Tony Woodlief | Author

About Your Princess

Word to the wise, formulated during my morning jog: it’s probably not a good idea to give your daughter a vanity plate, or any type of gear for that matter, that says: “Princess.”

Because she just may start to believe it.

Do you want your daughter to be the princess of your heart? Absolutely. Do you want her to be the princess of the home, or neighborhood, or school? Absolutely not.

My experience with teenaged girls is that the ones raised to believe they are princesses behave much more like Cinderella’s sisters than like Cinderella. And we all know how that story ends.

Funny how we tend to identify with the hero or heroine of a fairy tale, when we usually have much more in common with one of the secondary characters. I’m sure there’s a lesson about life in that, or at the very least, a lesson about how to read a fairy tale.

I’m just as guilty as the next, though when I watch “Tombstone” I identify much more with Doc Holliday than Wyatt Earp. Perhaps it’s a sense of doom, or the daily growing consciousness of my sins, or simply the fact that were I a cowboy, I’d like to be the kind who could put six holes in you before you could draw.

Still, it’s a fantasy nonetheless, because never do I imagine myself in the role of one of the bad guys, or even worse, one of the impotent townsfolk. But most of us are exactly that, no?

How staggering the gap between our self-perceptions and our realities. How lovely that we are loved regardless.

So, back to the princesses, or more specifically, to their fathers. Men, turn off the television, put down the golf clubs, and use your heads. The kinds of boys who will come sniffing around your narcissistic little Barbie are not the sort who usually grow into men. And yet there one of them will be one day, sitting in your living room every Thanksgiving and Christmas, trying in vain to do the impossible task of keeping your little princess happy.

Notes to self:

1) Explain to my boys the difference between a princess and a lady.
2) Pray my grown knights remember that the damsels worth rescuing aren’t already sitting on a throne made by daddy.
3) Work more evil princess characters into my homemade bedtime stories.

There. And all that from a single license plate. I should get out less.

On Key

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