"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
Is some publicity better than no publicity? The cliche's truth is probably situational, but a belief in its validity must have been what spurred one of the authoresses of Princess Bubble to contact me regarding a review for their work as, frankly, the likelihood that I would appreciate its themes was not great.
Princess Bubble is a book written as a means to offer "girls of all ages [an] updated version of the traditional fairy tale. No longer a 'Damsel in Distress,' "this princess travels the world, helps others, and finds 'happily ever after' even before she finds her Prince!"
Thus, what we have in a thin tome is a fantasy wherein women are not as they actually are but as the authors, along with legions of feminists, would like them to be. It is child lit created for the purposes of indoctrination. It seeks to convince girls that they can have it all without marriage.
Pardon me for my lack of outrage regarding this subject, but, at this point, I am well-acquainted with their ploys. Slipping dogma into entertainment and educational materials is simply what our social engineers do. Their habits surprise me as much as snow in January.
The promotional description for Princess Bubble triggered laughter rather than ire: "With wisdom gleaned from their careers as single, globe-trotting flight attendants, first-time authors Susan Johnston and Kimberly Webb have crafted a modern-day book that celebrates singleness."
Oh my, forty years ago who would have guessed that our nation would descend to the nadir in which stewardesses are regarded as oracles? Indeed, never in my life have I seen "wisdom" and "flight attendants" appear alongside each other in a sentence, and there was a good reason for that. Neither mental ability nor crystallized knowledge has anything to do with their training, lifestyle or daily affairs.
Based on the reader's personal experience, would you not agree that Paul Westerberg had it more right than wrong when he sang, "You ain't nothing but a waitress in the sky." I would not advise even asking a stewardess about the dynamics of flight let alone asking one about human relationships. What next? Perhaps A Stripper's Guide to Physics is already, as I write, emblazoned upon a publishing storyboard somewhere in Manhattan.
Of course the book really cannot do much harm because it only will be appreciated by adult females as opposed to children. A cursory reference to "loving God" also negates the possibility of it ever appearing in the public schools - assuming that curriculum specialists take the time to examine it before ordering it which may well be a wild assumption on my part.
The story itself is a yawner. The protagonist is confused and devoid of strategy in regards to dating. This is revealing and should make its message resonate with a plethora of single women. Princess Bubble will be a big favorite among mindless extroverts in general. Their expenditures fuel our consumer sector and their contamination of the public square with hyper-verbal utterances has made the contemplative life in America as rare as a encountering a De Lorean on the highway.
Our heroine dreams of gourmet dinners, perpetual socializing, and constant entertainment, but there appears to be nothing legitimate or serious about her. She graduates from college and becomes a flight attendant (which strikes me as improper sequencing), and then watches all of her friends get married. Inspired by their example, she sets out to find a prince, and goes out with "many different princes and thoroughly enjoyed them all!"
I bet she did! Such a communal approach to dating is prevalent nowadays. Here again, the princess appears to be a single female everywoman. Yet today's every-women are decidedly less popular with men than their predecessors were. Modern females with a pronounced, and easily observed, "taste for the bucks"1 are known to make terrible wives. How could it be any other way? Past behavior is the best predictor of future performance. A lot of what's out there just is not suitable for the establishment of a long-term pair bond. That's a major factor behind some men undertaking what they call a "marriage strike." Unfortunately, our gynocentric society prevents the true views of men from being acknowledged and known.2
Getting back to young Bubble, she eventually decides to give up her quest after concluding that no man is capable of bringing her everlasting happiness. Her assumption is highly accurate, but evaluating significant others on the basis of whether they can produce everlasting joy is a bogus criterion for relationship selection. Such an expectation is both fantastic and completely unreasonable. Thinking that somebody somewhere - even Vida Guerra! - is capable of bringing you eternal fulfillment is absurd. People just aren't like that. Some of us may be wands but none of us have magical properties.
Besides, in my view, happiness is largely dependent on one's having an internal and an external life. This simply is not possible for most extroverts. They spend their waking hours manufacturing conversation and stimuli in the hopes of avoiding boredom, yet this habit purges every worthwhile thought and idea from their craniums. It renders them uninteresting and directionless. They personify the phrase "if you’re bored then you're probably boring." And they usually are.
With dating, the healthiest test - I mean, assuming one actually wants to be happy which is not always a given - is to assess the potential worth of another within the context of, "Does this person, on aggregate, enhance and improve my life?" This is a very sensible approach but one that clashes melodramatically with the aim of "having it all." Yet the last thing an interpersonal test should ever do is attempt to ferret out perfection. Nobody's perfect ... even single women in America [who would have guessed?].
Empowered to strange proportions, many western females have now lost the ability to discern their own fallibility and mortality. Many single women regard taking "half a loaf" as synonymous with failure. This explains why, in the words of the authors, that so many of this number face an "overwhelming sense of failure, self-doubt, and despair." Men would feel the same way too if we too were debilitated by propaganda convincing us that life is a parlor game we were preordained to win.
Our tale ends with hubba-bubble realizing that she's been happy all along so she has no need for a mate. A Fairy Godmother comes along to declare her victory touting, "Living happily ever after is not about finding a prince. True happiness is found by loving God, being kind to others, and being comfortable with who you are already."
Well, there is nothing wrong with that. I agree but the rest of the book has nothing to do with such precepts. Regardless, this callow youth fails to meet these standards. She spends her days devoted to amusement rather than helping others. Furthermore, while I admit up front that the Big Guy does not consult me about these matters, I suspect He would be less than enthusiastic about a princess who squandered her gifts in the name of procuring cheap airfare and epicurean delights.
In closing, since the female self-help business has everything to do with self and nothing to do with help, allow me to offer partial assistance to single ladies desirous of a finding a man for the purposes of profound emotional connection. The grandmother approved "get it done while you're young" approach is highly recommended and remains the best way to ensure that husbands remain faithful and devout. This means that during a woman's youthful and estrogen soaked years they would be wise to eschew promiscuity, partying, and the allures of being a spendthrift. By doing so, they markedly increase their chances of bonding with a fellow who will take their back ... forever. The new "wait until you've lost your physical allure before getting serious" method is but a guarantor of bitterness and despondency.
Our protagonist fades from the panorama eagerly awaiting "the many adventures ahead of her," but, rest assured, future flights from reality will not be so fulfilling. The adulation women receive in their twenties is not what they will encounter in the future. As their reproductive value declines, princesses morph into spinsters.
A young woman has the authority of a panzer leader, but a middle aged one has the aura of a defrocked priest. No amount of fake fairy tales can ever reverse this eventuality. Those who were once as heralded as the Rolling Stones will soon find themselves greeted with the indifference extended to Spinal Tap. Perhaps the authors may wish to consider this when writing their sequel. I think Fanfare for the Beaten would make for a great title. Should they need any help with its plot, my pen stands erect and at their beck and call.
Bernard Chapin is the author of Women: Theory and Practice and Escape from Gangsta Island. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 A The Outlaw Josey Wales reference there.
2 I discuss society's lies more fully in Chapter 3, "Deception as Nutrient," of Women: Theory and Practice but if you're short of cash check out Mike's professionally (and exquisitely) done podcast on a subsection of the chapter concerning younger women.