It's not just you… we all have our moments

It's not just you… we all have our moments

Friday, April 25, 2014

I Was A(lmost) Snow White

I am not one of those people who loathe Disney.  I don't partake in conspiracy theories around Walt's anti-Semitic ties (which I'm not excusing), nor do I  think that he was the Devil incarnate, disguising pure evil in a Mouse suit.  I think Walt Disney was human, and I think he was flawed, but above all else, I think he was a big fucking nerd who had a dream and made it come true.

Conversely, I'm not a season ticket holder, a QVC collector of Disney memorabilia, nor do I dream of getting hitched at Disney World and being whisked away from Cinderella's castle in a cheesy pumpkin carriage down Main St., on parade for all to see.  (I was loved as a child.)  I have zero desire to traipse around the park in a veiled Mini Mouse hat with "Mrs." embroidered on it.  Gross.
Be better than Heidi and Spencer.
Do I think Disney was a "gender bigot," as Meryl Streep claims?  Duh.  My generation also grew up engrossed in Disney-perpetuated themes of misogyny, even after the Women's Lib movement, but I think the takeaway largely depends on the individual and her immediate environment.  For example, my brother has a friend who, before letting his daughter watch any of the Disney classics, makes her repeat, "I am a strong, independent woman and I don't need a man to save me."  My brother's ex-girlfriend, on the other hand, did not have that paternal reinforcement.  The result: she = nightmare.  Can't argue with science.

My upbringing had nothing and everything to do with me auditioning to be a Disney "Princess" when I was nineteen.  I'm sure I showed up that morning reeking of booze and cigarettes, but I was just All-American-looking enough to pass the first round of inspection - which simply consisted of standing in a line next to, literally, over a thousand other hopefuls as judges discerned whether or not we could pass as cartoons.

*A brief back story: when I was four, I thought I was Alice in Wonderland.  I mean, I knew I wasn't, but if I dressed in pinafores long enough and insisted everyone call me Alice, maybe I could fool myself.  At least, I'm sure that was my thinking.  Fake it till you make it, right?  (It worked for OJ Simpson - I'm sure he still thinks he's innocent.)  So when I answered the open call for Disney face characters, I half expected it to be the fulfillment of my childhood dream.  Being Alice felt like my birthright.  One could certainly ascertain with a level of accuracy that my audition had less to do with any desire to be a princess, and more to do with my inherent desire to live in an acid trip.

The Disney gestapo had other plans for me, however.  Turns out I'm not believable as an Alice because I have brown eyes (color contacts, anyone?) and I'm 5'9" (got me there).  In fact, the only characters I qualified for were Belle (no one's buying that) and Snow White.  In hindsight, I probably should have been offended - with one cursory examination, these Disney "experts" determined I looked like I fit the role of the hooker who "took care of" seven tiny men and skied the slopes of many a bar bathroom.  Don't think that name, Snow White, is lost on me, Disney.  Assholes.

Anyway, there I was - I had made the first round of cuts for no apparent reason whatsoever, but realized quickly just what a big deal that was based on the level of excitement emitted from a fellow cut-maker to the right of me.  Apparently this was her third time auditioning, but it was the first time she'd made it this far.  Woof.

I had the benefit of ignorance on my side - I had no idea how competitive the Disney Character screening process is, how many people were practically dying to be one, or how goddamn long those auditions are (seriously, there goes my Saturday).  I was green and I had zero attachment to the outcome, so every time I advanced to another round, I was shocked.  I was positive my fate was sealed the second we were informed we'd have to learn a fucking dance and perform it in front of the judges in twenty minutes.

I don't dance.  Graceful and I don't run in the same circle.  My childhood friend's mother once told me that her favorite part of coming to Sarah's soccer games was so she could watch me flail my arms about as I ran around the field like a chicken with my head cut off, nearly pissing herself each time I'd trip over myself and eat shit because of how fast I'd bounce right up and keep running - like the ground was a trampoline or something.  I looked like Corky out there.

I actually didn't get excited about being a Snow White until I danced my way into the final round, where a handful of my competitors and I were instructed to suit up in full wardrobe (!!!).  Here's what I learned:
  • I look hideous with black hair.
  • I am a total hooker in red lipstick.
Disney noticed it, too.  Aside from perusing the park shaking hands and kissing babies, Snow's main gig was reading stories to kids in Fairy Book Land (or some shit like that), and goodness knows you can't have a trampy Snow White in front of impressionable young girls.  That might give off the wrong impression!  We certainly don't want anything to interfere with the psychologically sound message that all women need rescuing, and happiness is only realized in a kiss and a  Fairy Tale wedding (not to mention, that's a lot of pressure on a guy).

I wish I got the opportunity to read to those goofy little idiots, because I would have elaborated on what Happily Ever After is code for: A lot of fucking work.  There were days, sometimes years, when Snow White and Prince Charming don't even like each other because of a thing called compromise, which she realized she was better at doing than he was.  Then came the day when they decided to shit out a few heirs to the throne, and Snow's dreams and aspirations got put on the back-burner so she'd have time for carpool and laundry.  In fact, Snow was ultimately returned to the exact same situation - cleaning house surrounded by ungrateful little people - that she thought her Prince had saved her from.  The End.  

But I was given the boot after the dress rehearsal, and ended up shitting on a perfectly good Saturday.  So I drove to the bar, with my face still painted up, and got drunk.

And I lived blissfully ever after.  Until I turned thirty-one.

Then I started living my own life, and creating my own Happily Ever After.

The End.