Witch brings me back to my original point. Why Don't I? Why don't I grok dragons? I'm the kind of techno geeky slightly-socially-awkward online persona who's supposed to be Into that pudding. and when I was little, I liked Puff, the Magic Dragon, and Mustard the cowardly dragon, and when Mad Madame Mim turned into a dragon and Merlin beat her by changing himself into a sneezy dragon virus. so why didn't it stick? i guess i always associated dragons with stuff like knights and princesses. And unlike an awful lot of girls, I never thought of myself as a princess, never identified with 'em or wanted to be one. Even now, when I see some chick getting all off on wearing a tiara or a fancy ball gown or just feeling all romantic-cooped-in-the-tower, I don't relate. At all. Now this is not for the reason you might think. I never thought of Princesses as weak, or dull, or needing rescue too much (I have always wished someone would Rescue me from Stuff, especially my own head, but accepted many years ago that it would never happen because knights are a fumbling and bumbling lot, so one has to Save Oneself at all times), or leading less thrilling lives than the kings and princes. The closest I ever got to disavowing the Princess trip as a child was wondering how in hell Rapunzel could stand having her hair pulled by the weight of the dude climbing up it. It looked damned uncomfortable, even if you figure she wound her braid around the window hook twice first. And I liked fairy tales. I watched the musical version of "Cinderella" on TV every year it was on, and I loved my Tasha Tudor illustrated fairy-tale book, with the lovely paintings of Cinderella and Rapunzel and Thumbelina and Puss-in-boots and the rest. (I still do love that book, and maybe I'll post some pics from it to storybookland when I get the scanner back up n' running.) I read lots of other fairytale books too. I just never identified with anyone in them. The only Princess I remember feeling akin to was Pure Reason in The Phantom Tollbooth, because she was always carrying around a book and reading, just like I was. In general, Princesses were fun to read about and watch on TV, but they hadn't much to do with fat, homely, independent, bookwormy little girls whose daddies saw them more as a miniature "Bendix Mary" Cunningham than as Snow White or Gigi.
I guess I started to lose touch with the whole fantasy concept around the time I broke up with my first Real Boyfriend (as in, Relationship that lasted more than a month). He was from a working-class family and was into the whole D&D and Knights-and-Fair-Ladies trip. His idea of someone being a Fair Lady meant that they had to follow a whole bunch of rules. Like, don't say "damn" (much less anything worse), and don't wander off on your own in the mall (something terrible might happen to you), and never yell (haha), and don't question his judgment too much because He is The Knight and He Knows Best and Loves You. Blargh. I **might** have bought into it, along with the whole fantasy trip, if the guy seemed to know what he was doing in life, or showed skill at anything I valued, which he didn't. The other guys I went on to like could all DO something - Play guitar, tour with a band, ace their classes, make love like Heart's "Magic Man". But this first guy was pretty damn useless. When I met him, he could teach me math because he'd had calc in high school instead of just pre-calc, but because he refused to study, I quickly got ahead of him in that. He mostly sat around watching television and playing D&D all day, and he wasn't even a good D&D playa!! He'd come up with ridiculous scenarios involving Santa and eight tiny reindeer...i dunno, I got sick of the whole trip real fast, and when I got rid of him (relatively painlessly as he flunked out after freshman year, went back to his folks' out of state and never came back) I pretty much wrote off all the fantasy shite too. Anyway, where I came from it seemed like the people most into the chivalrous-romance-with-dragons were the bodice-ripper-supermarket-paperback set...with the big foofy hair...who wanted to get married...basically stupid people who put castles on their wedding announcements instead of having a plain white formal expensive card, or a tasteful modern design...you know what I mean. we're not talking Patricia Kenneally Scholars here. they were into Fantasia because their real lives were going Absolut Nowhere. I still meet way too many people like that.
I often wonder how I would have ended up if my early fantastic encounters had been with, say, some really smart, together Bill-Gates-to-be (is that a contradiction in terms, considering how nerdy Gates is?) at the Society for Creative Anachronism (who I used to watch through the glass of the student center - I wouldn't have thought of going in, I wasn't dressed for it and thought it was all vaguely Monty-Pythonesque). Would I have become one of those middle-aged fat rengoth ladies wandering about trimming roses in a cheaply made long gown and fakey corset, with a houseful of stuffed dragons and stone gargoyles, writing poetry, listening to medieval lute to0ns? i dunno, that doesn't sound like me under any circumstances. but the dragons might be OK, anyway. can dragons be punks? can punks be dragons? did Puff father any eggs, or was he too busy obsessing over his unhealthy attachment to Little Jackie Paper? are there any dragons who are sick of all those doofy, ineffectual knights and princesses who force them to constantly play some Bad Guy role, when said dragons just want to get MBAs and turn the crank all day and make a decent life for themselves and their dragon mates? And how would they square their fire-breathing with companies' no-smoking policies? inquiring minds want to know.