Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Princess in the Broken Down Car

Dedicated to my dad & husband.

For our family movie night recently, we watched Mirror Mirror. Michael said, “I see why you like this movie. The princess fights for herself.” This brought on a discussion about princess movies, being a strong woman, etc. My daughter is now old enough to find these topics interesting. I may have gone off a bit on my soap box and said some things along these lines:
 “Women should not just sit around as helpless damsels waiting for their prince to come and save them. Of course, a man should be willing and capable  of saving his princess. In fact, he should be willing to swim through shark-infested water to bring her lemonade - or whatever her heart desires!” (Actually, I should just add here that any guy who dates/marries my daughter dearest better be willing to do all that and more. She is VERY high maintenance and he should know that up front). 
I’m not apposed to princess movies. Little girls have an innate desire to be beautiful and wear pretty things and be sought after. However, I’ve never been particularly fond of the usual story line where the prince comes in and saves the day. 
So last Thursday I was driving home from work. The car broke down. It lost power and I just barely made it into a parking lot. While waiting for Michael to arrive, I called my mechanical-genius dad to see if he had any insights. He first joked about me “finally needing dad” then asked if I had looked in owners manual and checked something-or-other under the hood. “Ummm... no, Dad. I haven’t gotten quite that far yet. I’ve only had time to eat a snack, check my email and update my Facebook status to reflect my current situation while I’m waiting for Michael!” (Not my exact words, but the truth). 
Then it occurred to me: I was being that princess! I was sitting there helplessly waiting for my man to come and rescue me. Pathetic. Maybe I should have paid more attention in my auto mechanics class. Maybe I should have taken my dad’s advice and learned a couple of things about cars. 
So I managed to find the little lever thingy that pops the hood and had the owners manual open when Michael arrived. That way it looked like I was doing something and I wouldn’t look quite so pathetic to my children.
The car had an electrical problem diagnosed by my dad and Michael. There wasn’t really anything I could do without a jump start. 
I was humbled and decided that it is okay to need someone else’s help (even a guy)! In fact, I believe men have an innate need to feel needed. Rescuing their “damsel in distress” helps them feel manly and stuff. 
I also decided that I should educate myself on some car basics - especially If I’m going to preach to my daughter about a woman’s strength and independence. (Truth be told, I don’t even how to hook up jumper cables! I would no doubt electrocute myself.)
So ladies: Be strong. Be capable. But don’t be afraid to need someone else. We all have different skills and resources. Everyone wants to feel needed sometimes. And if it makes your guy feel more manly, well then... 
You may just both live happily ever after!
The End


  1. So glad you were safe. It's nice to have strong people in our life...for all that happens. I wish I had more time to learn more - I'm super happy to just be trucking along of what I can fit in.

  2. You know me, Amy; I have developed a pretty solid anti-princess stance so it's difficult when that's what society/pre-school peers/Disney/media heavily pushes and my little girl picks up on. However, it's recently been pointed out to me that the princesses in the "media spotlight" are adapting to the cards they're dealt. One positive message I can view again through this perspective is: "GIRL! You better watch out for those crazy jealous witches [and/or struggles/problems that Will arise in your lifetime], know who you can count on and be ready to call in your resources!" Isn't that what YOU did, dear strong, independent woman?

  3. Powerful, enraveling, loved it Amy!

    -David Enabulele
    Atlanta Junk Cars

  4. “Maybe I should have taken my dad’s advice and learned a couple of things about cars.” – It is not too late to learn, Amy. And I think it is a sign that you need to take the initiative to repair your auto. Learning a thing or two about your vehicle is the first step in taking care of your car. Even nuggets of knowledge can go a long way. :-)

    Michelina Douglass

    1. Michelina is right! Knowing something about everything can be of help to you someday, and this includes car basics and repairs. It will make you feel empowered when the time comes that you can give solutions to little problems like flat tires. Plus, you will make your father proud that you took his lessons to heart! [Rita McCall]

  5. My niece and I also liked the movie. "Mirror, Mirror" is a charming, funny and beautifully designed film; it really left us enchanted. :) You're right about that, Amy. Women should also stand for themselves. If men can do it, then so can they. As a matter of fact, I know a lot of female car engineers. However, everyone could use a little help, sometimes, you know. Anyway, I'm glad the car's fixed now. It wouldn't be bad if you learn about car basic wiring - it's easy.

    Ivo Beutler

  6. At any rate, it’s important for women to know some car basics. Yes, most of the time, there are people who are willing to help us when we’re in need, but it’d be better that you know what to do should you find yourself alone and stuck in a situation.

    Leisa Dreps