Once upon a time, there was an independent little girl who grew up wanting to be, among other things, an astronaut, a doctor, a double agent, and president of the United States (although not, one hopes, the latter two at once). Sure, she went through a brief horse-and-ballerina phase, but in general she imagined her adult self as an intelligent and powerful individual who was not defined by her gender or appearance. That little girl grew up, went to university, graduated summa cum laude, worked as a newspaper editor and went back to school to study medicine. Then that little girl had a little girl of her own.
This, friends, is where the story should end happily ever after. But alas, an evil sorcerer named Walt Disney had placed a terrible curse upon our fair heroine. As soon as that new baby girl turned 3, she decided that her life’s ambition was to become a Real Princess.
Instead of playing astronaut or drawing pretend anatomy charts, the wee damsel wore dress-up clothes every day, changing in and out of bejeweled satin garments with Cleopatralike frequency. She never tired of watching princess movies, reading princess books, and wearing tiaras to the grocery store (the horror!). When asked what she wants to be, the little girl consistently replied, “A princess.” If any other suggestion were offered (including the enticing proposition of ballerinadom), her reply was always, “No, I going to be a Real Princess and live in a castle.”
So her mommy became inventive and told her that in order to become a princess, she would have to go to university and meet a prince, since she was not to the castle born. The poor mommy could not have forseen that this would only result in any mention by any person anywhere of the word “university” being met with a very proud, “When I’m grownup, I am going to go to Princess Universary! And become a Real Princess!!!!” (this last sentence being said in a squeaky-excited voice with both shoulders and nose scrunched up). The mother ran into the garden bathroom and wept and wept. Unfortunately, there was no fairy godmother to save her from the curse of Disney.
Just when the downtrodden mommy thought the ridiculousness couldn’t get any more ridiculous, her little daughter said this:
“I am going to have a beautiful wedding cake with candles all over it.”
Mom: “Sweet pea, wedding cakes don’t have candles. Birthday cakes have candles.”
Princess Maddux: “Well, I’m going to get married on my sixteenth birthday. My prince will have a young bride.” (I am not even kidding. This is an exact quote.)
Mom: “Don’t you think you’d rather wait until you’re 30?”
Princess Maddux: “No, if I wait that long I will have what (anonymous acquaintance) has — (stage whisper) wrinkles!!!”
Mom: “I’m even older than 30; do I have wrinkles?”
Princess Maddux: “YES!”
Mom: “Well, I can assure you that I didn’t have any wrinkles when I was 25. How about you wait until you’re 25, and then you can get married.”
Princess Maddux: “Maybe. We’ll see.”
And so was the mother dispatched (after all, you can’t have a good Disney fairy tale with a mom in it!), and Princess Maddux lived happily ever after in her own imaginary kingdom, until she grew up and discovered that, in addition to universities not offering a Princess Studies major, no employers were looking to hire a new princess. She also found out that the only position that falls under the description “singing to animals and dancing in the forest” is that of crazy bag lady. And so she became a contestant on “The Bachelor” and her mother immolated herself in protest at the gates of Disneyland. The End.