The 21st Century Prince: Should We Still Believe In Fairy Tales?

Prinzessin

 

 

Hands up everybody who grew up listening to fairy tales, watching Disney films and believing that happy-ever-afters were an inevitable part of life? We were all indoctrinated by the belief that life was linear: boy meets girl, an obstacle arises, boy and girl overcome obstacle and everybody lives happily ever after. The end. Yet real life doesn’t always run in a straight line and people don’ t always magically appear at the time when we most need them. Even when a frog does hop along our path, do we always recognise this as the one to be kissed? What happens when this wonderful Prince turns into a little less than we expected? Have we been cheated by the notion of our Prince (or Princess) Charming?

We want to buy into fairy tales. Real life can seem a little harsh in comparison. It’s very reassuring to think that our prince or princess will be swept along our path by the wind of destiny. However, this wind has oft-times chosen to be playful, tantalising us with would-be princes who turned out to be just frogs. Does that mean all has been lost in our efforts? How do we know when we have found a great match for ourselves? If the fairy-tale doesn’t last forever, has it been any the less beautiful while it lasted? I’d like to reflect on these questions in just a second.

I remember being around fourteen years old, sitting in a friend’s bedroom and listening to music, whilst making a list of all the qualities we expected in a man. The list went a little like this (though I don’t remember the exact order of priority at this age):

Our Princes will be:

good-looking (preferably resembling the lead singer of our favourite boy band)

clever

funny

musical

poetic

sporty

thoughtful

kind

And last, but by no means least, rich!

As you can see, we were very demanding! At that time it seemed reasonable to expect that one single person could embody all of these divine qualities. First love did little to sway me from that notion. I was seduced by its butterflied-tummied first kisses, its heartfelt rhyming poetry and dramatic, heartbreaking finale. Since most first love experiences were fireworks in the night sky, stunning in their short-lived glory and ending at their peak, I was left with the tantalising sensation of something that was just about to take flight. At this moment love is a wondrous yet elusive force that has to be seized. I had got a taste for romance and I was more convinced than ever that a prince was out there.

Cue the teenage years, with their hormone-filled encounters smelling of cheap aftershave and nervousness. Such encounters paved the way to a physical awakening, albeit in disguise of awkward fumbling. Despite failed romances due to an inherent lack of maturity on both sides, one is not deterred at this time from the pursuit of romance. So the search goes on. We meet potential princes. Some of them are discarded along the way. We are discarded by others. The one day something magical happens. There is an undeniable, irrepressible connection between too people. We see the sign in the distance, signalling the very land of Happy-Ever-After itself. Yet the path that unfolds is not without its bumpiness and curves. Why weren’t we warned about this. Here are five reflections that I’ve made whilst travelling along this very same road, in the company of a few princes and many frogs.

1) The wind of destiny may or may not blow your ideal partner your way; do not leave it to chance. Go out and explore life passionately. Be discovered whilst you’re in the midst of pursuing your passion, your dreams and being true to yourself. This will make you so very attractive. Showing the world you exist is essential; the more people you meet, the more you’ll learn about yourself and the kind of relationship you’d like to have. When you eventually come across that one frog that really stands out, you will be ready.

2) No matter how handsome, how charming and how amazing your prince is going to be, he is only ever going to complement your very own greatness. Think of this person as somebody who enhances every aspect of your life, but remember that the land of Happy-Ever-After is actually a psychological world which two people create through love, patience and understanding. Whilst no magic can substitute the ingredients to this spell, this spell indeed produces magic.

3) A long list of desired qualities isn’t always necessary. The most satisfied you feel as an individual, the less you demand as compensation from somebody else. The more you realise that you don’t actually NEED anybody, the more you’ll enjoy a person for what they have to offer and the more you¡ll value the most fundamental and basic qualities like kindness, respect and love. As you mature, so too will your ideas of what is important and the superficial will fade away.

4)There may be more than one prince throughout your life. Believing in soul-mates is very romantic, but also a little scary too. For what if I don’t happen to be in the right place at the right time? Am I doomed? The reality is that we can find incredible connections with many- a- fellow human being. Granted, no spark between two people will ever be the same, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be amazing in other ways. Connection exists between any two people who really want to be together.

5) The last point is, in my mind, the most important. From a young age, we were made to believe that fairy tales lasted forever. We were always assured that the story ended when everybody was happy in a stable relationship. Yet in reality, not all relationships can and should last forever. People, priorities and lives can change. When I was a child, I had a collection of such stories. That’s right, all my fairy tales were bound together in one beautiful and magnificent read. And do you know what? I enjoyed it even more than any single story. I enjoyed each in their own special way. The fact that one followed another did not detract from any single one’s beauty.

I believe in princes and princesses. I believe in happy endings. Above all, I believe in our capacity to create them on a daily basis.

 

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