As evidenced by the popularity of Disney films and booming market for extravagant weddings, everyone wants to star in their very own fairy tale. Me? I’ll forgo the drama, heartache, wicked enchantress’s curses, and self-important princes and settle for being Villager #3 who leads ekes out a quiet yet comfortable existence farming cabbages. Who needs true love so pure that angels weep or glass slippers (adorable, yet wildly impractical, especially on those cobblestone streets)? Forget the “happily ever after” of fairy tales; all I need is the “content right now” of a few furry tails.
Although I have been known to sleep like the dead for prolonged periods (due to sheer laziness rather than enchantment), befriend forest creatures (a trash-seeking opossum most recently), have snow white skin (shield your eyes, all ye who gaze upon me wearing shorts for the first time of the year), and share a house with a large number of “dwarves” (several of whom most certainly merit the moniker Grumpy), my Disney Princess traits end there. Waiting around for Prince Charming, my One True Love? Hah, I’d choose the villain any day. Nefarious schemes require serious financial backing, so you know the Evil Sorcerer is rolling in it. He may not be handsome, but his 401k is looking mighty fine. Even if a knight in shining armor (with a decently diversified portfolio, of course) did happen upon my cabin in the woods, anyone who’s tried to rouse me from a mid-afternoon nap knows that 1) I’d almost certainly be sleeping and 2) true love’s kiss would never be enough to end my slumber. True love’s dog puking on the carpet, however …
Fairy tales begin with a tragic backstory, progress through a series of sinister plots, attempted murder, dangerous quests, and heartbreaking pining to culminate in a final, epic battle in which the kingdom is bathed in blood and the hero emerges with sword raised high in one hand and a princess in the other. Cut immediately to the wedding at the castle, glossing over the mass burial of the dead, and the credits rolling while the happy couple saunters off into an eternity of bliss.
Dear god, that sounds exhausting. I prefer the lot of the local baker. She grew up in a stable household, took up her parents’ trade, and became a small business owner. Her daily routine is predictable, and her work is rewarding, barring a few miniature disasters with the new apprentice singeing his eyebrows or the health inspector discovering mice in the kitchen (one of them claimed to know the princess, but what kind of royalty keeps company with rodents?). Life, while not exceptional or exciting or worthy of story books, is comfortable (and not in danger from evil forces or murderous queens). While she may lack a happy ending, she prefers a satisfied middle (currently full of cheesecake). The highs may not soar, but the lows never descend below the level of the basement of her modest home. While the heroes of the tale struggle through the trials and tribulations of Acts I and II to get the the grand finale and spend happily ever after in the royal palace, the baker will contentedly sip tea in the company of her dogs and be glad she doesn’t have to pay to heat a freakin’ castle.