Beauty in the Mending: Happily Ever After
Have you ever really thought about fairy tales? Among others: Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and [my very favourite] Shrek? I loved the ones with the princesses because they fed one of my fantasies, that someday I would be the girl in the tower being rescued by her Prince Charming; that I would be the girl riding into the warmth of that golden horizon, riding into her ever after and living happily thereafter. The fantasy that my Prince Charming would fight to set me free, break down those walls and machete those creeping hedges or thickets or whatever they are, because he longed to have his bride on his big, white stallion, riding into the sunset with him.
See, they never tell you what it's like after riding into the sunset. They never tell you the truth – that it's hell and high water [sometimes] from then on; that there's morning breath and seeing him on the toilet day after day; That there are headaches and unpaid bills waiting. They never tell you about the miscarriages and the ghosts of girlfriends-who-won't-let-go; or the late night phone calls taken in the bathroom, as far as possible from earshot. No, they never tell you about them because they want to sell you a dream. They want to keep you hoping lest you take your own life because of its reality. They can't risk the death of a potential customer, so they sell you a lie and brainwash you.
Golden hair, dainty feet and flawless skin; chiseled abs, muscled legs and “poppin” grins – Yes, that couple is the perfect ten. Eating anything and everything and staying so thin. And that prince! How does he manage to stay so perfect looking and flawless, even after mounting a tower in search of his starving, close-to-death bride? Does the princess have a shower up there in her tower? HECK YEAH, they lied to us! They didn't talk about the stretch marks or the effect of gravity, the protruding bellies and sagging breasts, the beard bumps or those tract infections; they hid the ring worm and the chipped toenails; they stuck tubes on his bold spots and put weaves on her thinning haired head. They airbrushed her thighs and photo-shopped that cellulite. Oooooh, they got us good, people.
Fairy tale my foot! They didn't tell us that the glass slipper almost never fits, that the cruel step-mother and her minions do win sometimes and NO, damn it, a kiss won't save your life from death by poison! They lied when they said it gets better. Sometimes you don't get to ride into the horizon because divorce has a faster stallion than yours, his baby mama called dibs on your prince and his lying behind is actually sitting on an over-worked donkey which will most likely cough to its death before you get to ever after. Because sometimes, the little girl doesn't wake-up from being beaten unconscious, and that man doesn't recover from that gunshot wound which he sustained trying to free his lover from her rapists; and because that random woman will die of AIDs after riding into the horizon with the wrong Prince Charming.
We got played! We got a raw deal! DO YOU HEAR ME? I wasn't born airbrushed, fair-skinned or lightweight. Damn it, I never asked to be THICK, big lipped or nappy haired! I was born this way. Answer me this, why is the kinky haired girl never the princess? Are they trying to say I'm ugly? Are they throwing subtle hints in my direction that I. Am. Not. Good. Enough? Growing up looking at Rapunzel – the skinny b*tch with the long, orange-coloured flowy hair. Call me jealous or a loud mouth but I've got to say, my head can't make hair that straight even if I concentrated really hard.
The rest is always left to our imagination because they never give you a glimpse of ever after. “What is it like?” you wonder.
I'll tell you since you asked so nicely. Prince Charming is not a sculpted doll but the troll living in the swamp a few metres from your backyard, read “boy next door”. He's the buck-toothed one; the pot-bellied one; the one with the funky breath and webbed feet. But he's the sweet un-prince charming because he's nothing like in the fairy tales but everything in the real life; The one who's got your back, and still looks like he actually fought to get it. Because tired, raggedy and disheveled is what, in reality, a man who has traveled for days on end, slain a dragon, killed a witch, chopped down some bushes and climbed a tower looks like after he’s fought to save your behind, princess.