Not So Fairy Tale Romances

Stupid cupid“Happy Hallmark Day!” My dry humoured BF greeted me this morning. “And next month on 14 March we can celebrate [the much lauded] Steak and BJ Day.” Colour me romanced.

Fairytale Romance?

With the commonly covered folklore-ish topics in this blog, I find myself wondering when the term “Fairytale Romance” first originated. The term really does seem like a misnomer. The first fairytale-esk romances that pop into my head:

  • Little Mermaid becomes human for the man she loves, but he doesn’t return her feelings so she turns into foam [dies] – romance failed 
  • Snow White and Sleeping Beauty both appeared as if dead, and get kissed by necropheliac princes.  In fact,  in one of the earlier Sleeping Beauty stories, the prince sleeps with [rapes] Sleeping Beauty, and through Sleeping Beauty’s resultant children she awakens – romance failed
  • the so-called Frog Princess hated the frog and threw him against a wall breaking the spell, returning him to a prince. The [masochistic] prince then asks the petulant girl to marry him (no kissing the frog in the original story) – romance failed

There are some tales that have some of the ingredients of a great love story, but would you really want to be taken captive by a hideous beast and who asked you to marry him every day from the first day you meet (Stockholm syndrome anyone?), or want a prince charming who only wanted you for your great dress sense, and wouldn’t recognise you without it (Cinderella). None of this really fits the picture of the so-called fairytale romance.

*Late addition 15.Feb.13* Also, on Beauty and the Beast, it’s occurred to me that Belle (aka Beauty) only accepts the Beast’s marriage proposal after he turns into a prince (before that she only loves him as a friend) Now, as the prince, would you really want a woman who could only accept you for your looks?

Anti-Valentine Reads

In any case, on this very fine [alleged] day of love, We Love this Book has come up with 5 anti-Valentines reads. Their list is a little morose, so I’ve compiled my own (adding these to my expansive reading list, re-reading the bunny suicides is never a chore…):

Sophus’ 5 Anti-Valentine Reads:

  1.  American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis: an exploration of the incomprehensible depths of madness and the physical and sexual violence in our time or any other.
  2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (and *ahem* Jane Austen): It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains. Nom Nom Nom.
  3. Wedlock by Wendy Moore: How Georgian Britain’s Worst Husband Met His Match – a tale of divorce, violence, madness and scandal (see also How to Create the Perfect Wife)
  4. The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley: This is dark humour at its best – does what it says on the tin.
  5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy:  a post-apocolyptic tale of a journey across a landscape blasted by an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed most of civilization and, in the intervening years, almost all life on Earth. Cheery.

Any other suggestions?

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10 responses to “Not So Fairy Tale Romances

  1. So, I take it this isn’t your favorite holiday? Well, I’m gonna risk wishing you a Happy Valentines Day. BTW, I didn’t read the book, but the movie “The Road” was totally awesome and probably just as dark as the book.

    • Thanks! It’s not so much that I dislike valentine’s day, it’s more that it feels like a day where everyone is peer pressured into making grand gestures of love. I’m not against the grand gestures of love so much, just the peer pressure of it all. Happy v-day to you as well!

      Will have to try out The Road, it’s been highly recommended

  2. The Road – is worth a read.

  3. Your study of fairytale origins and their revealing undertones reinforces the fascination that I know you to have with the genre – I hereby appoint you an Official Authority on the subject. Pop over to joe for the best anti-valentine verse I’ve yet come across…
    http://joe2poetry.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/anti-valentine/

    • Oooooh, Official Authorityi, I am truly honoured. My thanks.

      Bahahaha… I love the poem. It reminds me of a couple of my faves that I highly recommend – Bitcherel by Eleanor Brown and Jealousy by Rupert Brooke

  4. Haha, My birthday is March 14. I show my wife every day that I love her, so Valentine’s Day is nothing special in our home.
    Also, thank you for liking my story.

    • The BF did get me chocolates, which was a lovely surprise. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good romance – it’s the packaging of the day that brings out the cynicism, but that’s just me. Hope you have a good one. And have a great birthday 😉

  5. “Hallmark Day” made me laugh 😆 Some good points about fairytales and romance, no basis for that misused phrase! Have you heard of vinegar cards? They became popular in the late Victorian era and early 1900s, as an way to suggest a pesky suitor should take a long walk of a short pier and later were just anti-Valentine themed.

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