Shut Up, Belle (Or, How a Disney Movie Guilted Me Into Going on a Date I Didn’t Want to Go On)by Joy Engel on August 11, 2020
There are a few movies you really shouldn’t watch when you’re actively dating online. There are the obvious ones, like every single movie made for Lifetime and about half of the ones airing on ABC Family (sidenote: am I the only one who is watching Switched at Birth? Because I love that show. I love that show so much), but then there are the surprises! Like that crazy plot twist on the 9 Lives of Cloe King (what is keeping me single? My choice in television shows)! Online dating warnings are even found in the most unlikely of places, like classic Disney Films.
In my defense, I didn’t mean to start watching Beauty and the Beast. It was just on. And then I was just singing. And I let it into my heart and things were great. And if you haven’t seen the movie in a few years, it’s funny again. There are adult jokes in it. It’s a fine choice for Sunday evening tv! Stop judging me!
Half way between considering dressing my cat up as a candlestick and Googling information about the voice of Beast, the message of the movie hit me like a ton of bricks. If you judge people based solely on their appearance, a pretty lady disguised as an ugly person turns you into a Beast and condemns you to look longingly at a rose for the rest of eternity.
I immediately thought of the date I turned down from the guy I knew I could never find attractive. “What’s the point!” I said to my computer and my cat, as I deleted his email, “not attractive now, certainly not attractive later.” I didn’t hesitate to turn that man down, but the movie’s message gave me a bit of pause.
I’m not implying that a group of animated French villagers follow me around singing songs about how my name means beauty. I am fairly certain that there are people on the Internet who refuse a date with me based entirely on my massive Armenian nose. Or my Amazonian height. Or the length of my hair. Or myriad other reasons. Some people, on the surface, just aren’t right for you.
But fairy stories and common decency tells us that we should still try. Chiara has a one date rule, and I think there’s something to that. If only because unlike me, Chiara will never be trapped in a magical castle, surrounded by rabid wolves and an overly-attentive mutant household staff.
After all of this, you’re probably assuming that I emailed that man back, we went on a date, everything was wonderful and we are planning a casual but elegant Spring wedding. That’s the lesson I’m supposed to give you. That’s what is supposed to happen. Well, it didn’t. I did go out with him, but even though he was perfectly nice, I couldn’t find the spark. Per my original judgement, there was just no way I’d ever be attracted to him.
So, I’m sorry, every lesson I’ve ever been taught, there is something to be said for know who and what you find attractive, and sticking with it. Because even worse than judging someone is forcing yourself to like someone who isn’t right for you.
Now, please excuse me, my tea kettle housekeeper needs me over by the library and my magic mirror needs polishing.
Joy Engel lives and works in Portland, Maine where she tweets far too much and solves the occasional murder-mystery while riding around on a bicycle. Everything she writes is her personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of her employer or its clients.