Kissing Frogs

Have you found your frog prince? Have you kissed your share of toads? Have you had it in the dating pool — tiptoeing through your twenties, thrashing through your thirties, or flailing in your forties or fifties?

What if you find yourself sassy, sexy, and single in your sixties? Or your seventies?

Personally, I never tiptoed through any age — I suspect I scurried, ran or trudged. And the only thrashing I’ve experienced is more emotional than physical, and always… always… in some way associated with Love Gone Wrong.

And then there are surprises.

An unexpected encounter that blossoms quickly and remains sweet, far longer than you ever imagined. The affair of the heart that teaches you how much you still have to give, and that it’s acceptable to take. The stranger who says “you’re beautiful,” which you haven’t heard in so long, which you thought you would never hear again, which is miraculous music indeed, and it makes your day, your week, your series of weeks that were otherwise missing some indescribable “something.”

Suddenly, you find yourself considering those dating days you thought were well behind you, as you contemplate the crazy, calamitous, dismal, daring, and peculiar process of maneuvering through mysterious yet seductive socializing terrain.

Hello? Dating Dramas? Can You Take Your Sorry-Ass Selves Elsewhere?

Dating dilemmas? My worst (or so I believed) arrived in the aftermath of divorce, as the “prince” I once married was no royal match, and our battleground was littered with troubles (and trolls) for years.

But that didn’t mean I wanted to live without going for good times or sampling a bit of spice, much less chancing a taste of love. Oh, but the frogs I encountered, and others I managed to avoid! How thankful I am for the occasional brave courtier as a lovely companion! Yet no witch’s brew, no enduring spell, no sorcery appeared to aid me in evading the parade of pretenders.

There were the knights sans shining armor, the warriors hooked on skewering their ex-wives, the bards bent on singing the praises of their mounts, and jesters intent on getting laid.

(Damn frogs. Horny toads.)

Listen… Passion is a glorious gift. Mutual admiration makes for lovely society. Abiding affection may start slow and finish strong. Connection — for a few days, a few years, a lifetime — is indeed, for some of us, powerful magic.

However, the prince is never a prince, and nor is his gal pal the perfect princess. He’s a man — with faults, foibles and failings — and we shouldn’t anticipate anything more or less.

How readily we invest in unrealistic expectations of potential romantic partners.

And in reciprocal fashion, we fervently hope they will see past our imperfections, helping us to transform into our better selves.

Man or woman, too often, we are disappointed. Fairy tales act as blinders to clear vision. Fairy tales do not exist, except to dangle an inedible however commercial carrot, and subsequently to lead us astray.

Love Conquers All (or… There Are No “Frogs”)

Reflecting on my amorous adventures over the past dozen years, and from stories shared by friends of both sexes, it’s evident that the frog is not always male. In fact, although the Brothers Grimm depicted the male as the one in need of being transformed, other countries’ variations exist in which the bewitched frog is in fact female.

Of course, our modern day sensibilities permit us to appreciate the lesson in looking beyond the surface, though more so that women should do this than men. Nevertheless, the seemingly unsuitable suitor may be an excellent match. And so we’re smart to give (his) inner beauty a shot, and with that realization, to tender a kiss.

Thus, with the dab of a lipstick (and / or a pucker), the tap of a magic wand (and a torrid tango in bed), and perhaps a sprinkle of salt tossed over the shoulder (who doesn’t need luck?) — no doubt we’ll soon be joining the Love Conquers All Club.

Now, I leave you to your own sentiments as to whether or not you believe that little fairy tale. No, that isn’t cynicism, that’s real life. Love does conquer a helluva lot, but the extent of its powers depends on both characters and the plot. Come to think of it, since we each write our own stories, at least to a degree, perhaps we could lead ourselves to conclude that there are no “frogs.”

And yet… Having been approached recently by one heroic figure (who turned out to be as slippery an amphibian as they come), by one mischievous sprite (with his carefree compliments), and all manner of other interesting creatures in the animal (and folkloric) kingdom, I can only say that I’ve observed no princely character attributes among them. None that I could discern, certainly, which appears no less true after age 50 than it was in the years that came before.

There may be spirits from the past, with true hearts and good intentions, but we are mortals of flesh and blood, and alive in the here and now. We remind ourselves to partake of a stroll along the cool, shadowy path, or through the mossy forest, or into the morning’s glistening glen. But it’s important to remember that a frog is a frog.