Hold out for the fairy tale
It seems as though 2016 was a particularly rough year in terms of celebrity deaths. (Although I will admit I had to laugh when my daughter found a comment on Tumblr that said, “People are going to be unjustifiably surprised when celebrities continue to die in 2017.”)
One of the losses I mourn the most is that of Garry Marshall, who directed Pretty Woman, my favorite movie of all time.
Yes, I saw it 16 times in the theater the year it came out, bought the VHS tape (dating myself, aren’t I?), and I’ve seen it at least 5 times on DVD since VHS went out of style. And one of the best things about having a daughter? Having someone to watch it with again.
Haters: “It’s fluff.” “It’s a chick flick.” “It’s a remake of My Fair Lady, which was already a remake of Pygmalion.” “They changed the ending.”
None of this matters. I just plain love everything about this movie.
And the more I watch it, the more I realize how much I love what it says about our dreams … and about our [lack of] willingness to work for those dreams and hold out for them.
In a scene just before the climax of the movie, Vivian tells Edward,
When I was a little girl, my mama used to lock me in the attic when I was bad, which was pretty often. And I would…pretend I was a princess, trapped in a tower by a wicked queen. And then suddenly this knight on a white horse with these colors flying would come charging up and draw his sword. And I would wave. And he would climb up the tower and rescue me.
True, it’s not much of a dream by Lean In standards. It’s typical Disney fare: princess in distress rescued by her prince.
But perhaps it’s more, since Vivian continues, “But never in all the time that I had this dream did the knight say to me, ‘Come on, Baby, I’ll put you up in a great condo.’”
Vivian has her moments of despair, asking, “Don’t you want to get outta here?” and “I just wanna know who it works out for. You give me one example of somebody that we know that it happened for.” Kit’s answers, of course, are a bit NSFW but are easily among the most memorable lines in the movie.
Eventually, Vivian walks out on Edward:
Look, you made me a really nice offer. And a few months ago, no problem. But now everything is different, and you’ve changed that. And you can’t change it back. I want more…. I want the fairy tale.
Every time she delivers this line, I want to cheer, “Way to hold out for the dream, girlfriend!”
You can argue that their reunion and the closing lines are the anticipated Disney fairy tale happy ending:
Edward: So what happened after he climbed up the tower and rescued her?
Vivian: She rescues him right back.
But they never do say those magic words, “And they lived happily ever after.”
I suspect there’s a sequel we are just going to have to write for ourselves. I choose to think that they are happy together, but knowing what everyday life can be like, I’ll bet they have a few more rough times.
The last line of the movie is actually Happy Man’s (yup, that’s the character’s name), “What’s your dream? What’s your dream? Hey, Mister, what’s your dream?”
All that to say, what was your dream? Did you fight for it, work for it, hold out for it, and are you living it now?
Or did life (career, marriage, kids, mortgage, college tuition, laundry…) happen and make you too busy to chase that dream? Did you consider opting out? Wonder who, if anyone, actually gets to live their dream? Did you lose sight of it entirely? Did you just settle?
I’m a big fan of Danielle LaPorte, who writes,
It’s so damn easy to settle, to just take the first good offer, to roll with it sooner rather than later. Particularly when you’re hungry. Especially when you’re in pain. And definitely after you have been very, very patient.
Has your dream suddenly come calling again? Or maybe it’s time to dream a new one? What will keep you from settling again?
I’ve been chasing my own dream again after years of leaving it on the shelf and settling for “good enough” for a long while, and I can tell you that the view from the other side is breathtaking.
As Barnard Thompson, the hotel manager/fairy godfather of PRETTY WOMAN says, “It must be difficult to let go of something so beautiful.”
This time, don’t let go.
If you’re interested in exploring all these questions and finding a way to not settle but live your dream, I’d love to support your journey. Sign up to tell me YOURstory, and we’ll spend an hour finding that glass slipper and figuring out how you can put it on again!