Posted by jdg | Thursday, July 02, 2009 |

The mother of one of my daughter's friends asks, "Is she not supposed to play princess?"

I have never told my daughter she couldn't play princesses. We may have had a few conversations about how princesses aren't good role models, but I've NEVER said she couldn't pretend to be one. Apparently while playing at her friend's house, my daughter whispered, "My dad doesn't like princesses. He says they're lazy goodfornothings." Then she proceeded to pull one of those prefabricated princess gowns over her torso and said, "I'll just tell him I was being a fairy." This pleases me, because it shows she is beginning to understand that her highly-opinionated father can be quite difficult, though easily appeased by doing whatever it is he doesn't approve of once well out of sight. This will prove a useful skill as the years go on.

When told this happened, I felt a tinge of guilt. Then the other little girl stood up and said to my daughter, "I AM THE BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS. You must do my bidding. Go and fetch me the finest flower in the land." My daughter reacted with a look of incredulity that could only be translated as, "Fuck that, dude." Or, perhaps less crudely, "My father was right: princesses are bossy and not very nice." She refused the quest, and the princess sulked.

I looked down at them in their ill-fitting polyester costumes, stained with mulberry juice and globs of yoghurt. I could have delivered the coup de grĂ¢ce right then: I could have pointed out that their threadbare, shoddily-made dresses of imitation satin and tulle made them look more like Courtney Love at the tail end of an Oxycontin binge than any representative of The Crown. But I didn't. As Benjamin Disraeli once said, Everyone likes flattery; and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel.

"Worry not, your Highness," I said, winking at my daughter. "I shall fetch my steed and deliver thee the loveliest dandelion in all Detroit."