By Alexa Day
In 1992, I married a rock star. Did you know?
I’m sure some people thought I was one of his phases. That was a big part of his career, the transition from one part of his identity to another. I’m sure people thought this was like that. Something new for him to try out.
How many times have you heard that one, right? I’ve always wanted to try one.
But this wasn’t like that at all. The man the world knew as a rock star was very different at home. When we were together, we didn’t have to wear the faces we presented to the world outside. We were just … us. Just the two of us, boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife, father and mother. Just us.
Our 25-year relationship might be the most vanilla thing he had ever done. But he made it extraordinary.
Fifteen days ago, I married a millionaire. Did you know?
When we started seeing each other, I didn’t know about Reddit, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t follow tennis. I wasn’t so sure about him at first. We spent a lot of time together, just hanging out. Six hours wandering around Paris. The rest grew out of that.
I wore three dresses at the wedding, starting off with a beautiful ball gown. It came with a cape. The sort of thing girls dream of wearing. Something that would let them be superheroes and princesses at the same time.
He called me a queen. He said his whole life had led him to me.
In the end, we were swept away on carousel horses.
Next spring, I’m going to marry a prince. Did you know?
How do you meet a prince? Through a well-connected friend. The same way lots of women meet princes. The same way they meet us, if they’re lucky.
His family doesn’t do things small. Spectacle might well be a shared middle name. But he and his brother know that all the opulence in the world can’t save a failing marriage, and the two of them know what makes a relationship work. More importantly, they care about what makes a relationship work. We were actually making dinner when he proposed. The prince and I. Making dinner.
The wedding’s going to be enormous. A word can’t capture how enormous it’s going to be.
After that, though, I think we go right back to being a couple living in the public eye, using the attention to do good for others, and enjoying dinners at home.
I remember the first time I heard I wasn’t beautiful.
I remember the first time someone let me know I wasn’t special.
I remember the first time I was told I’d never get married unless I shrank some part of myself and made myself small. I was too much. Too smart. Too talented. Too plain-spoken. Who would want that, after all? Who did I think I was?
I’m not the only one. You have friends — a lot of friends, I promise — who had exactly the same experience. If you’re good friends, she might tell you who let her in on these essential truths. She might tell you who made sure she knew she was so undesirable. She might not tell you. She might not ever tell anyone because she still feels a little silly for thinking she was beautiful and smart and capable and good enough and wonderful, just as she was.
The truth became a pericardium of stone. Protective at first for a little girl, or so everyone says when they realize there isn’t really an excuse for telling a little girl she isn’t beautiful. No one says that the stony wall will stifle a woman’s heart as she grows and the barrier doesn’t. That kind of a warning might lead her to think that the wall is unnecessary, and that really would be a problem. She has to live with the truth of her smallness and inadequacy, the reality that she is not beautiful, in a world wallpapered with cartoons that depict her as a man or an ape wearing a dress, where the only literature about her glorifies her for the depth and nobility of her endless suffering.
We’re not supposed to marry rock stars and millionaires.
We’re not supposed to wear glittering ball gowns with bejeweled capes.
We are certainly not supposed to face all the ways our lives will change when we join a royal family.
We’re supposed to live with the truth. Someone told us so, and they wouldn’t have sealed our hearts up with words like “not beautiful” and “not special” and “who do you think you are” if there were no truth to these words.
So it matters when someone tells any one of us that love is very different from the tomb we are taught it is.
It matters when he makes his way under or around or through the wall, like it doesn’t exist. It matters when he shows us a way under or around or through the wall.
It matters when he says, “Of course you’re beautiful! Who said that foolishness?!”
Or when he says he couldn’t sleep before your first date, like the rock star did.
Or when he says your life together is a fairy tale, like the millionaire did.
Or when he says he knew you were his match immediately upon being introduced, like the prince did.
When something like that happens to one of us, or three of us, or more of us, it happens to all of us, just like it’s happened to me.
So we all married the rock star and the millionaire, and next May, our family trees will reach up from slavery into the British royal family.
Maybe it shouldn’t be amazing, but it is.
So enjoy the spotlight. Revel in the magic.
And don’t forget to bring a little girl with you.
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Alexa Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and licensed attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.