He was once Prince Charming

July 6, 2020

Prince-CharmingSo many great discussions in isolation– big chunks of time freed up space to consider things we haven’t thought of or talked about in a very long time. Sometimes, that discussion is with ourselves.

I’ve been thinking about a man I was once in love with, a man who rescued me at the lowest point of my life, showering me with affection and love and care in the most beautiful of ways. He truly was a knight in shining armor, Prince Charming and a savior, all rolled into one.. It’s funny how the Universe always seems to provide just what you need when you need it (even if you don’t know you need it. More on that later.)

As a man from a blue collar family in the Deep South, his views were different from mine, me being a Yankee girl from the Northeast. But none of that mattered in the early days of this Cinderella story,

If you’re not a prince by nature you can only keep up the pretense so long. The first clue that my magic slipper was getting uncomfortable was when I mentioned running into an accomplished Black professional man we both knew.

In the conversation, I mentioned that I thought he was a fine-looking man.

“Oh Carol,” he said, “don’t make me sick.”

What made him sick? The idea that I would find a Black man handsome.

Yes, that was the Deep South in the late 1970s.

Needless to say, when the mask fell away, the romance was over, at least for me. The slipper no longer fit. The pumpkin rotted. And I was done.

Of course, it’s always possible for people to change and grow, but that’s not what happened. It could have–he’d had a few broadening experiences before he ran back to the safety and familiarity of the South.

He’s in his late 70s now. He’s drawn into his closed little southern white world even further. He just loves Trump. Insults gay people. Has not treated his wife very well. And in general, he has become more rude, insensitive and intolerant than I would have ever believed possible in my Cinderella world 40 years ago.

I’ve thought a lot recently about how world views develop and how they make such a big difference in attitudes. I like to think that there was a moment in time when he could have gone a different way. There was that moment when he’d stepped out of his safety net and into a completely different milieu. Once he’d re-entered the Deep South world he’d left, that moment passed. And his newer attitudes went the way of all things seeking equilibrium.

It’s a sad story and I got a little teary writing it. He isn’t all bad. He’s just clueless. And while the old me would’ve hated him for it, at this age I see that everyone, including Trump supporters, are victims of the choices they make, choices that form the way they see the world. And sometimes, without the power of critical thinking, those choices turn poisonous.

I know a lot of people like that and I’ll bet you do, too.

I’ll always love the Prince Charming he was to me back in the day. I’ll never love or respect what he is now.

This is one of those posts without a point. Enough if it makes you think a bit about how people come to their attitudes and beliefs about the world.

And how that plays out for them and the world around them.

We know all about that. We’re living it right now.

16 comments on “He was once Prince Charming
  1. Susan Cooper says:

    You post brought me back to a time and a few relationships that ultimately faded as they do at times. I can very much relate to this post and have loved and lost both friends and, sadly, some family members over time as a result of rigid points of view without any flexibility, compassion or willingness to understand or listen to another side. I’ve learned to allow myself to morn and then move forward to a better space. Hugs.

    • Thanks, Susan. I do think that we can appreciate the gift that person was, no matter how momentary, and then release them. I appreciate your sharing how you relate…thank you.

  2. Julia says:

    Very true. I can think of a couple people instantly who have made similar choices – and often people retreat to familiarity out of fear. Fear of other, fear of the unknown, fear of not having enough money, fear of being rejected. Remembering that helps me to extend grace.

  3. Beth Havey says:

    Oh I sure have been there. The guy watches Fix news 24-7. We were never an item, but I thought He was smart, funny and a catch. Now his wife and he don’t always get along. My husband andirons think the same thoughts.

  4. Diane says:

    This is so sad, Carol.
    I’ve always thought that we end up being the sum-total of our choices.
    I, too had a Prince Charming. My best friend in high school. We had adventures all through our 16-18 growing-up years. He features in a lot of my fondest memories.
    He remained in the little town we grew up in. I moved far away.
    We touch base every few years
    I called him a couple of years ago to try to set up a class reunion, bursting with enthusiasm and eagerness to meet up with all of our old friends/acquaintances.
    He started in on reunions in general and ours in particular. Ranting ever louder and louder about how they were a waste of time and people are a waste of breath and on and on.
    I finally just quietly hung up the phone.
    My friend was gone.
    It still makes me sad. I knew the person he could have been.

  5. Barbara Cressman says:

    I liked your post, Carol. And of course it brought to mind the strangeness that my first-kiss boyfriend from high-school, my boyfriend after that—pre-art school—and my fiancé, whom I bailed on to elope with the man who divorced me 24 years later….are all three rabid Republicans and Trump addicts. My ex is nicely lefty, like me, and so is his wife, whom I admire…funny old world. I married the right one to have my kids with, that’s for sure!

  6. LAURIE STONE says:

    Sounds like you dodged a bullet. Yes, I’m sure in his own way, he’s a good guy, but he can’t see the goodness in others who are different. I doubt he’d ever change.

  7. Betty says:

    I’m impressed with your generous approach to this. I’m not as big a person as you 🙂

  8. Rena says:

    I understand the older generations who were brought up in a different world but even then you make choices. I grew up in KY where we didn’t have exposure to racial divides. It never came up in our world. I always said I wasn’t racist, but it was easy then. Now I live in SC and I see the disadvantages, the abuses and the attitudes of narrow-minded people who refuse to change, out of some sort of rebellion. I know what I have in my heart even though I live in a society that would like to stomp it out of me at every chance. It’s simple right vs. wrong end of story.

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