Every little girl has a penchant for a certain Disney princess. Maybe it’s Ariel, the redheaded and adventurous heroine of “The Little Mermaid” who is sick of living “under the sea” with singing crabs and fat blue-and-yellow fish. Or perhaps Jasmine, the sultan’s gorgeous daughter who is eventually won over by an enterprising street urchin in “Aladdin.”
I definitely had a soft spot for Ariel growing up, even contemplated naming my firstborn daughter “Marielle” in tribute. (In fact, I still may. We’ll see how things go down.) When I was the tender age of four and wanted to watch our VHS copy of “The Little Mermaid” for the seventh or eighth time in a single day, my dad would tell me the tape needed to “cool down” before playing it again. And if you ask Dad to belt out “Part Of Your World,” he’d probably oblige. (And as a total non-coincidence, that tune became my go-to song when auditioning for musicals in high school. I never got any leads; I don’t exactly have an Ariel-quality silver voice.)
But Belle, our beauty from “Beauty And The Beast?” Girlfriend is a total bibliophile, friends. And since I watched that movie approximately 1,876 times as a child and recently again with the movie’s re-release on DVD, I’m guessing that Belle became my subconscious role model. She’s lovely, first of all, with long, flowing dark hair she often pulls back in a ponytail. (I’ve been known to rock that look a few times.) Though she’s described as “odd” and “peculiar” by the townsfolk in her French village, she’s still respected for her intelligence and devotion to her scientist father — and is an object of lust for eligible bachelor Gaston, a strapping and bullish dude who prances through the countryside with a baffoonish sidekick and musket. And really awesome hair.
Belle has read everything in the town bookshop — and one book, “her favorite,” is actually given to her by the kindly clerk. Since nothing new seems to be coming in and Belle is relegated to her “provincial life,” she loses herself in the fantasy of novel after novel, a hobby no one seems to understand.
But the Beast.
Um, anyone recall the Beast’s library? If an old beggar woman showed up at my door and I acted like a selfish jerk, prompting her to turn me into a big ol’ monster-animal-thing, you know what? I think I’d be moderately okay with that. If I had a room full of a billion and one books, a talking teapot to bring me beverages and some light to read by, I could spend all day climbing those gorgeous staircases. And staring at that massive globe. (I’m all about the geography bee and am a two-time Geography Bee champion, friends. Fourth and fifth grade. Don’t hate.)
Oh, and anyone else fantasize about having a home with tall ladders that allow you to scale bookshelves? They look so fun. Though we totally had them at Borders and actually, they scared me. When I worked there, I always begged my coworkers to haul stacks of books up for me so I wouldn’t have a full-scale freak-out over my fear of heights in front of friends, customers and God himself. But, you know. I still fantasize about it.
In fact, I fantasize about many bookish things. And since I’m also fiercely loyal to my family, hate pig-headed dudes who try to blackmail me into loving them and talk to inanimate objects from time to time, I’ve taken to calling myself a Modern-Day Belle.
Only, you know, not in public. Because then I’d sound like a weirdo. I keep things that make me look and sound like a weirdo for the blog. And my column.
I’m all about embarrassing myself in the name of a good post.