The Prince and I
by Catherine Macaulay
At last, after a protracted courtship, the uncommon Kate Middleton has gone and snagged herself a prince. Pretty and stylish to the bone, she will undoubtedly add glamour to the musty ranks of British monarchy. Still, it won’t be easy being married to the future King of England. I hope she likes polo.
I can remember when I had visions of nabbing myself a polo-playing prince. I was young, full of spring, living off Jimmy Buffet albums and Florida sunshine when I heard Prince Charles was flying into West Palm Beach to play a few chukkers at the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club.
I viewed the prospect with all the detachment of a Rottweiler on a bone. I quickly arranged an assignment covering the event for a local newspaper. Then I went shopping for a new string of pearls and a dress, preferably one royal blue. Princess Catherine. It had a nice ring to it.
Having little working knowledge of polo and being absolutely clueless about the realities of life, I hopped into my TR6 and headed south toward Prince Charming, eager to test the waters of Happily Ever After. I felt sure my prince would take to me instantly. Like him, I loved horses, fine dining and travel. The queen would be won over too, or at least amused by my effervescent spontaneity—unlike my parents who never fully appreciated their daughter’s single-minded determination to build a resume that could rival the routes of Delta Air Lines.
My little car purred with a throaty precision as I pulled into the country club and rolled across the tangle of security, a scarf wrapped around my hair now demurely coiffed, tissues packing my underarms as protection against the punishing tropical heat. Wouldn’t my parents be happy if their daughter settled down with a prince.
Stuffing my reporter’s pad into my blue, pocketsize purse, I delicately picked my way toward the makeshift pressroom, my head swirling with Over-the-Rainbow dreams. But as I stepped through the door, I found myself standing before a crowd of male sports reporters whose faces reflected their yawn-induced assignment. I took my seat amongst them and waited for the prince’s polo manager to arrive, wondering how to best present myself to him.
Bunch of guys. What did they know? I was a shoe in here. Or so I thought right up until the third chukker of the polo match when Prince Charles suffered a heat stroke and had to be helped off the field, taking with him all my attempts at a storybook romance.
Not that I’m upset. After twenty-five years of marriage, it is my ardent conviction that prince or pauper, there is no such thing as happily ever after. Quite the contrary. Marriage is a binding contract whereby two parties agree to disagree. It makes no difference about what; couples will rabidly tackle any subject—TV shows, bills, electric blanket settings, how the dog should be fed, the furniture positioned.
My husband complains that I sometimes hassle him, namely because he is deaf to the riot of domestic life surrounding us. He says I need to be right all the time. I tell him that’s utter nonsense, that I will gladly relinquish the moniker when and if I am ever wrong. And while we’re on the subject, please don’t tell me what to do, don’t tell me how to drive and would it kill you to pick up a dish every now and then?
I find it strange living as I do in beyond the vast chasm between then and now that young girls continue to search for their Prince Charming, innocent of the unyielding and irreconcilable differences between men and women. And yet, today’s youth continues its death march to the alter, like lemmings rushing toward the great, swallowing seas, hoping to attain some ring-born Nirvana. The only difference is that these days, more of them are searching the weeds electronically.
Online dating has taken off in a way unimaginable a short decade ago. The social network of Match.com boasts 25 million members. Chemistry.com—15 million.
Perfectmatch.com promises users the opportunity to “meet compatible singles today.”
Internet dating services are offering candidates a way to virtually sift through the limitless prospects. On the menu, there’s christianmingle.com, blacksingles.com, interracacialsingles.net, seniordating.com, and gay.com, to name a few. I particularly like wealthymen.com. It cuts right to the chase.
I’ve yet to find a dating service that caters to equestrian enthusiasts. Not that it would make much difference, not in the blood sport of marriage. Even if husband and wife both loved horses, one of them would soon be complaining that the other wasn’t filling the water buckets often enough, mucking the stalls well enough, buying the right feed or supporting them in their bid for the Olympics.
I love my husband. He endures in-laws, makes a place on the bed for spoiled pets and his sweeter-than-caramel smile melts me every time. He’s supported my dreams and endured more equestrian events than any non-horsy spouse ever should. He is where I live and I am forever grateful for that single, most elemental asset underpinning our marriage and every other marriage on the face of the planet—the ability to blame one’s spouse for absolutely everything.
In the battle of the sexes, it’s best to keep smiling and employ that time-honored, equestrian axiom. Anchor yourself, absorb the shock, keep your upper body quiet and hang on for the ride.