Many little girls (and big girls) fantasize about being Cinderella, at least in some way or another. They dream of the romantic fairytale, of having a handsome prince accept them no matter their prior circumstances, fall utterly in love and carry them away to live in a palace with untold riches and luxury.
Yet many of these same girls face a terrible awakening when the dream ends and they come to realize they aren’t Cinderella. They may not look like she does, act like she does, be as charitable, as forgiving, or have an evil stepmother/step sisters.
So what do you do when your foot doesn’t fit the fabled glass slipper?
We can’t all be Kate Middleton (soon to marry Prince William), as there really aren’t that many eligible and available princes floating around. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find our own Prince Charming, even if we don’t quite fit the Cinderella bill.
As a romance writer who deals in romance, relationships and reality every day, I would like to toss out a few suggestions for those of you still looking for your storybook hero and/or Prince Charming:
- Stop looking in castles.
I hate to burst your bubble, but your Prince Charming probably isn’t combing the woods, holding a glass slipper, trying to find you. He might be working a boring desk job to help pay the bills. He might be teaching a university class in medieval studies. He might be toiling away at a local charity helping less fortunate people. Or he might be cleaning out gutters or working on cars. The point is, open your eyes to the world (and the men) around you, even in the most modest circumstances. You might be surprised at what you’ll find.
- Don’t wait to be rescued.
For many men, the idea of a woman having to be rescued daily from life’s little mishaps is a turn-off. A self-sufficient woman who can stand on her own, take care of herself (and eventually her children), and take care of her man can be very attractive. But don’t confuse being able to take care of yourself with always having to be in charge. Being able to submit to your man in the bedroom (or turn the tables and dominate him instead), is a completely different story.
- See with your heart, not your eyes.
It’s a cliché, I’ll admit. It’s easy to look at the handsome twenty-something stud-muffin with bulging muscles strutting down the beach in a Speedo, with a bronze tan and handfuls of thick, wavy hair. Really easy. But put your ‘time travel glasses’ on for a minute. That’s right, those funky metallic cat-eye looking ones. Warp three, Scotty, to the future! Here’s your handsome hunk twenty-five years later: wrinkled, leathery skin that looks like it belongs on an elephant instead of a human. His all-over muscles have morphed into something resembling Jaba the Hut. All that gorgeous hair has fallen out, leaving a shining bald dome. And he’s still wearing that Speedo. Oh wait, that’s not your hunk? Oh yeah, there he is–over there. He looks much the same: beautiful, strong, muscled… just like his boyfriend (the wrinkled one) likes it. Outer beauty usually fades. Inner beauty doesn’t.
- Money doesn’t equal happiness.
OK, I have fantasies about money… oodles of them. Mostly where I can buy anything I want (and those dreams also usually involve being able to eat anything I want without gaining weight). Yet look at all the rich divorced couples in the world, or all of the celebrity scandals, and all their dirty laundry aired for the entire world to see. Money can make things easier financially, of course. We all wish we had more of it. But having it doesn’t guarantee love, devotion, romance, or success. Love can find you whether you (or he) has money or not.
- The size of the shoe doesn’t equal the size of the . . . heart.
So maybe your foot doesn’t fit in that narrow, confining glass slipper. Maybe it fits better in a dancing shoe, or a work boot, or a comfy pair of sneakers. Just as you don’t want to be defined on whether you fit into a narrow mold, neither does the man out there looking for his forever love. Maybe he’s not a prince, or rich, or all that charming. Maybe he is a little shy, prefers books to fighting duels over a lady’s honor, and maybe he’s not quite what you pictured when you first drew Prince Charming on your fairy tale sketch pad. So? Adult drawings rarely look the same as those when they were children. Toss out your old picture and get ready to draw something new!
My point is, that while many of us grew up with the similar dream of a rosy, uncomplicated future with a noble Prince Charming in shining armor riding up on a white steed to carry us away, we have in fact grown up. We don’t all like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches any more, ketchup doesn’t always go with EVERYTHING, and playing with Barbies doesn’t have quite the same appeal (your mileage may vary, of course). As adults, our perspectives change, and each of our ‘perfect man’ drawings are different, reflecting our own life experiences, viewpoints and preferences. You may draw your picture as someone deeply romantic who reads poetry to you under a tree on a blanket. Someone else may draw a picture of a rugged cowboy on a horse who may appreciate their ability to ‘hold down the homestead.’ Yet another may draw a picture of a leather-clad motorcycle rider enjoying the freedom of the road.
Do any of those ‘pictures’ look like that generic one-size-fits-all Prince Charming of our childhoods? Not even close. But the one thing they do have in common is that they are the ideal men for each of the women who have stolen their hearts…their ‘Prince Charming’ if you like. So throw out that imaginary drawing pad and go find the real man waiting to fulfill your dreams of a happily ever after.