The Search For The Modern Prince Charming

by Austin Carroll

First off, I must declare that I am not a serial killer. Nor am I, by any stretch of the imagination, ugly. Though, if you walked into a crowded club, I might not be the first one you’d grind on, or the second for that matter. In fact, I would very likely stand in the corner all night checking my phone and wondering why I even bothered to leave my Netflix queue unattended.

Still, despite being (completely?) sane and of slightly above average attractiveness, I’m single.

And I’m not the only one.

My best friend is single. My girlfriends are single. The majority of my sorority alums are single. In fact, I can hardly remember a “Girls Night Out” that didn’t involve eating copious amounts of food and comparing notes on how guys have wronged us in the past.

Moreover, the only girl I know in a completely monogamous, happy, and Facebook official relationship is in complete denial that her boyfriend is, in fact, gay. That, in itself, is not a particularly hope-bearing commentary on our generation’s ability to create love stories like the ones we watched when we were children - the very same love stories that are currently in that Netflix queue I mentioned earlier.

The truth is, despite being driven young women of a new generation, there is a little piece of all of us that still wants to be a princess. If you have any doubt in the matter, simply go to Disney World and stand in the gift shop where they sell the expensive tiaras or, better yet, watch a single episode of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress.

However, to truly be a princess and experience the happiness, beauty, and success that come along with it, we must find our prince. Therein lies the problem.

I don’t know where you live, but I’m pretty sure there are no castles around here for me to lock myself in with a dragon so I can finally meet my prince. Not to mention that such a feat would undeniably cause me to miss my early Monday morning meeting, as the traffic from Happily Ever After would be dreadful, I’m sure.

So, due to lack of castles, I’ve had to settle for a more modern approach to searching for Prince Charming: the movies. Though it is ironic that I choose to set the scene at the very place that started my “unrealistic expectations,” my first dates are often rarely anywhere else.  From the time the movie starts, I can already tell if this date is going to lead to dinner and, in a very un-Cinderella fashion, back to my bedroom.

It’s no secret that the modern woman expects a lot. Though we do recognize that a new boyfriend fighting a dragon is probably not in the cards, a new boyfriend dealing with a slightly villainous possible in-law is. In this new world, we believe future Queens should be viewed as the equals to men but treated as the Queen in a chess game, able to do whatever she wants while the King has no choice but to support her.

Though it doesn’t seem like a lot to ask when you think about it, in actuality, we just want someone who wants the same things as we do. We want someone who will jump through fire for us as we would for them, someone who won’t talk in movies (that’s my personal tell), and someone who we can see a future with - if not a happily ever after.

Thing is, most guys aren’t ready to be Prince Charming. Though I’ve been waiting since I was six years old to be a princess - and am about this close to giving up on boys entirely and becoming a nun at twenty-two - most men my age think forever is a scary term reserved for horror movies and the crazy girls who call them after one night stands.

Unfortunately, this is also often true for “I love you” and, even more scarily, “boyfriend.”

I recently had a not-boyfriend. We slept together. We ate together. He even flew cross-country to spend a week with me. He told me his secrets. He met my family. He even wasn’t ugly; in fact, he was adorable.

But he wasn’t my boyfriend. He refused to give me that title, that label, that commitment and that completed Facebook profile I so desperately wanted.

And this, my friends, isn’t an isolated incident.

In a way, it is our own fault. We’ve perpetuated this Prince Charming stereotype that no man can live up to, and, instead of waiting like our princess counterparts, we’ve used our newly found freedom and control to try and morph them into the perfect man. We try and force them to be the man we want them to be so we can be the women we want to be: the successful, the beautiful princess that everyone sees as being worth it.

Sure, it’s sad to think that in our day and age, we, as strong independent women, might not be what our counterparts are searching for at the moment. I constantly catch myself thinking about my non-boyfriend, wondering if the reason he couldn’t commit was because I’m not worth forever, but I know that’s not true. If he won’t commit, then not only am I not the girl for him, but he is also not worth my increasingly valuable time. Though it is nice to feel in love, the satisfaction of handing in an assignment and getting just a scrap of praise from my hard-to-please supervisor is enough of a glimpse in the future for now.

I’m sure most of us have a great guy, or even guys, waiting out there for us. Well, maybe not waiting, but they’re out there somewhere. Sure, they may not be Prince Charming, but they’ll have an actual name and most likely not be gay - unless you’re into that sort of thing. Who knows, they might even be more attractive than Aladdin. Though you’ll be struggling through this recession for a while more, a college graduate with a minimum-wage job, take heart that one-day a David-Tutera-wanna-be will make you a princess for a day.

Until then, take my advice Generation-Y’ers: princes are vastly overrated.

Photo Courtesy: Tumblr