Saturday, February 22, 2014

Knights in Tarnished Armor

I do occasionally date.  (I know, SHOCKER.) And in the big bad world of dating, I've met some humdingers.  Case in point: the guy who asked me for a second date before we'd gone on the first, then after the first date, never called me back. That'll make you feel like a princess.
The knight in not-so-shining armor I'm thinking of was nice enough, relatively gentlemanly (he slogged through slushy snow to pick me up on the curb so I could keep my shoes dry--winning brownie points in my book), and he was oh-so-obliging and friendly. I firmly believe I could have made him date me if I had wanted to, but after about two dates, neither of us was interested enough to put forth the effort.  This is something happily married folks tend to misunderstand.  Sometimes it's just better to be single.

Go ahead.  Gasp, turn blue, and keel over.  I live in Utah, for Pete's sake, I've heard it all.  After 37 years of living the single life, here's my favorite nugget of wisdom: happily single is preferable to unhappily attached.

I'm not talking about ego or convenience--though it is nice to not have to fight over the remote on Superbowl Sunday or argue about whose socks were left in the living room or whose dishes were left in the sink.  What I'm talking about is something so good it makes your life better. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about making your life easier, like the newest whatchamacallit that will both dice your vegetables and remove stains from your favorite jeans.  Nope. I'm talking about improving your life in ways that really matter.  Three blog posts later (see The Power of Fairytales), I still don't believe Happily ever after solves all your problems.  In fact, it usually opens a floodgate of new ones.  But, if it's right, good, and worth fighting for, it can bring genuine joy to your life.

I'm still looking for my prince charming.  Not some stunningly handsome bloke with scads of money, a fancy car, and charm oozing out his hooha, truth be told, I prefer knights in tarnished armor who've been around the block and carry a ding or two from the ride.  Real, good, and funny suits me just fine.  

Until I find one who a) fits the bill, and b) is also intrigued enough to take on a crazy redhead, or c) is Tom Hiddleston, I'll keep conjuring Mr. Fantastic up in the land of twisted fairytales.  True love and romance aside, there are few things as satisfying as creating a hero readers respond to with, "If you leave him out to dry, I'm going to hate you!"

Meet the gentlemen who inspired the aforementioned comment, the Beast and his faithful companion, Jack: 
*Author note: for this exercise, please picture the Beast as quite big, burly and beastly.  That is all. Carry on.

They had tromped into the dining room—which was really little more than a dingy space with a large table, chairs, and some shelves for storage—with Jack trailing slightly behind.  Jack was tall and broad shouldered, with the muscular physique indicative of hard labor.  In any circle, he would have been considered a large man, but compared to his master he looked average.  Additionally, Jack had dark rumpled hair, a strong jaw defined by a trim mustache and beard, and intelligent brown eyes.  If it weren’t for his common attire, he might have passed for a gentleman. 

After my captor had pointedly ignored me and seated himself at the head of the table, Jack introduced himself, offering me a friendly grin.  Meanwhile, the Beast took one spoonful of soup, spat it back into the bowl, pushed it scornfully aside, and proceeded to mutter about how horrible it was.  On the other hand, Jack shoveled spoonful after spoonful into his mouth as if it was the best thing he’d ever eaten, practically endearing him to me on the spot.  I looked from one to the other, folded my arms across my chest, narrowed my eyes at my host and pronounced, “You really are a beast.” 

He laughed the low sardonic laugh that made the hair on the back of my neck prickle.  Propping his booted feet on the table, he leaned back in his chair.  “Of course, princess.  That’s all you can see, isn’t it?”

(Excerpt from Becoming Beauty, all rights reserved.)

They are quite lovable, aren't they?  Like most things, they become more charming with time. Oh! And if you should happen to come across my prince charming, will you send him my way? I think he may have gotten stuck in a ditch or something...