I would hardly consider myself a fairy-godmother type who is out to save every tortured and damaged guy she meets. But in my past, I have definitely found myself looking beyond what everyone else sees in someone and trying to uncover something deeper. And you know what? It’s usually a suicide mission. In fact, I can’t think of a single time when it has worked out the way I wanted.
As women, I think we all have this dream that we will be the one to turn someone around. To take that guy we meet who is emotionally crippled and magically resurrect his belief in love. And, of course, we dream that our efforts will be rewarded with someone who sees us as the one person who truly cared enough to look beyond the scars, curses, and masks to see his inner beauty. Well, that’s crap. And do you know whom we have to blame for this overly optimistic view? Fairy tales, especially the Disney versions. Think about it:
The Princess and the Frog: After the princess kisses a FROG, he becomes a handsome prince.
Beauty and the Beast: He is a monster and a tyrant but, of course, the love she shows toward him changes him, and, in the end, he becomes a handsome prince.
Even in The Lion King when Prince Simba decides to give up on everything after he loses his father, it’s Nala that convinces him to come back and become King.
But these things don’t happen in real life. Or at least not often enough to endure the hurt and disappointment that come when it doesn’t work out. You know what fairy-tale elements do happen though?
Cinderella: Guy falls for a girl when she shows up late to a party in a really hot dress and fancy ride. He would never have noticed her otherwise.
Aladdin: Guy lies about being rich to impress a girl he thinks is hot.
Peter Pan: Girl falls for a totally immature guy that refuses to grow up.
Yeah, so maybe fairy tales have screwed up our perception of love. But that’s because we all want to live happily ever after, right? And believe it or not, even after all I’ve said here, I do still believe in fairy-tale love. Not a fairy-tale life, of course. (Last I checked, real life does not have talking mice and birds that are fashion designers, and the only things pumpkins turn into are pies.) I just mean the love part. The kind of love that you read about in books where no matter what trials they face, the couple doesn’t want to live without each other. And in a world where fidelity seems to be a thing of the past, that kind of commitment is refreshing and frankly something I need to believe in. The solution to my frustration is I just need to stop expecting to find it in the wrong places and start trusting what I actually see. It may be too late for Peter Pan’s Wendy, but it’s not too late for me.