Her: “If I wasn’t “in my own world” all the time even I might be intimidated by you…”
Me: “I am so not intimidating …”
Her: “I think you are to some …”
Me: “I’m short … not intimidating”
Her: “So was Napoleon.”
My strategy is all wrong.
As little girls, you are surrounded by prompts that program you to believe that being pretty and having a brain, treating your life and all who enter it with kindness, and having the strength and independence to stand on your own two feet are attributes that make you desirable as a friend and a partner. And that Prince Charming, wherever he may be and by whatever horsepower he might be driven, will sweep you off your feet and carry you over the threshold of a suburban castle.
Pardon me, Misters Grimm, but I call bullshit on your so-called fairytale ending.
Because while Sleeping Beauty was asleep, she got raped and knocked up. The Little Mermaid killed herself over a man, and Cinderella went from scullery maid to spoiled princess. Goldilocks was an old hag who broke her neck falling out the window and Snow White was meant to be dinner long before Hannibal made liver luscious. And Rapunzel? She lost her locks and watched her prince fall to blindness on the thorns below.
They did not all live happily ever after. Unless they had access to exceptional therapists, lawyers and Xanax.
Which brings me to my modern-day fairy tale. Girl meets boy. Girl gets devoted husband, two cherished children and a thriving career. Boy makes early and unauthorized exit. Girl recovers.
Girl discovers how many frogs are on the road to finding a prince.
It’s not that I claim to be the next cover contender for the annual swimsuit issue, and I don’t expect a Nobel Prize to arrive in the mail anytime soon. And anyone who has seen me at the end of a work day—or spent time with me at boarding school and college—knows that I am not exactly destined for sainthood. But I am, despite all faults and blemishes, reasonably attractive, smart, independent and financially sound.
Which is, apparently, the wrong hand to be holding if you are wearing my 3.5-inch glass slippers.
Because fairy tales are generally about the weaker of the weaker sex. And according to friends and family—even my son—I am not an appropriate fairytale princess.
For the Iranian-born doctor looking for a woman to take care of him during his three years of residency. For the man who manages three restaurants on the other side of town and didn’t understand why I can’t just find a sitter within 30 minutes. For the widower 20 years my senior who, having never met me, believed we were kindred spirits. For all the men that have inquired as to my financial status, whether I landed a fat inheritance, and asked if I had pursued a successful lawsuit … on the first or second date. For the wrestler who told me I was the perfect size for spinning. And for the reformed felon that couldn’t quite place my last name.
I am, however, perfect.
For the man that wants me.