Modern-Day Cinderella*

by marinashifrin

Once upon a time, there was a girl trying to survive in a very big city. One night, in her haste to slip out of a cab, the girl lost a shoe. Before she could yell out, the cab disappeared into the blurry, but well-lit, horizon.

As  the girl ran down 4th ave (in one shoe) she thought, How whimsical and free-spirited, but when she sobered up she just realized, how stupid.

After getting over the sheer idiocy of losing my shoe in a cab, I began to think about the story of Cinderella. Am I some sort of Urban-Princess? I wasn’t at a ball perse, but I was at swanky loft party. The shoe wasn’t a glass heel because; 1) I already have trouble stepping over trash, cobble-stoned streets and the homeless, I do not need an added 6 inches of difficulty, 2) I am not a stripper and 3) Do they even make glass heels?

Ironically, I did have heels with me that night—red, high, I am talking some really bitchin’ kicks. I wore them for five minutes and then they went straight back into my purse. But, they made it back, in a pair. Here is where I wanted to point out the symbolism of losing my comfortable shoe and not my I-am-trying-to-impress-you heel, but I have only had two coffees today, and I am not feeling particularly witty. So, I am going to take the easy way out: lets talk about men.

This is the part of the story where I am supposed to introduce Prince Charming, but the thing is, I can’t. It’s not that I don’t know him, or I don’t believe he’s out there.

It’s because I have met so many Prince Charmings I’d have to write a book to introduce them all. There was the Prince Charming I fell for when we were out dancing one night. Although he loved me very much, he was more interested finding his own Prince Charming (yes Mom, he was gay), than being mine. There was the Prince Charming that treated me like a Princess, but I broke his heart. Then there was the one that broke mine.

It doesn’t stop there, there are also the Prince Charmings I meet on subway platforms, coffee shops—and other serendipitous places—who have all the right words and wrong intentions.

The concept of Prince Charming is just a royal disappointment (pun intended).

The thing is, little girls everywhere are inundated with fairy tales of  beautiful women being in despair, only to have it resolved when a powerful man trots in to save them from their impending whatever. These little girls who watch the Disney movies and read the storybooks, grow up to become women in search of that man who will come and save them (maybe it’s not always a conscious thought, but it’s there a little bit). I would love to delve further and rant about independence, empowerment, equality and all that important shit, but I think they are tired concepts and I left my feminism in my other jeans. This really isn’t break through stuff, just societal things that have been dancing in my mind.

And so I have come to the conclusion that I don’t want a Prince Charming. No, I am not bitter. I am not making a statement and I am not a lesbian, I don’t think.

I just, I don’t know, I’m just happy with my life the way it is. Don’t get me wrong, I probably could use a little saving myself (Who doesn’t? I mean, I just wrote 600 words about getting drunk and losing my shoe in a cab). I am not signing off to a life of celibacy and cats either. I am just not going to wait, because if you spend your whole life waiting for Prince Charming, you miss out on, well, life.

AND besides, if my modern-day Cinderella tale really, truly, followed the original story, then my Prince Charming is a bearded cab driver from Brooklyn.

Lesson 7: Always carry an extra pair of shoes.

*Dedicated to my beautiful (and crazy) girlfriends who have found their Prince Charmings, Princess Charmings, who are waiting and who have given up.