From Disneyland to Cosmo Life

Or, When the Honeymoon’s Over and Ish Gets Real


Never fear! You’ll find your Prince Charming eventually. Just don’t expect him to be perfect. (Photo illustration by Sara Azoulay/The Observer)



Never fear! You’ll find your Prince Charming eventually. Just don’t expect him to be perfect. (Photo illustration by Sara Azoulay/The Observer)

Many of us women start creating our own special image of him when we’re young. By “he,” I mean ‘the one,’ our Prince Charming. The man that we’ve always wanted. The man that will respect us for being strong and knowledgeable yet will be our savior when we need it. The man that will always find ways to make us feel beautiful and valued. The man that will lets us feel free to be ourselves, yet still build a healthy and binding partnership with us, making us feel like we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. The image differs slightly from girl to girl, but he is always a pretty boy—faultless and charming and ever-present in her mind, even if he isn’t and may never be real. In fact, he’s magical, much like the Disney princes we watched on the silver screen as children.

Well…I found my prince. Sort of.

His nickname is Sharpie. He loves Batman and walks like a penguin. (But his build is more like Spiderman’s.) He’ll rave over anything you cook for him, as long as you tell him it’s from scratch. He’s passionate too, and smarter than most; he’ll recite a whole lecture on capitalism he once heard two years ago if you give him the chance. And if he smiles at you, you have to stop what you’re doing just to look; you know you’ll have missed something remarkable if you don’t.

Mind you, I am not one to take precious space in my school’s newspaper to rave about my latest loverboy. As someone who usually writes about “noble” things like politics, feminism and disappointing Tyler Perry movies, I am surprised to find myself writing this. But when I saw India-Jewel’s piece, “So, Did Disney F#$k You Up Too?” from, I thought about all the romantic ideas I had of what being in a relationship would be like before I was in one. And then I snorted to myself when I compared those romantic ideas to what being in a relationship is actually like in real life.

A diehard ballet student all throughout high school, I had absolutely no time for boys. So when I got to Fordham, I was a little late to the party when it came to dating and relationships. But when I finally showed up, I still had my options. Lots of options: the actor, the lobbyist, the businessman, the army man, the comedian, the photographer…(Don’t ask me why I didn’t just start a dating column because I couldn’t tell you.) They were all fun to be with and they all taught me something, but they never lasted long enough for me to understand what committing to someone really meant.

Then Sharpie came along. I saw him. I made my move. Intrigued, he responded with a text message two days later, which led to a first date at Pio Pio. The ceviche was delicious, but the conversation was 10 times better. Next was the Upright Citizens Brigade, and after that popcorn and Spike Lee movies on my couch. It was on-and-off, but the attraction was always there. Nine months after we had first met, we decided to make it official. And I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Life with Sharpie has been a happy one. But like any relationship, we have our rough patches and Cosmo’s articles on decoding guy language and relationship tips have become embarrassingly relevant. I quickly learned that I couldn’t use my beauty to get what I want from him as easily as I could from men in the past. I realized that in a healthy relationship, one should never try to have control of the other, even if it’s with a seemingly harmless tool like sex appeal.

I’ve also learned that I can’t give up so easily when the rough patches come because they are bound to happen. Despite the things we have in common, we’re different people with different values and perspectives. Certain things I find funny, he finds offensive. He prioritizes being true to whom you are while I prioritize making compromises to make the people around you happy. A date I would find romantic and engaging he might find corny and boring.

And though he has the looks and qualities the Prince Charming I had always dreamed of throughout my childhood and adolescence, he certainly isn’t a prince in real life. He’s a human being—a stubborn one—with his own frustrations and emotional triggers that I have to navigate so that we can be happy together. And I’m okay with that because I know he does the same thing for me, too.