Friday, November 2, 2007

Princess Primer

prin·cess (prĭn'sĭs, -sěs', prĭn-sěs'). A woman regarded as having the status or qualities of a princess.*

This is not just another photo of some costume-clad goombas getting ready to trick or treat. It is actually, in my opinion, a picture of a Las Vegas showgirl witch, Underdog, and one strong, independent-minded princess. She may look like just another Snow White wanna be, but Miss Kisa B. has made a not-so-dwarflike statement by donning the satin dress and tiara. I can almost hear her shouting, "I am Princess, hear me roar!" or something to that affect.

"Huh?" you ask. Let me back up a little and give you some background before giving you the Merry ME version of Paul Harvey's "Rest of the Story."

There is, in Seattle, a small imaginative band of trick or treaters who for the past three years have united in a joint costume effort. The group consists of both adults and children. When the children were younger, with easily pliable minds, it was clearly the adults who ruled the costume roost. One year they were a whole crew from the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, Willie Wonka, Grandpa, Oompa loompas, and a Mr. Slugworth). Last year they formed a Speed Racer coterie (3 Speed Racers, Trixie, Chim chim, and Sparky).

Alas, things changed when the girls became more secure in their own personalities, more vocal about their likes and dislikes. It was the demise of the ensembles when the youngsters decided to take an individual approach to the holiday. One wanted to dress up as a witch while the other liked the idea of being a princess.

Apparently, the princess thing did not go over too well. Seems there are some uncharitable preconceived princess notions in the group. My own, anything but prejudiced, daughter included. I was a little shocked when Wendy told me she was secretly pleased that Kisa had seen the light and given up the idea of being a princess. She had decided, instead, to don a pointy black hat and join the band of witches. I realize that the costume thing is just that - a one night pretend affair, not necessarily a true statement of who you are. But still, I felt like Kisa might have had a bit of witch peer pressure going on. And isn't that the fate of the youngest child, to always be at the mercy of the bigger sister and grown ups? I felt a kinship with the almost princess. I was a little sad that the witch contingent had won out.

"What's wrong with being a princess," I asked my daughter, who has a bit of royal blood running through her veins. Not the fancy dressed, dripping in bling kind of royalty. But the kind where everyone knows she's special! With an exaggerated hrumph, Wendy told me that the whole idea of a young girl identifying with the heroine of a story who is only a heroine because she is rescued by a prince is offensive. "Well, yeh," I responded, "but what about Princess Grace of Monaco? Xena, the Warrior Princess? Princess Di? Queen Elizabeth I (she was a princess first)? Those were all pretty strong women in their own right.

I understand in this modern era that the premise of being rescued by a dashing prince and living life from that point on in a state of bliss might be a stretch of even a child's imagination. But hey, wait a minute. Just because the story ends at "happily ever after" it doesn't mean that the royal couple lives a struggle-free life; or that the princess is relegated to the royal chamber to watch soap operas, polish her tiaras and fight off the photo seeking Paparazzi.
Take Cinderella for instance. The poor girl had to face years of torment by her stepmother and sisters. No doubt this is how she developed her "true grit," her take-it-as-it-comes-think-fast-on-her-feet-take-some-kind-of-action-even-if-means-riding-in-a-pumpkin gumption; a must for any Princess. I have a feeling the dashing dancing Prince of the storybook fame was attracted not just by Cinderella' s beauty, but by the independent air with which she carried herself.
Cinderella also made the most of her shabby circumstances. She befriended singing mice and droopy-eared dogs. When a magic-wand waving fairy appeared, the tattered princess-to-be believed in the goodness and magic the woman had to offer. I suspect being a good judge of character is right up there at the top of a princess's resume.

I have a feeling that both Prince Charming and Cinderella were aware of relationship pitfalls. Once the newness and excitement of their honeymoon wore off, I'm guessing the couple employed the services of a Royal Relationship Wizard. Unlike the fairy Godmother, this master of intimacy used no magic. Instead, he undoubtedly used the "Partner's in Life" Couples' Assessement program. He instructed them on the benefits of good communication; the importance of being good listeners. By putting this information to good use, Prince and Cindy were better able to communicate not only between themselves, but also with the royal family (i.e. the Queen-in-law), their royal subjects, and the Tabloid reporters. As in all relationships, good communication is the key to understanding.
For whatever reason, at the last minute Kisa decided that in her heart of hearts she did not want to go with the flow. She did not want to be a witch after all. She wanted to be a princess and that was that. Perhaps the whole princess thing is just a passing fancy. But who knows, maybe Miss Independent Thinker is well on her way to developing life skills she will use regardless of whether or not she ever meets Prince Charming. I think it's pretty clear, Miss Kisa is going to be just fine.

Princess Diana has been quoted as saying,"Being a princess isn't all it's cracked up to be." But this looks like one happy princess to me.

May all your dreams come true,
Merry ME

*The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Independent thinking is awesome - and they are all adorable!!