He could be a millionaire, but if he’s got a million issues from his first marriage that he hasn’t addressed, all the money in the world won’t make me stay. He could be the heir to Microsoft Systems but if his systems in bed are either micro or soft, he won’t be doing any point and click with me.

How much of myself am I prepared to abandon to secure a relationship? And does that amount rise with each passing year? Is the set of goal posts that I once firmly concreted into the ground now being excavated so I can move them?

Or should I go to more parties with a pumpkin under my arm and the strap loose on my sandals?

Snow White didn’t have it so bad either. Living in a house with seven gays would mean that you could talk at length about your “issues” and your “feelings” to an attentive audience. There would always be home-made pesto and a decent wedge of brie in the fridge. You could drink chardonnay all the time and not have to pretend it was a sav blanc.

The toilet seat would be down, the dishes washed up and you would never need to worry about your house-mates trying to cop a quick feel.

And then, just when you think you’ve done your dash and there’s no hope whatsoever left, some spunk of a bloke pops along, wakes you up with a dirty big pash in front of all your friends and there it is.

If I lived with seven adorable gays, I’d never want to leave. One of my very best friends is gay and I never want him to leave. We holiday together, shop together, cook together. He very patiently listens to me rave on for extended periods of time. Once I did it while we flew all the way to Singapore. He just kept ordering more red whilst simultaneously nodding and saying “yes sweetie, of course you’re right”. It’s fabulous.

Oh, and I’d never go near an apple again.

So does that mean relationships aren’t all they’re cracked up to be? When the theory is deconstructed, is it really trying to tell us to find more peace, contentment, happiness within ourselves first?

Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl “Will you marry me?” The girl said “no thank you.”

Instead, the girl went shopping, dancing, had a great job, drank expensive wine, always had a clean house, cooked only when she felt like it, made her own decisions, never argued, read many books, didn’t get fat, travelled the world, took many lovers, didn’t save money, and had all the hot water to herself.

She went to the theatre, talked for hours with her girlfriends, laughed often, never watched sports, always looked fabulous and didn’t own any of that scratchy lace underwear that gets stuck up your arse.

And she lived happily ever after.

The end.

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