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"If you think about who the first person who teaches you about love, romance and Prince Charming is, it probably happened between the ages of 2-5 and included Disney."

Jarring agreement issues aside, the sentence is just plain wrong. I was five when I saw my first movie and it was indeed Disney's Sleeping Beauty. It taught me that I was horribly afraid of dragons and thorny hedges. So afraid that I slipped under the seats to avoid watching. My dad was furious and we left the theater. I don't think I've seen the movie through to the end yet.

Romance I learned from John Steinbeck. First from multiple readings of The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights and later from Travels with Charley.

Prince Charming I learned from Mattel and Lisa Demarino across the street. He was the one Ken doll among her dozen Barbies. Every so often we'd dig him out from the bottom of a big box of clothes and accessories (I learned the word "accessories" from the box in Barbie's travel case) and let him drive the camper or the convertible--or, of course, be the groom at a wedding. He was mostly ornamental but essential in the same way a decorative serving platter is. You can certainly live a fine life with no serving platter, but on special occasions that Spode Christmas plate or turkey-shaped thing really rounds out the experience. Not the hallmark of a civilized household, but an earmark certainly.

But love! Who first taught me about love? Whoever it was did a piss-poor job because I'm still not clear on the concept. I've got that warm fuzzy lovingkindness thing down ok; it curdles a bit from time to time but in general I'd like to give the world a Coke and whatnot. I credit Richard Brautigan. But love! I worked with a guy who ended every phone conversation with any family member by saying "I love you," and, knowing it was coming, I would prepare myself to look un-uncomfortable as he hung up. I'm right chary about the word and I don't know who to blame. I'm pretty sure Disney is off the hook.

Who taught you about love? Romance? Prince Charming?


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 18th, 2007 04:51 am (UTC)
I know a number of people who don't allow Disney movies because they don't like the messages about romance, needing to be saved by princes (and a plethora of dead mothers). But really, when I think back on my impression of Disney movies, it wasn't so much the romance for me either. Snow White, I think I remember best the scary scene when the evil queen takes the potion to turn into the old woman. Cinderella--possibly the mice helping her make the dress with the stepsisters discards and then the fairy godmother transforming everything.

Romance--hmm, maybe Catwoman always going after Batman in the television show? I know that even though I thought Catwoman was really cool, the romance bit annoyed me. Prince Charming I didn't really give a second thought to. I neither admired nor scorned him. I just didn't play games like that. I was a huge Nancy Drew fan and fantasized about being a detective. Love? Not to sure on that one either. Yeah, I like for the most part being warm and fuzzy, or at least charitable and gracious but passionate sweeping love? Not so sure.
Apr. 18th, 2007 01:05 pm (UTC)
As far as I'm concerned, it's not really something that can be put so easily into words. Then again, Brautigan is really good at putting odd things into words.
Apr. 18th, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC)
I don't think Disney played a significant role in forming my ideas about love, in the sense of boyfriend-girlfriend type stuff. Maybe I wondered about the relationship between Mickey and Minnie, or Donald and Daisy. Regarding Sleeping Beauty and Prince Charming, I guess I remember thinking something more like, "Gee, I don't know anyone who looks like either of them. Does anyone really look like that?" Lady and the Tramp probably made me think more about love than Sleeping Beauty did.

But, wow, what a question.... Who taught me about love and romance? I certainly did read a lot, so I'm sure several books influenced me. I remember Forever, by Judy Blume, being very controversial. I suppose it still is. Otherwise, I would say television influenced me pretty heavily. I watched The Thornbirds, with parental supervision, when it came out in 1983. I was 11 years old. I was obsessed with the TV mini-series North and South when it was released in 1985. In a very short span of time, I read all eight books of The Kent Family Chronicles by John Jakes. Looking back, I'm very surprised my parents let me do that.

If your point is that media (books, videos, certain toys, etc.) play a formative role in one's idea of the meaning of "love," that is certainly true.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )



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