Reasons why Fairytale Romances should just leave

12/13/2014

I’ve had a lot of time to eavesdrop on my mother and sister’s television pursuits lately, and sometimes I wish my life was like the movies. At that point, I remember how much I hate the movies, and how I am prone to ruin perfectly good fairytale nonsense for everyone in my presence if I’m not absolutely alone and in a situation where I can mock the commercials mercilessly. Oh Really, Ms. Corporate Wendy’s spokesmodel lady? Yeah, no, I think you’re making it up. I rest my case.

But seriously, I am a movie-ruiner. It’s what I do. I typically watch television only when I’m home in bed sick and I feel like wallowing in soup and despair-flavored self-pity, and there is so much I’d rather be doing. When it gets dark and ugly outside, part of me wishes I could be a television person, but most of me still has too many opinions to make that a thing, even more so when it’s dark outside and I’m hella bored.

In my tenure as professional movie-ruiner, I’ve had quite a few scathing rants about romantic comedies. It makes sense; if you catch me on a full moon I can be rather jaded. But, if you catch me calculated under crisis or in a sugar high, it basically cancels out; so yeah, so be it.

What I hate most about romantic comedies is that they are unrealistic. “Well, duh” you say, as if I wasn’t already painfully aware of how obvious a vivid critique of reality would be when made into a 90 minute short story that explodes into a happy ever after.

But let’s slow the hell down now. Unrealistic isn’t always bad. The Gospel is somewhat unrealistic at times, that’s why we have miracles. Reality as we see it is not the entire picture.

But, what makes romantic comedies and other choice films so obnoxious is that they are unhealthily unrealistic. The kind of fallacies that inspire delusions of grandeur and dreams of white nights and charming donkeys and a bunch of other nonsense that often contradicts the reality of what real people really need in a very basic way. The kind of “Rapunzel, throw down your hair” crap that really reinforces negative self-perceptions across continents and age levels. I would soooo much rather Rapunzel throw down a braid with some silver in it than her to spontaneously have grown it in about 15 years, or whenever age right after menarche we’re deciding is the next best age level to turn into our newest jurisdiction on what can federally convict you of rape or incest.

I don’t want to watch a movie about fairy tales when all I really want is someone to make me a really good cup of tea, or cook dinner with me, or play with my dogs, or read something fascinating in a funny voice. I don’t know about you, but romance is a lot more about silence and being a noble person in far from noble circumstances than any of the Snow White stuff. Sure, it may be nice to play Sleeping Beauty here and there, but if you haven’t covered the basics like clarifying your intentions and just generally being around, that can come off as completely ridiculous and completely poorly timed.

In my world (and it’s a dark but lovely, dazzling world), chivalry is respected, but that s*** has got to be earned. You can be nice and what not, but even if you are a gem among pebbles, how the hell is someone ever going to know that if all they know are really ugly gems that will barely portray their pebble status until it’s too late? I’m not advocating for commitment issues here, but I am trying to shed a little bit of obvious onto the fact that reality is much more nuanced and complicated than Cinderella. And honestly, Cinderella was the bomb diggity up until 5th grade cattiness and internalized sexism. But that’s how it works.

At least that’s how it works when I was a kid, approximately (gasp) 8 years ago. By kid, I mean adolescent that was so scared clueless after the “health-class-presentation-that-broke-the-entire-world” that she was sent into the throws of puberty into a disorienting, dizzying spiral. It’s so funny to me that even the people that do not trust in abstinence only sex education talk about sex terribly, and that has nothing to do with subject matter, it has to do with being afraid. If you think that “children” are sexless until they turn into adults at age 12, man, are you sure you’ve hung out with enough toddlers? I’m not going to cite specific examples because I don’t want to shame my nephews into adulthood, but all kids are like that if you pay attention. You probably were too!

Most people are going to give you relationship advice when they’ve been there done that, but I’m much more of an impatient kind of girl, and I also have a lot of opinions (some of them are spot on). I think this one is (for the most part): if you plan on going slowly into anything, be sure it is well communicated what slow means. Not everyone has the same subjective definition of slow. For me, slow is sitting down for five minutes and having a 30 minute lunch. For others, slow is a two week vacation. I don’t know how they do it; I’d probably try to hang myself subconsciously after about the 4th day of doing absolutely nothing productive and “relaxation” (barf), but to each his or her own. I just want to go where the people are, where there are new things, where I don’t have to shop unless I can make a casual decision in 5 minutes based of 1000 factors that can only be known when I am experiencing that moment, and I don’t want to do something I can replicate at home or in most other places, if possible. That is what I want, and I am well on my way to collecting memories that are just that. When I studied abroad, my best souvenirs were pressed flowers, journals, and a whole host of photos stored neatly with labels and places and dates on my Google drive. And that is why I don’t sit still.

Fantasies can be nice, though. I like to think about where I will escape to next pretty often. I like to look at pictures of people and cultures and landscapes and flowers and cute baby animals, and I like to think most of my self-control is built in not buying plane tickets. If I could measure how many times I thought about spontaneously dropping out of school this semester just to fly away again, I would probably be totally miserable or really excited, because there are so many places I’d go. Istanbul. Ireland. London. Southern India. China (really wherever in Asian if we’re being honest). Sweden. Parts are specific pieces of Africa that also don’t scare me. Anywhere in Latin America. Okay, really, if you buy me a plane ticket and there is something to see, I really don’t need much more of a motivation, as long as the stuff for my classes is wrapped up.

If I’m going to live my life like it’s completely worth it, I want to know why the castles were drawn into Beauty in the Beast. I want to find the stupid waterfalls; just ask my Adventure Buddy, we’ve already found one. I want to ramble through alleys and big cities; I want to ride the bus. I want to get lost so terribly that I make new friends, and often. I decided earlier today that when I travel, I’m going to make a point of getting Red glittery Dorothy converse, in part because it’s a conversation starter about my roots, in part just because honey, that’s just how I roll.

Anyways, fairytales man. Don’t give me Pride and Prejudice, rant to me about either Pride or Prejudice and a topic (I will be the other one), and I’ll fight you all the way across some countryside I wasn’t previously aware of. I will only do horseback riding if it is fun; nobody has time for 3 hours of horseback riding that leaves them chafing and miserable for the rest of their trek, just saying. I want to go in a hot air-balloon, but only if I can jump out of it. I would like a picnic, but don’t expect me to watch for ants, I’d rather get lost and forget about it and come back to see it all completely eaten and be all the “Derp; YOLO” than have to stick around and wait to politely suggest the ants leave. They can take it; I don’t care. There’s a certain amount of things I have yet to cross off my bucket list, and many of them involve doing things outside with very few other humans around, and being really silent the rest of the time because THERE ARE BIRDS AND THERE ARE FLOWERS AND WHO THE HELL WOULD DARE TALK THROUGH ANY OF THAT. Don’t give me that Romantic 18somethigs Nathaniel Hawthorne crap about the beauty of a rose IF I’M LOOKING AT A ROSE. I am the d*** rose, me and the rose are keenly acknowledging each other and tipping our petals to our fellow flower brethren without your stupid words about roses and blood red petals and blah blah blah blah blah. Srsly.

As a side note, if I were to ever get tied to a train tracks, I’d actually be pretty excited, because then I’d only have a set time limit to get out. It’s like a race. Don’t race me unless you either are very sneaky about intentionally losing or can accept obnoxiously boasting or pouting for days; it’s just a thing. Time is the most valuable, so if you can waste hours with me doing nothing I’d be so much happier than if you spent any money whatsoever. In fact, I generally get pretty offended and touchy when it comes to money. So yeah, just be the rose. See the rose. Smell the rose. Be the rose.

And while you’re doing that I will be saving photos to my Google drive.

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haleynoohra

I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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