Thursday, October 25, 2012

"I Wanna Be A Princess!"

My daughters, like most girls their age, are obsessed with all things princess. However, living in Europe lends an added dimension to this obsession primarily because real princesses actually exist here. They are the subject of so many magazine articles that my daughters can practically recite (in alphabetical order) the princesses of all the royal families in Western Europe. My girls are particularly intrigued by the stories of ‘commoners’ who married into a royal family, like Crown Princess Letizia of Spain, Crown Princess Maxima of the Netherlands and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. I despise this ‘princess worship’ for many reasons, not the least of which being the fact that these women are being exalted for doing little else than finding a rich guy and convincing him to marry them.
For example, let’s take the case of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (pictured). For those of you who are unaware of her ‘fairytale’, she met Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in Sydney in September of 2000 at a bar called the Slip Inn. Fred was in town for the Olympics and decided to enjoy a night out with his brother and cousins. Supposedly unaware of his royal status, Mary and Fred struck up a conversation, into which a relationship bloomed and the rest, as they say, is history.
First off, let me say I had this broad’s number the moment she opened her yap during her official engagement interview in October of 2003, wherein she tried to sell the world on her bullsh*t story that she had ‘no idea’ who Prince Moneybags was when she met him at the Slip Inn that night. However, even more troubling were the pathetic headlines that the Aussie newspapers starting running shortly after her engagement was announced (things like, “Local Girl Makes Good”) Plus, in the comments section beneath each online article were gems like this one: “Good job, Mary! I am a grandmother and if any of my three granddaughters became engaged to a prince I would be so proud of them.” I had to check the calendar to make sure I was still living in the 21st century.
In a day and age where young girls are told they can do or be anything, what kind of message does it send when we praise a gal just for marrying someone with a title? I hope that if my daughters ever do become famous, it is for something they did that was truly admirable, rather than for the person they chose to marry.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dopé! Dopé!

Way back in 2005 when Lance Armstrong retired from cycling (the first time) we were lucky enough to have front row seats to observe his victory lap around the Place de la Concorde. At the time, the American Embassy owned a building on the Place and from our seats on a first floor balcony, three feet above the throngs of people jamming the sidewalk, we could hear the crowd chanting, ‘dopé! dopé! ’ as Lance rode by. Even back then, the majority of French people were convinced Lance was doing drugs. Now, after the mountains of evidence recently released by the USADA, I would say the majority of Americans consider him guilty of doping as well. However, regardless of his guilt or innocence, Lance’s behavior off the bike is what disgusts me the most. He was a HUGE bully and even intimidated the family members of individuals that dared to speak the truth. His character is that of a narcissistic pathological liar with zero concern or empathy for others. Younger aspiring riders literally retreated to their homes crying because he virtually forced them to drug for the first time in their life (in order to remain on his team). Obviously, they had a choice (and many simply left) but these kids spent their lives dreaming of the opportunity to ride with Armstrong. Imagine how disillusioned they felt in that moment (they finally meet their hero and discover the ugly truth). This is about much more than just Lance’s personal doping. This is about his wrongdoings as a human being that go way beyond that. He ruined many people’s lives yet is still letting others celebrate him as a hero.