prince charming

my friend b is one of the smartest and toughest women i know. after 17 years, she and a guy, last summer, decided to make their friendship something more. she was optimistic about a potential future. she talked herself into being ok with his redneck friends, his lack of motivation, and apparent disinterest in most aspects of her life. but it didn’t take long for her to realize that his emotional stuntedness may be insurmountable. it went hot and cold for awhile, then two weeks ago, they broke up “for good” with a finality that left little hope for even salvaging the friendship. one week post-break-up, he called her, dropped by, and somehow in one conversation, they agreed to not have a relationship but rather, an affair. so for a week, she tried sex without any caring. now, one week later, she’s like a crumpled doll on the floor – life sucked out and will exhausted. as far as he’s concerned, things are great. it would seem that way, i suppose, when one’s mouth is so full of cake.

so now, she’s confessing the kind of truth that even the bestest of gal pals don’t share for fear of never bouncing back from the halls of shame. obviously she and i have rationalized the notion of hope to death, but last night, we descended past the intellectual and emotional levels of reflection into the dreaded raw place. other women – as seen on oprah or in cosmo, for example – might visit that raw place regularly. some even reside there. but it’s a place where enlightened (hardened?) feminists don’t tread, and certainly never mention if they do. that place is where issues of love and sex are disneyized, where the object of our affection – however toxic or abusive or elusive – becomes a potential prince charming. that place is where we tell ourselves he’s worth holding out for because he’s the ‘one’, we fantasize about how he’s going to change, we scribble his name on scraps of paper, we dream about having his babies. so last night, my friend confessed having spent some time in that raw place, thinking about how he might bring her roses on valentine’s day and kiss it all back to perfection. she confessed to thinking her patience might reward her. she confessed to having hoped for happily ever after.

are even the independent, savvy, resilient, my-worth-ain’t-measured-by-a-man kind of women really just suckers for that kind of happy ending? i wonder if the leap from moxie to meekness is one we’d all rather make. some of us don't buy into the pop cultured messaging like in
movies, toys, pop songs old and new that raises so many girls to wish upon a fairy tale. some of us like to believe that we wouldn't settle for less than a healthy and equal partnership with someone who complements us - not saves us. but holy fuck, what if we're really wired to want to succumb? maybe we've convinced ourselves of otherwise only cuz we haven't met our prince yet. and when he shows up and takes us in his arms, we will finally know love. but if he doesn't scoop us into his arms immediately, maybe each of us - feminist or not - is meant to yearn for him, for a chance to jump onto the horse and ride with him into the sunset, or for any invitation from him at all.


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