Sugar And Spice and All Things Nice
Once upon a time little boys and girls were sold a big fat fairytale about love, romance and all that it should be. This tall tale was practically wallowing in smooze…laden with good girls, charming princes, big bad wolves, acts of contrition and repentance for being ‘bad’ and of course, that spangly, starry- eyed moment where the heterosexual couple’s eye met across that crowded room, et voila : fireworks, explosions, earth-moving, soul-shattering love at first sight (accompanied by muzak). But are we all really living happily ever after?
These gobbets of saccharine – coated fantasy adhere to our social fabric, as we relentlessly, and often mindlessly, like sugar-addicted toddlers on some kind of frenzied high, pursue this beau ideal. Yet, what happens when we crash and realise that this dream may be as flat and one dimensional as the Disney-esque caricatures of this particular paradigm? Yes, she may be pretty, witty (but oh not so gay), but what are her political inclinations? Yes, good god, he is dashing, but what are his thoughts on attachment parenting, breastfeeding and will he smack the kids? Cinderella and her prince would turn vapid and empty eyes towards you with such questions and answer them only with a sickly smile and a meaningful look towards each other. Or vacuously pat you on the head and offer you candy cane.
The Missing Ingredient
So let me get this straight, before you call out the hounds. I totally do get some of this monogamous, hetero-centric tale. I love the blossoming love, the commitment, the synchronicity of it all – hot damn, what are the statistical probabilities of actual, real , ‘star-crossed lovers’ meeting at that point, at that time, at that point of her menstrual cycle. Incredible, huh? I do firmly believe there are those out there that have reached the dizzying heights of Romeo and Juliet type love, who have met the ying of their yang. But what I also realise is that this ideal is an exclusive one, immobile and static. Yes, of course, it allows for the continuance of burgeoning love between heterosexual couples, but where is the space for everyone else’s story? Those of diverse or fluid gender or sexual orientation don’t even have a bit part in this particular play, and no Madame Cranky, the cross-dressing pantomime Dame, just doesn’t cut it for me.
Obviously shifts are occurring within our cultural and societal norms. Relationships that do not adhere to the hetero-centric, it takes two to tango model, are being presented within literature and popular media. Shows like “Polyamory: married and dating”, “Sister Wives” or “Orange is the New Black”, present variations to the ‘Happily ever after’ model. However, is the very basis of this fairytale paradigm being questioned or challenged in any meaningful way? Are the very foundations of the fairytale being rocked? Are new models being offered that can more realistically present human interactions and relationships?
For some that may reject or question the candy cane sweetness of monogamy, there may still something to be said for Rocky Road. Whilst rejecting the woolly candy floss of unachievable or idealised monogamy, they rejoice in the boundless freedoms that Rocky Road can bring with each taste. You can’t be dictated to with Rocky Road…there are infinite possibilities in those biscuits, cherry, nuts and mallow pieces. We just have to take a bite. Just be aware that Rocky Road also can become sickly sweet.