What Do Fairy Tales Really Teach Us About Romance?

“Someday my prince will come.” It is the song that little girls around the world hear Snow White serenade to the little birds and squirrels she calls friends. The princess movies of our child­hood teach us to wait for our Prince Charming. He should be tall, dark and handsome; brave, rich and passionate; kind, caring, and sensitive. Being royal does not hurt either.

But then we grow up, and we enter the real world where we meet the guy who works part-time at the Quick Check down the road between classes and who is only a little taller than you (when you’re in flats). Bye-bye beautiful stilettos you spent two paychecks on. Could he be the one for you? You will never get a chance to find out because instead, we look for a prince.

As little girls, many of us watch princess movies with such a pas­sion that it is almost religious. We drink in what these movies give us, letting the lessons that are in them influence us way past our canopy bed and Spice Girls stage.

So what do princess movies teach us as young girls? What are the life lessons we are absorbing while sitting in front of the televi­sion in a tutu with a wand? Let’s go down the list.

Cinderella, arguably one of the most popular princess mov­ies, teaches young girls to cook, clean and be nice to people who are utterly terrible to you. Talk to animals it is totally normal. Don’t try to fix any of your own prob­lems, just wallow in self-pity and someone will come and give you that pricy gown and one-of-a-kind glass slippers. Want to meet a man? Go to a ball, act completely different from who you are, make him fall for you but then leave without giving him your number or your name and expect him to rescue you from your horrid life with an extremely obscure object.

How about Snow White? She lives with seven men and cooks and cleans up after them. She eats apples from creepy old ladies. Ba­sically, she dies until some guy comes and kisses her dead like body.

Then there is The Little Mer­maid, another cult favorite. Let’s see. She gives up her family, her life, her genetic code, her voice, her friends, her heritage (her dig­nity) for a man who saw her once while he wavered in and out of consciousness. Hopefully she can make him fall in love with her based on nothing but her looks, risk the lives of everyone she knows and loves in the process. She then marries him and agrees to be the only one in the relation­ship making sacrifices to make things work.

Beauty and the Beast? At least this one starts out promising. She neglects the boneheaded man who wants to marry her and immerses herself in books. She sacrifices herself to save her father and in turn becomes the slave of an in­credibly violent man. She breaks through the tough exterior of the violent man who yells constantly and makes her quiver in fear. She snoops, a lot. Once again, she gives up her life and family to be with him.

So we’ve got cook, clean, wait for a man, take food from strang­ers, give up your dreams, you can change a violent man, having conversations with animals is not weird and most importantly, if he is the man for you, let him come to you, let him rescue you. We’re learning a ton from these movies and stories about how to behave and what to expect from a rela­tionship.

At this point, I know I have lost a bunch of you. Most of you would not give up a mermaid tail for a man, do not expect your fairy godmother to take you to a ball and would question a lady giving you an apple. But when you sit back and think on it, we see a ton of these rules and ideas in modern relationships.

Women expect a man to make the first move. We think that they should chase us. We have a habit of thinking that there is a prince out there for us. The perfect man is the one with no issue and who wants nothing more than to treat us like princesses. Many wom­en give up dreams to be with a man, be it moving to follow him or sacrificing something impor­tant. Many women believe that they can be the one to change a man from a violent one to a ten­der soul. Often, we feel that we need to be rescued. Some women believe that without a man, their lives aren’t fulfilled. It is tragic when you sit back and think about it.

While I love princess movies just as much as the next woman, I am taking a step back. Romance is not going to be as simple as the movies. I am not going to “live happily ever after.” Yes, I will live a happy life and will be loved by my husband, but we will fight and I will want to hit him in the head with a pot sometimes. I won’t expect him to constantly chase me if I keep run­ning. Eventually, he will get tired. I refuse to let my dreams, morals,and ideals fall by the wayside for him. Every woman needs her own life separate from her man’s. I will re­member that just because my fairy tale does not follow the traditional stories to a “T,” it is not any less beautiful.

Oh, and when the shorty at Quick Check asks for your number? Give him a chance.