Monday, December 13, 2004

Great Expectations

I must be stuck on Dickens - well, it is that time of year.

I've been thinking about Great Expectations - not necessarily the Dickens' novel - just the phrase and how "great expectations" set us up for great disappointments.

This thought came to me yesterday after watching "Moonstruck." Now for those of you who've been concealed in closet for the last twenty years, "Moonstruck" is the film starring Cher and Nicholas Cage. It's about a young widow who accepts a proposal of marriage from a man she doesn't love and then proceeds to fall in love with his brother - almost love at first sight. There are wonderful scenes of Cher's transformation from dowdy (as if a few gray hairs and shapeless clothes could make her dowdy) to gorgeous. Granted, the brother fell in love with her dowdy but still - she IS Cher. The movie takes place over two or three days and by the end of the film, Cher's character has her true love, Nicholas Cage. I guess that's why it's called entertainment - it's a fantasy, fiction, not real, can't happen, don't even think about it.

But why do we (actually "I") buy into it? I'm certainly old enough not to believe in fairy tales any longer; however, I love that movie. I loved "Sleepless in Seattle." I love any story where love conquers all - love at first sight - happily everafter. THAT's another one I love: "Everafter" - the feminist-take on Cinderella. ANOTHER ONE!

I'm a child of the fifties - more than the sixties. John Lennon may have formed my view of the world but it was Walt Disney who formed my view of love.

I was a princess and my prince would somehow find me, sweep me off my feet (more difficult to do as I chubbed up), and together we would ride off into the sunset - or am I getting my fairytale metaphors confused with my western ones? Whatever. The fact is this: the story, be it Snow White, Cinderella, Everafter or Moonstruck, was imprinted on me as a child. It's probably part of my freakin' DNA (here's where I hope - maybe - that I haven't passed that genetic code on to Heather).

Somewhere in the back of this fifty-seven year old mind is the belief that my prince, my Nicholas Cage, will come. Great Expectations.

Great Expectations that never happen, leading to Great Disappointments.
A series of Great Disappointments.

Even though my head tells me differently (as in: you can buy your own diamond ring, honey, you don't need a man to do that), my heart says something else (as in: a diamond ring from a gentleman shows that someone other than you thinks you're valuable).

Damn you, Walt Disney.
Damn you, Moonstruck.
And while I'm at it: Damn you, Charles Dickens. Because now I think I will always be Miss Haversham.


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