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The Cinderella SyndromePosted Monday, July 21, 2008, at 9:56 PM
This weekend my sister and I were talking on the cell phones (as usual), and she shared something that my oldest brother told her. He and his wife are a hair from divorce, after a rocky 30+ year marriage. He said that his wife wasn't happy, because she was looking for her "knight in shining armor," and he wasn't it.
That got me to thinking about our tendancy, as women, to buy into the "Prince Charming" fairy tale.
I really wonder if we're doing our daughters a disservice by reading the Cinderella legend to them when they're young and impressionable... They grow up on a steady diet of Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty, so is it any wonder that they're sitting around in the window, listening for the hoof beats of a white charger, rounding the bend in the road, ready to whisk them off to a Happily Ever Life of endless bliss?
Even my dear sainted mother (God rest her soul) (so wise in many other ways) spent 84 years looking for that armor-clad knight. She married three less-than-perfect men (and one downright LOSER), looking for Prince Charming. Two of the three were perfectly acceptable husband material (though the last one did have the audacity to die on her...) - but none could even remotely be considered knight quality.
When my own nearly-knight-quality husband died at 56, my mother spent the remainder of her days on this earth, on the look-out for a nice "young" man with the required credentials to sweep me off my feet and carry me into the sunset.
Sorry, Mom, ain't gonna happen! Might help if I didn't kick and scream, I guess...
It occurs to me that even the old westerns were full of the same idea. They merely substituted a rough-shod cowboy for the knight in armor. The sunset was an optional, but very nice, addition. The horse was an absolute requirement for a proper Prince Charming, whether he was a Roy Rogers or a Sir Lancelot.
The "Prince" had to have a sword or a six-shooter for defense, of course, and his manners had to be above reproach when dealing with the ladies. None of this 1940's rudeness, where Clark Gable pushes a grapefruit into Claudette Colbert's face. I'm not certain if I have my Hollywood cuties correct, but I remember being totally shocked at the scene when I was a young bit of a thing. (Being myself raised in the Cinderella theme.)
Whatever the case, the pursuit of the famous Knight in Shining Armor has been a tradition, I don't doubt, for Time Immemorial. Do you think Superman would qualify? Oh, I think so - even if the steed is missing.
Aaaaahhhhh.....Dream on, ladies! Dream on!
As for my poor brother David, he never had a chance, I fear. I can't imagine how he managed to persuade his lady love to tie the knot in the first place, back in the day when they were both carefree flower children. Poor guy doesn't even have a horse, and his wife sold all his goats...
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.