Have you ever found yourself on a slow day at work thinking “I wonder which Disney prince would be right for me?” No, not you? Well if my Facebook newsfeed is any indicator, every other woman on the planet has Disney prince compatibility on the mind.
Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about; we’ve all been there. One minute you are taking a quick scroll through the Book to see who has posted new engagement/wedding/baby photos and the next you’re 10 questions deep into a serious existential crisis about whether you have more in common with Ariel or Jasmine—I don’t know, both are pretty rebellious, feel trapped by immense wealth and privilege…but would I prefer a tiger or a treasure trove?…and what does this say about my love life? Do I prefer the bad boy or a man who is easily hypnotized??
I would like to think we are all well aware that taking a quiz on “Which Disney Prince Is Your True Love?” is a monstrous waste of time. But the fact of the matter is, these quizzes are really popular—obviously wejust can’t help ourselves. But why? What information do we really hope to gain from ascertaining which of these animated dreamboats we could walk down the aisle with?
After much thought—and a few Disney prince quizzes thrown in between—I have to conclude that the appeal of this Buzzfeed phenomena has something to do with our obsession with “types.”
In female dating speak, we understand a “type” to mean a category of men that you tend to be attracted to who share common characteristics. Ascertaining our own “type” and the “type” of our friends has taken up more than one happy hour conversation. How often do we throw around “types” in all seriousness when we are talking about dating? We are constantly cramming our romantic interests into Disney-shaped boxes that rarely go deeper than strong and silent, witty and smart, hipster or preppy.
I mean, really, it seems as if Ariel's decision-making process extended to "has winning smile." We don’t really know much about our cartoon fantasy men beyond their obvious dental hygiene and adoration for beautiful headstrong women. And while it may be good-natured fun, the idea of having a "type" of Disney prince seems far more in line with a temptation to view men and our relationships with them as an accessory.
It seems to me that selecting a boyfriend—or a husband, for that matter—can be too easily reduced to a self-centered quest for our own personal gratification. But true compatibility is much more than finding the man who makes you shine. It’s about finding a man who you complement as well, and that requires an understanding of his unique personality and needs—in short, it’s a lot more heavy-lifting on your end.
Too often we approach compatibility with this misunderstanding that it’s as simple as mere attraction. A man can have all the trappings of the “type” of guy we are constantly drooling over in the window display, the kind of guy we imagine will complete our vision of how we should look. But at the end of the day, the shoe might not fit.
Compatibility is a two-way street and rarely coincides with those superficial characteristics we tick off on our “Custom-Made Man” list. When men and women find true compatibility, they are almost always surprised to find that their Disney formula is a far cry from what actually works. An exception to this, of course, is Beast, who is probably the most realistic expectation for a future spouse: super hairy, protective of his personal space, sensitive ego, a bit temperamental…but in the end totally lovable, and when he shaves, kind of weird-looking. But I digress.
I’ll acknowledge that I might be getting a little worked up over a stupid Buzzfeed quiz. But as superficial as it might be, it’s a good opportunity for a reality check and—at the very least—an important reminder that our time is far better spent determining what man we might share true compatibility with rather than focusing on which type of guy we are drawn to. Chances are he won’t be digitally animated and likely won’t fit into your “type.”