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The Cinderella Syndrome

Posted 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...

Showing comments in chronological order
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You're exactly right about the Cinderella syndrome. I myself suffered from an extremely bad case of it; so bad, in fact, that I subjected myself to terrible relationships in pursuit of the elusive "Prince Charming."

Then one day, I awoke from my daze and realized what was wrong with me. I trashed my enormous collection of romance novels, and here I am, years later, married to a perfectly wonderful husband.

-- Posted by luckyone on Tue, Jul 22, 2008, at 12:59 AM

30+ years to realize this? Not believing that one.

AND, she sold the goats? Bigger issues here.

-- Posted by greer958 on Tue, Jul 22, 2008, at 3:36 PM

Hahaha! Surely, you aren't implying, Greer, that there are darker forces at work here!

Lucky one, isn't it good to be free of the illusion?? I don't even know you, but I am SO glad that you trashed the suits of armor and found a wonderful man!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Jul 22, 2008, at 5:25 PM

MD, in my humble opinion what you call the Cinderella Syndrome is alive, but it is trending toward life support. Have you noticed that most colleges today have close to a 2-1 ratio of women to men? I just checked and SEMO is about 64% women. This is a phenomena that has only kicked into high gear in the last few decades, and it means that in the foreseeable future the majority of high paid professional jobs will be held by .... women. With the decimation of large numbers of high paid blue-collar jobs in this country, more and more men will be settling for lower paid and less prestigious jobs just as more and more women are making big bucks. That means bright and talented women will increasingly have to settle for a knight driving a beat-up Chevy. It is already becoming more common that a highly paid woman has to pay her lesser employed husband when they get divorced -- and that trend will only increase. The whole idea of traditional male-female roles is being turned on its head. Maybe it will reach the point that it will be widespread for a man to prowl for a woman based on what she makes more than for how she looks, so he can have all the material things he wants in life. Now wouldn't that be a switcheroo?!

-- Posted by FJGuy on Tue, Jul 22, 2008, at 10:40 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
It may reach that point, FJ, but it isn't there yet -- at least in this part of the country!

I can SO relate to you comment about Mom trying to find you another man after your husband died. She just about wore me out for years trying to convince me that I needed a nice husband to take care of me. We had so many fights. I'm glad that my early dating years were spent with our dad rather than mom. He provided a much more balanced viewpoint.

As for finding someone to "take care of me", it's been my experience that it's the other way around. A woman is expected to do all the housework, all the cooking, all the laundry, take care of all the issues with the kids, work outside the home to bring in a second income and still be ready and eager to hump like a rabbit.

No thanks. Unless I can find a man who's willing to accept me as an equal, I'm not interested.

What's the saying? A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle????

-- Posted by mokath52 on Wed, Jul 23, 2008, at 12:42 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Okay, sis, you win: Mom WAS harder on you than she was on me. That happens to baby sisters!

I'm sure you agree that the Cinderella syndrome didn't help her out much, really, on any of the three husbands, though, of course, we are a bit biased, since husband #1 was our own dear dad. He was a handsome rogue, but I can see how she would feel that he didn't give her much attention. We had to take his paper away and just sit on his lap!

Let's not talk about husband #2 ("Dork"), but husband #3 looked like a winner, with his promise to "take care of her." Of course, once the honeymoon was over, the shoe (a size 14?) was on the other foot!! Hahaha! The armor on that knight was a bit tarnished!

Welcome to the REAL WORLD!!

You ladies crack me up. The knight on a white horse (or the man to take care of you) is like the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Eveyone has heard of one, but no one's ever see one.

-- Posted by Ducky on Wed, Jul 23, 2008, at 12:44 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Good one, Ducky! Absense has not tarnished your wit!

Absense makes the heart grow fonder, so they say. I know I miss all my blogger buddies when fate keeps me from my computer.

-- Posted by Ducky on Thu, Jul 24, 2008, at 12:35 PM

There are several prince charmings out there so don't give up! For example, Hoon, Bon, Dimebag, Jim, Cliff, swift and even Ducky. You must be "looking for love in all the wrong places."

-- Posted by layne staley on Fri, Jul 25, 2008, at 10:01 PM

Or, as Buckwheat would say, "Lookin per nub in all da wong pwaces..."

-- Posted by Jim Morrison on Sat, Jul 26, 2008, at 1:23 AM

I do have a serious thought on this. Almost all girls are stupid when it comes to weddings. They want the big "White Wedding". I've been in 8 or 9 weddings and they were mostly the same. My wife and I flew out to Oahu with some friends and got married barefoot on an unknown beach for $225. With our 8 day stay it was about $3000 total for the two of us. That's wedding and honeymoon in paradise. So, why would anyone want to spend $20,000 on a wedding when it could be more memorable in a setting like ours?

-- Posted by Jim Morrison on Sat, Jul 26, 2008, at 1:29 AM

Oh yea, and Soap Operas. That crap REALLY fuels the fire for young girls (and women) for BAD relationships. Occasionally I'll catch my wife watching about 15 minutes or so of one. If you pay attention, you'll notice that every scene is conflict. Always two people arguing and trying to one-up each other. Every scene. Crappy dialog, no plot, bad acting...just conflict in every scene. I hadn't scene an episode in 20 years, and saw one a while back and it was the exact same scenario and same actors. Terrible. Guarantee that helps with the divorce rate in this country. Luckily my wife isn't influenced by that crap.

-- Posted by Jim Morrison on Sat, Jul 26, 2008, at 1:37 AM

Dare I say it? I actually agree with jim morrison on this one. Soap operas are a waste of air time -- just like professional wrestling and just about as "real".

I figure if I'm going to get married, I'll ask my pastor to save about 15 minutes after the Sunday sermon and just get it over with. Save the money for something else. Ok. I admit to being something of a rebel and probably totally out of touch. Probably one of the reasons I'm steadfastly single.

Some marriages these days don't last long enough to pay off the wedding debt.

-- Posted by Ducky on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 12:25 PM

Mokath I don't know what examples you are quoting or what your experience with men has been but obviously it is not a good one. If your man expects all of that from you then you are picking the wrong ones.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 8:46 PM

Yes, remarkably, I agree on the soaps, too. However, they do give the 80+ crowd something to gossip about, rather than real life. In that case, I think they're harmless. The under-80 crowd should lay off that tripe and live a real life.

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 9:20 PM

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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 advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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