“Someday my Prince will come……!” warbled Snow White’s tender soprano voice over the chirp of orchestra and bird song, making a generation or two of young girls growing into women believe her. They needed to believe her, and letting that need grow with their increasing age and height became part of every girl’s journey into womanhood. For a tall girl like me, of course the Prince had to be a tall Prince. So i could wear high heels.
Walt Disney and his Imagineers made it look so pretty, (even the Evil Queen was gorgeous), so colorful, so neat and tidy, so fair-skinned and muscular, complete with white horse and men’s legs that looked great in tights and a doublet, we all wanted to believe the poor
downtrodden girl who sang her wishes to the wind. A Prince would come and save us from having to sweep out the fireplace and wash the dishes. After all, wasn’t that what birds, chipmunks and dancing broomsticks were for? To keep the kitchen clean?
I seriously do wonder how many generations of young women grew up sullied by the idea that a man was the answer to everything, with or without a horse. I use the word “sullied” because there is a certain amount of ruin in the very notion as i look back on it today: a girl had no chance to really look for true value in a good man because of course he had to have all the attributes of a genuine Prince in order to be even considered, and when that Princely ideal failed to satisfy, the walls came tumbling down for an infinite number of women.
I sometimes think of my generation as the Generation That Walt Disney Ruined: like cookie cutters, our futures were shaped by the cartoon movies we so ardently threw ourselves into watching. The notions cutting into the soft impressionable dough of our little minds, making the perfect man seem as simple as baking. Of course, as we grow older, we realize true good baking is an actual science and depends on more than just a wish and a squoosh into the dough.
As i grew up, my first marriage failing because I was too much the Princess (and so was my first husband), i became quite angry at the entire Disney operation. The tune of “Someday My Prince Will Come” kept floating through my pained brain as i watched the man i so adored run off with another man. These days, Disney is even producing cartoon films with gay love as a theme, but back then, in my days of yore, no such thing was even a notion in the minds of anyone deemed decent. So, as immature as I was, and as dependent too on the love and support of that first husband, i crumbled against the walls of our apartment when he had to leave, and he did have to leave in order for me to grow up.
I never went to a Disney theme park until i was 45 years old, and i went with the man who eventually became my 2nd husband, and whom I adore to this day….i honestly admit i still consider him something of a Prince, but that just gives testimony to the fact that some notions never die, no matter how old we grow. That first bright Orlando morning, i witnessed the Opening Character Show at the Magic Castle and wept like a 10-year old. Primal memories of sitting in front of the TV set on a Sunday night watching The Wonderful World of Disney flooded through me and i wept for most of the day, especially if Snow White or Mickey Mouse came near me.
And Peter , my dearest husband, and i even married at Disney World a few years later: on Sunset Point at the Polynesian Resort, the Magic Castle in the background of all our wedding photos, and spent our honey moon at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, in a luxurious suite that had giraffes eating from my hand, as i stood on our balcony.
So, no, our men are not Princes. And we must not expect them to rescue us on the broad backs of their white steeds. BUT…..the complicated and shared love of a true love IS something to write songs about and celebrate with as many of a day’s fireworks as we can afford.
So, in short, I don’t believe anymore….yet i do believe, too.
I do indeed believe.