Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Want to Be a Princess

A few years ago Greg and I were watching some old black and white movie on TCM about this lady who was very homely, backwards and repressed and for some reason ends up on a cruise and meets a guy and is somehow transformed into this beautiful, wonderful lady. That is seriously all I can remember about the movie, except for one strong impression I had while watching it.

After the lady came back from her cruise she had a party. She wore a simple but beautiful, floor length, full skirted black dress (which means it could have been charcoal or indigo or emerald or burgundy etc.) that swooshed like a fairy tail as she glided to the door to let in her guests. Her hair was pulled up in a lovely bunch at the back of her head, revealing her smooth, powdered face with it's soft, feminine features. Her voice was like a song. She smiled so kindly upon all her guests and made certain that they all felt comfortable. And as she made her way around the room, the pleasing rustle of her dress could be heard. Oh yeah, I already mentioned the swooshy dress.

For days after watching this movie I kept thinking about how lovely and feminine this woman was, and how feminine women in general were in those days. I started realizing how much I wish that I could be more like that. I suppose, to be realistic, I couldn't really wear dresses like that around our house. If I did, rather than that soothing woosh, you would be more likely to hear tearing as it snagged on the antennae of some remote control car, or swearing* when the baby yanked on it or wiped his salty, oily, crackery hands on it (the swearing wouldn't be coming from the baby. Or the dress). Our house is a great size for us and I love it, but it's not a palace and doesn't have rooms large enough that they can be glided across all gracefully like in that movie. So the dress and its accompanying sounds/motions are out.

We all know that there will be NO pulling of hair into lovely bunches for me for at least a few years. And my face is what it is. My kids love to comment on how very looooong and thin my face is, and I myself am aware of the crook at the bridge of my nose. Not exactly soft features, but they're the ones I came with so I won't fret over how they're keeping me from being my self proclaimed ideal. Let's move on to the things I CAN (or should be able to) change.

I can smile. I can smile and flutter my eyelashes a little bit more than is actually needed for the moistening of my eyeballs. I think if I don't exaggerate this too much it might actually look natural, like I really am just kind of lovely like that. I'm not quite sure what to do about the voice. Mine doesn't naturally sound like a song, or the babbling of a brook or whatever it's supposed to, despite David's flattery on that mom tag. I wonder if I could just speak in a slightly higher pitch. I might sound a bit more like Cinderella that way.

On to the really difficult part: personality. Now, before I start, so everyone knows, I like me. I think I'm fine. Still, I think I come across a bit more abrasive than I'd like. There are people I know who are the embodiment of kindness. You can always count on them to say something that makes the people around them feel comfortable and happy with themselves at the same time that they feel this person's kindness and grace. I love this. It's how I would like to be. Unfortunately, there's this little thing called sarcasm. Sarcasm just does NOT make girls seem ladylike. Unfortunately sarcasm and I seem to have been stuck together with some mystery super glue because I am unable to break away from it. And actually, now that I'm typing this, I think that is the main thing that I kind of wish I could swap. Sarcasm for sweetness. Unfortunately, I don't think I can. But I guess I can try to smooth down the rough edges of my sense of humor**.

I recognize that in our day it may be considered a bit sexist to talk about women's femininity and about how we are "the gentler sex," but I personally think that it's a good thing, and I would like to be gentler, if I could. I loved Evie's Primary teacher at church who would use the word "ladylike" when talking about how the girls were (or weren't) sitting or behaving. I loved it and started using the word myself, with her. Around this time 2 year-old David started running around the house calling, "Lady-Lite! Lady-Lite!" all the time.

This also reminds me of my mother's approach with her granddaughters. She has discussed with them the idea that God is our king (think Kingdom of God). We also know that we are His children. Daughter's of kings are princesses. That makes us all what? Princesses! Little girls like princesses. They want to be princesses. They know that princesses behave like ladies and it's a great motivator to young girls to remind them to "be like a princess." It's even greater when they realize that they actually ARE princesses and that our Father has taught us how to do it, with the help of a Prince.

So this is the kind of princess I want to be. The kind that is good, kind and true, who tries to follow the King's wishes and be gracious and loving and sweet to others. I also wouldn't mind being the kind that is pretty and graceful and has a swooshy dress (in charcoal, indigo, emerald or burgundy).

*I put this only for dramatic emphasis. I never swear. Okay, I might swear, but only if the dinner was burning, the phone was ringing, I had a headache and then the baby started tugging on my fancy dress with his yucky hands.
** I remember when I was talking with an important Church authority after a meeting and I said something totally sarcastic like, "Oh you're very something-don't remember what- I'm sure that's a real problem for you!" or something like that. Both he and his wife who was standing nearby laughed and were very kind about it, but I was slightly embarrassed right after I said it, and VERY embarrassed when I thought about it later on. I mean they totally understood that I was kidding, and they fully understood my sense of humor (we had spent some time with them previously) but to some people you just don't make remarks like that. Fortunately they have the kindness and sweetness that I lack and didn't show any surprise, but just made me feel like I was so funny.

14 comments:

Thora said...

Hi, I'm coming out of lurkerville from Mormon Mommy Blogs. I really relate to this post. I think my big thing is that I'm whiny and abrasive. I don't like to think I'm whiny, but then I often find myself mentioning something I'm struggling with, not to complain in my head, but just so that people know what I'm going through, and then I realize that that is complaining.

Thanks for reinspiring me to be better.

KC said...

You are already a "very superior" 1930s wife--my guess is if you did have the palace and the dress, you'd be gliding around, fluttering your eyelashes all over the place!

-oLiViA said...

Okay, so I only read the first two paragraphs, I don't have much leisure time today. I finally posted on my blog for the first time in forever. You should check it out, I'm really demented

-oLiViA said...

By the way, you don't have to listen to the Jonas Brthers song on my blog, you could have Evie do it. ;)

Erin said...

Sadly, the image of a princess has been inextricably connected with Disney princesses in my mind and probably the minds of all little girls in America. It was nice to think of a more dignified, real version of a princess. BTW I have a really pretty silver and black gown that my mom got me for harp gigs. But I still haven't worn it for a performance because I find the swish sound so distracting!

Becky said...

I'd like to be more princess-like, too. But not, like Erin said, a Disney princess. It's sad and a little discouraging that in this world, ladies need to be (or at least think they need to be) tough, callous, outspoken, etc. in order to be important.

Alison Wonderland said...

Nope, sorry, couldn't do it. I could not give up the sarcasm for sweetness. I don't think I could ever even want to. But I do want the dress.

Moody said...

I like your mother's approach and I think I will adopt it to help my girls know how to act. And the beauty, swooshy dress and sweetness are all fine and dandy for a while...but just too boring. I like someone with character and sarcasm-it's much more fun!

Nance said...

I wish I was bubbling over with sweetness, but I'm just not. I'll still like you (ie: continue reading your funny blog) even if you are overly sarcastic and hardly ever sweet. And I can't even tell if you're wearing a swooshy dress or not. I'll just assume that of course you are. As am I.

Brillig said...

Mmmm, yeah. I wanna be a princess too, the way you describe it. Great post!

Melissa said...

I think you and I were twin sisters in the pre-existence. I think we even look alike. I relate to so much in this post (I always wanted a big poofy dress, though--the kind that would knock people over if they got too close). We also tell our girls to "act like princesses" when we want them to behave better. I'm not super sarcastic, but I'm too honest i.e. not tactful or socially soft. (If someone asks me how I am, I tell them for reals. I don't just say "fine.") Anyhoo, I think you and I shall be great friends.

Kazzy said...

I always wanted to be a princess that climbed trees and beat boys at sports but could also look stunning when it was time to walk down the stairs and meet my prince. Speaking of ladylike, my friend over at TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON MOTHER recently wrote about women in the fifties wearing pumps and dresses each day, and together we decided that they may have actually enjoyed how it made them feel. Maybe it gave them the boost of feminine confidence they wanted for the day. I mean, think about those days when you wear sweats all day and don't shower. How high are your chances of feeling great about your role as a woman? Now, where did I put those glass slippers?

Jo Beaufoix said...

Your idea of a princess sounds cool. When I was little I loved watching the old movies and the beautiful ladies with gorgeous dresses and perfect poise. Maybe next time Mr B and I go out I will try it and see if he notices hee hee.
And you can be a sarky princess. Sarky is good too sometimes. :D
Thans for the comment on my Bloggers Annex post. You made me think.

Phemia said...

Good words.