Sleeping around: Falling for the fantasy

'They know just how to get you back: by pulling a grand gesture'

I always felt like a bit of a misfit in primary school, because I didn't swoon over the fairy tales like the rest of the girls in my class.

It always seemed to me that the heroines in the stories were allowed to find true love, but only after enduring a hell of a lot of pain.

Cinderella was a domestic slave, Sleeping Beauty bled and Snow White had to endure the possibility of necrophilia by seven freaky dwarves so obsessed that they kept her on display in a glass coffin even after she got poisoned. Once poor Rapunzel finally met a nice guy, he had to climb her hair to get any action. Talk about an S&M relationship!

As I grew up, I learned that the women in classical literature didn't fare much better. I was always drawn to the tortured types like Heathcliff and Mr Rochester, despite the fact "loving" these men often equalled death or insanity.

Lately, my life has been mirroring storybooks. I just had a first date with Peter, a very nice and seemingly normal man. As if on cue, Charles, who dumped me because he "couldn't do the commitment", has now ridden back into my life in a white sports car rather than riding a horse bearing gifts.

Charles and I started out as friends, but he pulled a Prince Charming by telling me that he wanted to "look after me". I should have known that this was trouble.

But he appealed to the little girl side of me who wants to be rescued, and despite trying to take things slowly I could feel myself getting in deeper.

Until the moment when I told him that I cared about him too, at which point he disappeared into the sunset without me.

This is the part that's missing from the fairy tales. We dream about intense, all-encompassing love, but the reality is that the whirlwind, drama-filled courtships are usually very short-lived. It's easy to throw the words "and they lived happily ever after" up on a screen, but damned hard to live up to.

How could I have fallen for the fantasy? I've always said that if Pretty Woman had a sequel, I'm willing to bet that it would feature Julia Roberts living on the street after Richard Gere got bored and promptly dumped her.

But they know just how to get you back, because we've all seen it in movies: by pulling a grand gesture.

Charles dramatically showed up at my birthday dinner with a present, and told me that he had to come because he was flying to New York the next day for three months. Peter was there, so I excused myself from the table and followed him outside. He handed me a box, and I opened a pair of Christian Louboutin heels. Inside, he'd tucked a return ticket to New York. "What is this for?" I asked him.

"I miss you," he said. "And I thought that if you got lonely, we could hang out."

For a split second, I was tempted. But I knew, even if he didn't, that he only wanted me when he knew he couldn't have me. I will always care about Charles, but I wanted reality, not another fairy tale.

I've realised that reallove is about sticking around through day-to-day problems.

So I kissed him on the cheek and told him that I wouldn't be needing the ticket. Then I went back inside the restaurant so that I could change into my new killer stilettos.

I may not have snagged the handsome prince just yet, but at least I got half of my own Cinderella story.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

    Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

    £24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

    Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her