Monday, July 26, 2010

I can't decide which definition of title to use in this title.

I would have been in little girl hell if I had been a child in this century. I never had the slightest desire to be a princess, and would have been driven batty by all the marketing designed to convince me that being one is the best thing ever since Jello powder sandwiches (have you eaten one? No? Okay, probably best to let me do the commentary on them then).

I have a very vivid imagination, sure, but there has to be some grain of possibility for me to be able to enjoy any fantasy. Last I heard unlikely isn't impossible, and until it is I don't have to let the dream of being cast as James Bond die, even if I am reasonably confident that Jolie chick's going to land the role next. I've come to accept, however, that licking my elbow just isn't going to happen no matter how hard I try. Or how many times I try. Or what angle I try it from. Or who I have helping me. And it's not worth the chiropractic bill anyway. Likewise a princess is pretty much by definition something you have to be from birth, and that whole premise fell completely apart right from the moment my constituent sperm and egg parts collided. Sure, you can marry into the title, but those are fake princesses - they're just apprenticing for a job they'll never hold independently. They get the corner office and a good parking spot, sure, but they'll never run the company.

Becoming a queen, on the other hand, is an entirely more realistic option. Unlike being a princess, that's a title you can gain honestly and independently the old fashioned way - through the taking by force.

Okay, perhaps realistic is too strong a word. That said, though, if you're going to have an unrealistic dream, why wouldn't you have the biggest one available? What the hell are little girls wasting their time dreaming about being princesses for anyway? Have you ever heard of a kid dreaming about becoming vice president or an opening act? Is almost important still the best little girls are being taught they can hope for?

Think back on all the famous princesses throughout history. If you got further back than Diana you get a cookie, but if you only got as far as Margaret you get a cookie with a bite already taken out of it. Bottom line is the only princesses who really make history are the ones who ascend to the throne.

And nobody did a more fabulous job of that than Queen Elizabeth the First. Now there's a woman who truly came to embody what it means to be a queen. She sank navies, survived assassination, wore the biggest dresses on the planet and chopped peoples' heads off. Also guided a violently divided nation from the brink of bankruptcy into a golden age of peace and prosperity. Where's her cartoon? Forget about it. You don't get a Disney musical unless you have sex with a Prince, and that she very pointedly did not do.

Well I actually didn't like Disney when I was a kid, so I didn't waste time dreaming of being rescued by one lousy knight in shining armor when it was just as easy to dream myself the command of a whole freaking army of knights in shining armor. Glass slippers don't even sound comfortable. A crown, on the other hand, affords a woman every comfort on command.

You can imagine my excitement when I was told I was going to get to meet Queen Elizabeth the Second in person. Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy. Now I wasn't completely unrealistic. I knew she wasn't going to come out rockin' the cape and crown and riding a lion with the head of a traitor on a pike. I was seven years old, after all. Not six. That actually just added to the intrigue, though - how did a modern queen present herself for an average public outing? What did a contemporary figurehead of the Commonwealth wear to distinguish herself as representative of the entire population of Britain? I couldn't even begin to imagine!

If I'd had any expectations, though, I am very sure a tastefully tailored suit in an understated pastel shade would have failed them. It most certainly failed to justify standing on a hot tarmac for hours to see something I could just as easily have enjoyed seeing in the comfort of a nice chair with the Sears catalog open in my lap to Ladies Professional Wear. I wasn't expecting Elizabeth the Second to look like Elizabeth the First, no, but I think I was justified in not expecting her to look like the Avon lady either.

Yes, Queen Elizabeth the Second is a lovely person and an admirable monarch in her own right. As a sequel, though, she's definitely not worth the price of popcorn. Shaking hands with her was less exciting than turning on the air conditioning when we finally got back to the car was. I'm confident the experience of shaking hands with Elizabeth the First would have topped that. I don't wish our Lizzie any ill will, though. Of course not. I very sincerely wish her majesty a long, peaceful and happy reign. And while I defer from proclaiming any loyalties on the off chance RuPaul might someday decide to stage a coup, I would definitely vote she be allowed to keep her head if and when we trium... that should happen.

33 comments:

Kay said...

the thought of queen doesn't work because of the old tales of bitter, murderous, raging, mad, hostile, etc...

where a princess is pure and good, done wrong by another....without taking a head with her on her sunset...

yeah. I definately fall under the queen territory too... :)

nice rant with a well pointed story.

Michelle said...

I don't really see how little girls want to be princess more in this decade then they did in the last?
My generation was all about magic ponys with butt tattoos and bears that traveled via rainbow.
Now, the little ones like Dora (being an explorer is cool, right?) and the older ones into Hannah Montana (pop star? meh...) but I don't see princess very often.
Though, really... who doesn't want their little girl to grow up and sing scantily clad while riding a stripper pole?
Talk about an opening act!

ScoMan said...

I'm pretty sure if you had my help, you could lick your elbow.

Because I'm good at math, and I can use geometry to our advantage. Plus, I have been known to force things until they pop just to prove a point.

Here you are writing about meeting a real freakin Queen and here I am babbling on about elbow licking.

Ummm... Long live the Queen!

Brian Miller said...

i wonder how many girls actually want to tbe princesses these days...

Shrinky said...

You were one kick-ass little girl (grin)! My youngest girl is set on becoming a footballer, and every spare moment is spent on honing these skills, it's all she's ever wanted to be. My eldest girl was recently "scouted" by a modelling agency - her response? She turned them down flat with, "Meh, why would I want to develop an eating disorder??" I'm not too worried about them. Me? I toyed with the idea of being rescued, but tired of the waiting. I set up in business, and recued my hubby, instead (grin)!

Eva Gallant said...

Definitely better to be queen than a princess!

Jazz said...

I know a couple of princesses. And despite having no royal blood, they were definitely born into it. Annoying as all hell they are.

nick said...

Yes, why aspire to be a drippy princess when you could be a round-the-world yachtswoman or conquer Kilimanjaro? Or take over Microsoft? As you say, why aim for the almost important, the also rans? Aim for the stars, baby.

Indeed, isn't it time for Jane Bond? Or Joanna Bond? With Sigourney Weaver strutting her stuff?

And how true about the Queen playing the Avon Lady. About time she broke out and did a Vivienne Westwood.

Deanna said...

That princess stuff is so over rated and you are so funny.

Rebecca said...

I totally want to visit Europe so I can visit with the entire royal court. My dream....and I totally WILL ask to have tea with the queen so I can try on all her pretty crowns....she'll probably say no, but at least I asked........or would ask if I ever make it to Europe....and I doubt that will ever happen because I hardly even leave the state in which I was born.......leaving the country would be monumental.

Kris said...

what a great post! I think the term princess has changed for sure. We all wanted to be princesses in the magical sense. Now, it's all about what labels the little girl owns and how many people comment on her twitter. Dumb princesses!

I have some earrings up for grabs on my blog. Check it out!Handmade, no labels! ;op

http://tinyurl.com/2vollfw

MAB Jewelry said...

I still dream of becoming a drag queen, but, alas, I was born a female. Drag queens understand exactly what you're preaching, Miss Tatty. And who ever heard of a drag princess? No. Because the pinnacle of female power is the queen.
Also, I'd rather be Lady Macbeth than Ophelia, but that's a rant for another day.

...louciao... said...

Our gracious Queen Elizabeth as the Avon lady! How have I missed that all these years? That would solve the mystery about what she carries in her handbag--the latest Avon catalogue and order forms. Who knew.

secret agent woman said...

It was always Queen of the Universe that I wanted to be.

frigginloon said...

Sheez, and here I was thinking Elton John was the Queen of England.
I always wondered if the Queen LOLs in her head during her little meet and greets.All those people suck holing up to her. I sure would.

The Blue Zoo said...

My name means "wearer of the crown" so im pretty sure that makes me a princess.

carma said...

did she have on glove - or run for the hand sanitizer after the meet and greet?? I picture her getting totally creeped out by having to interact with her "public"

She's got an awesome gig.

Jocelyn said...

Ah, thank you for this. My poor daughter had to suffer through years of our culture trying to Princessify her. She was too reserved to utter the words, "But I don't like Disney. But I don't like princesses." Now she's ten, which means people leave her the hell alone on this one. Instead, they try to make her watch Hannah Montana.

Oy.

Great post, girl.

linlah said...

But you did it and you can check that off your list.

TheFrogBag said...

Great post! The whole princess thing really creeps me out. When I was a young lass I didn't even like to play with dolls (well, stuffed animals were cool, just not human-type dolls), and Disney was certainly not my favorite. A friend of my mother's felt sorry for my non-girly tendencies and bought me a Barbie. Supposedly I told her "no thanks, I'm going to be a paleontologist". Heh!

mythopolis said...

This was fun to read. But, it is amazing how after decades of this liberation and the other liberation, there is still so much inequity. At Walmarts, if you look down the aisle of 'toys' for girls, everything is pink. Looking down the boys aisle, it is mostly camoflage, guns, and macho toy trucks!

blueviolet said...

I don't really know how the princess thing gets picked up, but it always does!

Unknown Mami said...

Your dream of being cast as James Bond could happen. I was once cast as Richard III. I was awful, but I'm sure you will be an excellent 007.

secret agent woman said...

Just to let you know, I had to change URL's. This avatar links to the new site.

Vicki Lane said...

Great post! I'm a fan of Eliz the first myself. She, by god, was a MONARCH.

I never wanted to be a princess -- not for a minute -- I wanted to be a cowboy -- but that was back in the Fifties.

injaynesworld said...

Damn. My tongue is just inches away from my elbow. Just inches!!!

You make some excellent points here. I bet with some illustrations you could turn this into a children's book for little girls. Sadly, they're still not getting the message. Yeah, your prince will come, but he'll be expect you to do his laundry.

It's definitely good to be queen.

Aging Mommy said...

Oh you are so funny! Although English I am not a fan of the British monarchy in modern day form and fervently hope Charles never gains the title of King. I too would have been a poor fit with today's little girls dreams - my daughter wants to be a princess when she grows up and decided that without any encouragement from me. I'd far rather she became a Carly Fiorina only even more successful, or Anna Wintour but with less of the %@$# factor and more of just the amazing entrepreneur factor - that way my husband and I might just get to retire one day :-) Queen of an Empire, not a country.

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

I'm pretty sure that even without the dress up dresses and play shoes, many from our generation wanted to play princess in their big cupcake wedding dresses. If only for a day, the got the urge from somewhere. I just hope all of the disney stuff doesn't end up making us pay later down the road. It's fine by me to be pretty-pretty-princess when it's cheap.

Bummer the queen wasn't better dressed. Those suits are so blah.

Hilary said...

I raised boys.. and so I have to wonder if girls still do want to be princesses.. or do those who lean that way want to be Paris Hilton? (shudder)

natalee said...

WOW!!1 you shoke the Queens hand... amazing!!! Altough Im Italian- American Ive always had a fascination with British Royalty since I was little..... As a young girl.. I always would pull my hair tight on my scalp // and once even tried to wrangle a broken lampshade into a collar so I could be Elizabeth 1... crazy...I know!!!!..

Megan said...

"Not six."

Damn, girl.

Rosidah Abidin said...

Witty post with great points. Sometimes it's sad to live up people's expectations... You've got to be careful not to get entangled in the net. But, I must admit that I loved to dream about prince charming ;). Have a wonderful week.

JennAventures said...

Hmm, I did like Disney as a kid-and now I blame them for a lot of my romantic woes (Where is my library, beast!!)

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