Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fairy-Tale Couples

Happy Valentine's Day!

Every year for Valentine's Day, I buy my husband a fairy-tale-themed card. He's my Prince Charming, my dream-come-true, my happily-ever-after. Lately, though, I've started wondering if these cards are sending the right message. Is "You're my Prince Charming?" really such a compliment?

WHY I DON'T WANT A FAIRY-TALE RELATIONSHIP (or Reasons to Buy the Card with Love Birds on it Instead)

Cinderella and Prince Charming
HER: Wins the boy by pretending to be something she's not. Flees rather than pursue open lines of communication.
HIM: Submits to a meat-market approach to dating. Foot fetish.

Princess and Frog Prince
HER: Tries to weasel out of promises. Cruel to animals (in one variant, she hurls the frog against the wall rather than allow him in her bed).
HIM: Uses blackmail to get into the girl's bed.

Beauty and the Beast
HER: Displays signs of Stockholm Symdrome.
HIM: Intolerant of future in-laws. Uses passive-agressive behavior (i.e. nearly dying) to win the girl. Too much chest hair.

Little Mermaid and Prince (Hans Christian Andersen version)
HIM: Marries someone else.
HER: Dies.

Sleeping Beauty and Prince
HER: Not a great conversationalist (due to snoring).
HIM: Falls in love with a sleeping girl. Not so interested in conversation. (Wait, maybe that makes them a perfect couple...)

Snow White and Prince
HER: Leaves her loyal friends after just one kiss.
HIM: Falls in love with a dead girl. Ick.

WHY I'M GIVING MY HUSBAND THE CARD ANYWAY (or Why I Still Think Fairy-Tale Love is Romantic)

Cinderella and Prince Charming
She dates him in defiance of her family. He searches the kingdom for her based on very scant evidence. That's so awesome!

Princess and Frog Prince
Well, he does rescue her golden ball from the pond. And he's quite persistent in courting her, even though it's clear she's an immature brat... Okay, I don't think this one is very romantic. The guy blackmails, bullies, and manipulates her in order to break his enchantment. That's using someone, not loving them.

Beauty and the Beast
You guys know how I feel about this fairy tale. This is the shining example of true love in fairy tales. Beauty and the Beast spend time together before they reach happily-ever-after. They get to know each other, and they truly fall in love.

Little Mermaid and Prince
Okay, not so much with the true-love here. She sacrifices everything she knows and everything she is, he rejects her, and then she dies.

Sleeping Beauty and Prince
The Prince did what no one else was willing to do: kiss a princess who had been sleeping for a century. Seriously, this is a real feat of bravery -- do you know how much dust and how many spiderwebs can gather after a century? Take a look at my living room for a hint.

Snow White and Prince
As a wedding present, he lets her murder the evil witch. Now that's true love. (See story.)

Wishing you all a (fairy-tale?) romance this Valentine's Day!

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At 12:37 PM, Blogger Erin said...

"Too much chest hair" and "Falls in love with a dead girl" both made me laugh out loud.

Much fun. :)
Happy Valentines!

At 12:40 PM, Blogger Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

If you like the getting-to-know part of B&B, you might like this version even better (or, at least, I did) because they were sweethearts even before he was the beast.

Sort of like the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty that had the couple knowing each other in another context before the magic attack.

At 2:44 PM, Blogger Madison said...

That was hysterical; I was laughing out loud as I read through it.

At 6:39 PM, Blogger Q said...

I'm still giggling.

At 12:08 AM, Blogger lili said...

Ah, The Little Mermaid. Nothin' good to say about it.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Erin: Thanks! Happy Valentine's Day to you too!

Amy Jane: Very fun! Thanks for sharing!

Q and Anidori-Isilee: Glad you liked! Thanks!!

Lili: I know! I like the Disney version so much better.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Q said...

Yes, the Andersen verion of The Little Mermaid is just depressing.

At 4:53 PM, Blogger Melissa Walker said...

awesome post.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Thanks, Melissa!

At 11:54 AM, Blogger Elva Undine said...

Great post! I was cracking up.
But with Sleeping Beauty, you forgot - morning breath. Braving *that* is true love.

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Elva: Oh, the breath! I didn't think of that. Brilliant! It would be like a hundred years worth of unwashed socks.

At 11:44 PM, Anonymous Ariel Grimm said...

How cool, I agree I hate the traditions and sexism farytales sneakily imply but I love fairytales too, but I hope to see Princes marrying Princes, girls not getting married, and polygamous relationships in modern fairytales..

At 12:16 AM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Ariel Grimm: My favorite modern fairy tale is the Paper Bag Princess. The princess decides she doesn't want the prince and goes off to have her own adventures. Very cute and satisfying.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Great, i LOVE your talk-through tales. :D

Happy V-day Sarah. :D


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