Thursday, February 08, 2007

And Now, for the Rest of the Story

Do you remember that radio show? Some guy named Harvey something, or maybe something Harvey. I think it was Andy-Rooney-esque news commentary. I was too young when it was on to understand what he was talking about, but I always enjoyed the sound of his voice. It was much better than Andy Rooney's voice.

I went back to the doctor's yesterday - more blood drawn. I am so tired of giving away blood and not getting a t-shirt or even a fruit juice to show for it! On top of that, my voice is going AGAIN. I can't believe it. What a pain in the ass! I feel okay otherwise, but still. I'll be really glad when I beat this bug.

While I was in Bangor yesterday I got the groceries, per the usual Wednesday ritual. I dropped the car off at the Wal Mart service center because I had a leaky tire. Turns out they glued it on badly, and it had to be re-glued. That was free. I mention this because they noticed that another of my tires is almost completely bald. I have to get a new tire. DAMN! More money gone. I can't even get the new tire until I get a front-end alignment, as that is what made the tire bald. No wonder I've been sliding all over the road this winter!

Below is part three of the essay. It's all I have written. I'm not sure where to go from here - any ideas? What do you want to hear more about? Is it too much already? I think the whole How-Disney-Relates-To-My-Life analogy is muddy and needs to be clarified. What do you think?


After two failed relationships, I returned to the stories of my childhood searching for answers. Where did I go wrong? I hadn’t waited for my prince; I’d gone out to find him. Granted, I was 0 for 2, but at least I wasn’t just waiting around in a tower somewhere singing sad sappy songs about dreams and wishes. I’d given up on the lie of “the One” and “happy ever after,” so what was the issue? I shut off Jiminy Cricket in the middle of his “When you Wish upon a Star” spiel, disgusted with myself and with every animated character who had found love by some fortuitous circumstance just in the nick of time.

I was twenty-four, a college grad with my own car and apartment, and I should have been happy. I was happy mostly; I had a job I enjoyed and was free from the strain of bad relationships that weren’t working no matter how many of my dreams I gave up. But sometimes, when I was trying to fall asleep on my twin bed mattress on the floor in an apartment too quiet, I did secretly wish for my own happy ever after. I knew that in real life my story wouldn’t follow the plot lines of Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella, but they were the stories I’d grown up on. I didn’t have much else to use as a basis for comparison. I’d try to picture what my prince would look like, if he ever did show up one day. He’d have messy hair, some crooked teeth, maybe, and a smile to melt my heart. I wanted him to be strong, as I was not a petite damsel (at 5’9” and 165 lbs, “petite” really wasn’t in my vocabulary). More than anything else, I wanted him to be warm. Body heat is nice, but that’s not what I was wishing for. Rather it was a personality trait, an inability to be mean and cold as the previous “princes” were. I wanted someone whose heart was warm. Disney princes were all six feet tall with perfect smiles and military bearings, but all I wanted was warm.

Did you ever take the online quiz, “Which Disney Princess Are You?” I did. The quiz asked several questions about what you like to do, what you thought about certain situations, etc. When you finished answering the questions, the quiz popped out the name of the princess you were most like. It turns out that if I were a Disney princess, I’d be Belle. That makes sense, considering I’m a brunette, I love books and am a total Daddy’s girl. It made me think, too – had I been dating beasts all these years in hopes of turning them back into princes?

It was at that point in my life that I met Paul. I logged on to one night to message my brother (it was how we kept in touch), and there was a new message awaiting me. The picture was of a guy in a sweatshirt and a backwards baseball cap. He had a dimple in one cheek. The message said, “Hi, my name’s PJ. I saw your profile and thought you looked interesting. Message me sometime if you’d like to chat.” He gave his yahoo screen name and signed it, “Talk to you Soon, PJ.” Intrigued by the mix of forwardness and sweetness, I clicked on his photo to look at his profile. I was both pleased and disappointed with what I saw. About himself he had written that he loved the outdoors, photography, and camping (all terrific things). About his music interests, he’d written that he loved Godsmack, Shinedown, and other rock bands. That, to me, spelled trouble – either he was a rocker (read: did drugs and drank alcohol) or he had narrow minded views of “good” music. My own musical taste is incredibly varied. In his pictures he had photos of himself with his nephew (plus) and his female best friend (minus). He didn’t have too many friends (plus) but many of the friends he had were girls (minus). Too many friends meant stuck in high school days, too many girls as friends meant he was a player, or at the very least that he messaged girls randomly often (minus minus). I clicked back to his message, thinking. Should I message him back? Ignore him? He didn’t seem to be my type, but then how well had my type worked out in the past? In the end, I saved the message without replying. I’d think about it for a few days, make a decision later.

Over the next few days, my mind kept returning to Paul. I was flattered by his attention in me, but I was unsure whether or not he was someone I could have a conversation with. It was time to turn to Disney for help. When I got home from work one day three days after Paul had emailed me, I made a list of Disney princesses. Of those, I put a check next to any princess who took the prince that came into her path (instead of her going out to look for one). Belle? Check. Jasmine? Check. Aurora? Check. Snow White? Check. Pocahontas? Check. Cinderella? Hmm. Here I was stumped. She had gone out to the ball and had gone to some considerable trouble to get there, but the prince asked her to dance, not the other way around. In the end, I gave her a ½ check. It didn’t matter though, because every other princess had fallen in love with the prince who approached her, not the other way around. I sat back in my papa san, pondering this new information. I didn’t believe in happy ever after, I told myself, so this means nothing. But what if? What if there was some small kernel of truth to the stories of my childhood? Was I flouting fate to ignore it? In the end, I wasn’t brave enough to go against the grain in this instance. After all, Beast didn’t appear to be all that great when Belle met him, either, did he? And look how well that turned out! I was conveniently ignoring that I had likened my past boyfriends to Beast, too. I logged on to, messaged Paul back and gave him my Yahoo screen name. Now all that was required was that I wait to see what would happen next. As I checked my other email and puttered around the internet, I cautioned myself that I was doing the very thing that I said years ago I would never do – using fairy tales and the Disney Empire to gauge a potential “prince.” Damn! It was harder that I thought to avoid comparing my life to those of the animated women of my childhood.

I had just about talked myself out of ever talking to Paul when he messaged me. Figuring I had to at least be polite long enough to explain how I’d only messaged him out of some vain hope that he was a Disney prince somehow magically come to life, I IMed him back. It wasn’t long before I forgot all about brushing him off, caught up in one of the most interesting conversations I’d ever had. Paul was funny, articulate, and best of all, he kept me guessing. I couldn’t tell what he was going to type next, a heretofore unheard of thing in my world. I was kept on my toes the entire conversation. I even blushed in a few spots, and I’d been blush-free for years. As much as I told myself that I didn’t believe in the whole Prince Charming nonsense, as much as I repeated over and over that there was no such thing as “happy ever after,” I have to admit that after that conversation with Paul, a tiny spark of something was lit within me. Maybe I wasn’t quite ready to let go of my hopes for a fairy tale after all.


Shari said...

I used that line (albeit a word or two) in a recent post-"And Here's the Rest of the Story..." about misunderstandings.

I used to listen to that on the radio, too. I could remember hearing it around 4:00 p.m. on the way home from work. I could understand his voice. I believe it was Paul Harvey.

I think your essay is fine. We all kiss a lot of frogs before finding the prince. I wonder what that princess's name was? Good analogy, though-your essay, I mean.

I have been behind...gotta catch up on all the blog-reading. Talk to you later.

Sue Flaska said...

I like it, I like it, I like it....sounds like my life. Keep going!

word vert


this doesn't vibe bright conotations oie!