A Modern Age Romance

By Carly Lanning

Since childhood, we are told the story of Prince Charming, of true love and of a happily ever after. We are told that the handsome prince will overcome mountains, oceans and monsters to find and win our hearts. Together the fair maiden and Prince Charming will ride off into the sunset, holding hands and anticipating their lives full of love, wealth, glitter and talking animals.

We obsess over the timeless love of Noah and Allie in “The Notebook,” we sway with Johnny and Baby in “Dirty Dancing” and sob over the lost love of Jack and Rose in “Titanic.” We love Love, we cheer for Love and yet do we even still believe in Love?

For me, a modern feminist living in the 21st century, the closest thing to Prince Charming in my life is the Starbucks barista that sneaks me free refills every once in a while. It isn’t that I wouldn’t love for a man to swim through oceans and climb mountains, but in the fast pace life of internships, papers and finals, who has the time to wait for a man to cart it over the Atlantic? It makes me wonder if Prince Charming had left Snow White waiting long enough, would she have woken up, found a job and bought an apartment? Yet through all the cynical outlooks of the princess’s dream life, there is always a part of me that still believes. It just means our love story during this modern world may need a little revision.

The fairy tale is simple: boy finds girl, against all odds they fall in love at the exact same moment and then get married. A nice clean,, uncomplicated ending. But today, relationships are as simple as finishing advanced sudoku in the dark. If story-book writers were to come to UCI and observe couples they would find a much different story.

In our tale, boy meets girl, girl thinks boy is weird, boy moves onto a new crush and then girl wants him back, they get together but are complicated by jealous exes, opinionated parents and stressful school schedules. There isn’t a neatly wrapped conclusion and simple, naive love is muddled among friend’s opinions and advice, fights and disagreements. Nowadays, love is just too complicated.

But, while we as women complain and lament about the extinction of true romance, have we ever stopped to consider that Snow White was actually the one missing out? In our college relationships, we have the opportunity to engage and grow and mold a romantic partnership. While Snow White jumped on the white horse of the first guy she met who was over the height of 3 feet, modern females can take time to consider the attraction and flaws of the person we are engaging with.  The hard part of growing up is when we realize that our world and the magical world of happily-ever-after no longer share the same zip code.

We come to understand and appreciate the little things that our own Prince Charmings do in our lives. Slaying a dragon is great but having someone pick you up from the library at 1 a.m. is much better. Having someone climb through the desert without rest or water is courageous but surprising you with a free cupcake and iced tea would be much more appreciated.

So the next time we think that romance is dead, remember it is just being rewritten. The best thing is that we no longer need to have someone write our fairy tale for us, but can grab the pen, take a few swigs of coffee and flourish the pages with our own tale.