Still In Love With Love
4 Ways to rethink fairy tales… because why swear off romantic love forever (after)?
“Oh, I’m done with love. Disney lied to us, there’s no such thing as Mr Right, it always ends in tears…”
Oh, if I had a pound for every time I’ve heard that. Maybe I’m naive, although I have been known as quite a cynic, but I think that everyone needs to calm down before they start burning the fairy tales and swearing off love. And here’s a bunch of reasons why.
One. Fairy tales were originally less concerned with love and more with other important things in life.
Red Riding Hood doesn’t go looking for her prince, she wants to pick flowers and do what her mother just told her not to. Her story is ‘beware the woods, stay where your mother tells you to, and don’t talk to strangers’. Generally sensible advice. ‘The Most Incredible Thing’ is a story about a fantastic clock. ‘The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf’ is the most delightful account of the afterlife adventures of Inger. So everyone who says they’re done with fairy tale endings needs to find some additional stories for bedtime reading, because there’s more to these old adventures than the heteronormative ‘boy saves girl, cue the wedding bells’.
Two. I’d like to suggest that we all stop picking on Disney.
The usual targets for anti-love themed abuse are films that are older than most of our parents. Any film from the years shortly before and after Snow White shows the same kind of values. And I’d like to know how many children only take lessons from the bad influences of film? Disney films, and any other romance stories targeted towards children, always take a hit when people want to rant about love because they’re prevalent in our memories. Do people complain that those films also encouraged us to seek kindness and compassion, to help other people, to value nature, to respect our elders? No?
Three. The problem with ‘Mr Right’ is that it’s a ridiculous notion that there’ll be only one perfect person for everyone in their lifetime.
For a wonderful-headache inducing monologue on this, watch ‘Ever After: A Cinderella Story’ and listen to Prince Henry ask Da Vinci some big questions on the nature of soulmates. My response would be that there are many people who are right for us at different times in our lives, and the problem lies in wanting to find someone at one stage in our life who will always be exactly what we need for the rest of it. Perhaps we ought to accept that a relationship will last exactly as long as it was meant to last. Although – inevitably – it will end, it will be everything you need for the time you have it.
Four. It always ends in tears. Yes. It does. But it always BEGINS…
…in that first rush of attraction, the wondering if feelings are mutual, the excitement, the beauty, the passion. Everything ends if you wait long enough. Instead of thinking of the tears when it does end (be it in two weeks when you’ve realised you have nothing in common or in eighty years when one of you dies) it’s much better to focus on the good things that will happen before then. I’ve accepted that my relationship will end in tears, and it just makes me want to grab my fiancé and laugh with him today.
I don’t say that I still want romantic love because I HAVE it. I say it because I will always need it. And I don’t regret past relationships didn’t last longer. People change, and need what is right for them at the time to be happy.
Love is one of the most overrated things we can ever hope to experience on this little planet. But it is still, beneath all that, everything you can want it to be. Love is beautiful. People are beautiful. It seems the world is obsessed with love and yet obsessed with casting it aside and declaring that they will love no longer, and cease the search for the person (or people) who can fulfil them and make them what they truly are at the most special moment in time.