Doyin Richards may not like princesses, but he understands the importance of knowing who they are.
Let me keep it real with you for a minute: I don’t like princesses. If you’re a dad with daughters, you probably don’t like them, either. And if you do like them, you’re a better man than I am.
Everything started pretty well for my four year old daughter. As a two year old, she had zero love for princesses. As a matter of fact, she loved Spider-Man so much that she insisted on being him for Halloween. No, not Spider-Woman or Spider-Girl – the kid wanted to be Spider-Man. Being the superhero-loving geek that I am, I felt as if the Fairy Godmother of All Things Awesome bashed me over the head with her Magic Wand of Epicness. This went on for a while until something nefarious changed everything.
You guessed it. That merry bunch from snowy Arendelle screwed up all of my plans when it came to princesses. The folks from Disney can be called many things, but they aren’t stupid. Creating a movie starring a girl who could double as one of Charles Xavier’s prized pupils is the perfect way to turn the tide on a non-princess loving child. In reality, Elsa is just a misunderstood kid with really cool powers – kinda like Peter Parker. That was all my daughter needed to hear to be sold on princesses.
I’ve always said that Elsa is like the gateway drug of princesses. After learning about the Ice Queen, my daughter started to dabble a little with Princess Tiana. Then before I knew it she was hardcore binge-playing with Princess Rapunzel and Snow White. At that point, I knew I lost her. She was a full-fledged, card-carrying princess junkie beyond rehabilitation.
So what is a dad to do? Should I stay up at night wondering where I went wrong? Or should I join in on the hardcore binge-playing with my daughter?
You know the answer. I rolled up my sleeves and joined in faster than you could say, “Let it go.”
Now let’s rewind to a recent conversation I had with her. My daughter has a lineup of the interchangeable Disney princesses and we were playing with them for a while before she asked me a question.
“Daddy, can you please put Aurora in her dress?”
Uh oh. Who? Don’t let her see you sweat…don’t let her see you sweat…don’t let her see you sweat…
I had to act quickly. The kid’s eyes were locked on mine and my iPhone was across the room. No time for Google or Siri. Who the hell is Aurora, anyway? One of the X-Men? Some obscure artsy color? I needed to take a guess. This wasn’t going to end well.
I had a one in nine chance to pick the proper princess so I chose one of the blondes. Unfortunately, I chose incorrectly.
“Daddy, that’s Cinderella. Aurora is Sleeping Beauty.”
Great, kid…like that helped.
I still had no clue which one she was. Exasperated, she picked another blonde (apparently it was the Aurora lady) and went from there.
That served as my wake-up call. If I have the words “jeggings” and “skorts” in my vernacular, then being the “ignorant princess dad” just wasn’t going to cut it. I had to step my princess game up, stat.
My mind is filled with tons of SDK (stupid dude knowledge). I can name the starting five for the 1987 Los Angeles Lakers. I can name all of the main superheroes in the Marvel and DC universes. I can name every Super Bowl MVP from 1994 to present day. So if I have room in my head for that nonsense, why can’t I remember a few princesses and the clothes they like to wear?
So I was put to a test. See the photo at the top of this post? The princesses are all wearing the wrong dresses. After some trial and error, I was finally able to figure out their names and their dresses as pictured below. I even took it one step further to learn the villains each one encountered in their movies.
And you know what? Regardless of what I think of princesses, I need to know about them. It isn’t about me. It’s about my kid and her love for these ladies in fancy dresses. Now that daddy can tell Aurora apart from Cinderella, I’m a much more fun play partner than I was previously and our bond grew tighter. Yes, our fairy tale has a very happy ending.
And just so you know, the next Disney movie I’m going to have my kid see is Avengers: Age of Ultron once it comes out on DVD. Maybe my daughter will want to be the Scarlet Witch for Halloween instead of Queen Elsa.
The difference now is that I’ll be happy with whatever she decides.
What is a 21st century hero? Being an engaged and present dad. And we love to show how great dads are. Want more like this? Sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter here.