|God Speed, by Edmund Blair Leighton|
“My love is like a storybook story...”
--Storybook Love, from The Princess Bride
I cradled my newborn baby girl in my arms and said, “Well, goodness, Lucy, you are going to read ALL those books!”
Because, in fact, the author was right in this point. I’m a perfect example. I grew up on Anne of the Island and Rose in Bloom and Pride & Prejudice, and my standards for a guy were Gilbert Blythe and Mac Campbell and Mr. Darcy. And I found one who lived up to them: someone who loves me for who I am, who puts me before himself, who encourages my dreams. Someone worth bettering myself for, understanding that love requires sacrifice--someone who has that same understanding. Someone who still will do wildly romantic things like randomly bring me flowers or kiss me outside in the pouring rain. I don’t want my daughters to settle for anything less.
I don’t think any girl in the world should settle for less. And that’s where I disagreed with the author. She thought building up wild ideals of perfect men would make women unhappy with the mediocrity of reality. I don’t believe reality should be mediocre. I’ve seen so many women end up in relationships with men who use them, seen girls with boys who treat them like a piece of meat, and seen all of these circumstances end in heartbreak. Would it be so terrible if girls had a little more Anne Shirley or Lizzy Bennett gumption, to reject the losers who don’t love them for the right reasons, and to save them the heartache and pain, to wait for the great guys who really are out there?
So, please, authors: write great romances for my daughters to read. Write about knights in shining armor, even if they walk the hallways of a contemporary high school. Don’t use the shiny polish of your words to glorify lust, as far too many bestselling novels have done. The great thing about true love is you don’t have to glorify it: it will shine on its own.