Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Disney Love Life: Cinderella + Aladdin

Last night. Dinner party with the girls. There were six of us. Three of whom I didn't know. I was the youngest. The oldest was 61. All of us single. It didn't take long before we were swapping hilariously awkward tales of infatuation, biological clocks and "platonic" male roommates.

As I finished off the crackers and triple-cream cheese, I dropped a bombshell. I believe in blurting out shocking statements when among strangers.

"Unemployment is not a deal-breaker."

Yep, I said it. And I almost meant it.

One of the women had been ranting about how both artsy men and "church men" seem to lack career ambition. That musicians and Christians rank among the worst husband material as they can't provide stability or security. So according to her, I have disastrous taste in men. At least there's no competition. (I'm still confused by that conversation. Some of the most ambitious men I've ever met happen to fit both categories. But I guess we travel in different circles.)

I'm not scared of poverty. And as I make decisions about my own career and future, I try to prioritize creative fulfillment over security. Passion over fear. Not that I'm being irresponsible with my finances, but I'm not going to approach my life from a "but will I retire comfortably?" perspective. So why would I expect that of someone else? Why would I shift from trusting God to provide to expecting a man to provide? I'm pretty sure God can provide for two. I don't need a superhero. Or a knight. Just a partner in crime.

Maybe it's because once upon a time, in a land not that far away, I had a crush on Aladdin, not Prince Charming.

Disney's Prince Charming was rich, reserved and without personality. He was handsome but rarely spoke. There was no banter, no spark, no charm (ironic, no?). He didn't even pursue Cinderella at midnight; he sent someone else to run after her. He merely turned a lovely girl into a lovely princess. Sure, I wanted to be Cinderella, but I wanted to be the poor version of her: the gal in a brown dress with the ribbon in her hair. I wanted to sing while scrubbing floors. I wanted to wear a dress made by mice. The poufy ballgown? The lifeless waltz with royalty? Um, pass.

And any guy who'd marry someone for her shoe size has issues.

But Aladdin was different. He was passionate about life. He had a pet monkey. He was a complicated mix of trustworthy soul and wanted criminal. He had wits, street smarts, agility, fearlessness. He shared his loot with the even-less-fortunate. (Sure, he struggled with pride and insecurity, that need to prove himself worthy, even though Jasmine was smitten with him regardless of status or title. Sigh.) He didn't need to be a prince; love and the adventure of survival was enough.

I may not be swooning over the guys who sleep all day and play Guitar Hero in their parents' basements all night, but I also don't want to be lumped in with the generation of girls who still count on Prince Charming to heroically rescue them from every financial concern and non-glamorous circumstance. I'd rather tackle life together. Living-room picnics over four-star restaurants any day.


Katie V. said...

Nadine, I LOVED this post. And your dinner party, is this a regular occurrence? Because I want in on it. I guess it sounds like unemployment isn't a deal-breaker i he doesn't lack a job for lack of ambition. He can be lacking due to the economy or not having found his niche. That is still sorta scary in my books but I respect your opinion. Ps. Aladdin is easily on of the best looking princes and hilarious! Although hands down most attractive? The dude on Mulan.

nadine said...

This was a first (actually, a goodbye party). But I have fantasies of hosting fun dinner parties at my place. And you are invited.

Yes. I can handle unemployment if it's not paired with slackerness. It's more of an "I'm not scared of poverty" statement than a "Men with 24 hours of free time daily are amazing" one :)

Aladdin had Steve's voice (DJ's boyfriend on Full House). I think that's the real reason for the swooning :)