Some thoughts upon reconsidering “The Princess and the Pea” in middle age

Remember the “Princess and the Pea”? That’s the fairy tale in which a young woman proves she is a real princess by getting a backache from sleeping on a pea hidden under a pile of mattresses. This odd little test was arranged by the mother of the man she wanted to marry. This sounded completely sensible to me when I was 4. And now, at 43, it does again.

  • If you’re clear about who you are and what you need, and you are honest about it, it will be much more obvious, to you and everyone else, when people are screwing with you.
  • If your ideas require a literal pile of ridiculousness to challenge, but you spend the night anyway, you’re going to get hurt.
  • If your beloved lets someone else dictate his standards and boundaries, you are going to have to put up with some bullshit.
  • If you patiently sit through all the weird little tests your baggage-laden potential partner requires and only complain when it’s incredibly unreasonable, be prepared for your reward to be everybody calling you a fancy little princess.

Here’s what I recommend: Next time someone reacts to you saying that you’re sensitive about something by trying to wound you with that very piece of information, walk away. No potential partner is so cute or securely positioned or ready for commitment as to be worth tolerating being hurt on purpose. You won’t have time to think about how much you’re missing if you’re elbow deep in a coding class. And you can probably buy a bike for what you could get for that tiara on Craigslist. If it takes a frigging ladder to get into the bed, don’t sleep there. It ain’t worth it.

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About pantsinspace

I'm an inch deep and a mile wide. Not literally. But literarily, sure.
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