Once upon a time there was a little princess called Simone. She wasn’t a traditional fairytale maiden with flowing blonde locks, refined features and a delicate slender frame; but a dark-haired girl with an average face and a sturdy hourglass body. Still, as flawed as she was, she dreamed of one day standing before her empire as Queen Simone, her mighty King firmly by her side. And that meant finding a prince.
As a young girl she searched her own land in the New World for a royal suitor, but the Land of Oz is vast and its population limited: her prince was nowhere to be found. She knew she had to get in her carriage and journey on the yellow-brick road to other kingdoms; so, when she finished university, she voyaged to the Old World to continue her search.
She kissed many frogs: In fact she had dinner with frogs, watched movies with frogs and even saw a few frogs naked. On two occasions in fifteen years her heart filled with hope when she met first one prince and then another, but they each chose princesses from other realms. The Australian prince selected a beautiful olive-skinned princess from Italy, and the English prince went with a plain, but intelligent, blue-eyed princess from New Zealand.
Princess Simone never gave up hope, but she carried on her search less fervently; enjoying her life filled with the constant distractions of daily activities. Work and socialising kept her busy and happy. In time, she figured, her prince would show his face. Then in 2012 she met a man in a Melbourne café and her spirits soared. He looked like a prince, he sounded like a prince, he smelled like a prince … could he actually be a prince?
The week they met was a wondrous whirlwind of courtship. Each evening, after Mark had fulfilled his princely duties at the café, they went out. They saw a theatrical performance, heard the great musicians for which Melbourne was renowned, and laughed at the jesters the city’s comedy circuit provided. Princess Simone saw Mark’s castle which was tremendously stylish, even in comparison to her beautiful temporary palace of residence at the Four-Trees Apartments.
On the night before she was due to return to her mother’s abode, she met Mark for dinner at an excellent Italian restaurant in Hardware Lane. They chatted over a glass of wine and ordered their food. Mark spoke excessively harshly to the waitress for making a tiny error, humiliating her and contributing to her nervously spilling some water. “Is this how he treats his own service staff?” Simone wondered, troubled and embarrassed by his behaviour.
As Mark filled her in on his day, a strange thing happened. His words started to blur and her eyes glazed over. Soon, all she could hear was, “Ribbit …. ribbit … ribbit”. “His words have no substance”, she thought. “And, we have nothing in common. It’s just not there between us – he’s not my prince”. Simone realised that in the week’s carnival of activity and mead drinking, they hadn’t really talked to each other; they’d been so busy being entertained that they hadn’t established if they entertained each other. They didn’t.
After a dinner that dragged, they finished their coffees and left the restaurant. Princess Simone kissed Mark farewell, boarded her tram and watched him hop away. He wasn’t an entirely bad frog (waitress incident aside) and he might be someone else’s prince but for her this fairytale didn’t end with a “happily ever after”. Her search continues.