Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Girl's Gotta Have Shoes

The girls and I just returned from celebrating our friend Claire’s 4th birthday. She was thrilled with her Strawberry Shortcake paper cups, she loved decorating her own cupcake, and she was delighted with the birthday card she picked out for herself. Claire took great joy in telling me, “It has a princess on it!”

This pleased me to no end because it proved me right and Claire’s daddy, Chef Cookaloni, wrong. Okay, that may be a bit strong, but it did prove that little girls want to dress up and play princess, even if their daddys don’t want them to.

The Chef and I recently had a great conversation about his discomfort with his girls falling prey to Disney. And actually, the good Chef had some pretty compelling reasons for wanting his daughters to avoid getting caught up in the princess scene. His best reason, one I’d never thought of, was his concern that they would become vain at worst, and at the very least, become too concerned with how they look. I thought this was an honorable reason. But just because it was honorable didn’t make it logical.

No matter how reasonable his concern, he's fighting biology: girls want to play dress up. (Even the feminists, try as they might, can't argue with that.) And believe me, when Claire opened the princess shoes we gave her, she was very excited. (I did get the okay to give them to her.) She could name each princess on the shoes: “Oh, here’s Snow White! And the yellow ones have Belle on them! And there’s Cinderella! Where’s Ariel?” Why they put Ariel on a box of princess shoes made no sense to me; she’s a mermaid, for crying out loud.

The other little girls who were there thoroughly enjoyed the shoes as well. They each pranced around the room -- simply slipping on the slippers transformed them into royalty. They twirled around and pointed their toes, then swapped shoes and did it all again, this time as a different princess.

When Claire put on her new Elina costume from Barbie’s Fairytopia and completed the look with her new Sleeping Beauty shoes, she simply glowed. And I’m pretty sure I caught a smile on her Dad’s face as well. Because even Chef Cookaloni had to admit his little girl was one beautiful princess.