By Jill Greenwood
Fairy tales. I grew up on them. To say that Mom was a Disney addict kinda doesn’t do justice to an addict. We always had Disney stuff in the house. Last week, while we were visiting Shelby in Germany, Mom was trying to figure out the first movie that she took me to when I was 18-months-old. I’m not even sure where the conversation came from, but suffice it to say, it was a Disney flick (Dumbo), I cried because I knew the ending (I dare you not to cry during Dumbo), and it took several jaunts through IMDB to figure it our (thank god the flat had WiFi). So, fairy tales . . . they were like breathing to me. And you know all about fairy tales: beautiful princess finds her handsome prince, something happens usually because of a witch or sorceress, but true love triumphs over all and they get married and have a gaggle of kids and live happily ever after. Love, marriage, babies, happily ever after. And fairy tales often involve trolls, too . . . but rarely are they the pick-up line. Seriously, can you imagine Snow White saying to Ferdinand (yup . . . his name is Ferdinand), “Hey, baby, wanna go looking for trolls?”
Trust me, it works.
Seems my fairy tale was deviant from the word go. Allow me to set the stage. Once upon a time, there was a princess, and she was pretty happy. School was okay – a 2.8 GPA at the time if you must know – with some summer course work getting done. Work was two part-time jobs. And the handsome prince was her boss. And dating someone else and even though this is a fairy tale, I can’t call her a witch or a sorceress . . . just someone else. But the princess, she was just plain happy to be there, laughing at his jokes. Writing letters to a mutual friend during an overnight training. And really, really looking forward to the required movie that she had to watch about the haunted conference center where she worked. The movie, based on the ghost stories of a missing student and how he haunted the rooms of the center built where his dorm once was, would provide all the answers to curious guests, and all the employees had to take a quiz after watching it in order to move out of the probationary period. As custom would dictate (fairy tale, people . . . there are always customs), new employees would watch it whilst being trained on the over-night shift since it was ghost story. Anyway, maybe the handsome prince will choose a room with a full size bed, thought the princess, and you know . . . bluebirds would sing as they often did in fairy tales. But upon unlocking the room . . . no chance. Two chaste twin beds. One television and VCR. One 45-minute movie. One quiz passed. The end.
Only, it wasn’t. Later, the princess invited the prince to see a student production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood and politely invited the prince’s girlfriend to join the merry group. Problem being, the girlfriend sat between the two because she had poor hearing in one ear and the prince was being chivalrous and all by sitting on her good ear and not in the seat that the princess had given her. Later that week, in a fit of alcohol induced stupidity, the princess enlisted the help of a friend, and showed up at the prince’s “castle” to say hello. Turns out, though, that the prince was looking forward to a quiet evening alone with just the television, a bottle of gin, and a 2-liter of Squirt. But our undeterred heroine pranced into the room (and it was an epic prance; alcohol will do that to your royal highness), exclaimed, “Oh, gin!” and chugged a good portion of the bottle. Some incoherent chatter later, the prince asked the princess if she needed help getting back to her palace. Eagerly, she accepted this offer (here’s my chance!) and found herself escorted back to her room, deposited onto her bed with a platonic pat on her head, and watched the prince close the door behind him.
Sleeping Beauty made it look easy. Snow White lived with seven men and didn’t have these problems. Even Cinderella got her fucking ball. What the hell was going on. Enter the trolls. A week later, the princess had a ball to attend, and the prince was coming a little later than everyone else. By the time he showed up, the princess had enjoyed her second bottle of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill – the magic elixir that it was – and was only too happy to show the prince around. And on the patio, she leans in and says, “So, supposedly there are trolls who live under the bridge. Wanna go look for them?” Hand in hand (probably because of the Boone’s Farm), the prince and princess trekked into the woods in search of the trolls. How they got from kissing on the bridge to making out in a field is anyone’s guess, but the next morning was the first of many waking up to each other. Granted, there were questions to be answered, like “How did I get a mosquito bite there?”, and “Have you seen my necklace?” Fast forward nine months, and the princess is begging to be put out of her misery and just get these babies out of me now goddammit and the prince adds college graduate to his CV. Only thing is, the prince and princess forgot about the regular order of love, marriage, babies, happily ever after. Because in fairy tales, they gloss over the whole lust part. And they don’t tell you that babies sometimes come well before the marriage part. And that happily ever after takes a lot of hard work. But this princess thinks the prince is worth every single bit of it. Even the mosquito bites.
What’s your tale? How did you deviate from the Disney version? Because I know that I can’t be the only one who looked at Disney’s model and said, “Oh, that just won’t do.” Share them with me as I recover from a bit of jet lag.
Sorry about the photos . . . seems that trekking to a foreign country, home to some of the most fairy tale-esque castles on earth, to visit one of now very grown up babies takes a lot out of a princess. Lucky for me that prince is still around for all the juicy bits and gory details. Just without the gin.