I spent a good part of last week avoiding the coverage of the Republican National Convention on TV. I find the political conventions boring and I had some decent Netflix movies to watch instead. But I did catch a snippet of Ann Romney’s speech on GMA one morning and something she said really stuck with me. She said “I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a “storybook marriage.” Well…the storybooks I read…never seemed to have chapters called MS or Breast Cancer.”
The line stuck with me so much because it’s true. Then I read the following status update from my friend Jessica…”Nine years ago today I promised to love Greg for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. At the time I thought those were figures of speech but have since realized it’s a checklist we run through a few times a year. Ha.”
And I realized that it’s so true…the books we read as kids never really prepare us for the realities we face as adults. We go into our lives thinking that we are going to find our Prince Charming and we are going to get everything we want in life and then we are all going to live happily ever after. Except it’s rarely worked out that way for anyone I know.
Don’t get me wrong…I know lots of people living happily ever after. But the road to get there is usually not filled with rainbows and unicorns. Nope…more often than not, the road is filled with obstacles like job loss and infertility and infidelity and babies that won’t stop screaming ever and cancer. Lately, in my group of friends, there has been oh so much cancer. And none of us were prepared for these things…because the fairy tales don’t talk about any of these things.
So I think we need some new fairy tales where the story is a little more realistic. Stories like:
Cinderella Starts Her Own Housecleaning Business…in which Cinderella starts her own business that becomes wildly successful and she starts to make more money than the prince. He feels so emasculated by this that he starts to contemplate an affair with his 23-year-old assistant. But then they go to couples therapy and realize that it doesn’t matter who makes more money…only that they keep the lines of communication open and keep loving each other.
Rapunzel Is A Survivor…in which Rapunzel gets diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks after she marries the prince. The chemo she has to go through after her double mastectomy causes her to lose all her hair and she slips into a severe depression because she thinks the prince isn’t going to want her anymore. But the prince isn’t a shallow jerk and he only cares that Rapunzel is healthy, so he sticks by her side and tells her she’s beautiful every single day until she believes it herself.
Snow White and the Tale of IVF…in which Snow White discovers that she’s got fertility issues and starts blaming herself for putting her career first and waiting so long to have kids. She and the prince go through round after round of IVF and suffer through a few miscarriages. The Seven Dwarves stop speaking to her because she’s smothering them with all of her misplaced maternal nurturing and the prince stops wanting to have sex because it feels like a job. In the end, Snow White and the prince eventually have a baby…which leads to the sequel…
Snow White’s and the Tale of the Screaming Infant…in which Snow White’s baby never, ever stops crying which causes Snow White to cry all the time too. She has thoughts of wanting to send the baby away…which make her feel like a terrible mother and a terrible person. After all, she wanted this baby so badly and how could she possibly ever want to send him back. Then one night, the prince comes home and asks a frazzled Snow what’s for dinner and she spends the next three months fantasizing about smothering him with a pillow in his sleep. But eventually the baby stops crying and the prince apologizes for being a rude asshole and they all live happily ever after.
Beauty and The Beast Go Into Foreclosure…in which the Beast loses his job and can no longer make mortgage payments. The bank forecloses on their castle and they are forced to go live with Belle’s father in his tiny little cottage. The Beast slips into a major depression, grows a beard and wears the same gross flannel shirt every single day for a month. Finally, he finds a new job, but making half of his original salary so he stays in his funk until Belle tells him he has to snap out of it and act like a grown up or she’s leaving his ass.
And of course…the one I wish I had…
Sleeping Beauty’s Prince is Emotionally Unavailable…in which Sleeping Beauty spends almost 12 years dating the prince who awakens her, but he’s emotionally unavailable and he struggles with his inability to commit. Follow their story as they go through couples therapy, arguments and eventually a separation before the prince realizes that no one else will ever put up with his shit so he’d better hang on to Sleeping Beauty for dear life.
So tell me…would you read these? How would you rewrite a fairy tale???