Once upon a time, there was a handsome young prince. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the prince met a beautiful young maiden. They fell in love at first glance, got married and lived ever after.
But did they live happily?
We always see the start to the fairy tale romance in the movies, and the “happily ever after” is just implied at the end. But the fact of the matter is, we oversimplify this grand idea of love way too much.
Love is like a garden. You have to dedicate yourself to it, cultivate it, care for it, and after all your hard work, you might still end up with some overripe strawberries. But even an overripe strawberry tastes awesome dipped in chocolate. You should appreciate that you were able to invest yourself in something and watch it grow. It probably won’t be perfect, but if you can find the chocolate coat, it will definitely satisfy you.
(Disclaimer: I’m not encouraging you to dip your boyfriend/ girlfriend in chocolate to make things better – that was a metaphor. So unless you’re into that kind of thing, leave the fondue for the dessert table.)
Several years ago, during my naïve freshman days, I came up with a brilliant idea: I would write a list of all the qualities I was looking for in a partner. Once I had found a girl with all of these qualities, the company of my perfect match could finally quench my teenage thirst for affection.
So I set to work drafting a list of traits I would look for in a young bonnie-lass: brunette, good smile, left-handed (like me), athletic, liberal arts major, etc. I had my dream girl figured out down to the tee. And when I finally found her, we would fall in love at first sight and live happily ever after. The End.
Not so, my friends. How vain of me to assume I knew what to look for.
First of all, most of the qualities I was looking for in a girl were my own character traits. While I do love myself, I’m not too sure I could ever be “in love” with myself. As a matter of fact, I’m quite positive I would break up with me rather quickly if were I dating me. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that.
Anyways, we all think we have an idea of what we want in a partner. But many the poetic lyricist has pointed out how wrong we are. As far as the search for the perfect companion goes, Kanye West put it well in the song “Heartless:” “Homie, I don’t know, she’s hot and cold; I won’t stop, won’t mess my groove up …”
Yeezy clearly understands that his girlfriend has some flaws (she’s hot and cold), but he will stick to being who he is because he knows the importance of being genuine in a relationship. Or maybe I’m just bad at interpreting pop lyrics.
But I think the Beatles put it best: “Let it be.”
If you try to force or plan it, you will be left like a puppy in the rain – sad and alone.
Who knows, maybe my perfect gal will be an athletic, left-handed, brown-haired girl with a great sense of humor and a taste for chocolate-covered strawberries. But I certainly won’t lose any sleep if her hair color doesn’t exactly match up to my youthfully constructed notion of perfection.
I still don’t know exactly how things work. I don’t know that I ever will completely. But the most important thing to understand is that these things take effort. There’s no such thing as a relationship that doesn’t take work.
If you go in expecting a Cinderella story, you’ll probably be disappointed. Let’s be real – ladies, you might think it’s romantic for a gent to put on your glass slippers and have them fit perfectly, but think of how uncomfortable that would be. I mean, I don’t know how you walk in heels in the first place, but glass slippers seem simply intolerable.
As for me, I’m sure I’m no Prince Charming; but if my date’s carriage turns out to be a pumpkin, I think I can be okay with that.
If you are prepared to embrace imperfection, then you’ll realize that your pumpkins might never turn into a diamond-studded carriage; but you’ve still got pumpkins, and that’s not such a bad deal (think about the delicious lattes and pie you can make).
And once you can appreciate that, I think you’re ready to write your own (mostly happily) ever after.