Farewell to the Prince (Charming)

(a.k.a. So Long, Sucker)

Keep this in mind.  Nothing is complete.  It’s all a work in progress.  A poem.  Our lives.  Society.  The words I’m sharing with you today.  About… Prince Charming?

And if he were a horse?  My little Arabian, Flying Crow, reminds me how much work a relationship is.  The hardest horse I’ve had to train.  And from him, the most I have had to learn.

A dance to the silence of winter

the dog enchanted
by the echo of his bark
against frozen cliffs
across solid water

and when he settles
and his echo and ego
let him go
I am there immersed
surrounded by
winter white sounds

And then there is my dog.  OK, let’s not go there.  He is still a work in progress.  Progressing several times a day and I’m not quite sure we’re getting anywhere.  At least not where I was intending.

But this is not about them.  This is about… men.

A revelation of sorts.

The myth of Cinderella and Snow White and the Walt Disney Princess.  Shattered.

Well, many of us figured that one out already.

But what about…  him?

Seems like the woman is always blamed for holding on, seeking, expecting that myth to be maintained.

But what about the man?

Really, take a good look.  I think you’ll see he can be equally at fault in this fictitious fantasy, holding onto the hope of being and remaining Prince Charming Forever.  Societal teachings started as children.  Based (loosely) on nature, one might say.  And perhaps some men DO want to be the provider, the knight in shining amour, and Prince Charming.

Come on, guys.  How many of you used to believe that’s what a Real Man should be?

Or at least, have you thought maybe it would be nice to be HIM?  There you’d be, with her hanging onto your arm, following you fearlessly through hell and high water because you are brave and strong and will provide for her and love her until death do you part…

Forget partnership.  Forget a real relationship.  A healthy, loving, respectful interaction between two individuals.  That’s hard work. And not always healthy for one’s manly ego.  Instead, let’s hold onto that castle in the sky.

Now hold on. Who am I to lecture on relationships?  I’m about the last person I ever thought would have (or make) a “good” relationship; a “healthy” one; a balance of respect, love, fun and compatibility. Figured I’d always be my solid, solitary self.  (Or not so solid, but that’s another story.) Yet here I am, ten years into one better that I ever imagined, and I’m not falling apart at my independent seams.  In fact, he kinda helps hold them together as they unravel from time to time.  Scary.

But  really, that’s not what I mean to do.  Lecture.  All I wanted to do was share my revelation of the all too present social expectations not only for her, but for him.

Considering this is a biased audience already proving to be Modern Men by reading a Woman’s Blog (that said, fact is half my readers are men)  we may not get a true view of the whole of our society.

Let’s start with this one: Happily Ever After does not exist.

Ah-ha.  But Willing to Work through the Hard Times does.

Look around.  You’ll see the Neanderthal hunter- gather is no longer in high demand in today’s society here in the Western World.  We have Safeways.  And we all know it is actually the same guys out there practicing their primitive skills as stopping by that Safeway for a ripe bell pepper to compliment the meal, a crisp side to go with their fresh kill.

Whatever. OK, think of this. The old macho traits aren’t what are going to get us further in society.  One could say we as society have been there and done that.  And now we have evolved.  Looking back, that Neanderthal dude was not the best thing mankind had to offer.  Sure, you may want to hunt, go ahead and do it for fun or food or what not.  But don’t think it makes you a better man.  A more primal man, maybe, but it’s been a long time since one considered “primal” a truly attractive trait and one that has brought society to its higher state.

Well then, what is he?  Who is he, this Modern Man?

He need not be Prince Charming, a football quarterback, or a Neanderthal hunter/gatherer.  He may not be the blue collar worker home from the mill kicking back on his well worn Lazy Boy with a can of Lite beer in one hand and the remote control in the other.  I rather hope he is not just that, but that’s my personal thing….

He need not be the Metro Sexual donning shiny shoes, carrying  a Murse, and sipping espresso while ready poetry or the sensitive man tearing up watching The Titanic.

But maybe he is.

And that’s the thing about the rise of the Modern Man and the death of Prince Charming.  Today’s man has choices.  As Women’s Lib opened doors for we women, time has opened choices for men too.  Let’s get rid of expectations.  You do not HAVE to be the hunter, warrior, provider or Prince Charming.  And if you can be, guess what?  So can I.  That, my friends, is the best part of the modern man, the modern woman, the evolution of the human species.  We can choose.  We can grow beyond expectations, assumptions and fairytales.  We decide what is right. We can use our brain, not Walt Disney’s.  We can dream.  Our own dreams.  Not some phony one we saw on the big screen in pastel colors.

Pardon the comparison, Modern Man and Women’s Lib, for man is not traditionally suppressed simply by the sex into which he was born as woman worldwide too often are.  I speak from my personal perspective, a narrow view from a most privileged part of the world.

So where was I?  Oh yes. Prince Charming.  Stop waiting for him, gals.  Bet even if you think you found him, chances are pretty good he won’t be what you were hoping for.  He’s a pretty shallow and selfish character. And chances are, if he thinks he’s your Knight in Shining Armor, than you’re just a damsel in distress.  Don’t go there.  Please.  Hope for better. Expect, demand, work for and create better.  Really.  You deserve it.  Believe in the best.  But don’t buy the fairy tale.  Believe in yourself, the power of the modern man, the strength of a healthy relationship, your own ability to build the life you want, balanced with the ability to ask for help when you need it without thinking it’s the knight in shining armour that’s going to come to your rescue, and whisk you away on the white horse so you can be happy ever after.  You won’t be. That’s life.  Enjoy the ups and downs and hard work and heartache and stumbling blocks and growth and all of it.  It’s a package deal. They don’t show you that part in the Disney films.

This rant is inspired by the wonderful, strong, independent woman who (like most of us) once may have fallen for the fairy tale… And when her fairy wings sprouted, she learned to believe in herself.  And fly.

For my daughter, if I had one.  But I have a son.  So for him, a reminder of what he can be, and need not be, too…

14 thoughts on “Farewell to the Prince (Charming)

  1. This is a great post – it brings to mind that if someone in the relationship is “all that”, then the other person usually can’t be. There’s not enough room in the relationship for that big of an ego. To be able to stand side by side and be whoever you are in that moment, well, it’s a marvelous thing that even Disney would fail in imitating.

    • Well said (“all that”). Sounds like you too have been there, done that. I suppose this is how we learn best. Through mistakes and then shattering false hopes. Perhaps what we need is more inspiration, role models, and good stories for our children to believe in.

  2. Funny, I thought I had “that guy” the first 25 years of my married life….but he turned out to be just a good actor. After this midlife divorce, I took 7 years to find myself and examine the male species in a new light. Too many people rush around looking for saviors. My best find in the 7 year hiatus was ME.

  3. Wow – the snow must be melted with a 1/2 mile radius! Sizzling!

    First, love the photos, Gin. Your exceedingly gorgeous males!

    Yes, yes and yes. Partnership, living interdependently, and facilitating one’s own and each other’s evolution.

    If I had to conform to society’s laws and rule, I would shrivel. Most people in my life draft their own blueprints…married and single. I do have to remember to honour the basic masculine need to provide – whatever that looks like to each man – and to accept with genuine gratitude.

    For too long, I thought independence was the badge I wanted to wear. I didn’t realize that other human beings like to be needed. Especially men.

    Never too late! A man wants to make me happy? I’ll let him now!

    I adore your spirit. Your passion makes me grin from ear to ear.

    • You raise a great point, Amy. There is more to life than independence. A healthy dose is great, but to have it be your do all and end all is a quick stop to any relationship. You have to give, and give up a litle. Allow and accept. But the rewards must be greater than the loss. Check that what you’ve got is a positive thing. Part of giving/caring/working for it may mean letting go of the ulitimate state of independence. Care, and let care. In fact, it’s a braver state to be, as often independence is a just a wall built out of fear.

  4. Wow, okay, where to start. For one I would love to know what triggered the inspiration for this! Another great writing and very entertaining. I laugh as I’m reading, “But what about the man? Really, take a good look,” and I see Bob’s picture scroll up from below! Perfect placement. And these are great words of wisdom, “Happily Ever After does not exist…But Willing to Work through the Hard Times does.”

    Now, I have to say to all those gals out there still looking for their Prince Charming. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO “SETTLE”. Now, like we all know, no man out there is perfect (and okay, I admit it, neither are we women) but that doesn’t mean you have to “settle” no matter how old you are or where you’ve been or what you think of yourself. (Most of us have probably had at least one bad experience in a relationship to know what it does to your self esteem) There really are still a few good men out there. I’ve got one of them but I know there are more out there so don’t sell yourself short. If it doesn’t feel right, listen to that feeling and don’t go there.

    Hunting and Gathering: My modern man gets up everyday and does the city version of that. Some days I actually thank him for going out and “hunting and gathering”…guess that’s the modern man scenario. Getting up before daylight and heading out into the wilds of the corporate world, there are a lot of wolves out there for sure! Oh, and when I call and ask him if he’ll stop by Wal Mart to pick up something on the way home, you can bet he feels like he’s been thrown into the lion’s den! (Even I don’t like to go there!)

    I am one of the lucky ones who, after a few frogs, has found my Prince Charming (I actually call him my ROCK), that doesn’t mean everyday is roses but truly most days are.

    I can’t let all this go without saying I have someone else in my life that I call my “Dark Knight”…he is my giant Newfoundland dog, Willie. And a smaller guy named, Cody (Australian Shepherd) whom I lovingly refer to as “The Bug” because he such a cuddlebug…so ladies, sometimes our Prince Charming can be in the form of a dog! With them, what you see is what you get. They are who they are, they don’t hide their true personalities and they love you for who you are and to them the greatest thing in the world is to just hang out with you! (But, keep in mind, they, too, require a little training!)

    • Or a lot of training… and then you still have to wait a few years for positive results? No, that’s just Gunnar.
      My inspiration? Learning a bit about a friend’s story where Prince Charming was no more than the frog in disguise. Kiss him all you want; he’s not going to “change.”

  5. Well, I have to admit I used the word “little” pretty lightly because just like with men, our relationship with our dogs takes work, too and it is also a constant learning process. I guess what I was trying to say is that they can oftentimes be more loyal than most people. And, I know Gunnar has his own style but he still loves being with you. He just likes to show it by protecting you from everything.

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