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Rant & Rave

By Chad Wago

Tuesday, March 28, 2000

Ditch those
fairy-tale ideas
of love

MANY people seem to feel that there is no reason to pay attention to myths in modern society. They think that the only people for whom myths were important were the ancient Greeks and Romans. Even if they consider that myths and legends have other origins -- such as Native American or Hawaiian cultures -- they still believe that the old stories do not affect them.

This is just not true.

To contest this, one need look no further than the story of Sleeping Beauty. Now, more than ever, tales such as this one affect society.

Everyone knows how the story of Sleeping Beauty goes, at least in the Walt Disney version. Cursed by an evil witch, she is doomed to sleep until Prince Charming comes, slays the fire-breathing dragon and rescues her.

Most feminists would probably say that the story is just an example of blatant chauvinism. "Why does she have to wait until the Prince comes to be saved? She can save herself, thank you very much."

That's one perspective.

The story of Sleeping Beauty (and various other fairy tales that got the Disney treatment) affect our romantic lives in ways that aren't so immediately palpable.

The other day, one of my female friends wondered out loud, "Where is my Prince Charming? Does he even exist?"

So goes the cry of teen-agers and women everywhere. I imagine a lot of them are just sitting around waiting for their Knight in Shining Armor to come and sweep them off their feet.

Too bad ... those knights are extinct. When there are so many brigands wandering about, the best that you'll find is a knight in tarnished armor.

Guys aren't immune to the story either. We expect to come rushing in, slay the dragon and get the girl.

Nowadays, while we are off battling the dragon -- tending to jobs and school work -- there's someone else scheming to get our women.

And no matter how much you do for a woman, if she is waiting for another Prince, it seems that 'tis better to seek out other beauties as well.

With the rise of feminism in the late 20th century, why is it that we still subscribe to such outdated myths of behavior? The girl that I mentioned earlier is one of the most adamant feminists that I know. She wrote a nearly two-page manifesto on why guys suck.

But she, along with some of her friends, is still waiting for Prince Charming to come and woo her.

Meanwhile, I and many of my male friends try to help solve women's problems and do favors for them, out of decency for sure, but also to try to get them to notice us as romantic possibilities. We hope one day that they will fall into our arms for slaying the metaphorical dragons.

All the while, not one of us has found love.

I guess what I'm asking is for girls to notice the efforts of guys who may not, on first sight, seem to fit the mold of their Prince Charming.

Open your eyes. There are more than six billion people in the world. Do you honestly think that in all of them, there is only one person for you?

I should hope not. What if he or she lives in Siberia and doesn't speak English? Now that's a horrible fate to consider.

Sometimes you can't just wait for The One to come find you, you have to look around and search deeper.

Wake up, Sleeping Beauty.

Chad Wago is a senior at Roosevelt High School.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
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