Miner's Girl Sarah Long: How to make your own Prince Charming

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Hi! I'm Sarah Long. I arrived in Australia from the UK in early 2010 and met my Mr Miner soon after. We're based in Sydney and he does drive-in, drive-out (or DIDO) to Orange in country NSW. I came out here as part of a six-month backpacking trip around the world, and never went home!

I have a new favourite movie line. It's from Friends With Benefits and, to set the scene, the leading lady's mother is giving her daughter some much-needed advice.

It goes like this: "Well, your Prince Charming isn't coming to rescue you in a horse and carriage. That's not who you want. I mean, you're looking for a man to be your partner ... you could take on the world with. You gotta 'big' your fairy tail baby."

Now, for all of you who are laughing at my cheesy quote, I will admit to being a hopeless romantic. I'm also a huge fan of not only romantic comedies, but also … wait for it … chick lit (which is not something you're supposed to admit as a writer). I just can't get enough of the classic fairytale romance.

But the reason this quote speaks to me isn't due to pure rom-com cheesiness. It's the statement of an obvious fact – our fairytales are out of date (not surprising given most were written hundreds of years ago.) It's pretty hard to imitate a 19th century fairytale in 2011 Sydney. For a start, I for one am not wearing a tiara.

The problem is that although we've moved on from living in draughty castles to more practical abodes, Prince Charming and the classic love story remain in all their glory, practically untouched but camouflaged in the rom-coms and romance novels that make millions of dollars from suckers like me every year.

And it's these movies and books that have a tendency to make us conjure up a man who doesn't exist. Or even worse - put expectations on our own partners that are not only unrealistic and unachievable, but aren't things we want anyway.

I know plenty of girls who have dated 'Mr Perfect'. On paper he looks great: good looking, good job, good family, romantic, caring etc, etc, but when it all came down to it, this wasn't what they wanted. In fact this guy usually ended up putting them on a pedestal or smothering them. Women have become more and more independent and don't really want a man to do every single thing for them anymore.

I have found that when you're in a FIFO or DIDO relationship there's a common misconception that you will appreciate each other more. This isn't always true. You appreciate getting to spend time together, but it is often spent in a routine of mundane chores and past-times. This is when you find yourself moaning about all the things the man in your life doesn't do and the ways in which he doesn't live up to your Prince Charming ideals.

As we're not really expecting to be rescued from towers, witches or fire-breathing dragons anymore, why do we expect to have constant candlelit dinners, bouquets of roses and for it to rain every time we kiss? It’s just not practical!

So my mission this month has been to update my fairytale and ask myself what I really want from my Prince Charming - to take some time to appreciate Mr Miner for being my partner and not trying to rescue me at every possible opportunity. I'm not sure about 'bigging' my fairytale - in fact I'm starting small.

For example, he's great at fixing things. It probably comes with the territory of his job, but I am constantly amazed by his ability to mend anything from my high heels to the washing machine. And his determination to get it done there and then. I love his spatial awareness and the fact he will get out and park the car for me if I want him to, and I also love the way he chops ingredients for dinner with the dexterity of a trained chef.

These are all things that I can do myself. I lived on my own for two years and coped fine. It's just that he's much better at these things than I am ... and in that way he compliments me, he is my partner.

Admittedly, Friends With Benefits does end in a huge all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza and a rather predictable ending. It wouldn't be the rom-com genre I know and love otherwise.

When it comes to real life, though, fairytale romance is all well and good. But what I really need is someone to super-glue my broken high heels, change the light globe, cut up the chicken and tell me when its time to shut up and stop rambling.




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