20 Years After the Glass Slipper

Re-posting for the new followers and there is the fact that I am busy in the editing/writing cave and haven’t had time to write a new blog. If you’ve read this already, I hope you re-enjoy it, if you haven’t read it as of yet, ENJOY! 🙂

Cinderella married Prince Charming and they lived happily ever after.” – The End –

There wasn’t an epilogue written for this fairy tale/romance. As children and even adults, are we to assume that happily ever after meant that after twenty years of marriage, Cinderella still wears a diamond tiara, crystal embedded Louboutin shoes, a Vera Wang ball gown, dines off of Wedgwood china and dances around the castle with her handsome prince every night after dinner?

Personally, I don’t buy that interpretation of happily ever after.

I picture Cindy favoring a pair of Nike’s (pink of course). As a busy mom with a lot of running around to do, her favorite outfit now consists of black, comfy yoga pants and a T-shirt that said, “Bite Me Step-Monster.” Much more conducive to her lifestyle than the corset and ball gown her Godmother had conjured up for her.

No doubt Cindy and Charming argued as to why the hell the Crank-Step-in-laws were invited to break bread with them at Thanksgiving; when all Charming wanted to do was crack open a beer, put his feet up and catch a polo match on the royal tube.

Crowned Dude worked hard for his monarchy and money. After twenty years the palace was in need of major repairs and a paint job (white glitter is so 1697). With the stress of the recession and palace union giving the royals a run for their jewels at the negotiating round table, this hero needed major kick-back time during the holidays. He didn’t want to deal with nasty-step-in-laws. However, he didn’t complain (much) and plastered on the suave smile that earned him his name.

One of their happy-ever-after, loving conversation’s may have even gone something like this after 20 years:

Cindy: “I’m throwing that cape out. It doesn’t fit you and we need more closet space.”

Charming: “How about dumping those glass slippers. They don’t fit you anyway.”

Cindy: “Are you saying I have cankles?”

Charming: “What the hell are cankles?”

Cindy: “Fat ankles, you idiot.”

Charming looks down at her ankles.

Cindy glares. “Why are you looking at my feet?”

Charming: “So about that closet. I can build you a new one.”

Cindy: “You think that damn swagger is going to get you out of this? Newsflash. That’s getting old. And so are you!”

Charming: “I’ll tell you what’s old. Your Step-monster and those butt-ugly daughters of hers sponging off of us.”

Cindy: “I agree!”

Charming: “I’ll order a hit on them.”

Cindy: “Ah, my hero.”

Charming puffs out chest.

Cindy rolls her eyes.

They put the slippers on E-bay and continue with their happy ever after.

As romance writers, it is up to us to create a hero and heroine that the reader will not only love and root for while we put them through angst, conflicts and unbearable challenges, but we create characters that instill the belief that this couple is going to survive and celebrate a golden anniversary when the reader finishes their story.

Happily ever after isn’t a fairy tale, or a fantasy vision of a couple always looking their best, and being happy 24/7 with each other. That is never my intent when writing a love story. Sure, there is the fantasy aspect of the romance, the escapism with heroes we can drool over. However, when it comes to the long-term relationship and their happily ever after ending (for me) in a romance novel and in real life–it doesn’t have a fantasy ending.

It means that after the initial euphoria of falling in lust followed by an all-consuming love, it turns into a more realistic approach to being able to ride the big wave together, battle demons, handle the baggage and still remain friends, in love and committed to the relationship.

My goal is for the reader to believe with all her heart that the hero and heroine of the story will work through in-law problems, unexpected illnesses, PMS, difficult pregnancy, colic, sleepless nights, a leaking roof, a leaking diaper, death in the family, and financial problems.

Through all this, the couple will support each other, laugh and cry together, and work as a unit to get through the many stresses that life throws at people when they least expect it. A happy ever after ending means that the writer has created two characters who not only have fallen deeply in love, but will give the reader the assurance that when the book has ended, the reader knows these two people will not only remain loving, but they will have a strong friendship that will last through the years, that they truly like each other and enjoy each other’s company (even if they get on each other’s nerves at times).

It’s reassuring the reader that after all the angst and conflicts this couple deals with throughout the story, that these two will always remember to celebrate what brought them together in the first place.

Happy ever after means that when you’re in severe physical pain, and it’s the middle of winter, and you had stupidity refused to refill the pain medication, your husband trudges out into the freezing cold in search of a 24 hour Pharmacy, fills out the prescription and returns home with not only the pain medication, but with a bottle of your favorite bubble bath. (Hey, I thought I was Wonder Woman and could deal with the pain after my elbow operation I had to endure. Thankfully, my husband has never uttered… “I told you so.” He’s a smart man)

Happy ever after means that even though a couple has a hectic schedule, after twenty years of marriage, they still take a moment to send a text message to say, “I’m thinking about you,” or perhaps send a naughty message (only make sure you have the correct phone number when doing that. I’m not admitting to anything, I’m just saying.)

So what is your definition of happy ever after?

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23 thoughts on “20 Years After the Glass Slipper

  1. What a fun post, Selena! I do think that a real happy ever after has the couple making time for each other even after so many years. But it isn’t all hearts and flowers that whole time! Life’s too busy for that, quite honestly! 😉 I do love it when authors throw in an epilogue that gives us a peek at that real happy ever after!

    • Hi, Fedora, thanks for dropping by, glad you liked the post.

      I also love revisiting characters after their HEA, either in an epilogue or another book.

      My two characters from What A Girl Wants make an appearance in my next book. 😉

    • Hi, Kame, thanks for stopping by my blog.

      I agree with you. It’s like porn for women, going away and coming back to a clean house that hubby has taken care of.

      There’s an article going around that says couples who share housework responsibilities have a higher divorce rate. That is TOTAL B.S.

      • REALLLY – I haven’t seen that article. He is big on floors – cleans the carpets and washes the kitchen floor in all these years living together I have washed the kitchen floor less than once a month!

  2. Great post!
    HEA after 19 years of marriage and 24 together is coming home from a Girl Scout camping weekend to find Hubs has cleaned the entire house, and done all the laundry AND he takes the carpet cleaner to clean your van seats because a girl got car sick!

  3. Selena I think this is my favorite posts of yours so far. When I started reading romance novels I was such a novice I didn’t know about the certain HEA. But I found that is what I loved about them. The author teases you like its not going to happen but then it always does. I love the idea of Cindy in yoga pants worrying about cankles and Charming retiring the cape. I think we all know that things will change for them too but at the end of the novel when he says “I love you” back, in that brief moment, everything in their lives and ours is perfect. I’ve been married for 22 years and we have seen our share of ups and downs. Sometimes when we’ve both had a rough day, my husband and I call supper “Our Victory Dinner” which means, maybe it wasn’t our best, but nothing or no one was taken away from us on that day either. I guess that is what I consider an HEA. And thanks again for this post, it was great. 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed the blog, Heidi and thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts.

      Love the idea of a Victory Dinner. Do you have a lot of veggies during this dinner. 😉

      I agree with you, as we are the same. There are always some bumps in the road and it’s how we travel through those bumps that give us our version of happy ever after. A sense of humor helps, and knowing that there is always a bright light at the end of the tunnel, no matter what the challenge.

  4. My happily ever after consists of my hubby running out to buy me cold medicine at 10pm. That’s true love to me. Oh, and he brings back a bag of chips too!

  5. I’m still in search of my happily ever after even after having two little zombies. Sometimes, we derail our own HEA and other times what we think is the right path to get to that HEA is merely a side trip and you have to fight to put yourself back on the path again.

    For me, a happily ever after is what I see when I look at my parents. Forty years together and my dad still looks at my mom like the sun rises and sets with her. The little gestures and sly looks they give each other that I’m honored to have witnessed over the years, reaffirm that romance is still alive and well and waiting for everyone.

    • Hi, Moira, thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

      What a beautiful example your parents are and a true testament that yes, romance is live and well and you’re spot on about the little gestures that make up for a HEA.

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