Who's To Blame When Your Fairy Tale Doesn't Come True?

Illustration for article titled Who's To Blame When Your Fairy Tale Doesn't Come True?

Josephine Cox, 64, is popular author in the UK. But she thinks she and other fiction writers have failed a generation of women — with love stories too good to be true. "There are more than 11 million single, divorced or widowed women in Britain," she writes in today's Daily Mail. "I can't help wondering how much writers like me will be to blame for peddling unrealistic expectations of romance." She maintains that books and movies have "perfect" main characters who meet in a quirky love-at-first sight way or have a "long-burning childhood friendship which erupts into passion." Then the book (or film) ends as the happy couple ride into the sunset, as it were. "They don't continue through the sleep deprivation of a young family, the mounting bills, then the spreading waistlines of middle age and the first grey hairs."


Ms. Cox was saddened when she overheard a young woman in her 20s say that a guy was "great fun" but wasn't datable due to his yellowed, "crooked teeth." And are things just getting worse? Because in addition to the charmers we read about and see on the silver screen, we're living in an era of flawless, Botoxed, capped-tooth, professionally styled, fitness-trained celebrities. The Average Joe can often seem disappointingly unpolished. And as millions of little girls raised on Disney Princesses come of age and realize that in real life, a Prince is not a guarantee, is it their fault that they fell for a well-crafted fable? Or do we need responsible story-telling, as Ms. Cox seems to suggest?

Read My Lips! Love Stories Are Just A Con [Daily Mail]



I don't know why it's so easy for me to see those stories as just fantasy. As a way to get into that headspace of being madly in love when the reality is that ten years of laundry has wiped out a lot of the passion, and the fascination has been replaced by the comforting and comfortable—I won't deny it—reality of being family to one another. Every now and then, it's pleasant to think, wouldn't it be awesome if...? But it seems unfair to pin this all on the last couple of generations. Shakespeare, for heaven's sake, and Jane Austen have been doing this since forever. I still tear up when Elizabeth Bennet realizes that she's met the man who absolutely suits her and he's not the one she thought he'd be.

The thing is, though, I'd way rather have family than endless dating. No surprises is perfectly okay with me. I love how we are. If I were wired differently, I might not, no matter how good things were at home. I think some women are like that, and now that it isn't assumed that everyone will marry, they're just living the way they are. There's nothing wrong with that.