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Being Belle for a day

| Wednesday, August 23, 2017

This summer, I had the chance to become a Belle for a day. Not a Saint Mary’s Belle, but Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I had the opportunity to put on a glittering taffeta ball gown, step into Belle’s ridiculously small shoes and entertain two dozen little girls — a feat that Belle would probably hire someone to do for her, were she a real life princess.

I’m guessing they chose me because I’m elegant and extremely regal. Or because I was the only brunette working. Either way, I agreed and was slotted to work the “Cinderella Ball” along with four other girls. Together, we became the main attraction.

That night, all the event planners were asking us if we were ready, as if we were all about to jump out of a plane. I’ve never really been ready for anything in my life, so I was pretty anxious. Traditionally, princesses are beautiful, womanly and elegant. Being pretty and feminine is hard to do when you’re outside in 95 degree weather in a yellow monster of a dress. I was getting smothered by the tulle alone, forget about the endless barrage of glittery four-year-olds who all wanted their picture taken at the same time.

Some little girls hugged me and told me their name, age, address, phone number, color of their car and their parents’ Costco member ID. Other little girls just stared at me with wide eyes and refused to come near me. One little girl would scream “princess” until one of us hugged her. This went on for an hour until she fell asleep in the middle of the dance floor. The whole event was really a blur, but I do remember the little things like waltzing with the little princesses and sitting in a circle singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” 17 times in a row. There were no breaks, so usually one princess would go out onto the dance floor and distract the little girls while the rest of us hydrated or shoved as many mini cupcakes into our mouths as we could.

During the majority of the event, I was apathetic — this was just another dumb thing I was getting paid to do. But, as more and more little girls hugged me and told me how much they liked to read just like Belle, or how they wanted to follow their dreams like Moana, I started relishing my time there. The whole event made me cognizant of the fact that sometimes the world is not so nice to little girls. There’s a saying that girls mature faster than boys, and maybe this is because our society expects them to or forces them to mature faster. It seems like everyone has an opinion on how girls should look or act. It felt good to participate in an event that let little girls be little kids. No expectations, no negatives about appearance or demeanor, just kids, dancing, laughing and having a good time.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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