When I was a little kid, I wanted to be Aladdin. And then I refused to play with my brother because he also wanted to be Aladdin, and we were not in some sort of sci-fi Aladdin adventure where there could coexist two Aladdins; therefore, he won because he was a boy. Childhood play-time does not allow for gender-blind casting, so after that I only wanted to play alone in my room and be Jafar.
In no part of this scenario did I want to be Jasmine, because she was angry all the time and frustrated and wasn’t allowed to have any fun without sneaking out. She did have a pet tiger, though, which nearly swayed me. I didn’t have anything against Jasmine; she was (and is) probably the best of all the Disney princesses. It’s just that her part didn’t look very enjoyable. Plus she had to kiss Aladdin AND Jafar, which sucked for her, but–wait, did I just have some sort of retroactive epiphany?
Being sick and house-bound for the past few days has left me very little to do but write and stare blankly at facebook while it live-updates. Be jealous of my exciting life! This is how I discovered a page called “Boyfriends who actually treat their girlfriends like princesses ❤“, and the fact that more than one of my facebook friends like this page very much. It posts those instagram-ish photos of people kissing with words overlaid like “When U Find a Girl Who’s Willing to Go Through Hell Just to Keep Your Relationship Going, You Really Shouldn’t Take Her For Granted,” and–ugh, right? UGH.
I did one of those derisive snort things you don’t think twice about when you are home by yourself, but which would be utterly mortifying if you used it in public, and just as I was about to casually move on with my day, I had an emphatic thought: “You know what? Screw being a princess. That’s the worst.”
Of course I don’t mean in the literal, wear-a-crown-and-marry-a-real-figurehead-prince sense, all though that also looks like it sucks (Sorry, Kate! But I’m glad you’re in love!). I mean screw being an un-self-aware, entitled, constantly-in-wait, frustrated, suspicious, hypersensitive person (boys included). That seems to be what these people mean when they say “I want to be treated like a princess!” I’m sure they don’t think so. But that is how it appears.
I have a secret guilty fetish for watching wedding shows like other, normal people watch shows on the National Geographic Channel: fully engrossed and fascinated by whatever mostly unfamiliar culture is being played out before me. I love wedding shows. Crying girl gets her father to spend $16,000 on a dress she will wear for only five hours ever, and doesn’t even blink? Of course not. She wants to look “like a princess.” Different crying girl alienates her family members by acting bratty and insisting someone needs to pay for her dream venue even though she can’t, because she deserves “to be treated like a princess!” Businesslike, self-sufficient & newly affianced woman enters bridal parlor and the consultant asks (as if she doesn’t already know): “How do you want to look on your wedding day?” Answer: “Like a fairy-tale princess.”
I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with that desire. I’m an actor. I get it: the urge to dress up, to take people’s breath away, to look gorgeous or at least interesting or otherworldly. What I have a problem with is that this “princess” word keeps being thrown around by people who then go on to behave horribly, or at least boringly. The people in my news feed who like that “actually [being treated] like princesses” page also seem to post a lot of sad, disappointed, and passive-aggressive relationship-related statuses. I checked, just for the sake of writing this somewhat soapboxy post. That’s how I found this gem, which is a real post by a real person whose name or gender I shan’t disclose:
“I want a guy who’s caring and sensitive.
I want a guy who’s not afraid to cry.
I want a guy who will give me all of his attention.
I want a guy who will treat me like a princess.
I want a guy who will make me the center of his universe.”
That’s all! No big deal.
How about being caring and sensitive yourself? How about you not being afraid to cry? Why not be willing to give other people all of your attention, when they need it? How about figuring out what you even mean by wanting to be treated like a princess? What about being the kind of person who can make other people the center of your universe?
I don’t just mean romantically. I mean, let’s be proactive! Let’s get rid of this waiting around attitude. It does sound very difficult when spun around, that way–when it applies to me and not to others. That’s what Crying Girls on wedding shows should be asked to do, by someone–maybe not on TV, maybe not right then. That’s what those of us who are predisposed to being sad and lonely (myself included) should ask of ourselves.
For what it’s worth, though…if we were playing make-believe now, and you wanted to be Aladdin, I think I would be okay playing Jasmine. It’s only make-believe, right?