Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Before You Meet Prince Charming: Chapter Seven - Part One

This chapter promises to show us how parents can help young women during their wait for Prince Charming.  I'm skeptical about this chapter since the King and Queen have provided precious little support or help to their daughter so far in the book.

In the last chapter, we found out that the Princess is now at least 19 years old and is moping about not being married yet.  This chapter begins with the Princess crying in the courtyard because she's become an old maid.  The King tells her that God wants her to learn to be happy at home now before she moves into the next phase of her life.

I find the King and Queen's lack of any empathy or attempts at comforting their daughter disconcerting.  I was a high-strung child who grew into an anxious teenager.  I remember many times where I was worried or upset about a small issue that seemed huge to me.  My parents always attempted to comfort me before helping me put the issue I was worried about in proper context.  

The Princess settles down a bit when she remembers that she wanted to ask the King about doing something that would allow her to have a bit more autonomy for a period of time.

"Remember that time we talked about the Spring Fair? You said it was permissible for me to go, but explained how I must be a candle and a rose."

" Yes, I remember. You met Sir Eloquence there, " replied the king.

" Um, yes, " she said, not wanting to be reminded of him. Then she continued with her question. "I was wondering, thinkest thou that I should attend the Merchants' Fest in Carnalville? I realize it is not the manner of event which we approve-- " (pg. 124)
  • I am so sick of the damned "rose and candle" metaphors.  The metaphors are not deep or original to start with - but Mally's staid and heavy-handed use of them in every chapter drag the narrative to a halt each time.
  • The King's not-so-subtle reproach of the Princess' last attempt at being a normal teenager is trite.  
    • For those of you who have forgotten Sir Eloquence,  here's a plot summary:  Sir Eloquence meets the Princess and likes her.  He talks to her when she's in town.  He comes to the castle and asks to marry the Princess.   The King scares him off.    Nothing terribly remiss happened.  The Princess didn't give a hunk of her heart away let alone do something really scandalous like meet with him alone, kiss him or have sex.
    • The King is reproaching the Princess for Sir Eloquence's behavior - not the Princess' behavior.  I guess that's the natural outcome in a society where women are held responsible for men's attraction - but it makes no sense.
    • The Princess went to the Spring Fair when she was 16.  She is now at least 19 years old.  Most 19-year-olds are substantially more mature than they were at age 16.  The Princess may not be - but if that's the case, her parents have a lot to answer for in how she was raised since the Princess seems to be a dutiful daughter.
  • Let's talk about the newest plot hole.  The Princess has spent the last few years reaching the level of master craftsman in baking, painting, weaving, candle-making, dyeing and goldsmithing.  We know she made these levels because she's been allowed to teach the other young women of the village these skills.  (Who'd of thought the anachronisms still burn every time I read this....).  Why is anyone surprised that she'd want to go to the Merchants' Fest?  She's been working as a merchant for years now!  And yet - instead of having the King freak out about the fact he's been letting his daughter do work well below her station in life - Ms. Mally needs to clobber us with the fact that the real problem with the Fest is that it's in Carnalville.  
    • In terms of destroying her marriageability,  having her train as a dye master was a far more severe problem than worrying about a potential flirtation with Sir Eloquence.
The Princess concedes that the King told her that the Fest would be dangerous because there would be dancing and evil talk at the big party, but the Princess promises to stay away from trouble and mentions that she thinks she should be meeting more guys.  (Personally, I am deeply disappointed that the dangers of CARNALville are dancing and gossip. )  She also mentions that she's nearly 21 years old.

The King freaks out.  He tells the Princess that she has no idea what she's talking about and implies that if she goes to Carnalville now, she'll be immediately swept up by an unsuitable guy because the Princess has the audacity to admit she's lonely.

Personally, the King's overwrought protection of the Princess' virtue has gotten old by this point in the book.  The Princess wants to go somewhere that may expose her to "adult themes".  Let her go!  She's more than old enough to hold her own.

For the first time in the book, the Princess tries to press her point after the King has expressed disapproval.

"The alligator speaks of the festivities and the social banquets to be enjoyed, " she continued.

"The alligator eats the scum at the bottom of the moat, " the king added drily. (pg. 125)
  • This was the point I realized that I was making the book far more interesting by viewing the Alligator as a manifestation of the Princess' psyche.  After all, the Alligator never appears around others.  No one else has ever mentioned an Alligator living in the moat.  I enjoyed the idea of the creeping insanity that comes from solitude breaking out in the increasing frequency of visits of the Alligator who both comforts and torments the Princess.  Then, Ms. Mally ruins it by having the King casually allude to the Alligator that lives in the moat.  
  • Alligators do not eat scum.  Pond scum is a mixture of algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton and small invertebrates.  Animals that eat pond scum have mouths adapted for filter feeding.  Alligators have large, sharp teeth and powerful jaws.  This is because alligators are obligate carnivores and mature alligators are apex predators.  The fact that I have to explain this after reading a book written by an adult home-schooling graduate is not a strong recommendation for the Mally's home schooling methodology.
  • Turning the Alligator into an actual living reptile that skulks in the moat causes another gaping plot hole.  The King refuses to let the Princess go to any sort of social gathering for fear of corrupting her - but he lets the Alligator act as her sole companion.  Is he clueless, negligent or sadistic?  I'm starting to lean towards sadistic.
  • Random factoid: Alligators are native to two places.  One is China; the other is the southeastern USA.  This book is clearly NOT located in either place - so why is there an alligator living in the moat?

"The other maidens will all be going, and I will stay with them, " explained the princess as she began to wander slowly through the courtyard. "They mingle often with the young men in the village. The alligator says such relationships are healthy. "

" But you are forgetting that thou art a princess," said her father, following her. " Remember thou also that the alligator has dragon's blood in his veins."

"But, others - -"

" Others do not understand that a little foolishness ruins the testimony of one who has wisdom and honor. "

" But others - -"

" Others do not have me as their father. Others do not represent the royal family." (pg. 125)
  • The stage directions in this novel make no sense.  In the middle of a conversation with her father, the Princess walks away from him while still speaking as he follows her.  That's not how people interact in the real world.  It's plausible that the two of them would be walking together during the conversation - but having the Princess wander about as the King chases after her is an odd choice.
  • The Princess is forgetting that she's royalty - but we've established already that she's never acted like royalty before in the entire book.  This is one of those points where Mally would have been better off having the King reprove the Princess for acting inconsistently as a Christian (well, as interpreted through Christian Patriarchy).  Otherwise, the reproof about her testimony makes no sense; royalty have divine right of rule, not testimonies.
  • There are exactly two people who care about the Princess' testimony in the book - the King and the Queen.  If their nearly 21 year old daughter isn't into protecting her testimony, maintaining it through forced isolation is pointless.  After all, she's not a candle shining outwards if she's maintained her purity by avoiding all interactions with people her own age.  None of the young townspeople are going to look at the lonely Princess in the castle and think "Huh.  I should totally recreate that in my own life.  Let me go sit alone in my cottage for the next few years."
The King spends a long paragraph belaboring the point that when the Princess chose the way of purity no one said that it would be easy to follow through on.  That brings up an important point.  The Princess hasn't chosen the way of purity freely.  She might have picked to follow that way at some point in the past, but she's being railroaded into staying on the path now.  If she's never allowed to leave the path, that's coercion.

The King walks back into the castle leaving the Princess crying by the moat again.  This attracts the Alligator...again.  If Sarah Mally's life is as monotonous as this book is, I pity her.  The Alligator tells the Princess that she should go to the Merchant's Fest since her father never forbade her from going.  The Princess replies that her parents have given her good advice all her life so she prefers to obey the King's advice this time.  While I disagree with her choice, this is the first time she makes a choice and is able to coherently describe why she made the choice.

That's the end of the allegory for Chapter 7.  The advice portion is equally brief, thankfully.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Don't follow the Idiot off the Cliff: Nancy Campbell's Anti-Vaxx Stupidity

Hello all!

Nancy Campbell decided to crib a bunch of anti-vaxx shit from the internet to show why we shouldn't vaccinate children.

She's an idiot.

Let's look at some current statistics from the USA involving diseases that children are vaccinated against:

  • 1 in 4 people who contract measles will be hospitalized.
  • 1 in 1,000 will die.

  • 13 in 100 sufferers will die. 
  • Cannot be eradicated since the bacterium lives in the environment
  • Half of all cases do not involve either a deep wound or puncture wound

  • For people between 5-40 years of age, the death rate is 10% or 10 out of 100 people who get sick.
  • For kids under 5 and adults over 40, the death rate is 20% or 20 out of 100 people. 
  • Fairly harmless in men and children, but women who get rubella are at a much higher risk for arthritis.
  • If contracted during pregnancy, the virus can cross the placenta and do severe harm to the developing fetus.
  • There is a large population of deaf people in the USA who were born between 1968-1970 during a massive rubella outbreak; they were the lucky one since rubella can also cause fetal death.
These are not minor illnesses; they cause real suffering, disabilities and death.

So how did Nancy Campbell get so confused?  Well, a heaping dose of scientific illiteracy always helps.

Let's look JUST at the first paragraph.  She links to an article on healthfreedoms.org.  I decided to humor her since I wanted to read the actual study.  When I clicked on the link, I'm re-routed through Facebook - which is a tad annoying.  I do get to healthfreedoms.org eventually.
On the actual website, the article she cited is categorized under "Big Government" which is an odd category for a health site.  On the other hand, it sells organic goods in the header, too!  The article is titled "Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Children: First Study of It's Kind Shows Alarming Health Differences".  I generally don't trust writers who don't know that "it's" is a contraction for "it is" while "its" is the pronoun that should be used in this case.

The article links to a real published study from American Pediatrics.  The purpose of the study is to compare the health problems in publically insured vs. privately insured kids in the US.    The first problem with using data from this set for all kids in the US is that including publically insured kids will skew the number of severely ill kids in the set.  This is because any child who spends more than 30 consecutive days in the hospital automatically qualifies for Medicare - which brings all of the micro-preemies and children with severe congenital abnormalities.

Next problem: The study looks at 20 chronic health conditions plus two potential risk factors.  Nancy never bothers to separate the two - but the two potential risk factors are overweight/obesity and risk of developmental delay.

Let's take a look at the "chronic health conditions" that Nancy is freaking out about:
Over 20% of parents responded that their kids have:
1 )Overweight/Obesity (environmental risk factor)
2)Risk of Developmental Delay (environmental risk factor)
3)Environmental Allergies (excluding food)

Over 10% of parents responded that their kids have:
4) Learning disability

Over 5% of parents responded that their kids have:
7)Chronic Ear Infections (3+ in last year)
8) Conduct or Behavior Disorders
10) Speech problems
11) Developmental Delays that affect learning rate

Over 2% of parents responded that their kids had:
12) Food/Digestive Allergies
14) Depression
15) Bone, Muscle or Joint Problems
16)Hearing Problems

Over 1% of parents responded that their kids had:
17) Vision Problems
18) Autistic Spectrum Disorder
19) Epilepsy

Less than 1% of parents reported that their kids had:
20) Diabetes
21) Brain Injury or Concussion
22) Tourette's Syndrome

Of the 22 conditions listed, only four are presumed to be caused by problems with the immune system: environmental allergies, asthma, food/digestive allergies, and type 1 diabetes.

To make any claims about the effects of vaccinations on those four conditions, Nancy would need to produce data that shows that the number/percentage of children affected by these conditions has changed after routine childhood vaccinations have started OR that the severity of the conditions has increased after routine childhood vaccinations started.  The study she cited doesn't include that type of information since the study was looking at a completely different area of interest.

Additionally, Nancy - or the researchers if I wanted to be accurate - would need to exclude the effects of changes in our environment and medical treatment before claiming that vaccines alone caused any increase.  To start, diabetes treatment was in its infancy in the 1950's and 1960's.  Reasonably purified insulin was available, but there were no methods for testing blood sugar at home except urine tests that showed a rough range of possible sugar amounts.  With nearly instant blood testing available at home, a variety of insulin types available, and medical equipment like insulin pumps that were non-existent then, the survival rates of childhood diabetics has improved noticeably over time.  This wonderful change in survival rates has also increased the percentage of kids who have diabetes since fewer kids with diabetes die.

On a personal note, I'm watching my son kick his chubby little legs with two bandaids on them from his 6 month immunizations.  When he was born at 26 weeks gestation and was the size of a single-serve pop bottle, he had a 1 in 10 chance of dying.   Within a month, he was down to a 1 in 100 chance of dying - or less.  I was willing to risk permanent liver and kidney damage to give my son a better shot at survival - and I feel angry that I couldn't trade damage to my body in return for less pain and suffering for him.   (I know that medicine doesn't work like that; Jack and I weren't two separate systems yet so damage to my organs would poison him.  I get it; I don't have to like it.)

What kind of mother would risk giving their child a 13 in 100 chance of dying from skipping a tetanus vaccine?   What kind of mother would risk a 20% chance of their child dying and 100% chance of a miserable hospital stay from diphtheria?

I want my son to live.  That's why I vaccinate.  That's why Nancy Campbell is an idiot.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Before You Meet Prince Charming: Chapter Six - Part Four

Welcome to the final post in a long, yet mindless chapter on waiting.

Ms. Mally decides to list some common fears that unmarried women have.
"There are two factors that will govern our decision-making: fear and faith. Young ladies commonly struggle with many fears, especially in the area of marriage:
  • What if I never get married?
  • What if I have to wait until I'm thirty?
  • How will I know God's will?
  • What if everyone thinks I'm unpopular because I don't have a boyfriend?
  • How will I know when I meet the right person?
  • How will I know it is the right time?
  • What if I don't like the person God picks for me?"
(pg. 114)
Let's look at each worry in order:

  • I think many people - male and female - worry about if they will ever get married.  Truthfully, the odds are in favor of getting married.  Roughly 85% of people in the USA will have been married at least once by age 40.  
    • A more important question is if marriage is the only way to have a fulfilling and successful life.  I think a marriage can be part of a successful life, but I certainly had many positive experiences that made a large difference in the world before I got married.  
  • I married for the first time at age 29 - and that's hardly an unusual experience for Americans.  What did I do between when I finished high school and got married?  First, I attended college while working part-time during the school year and full-time as a cashier at a grocery store.  I earned a science degree with a teaching certificate.  I also interned at a research department for a global company. was a camp counselor for high-risk kids and preteens, and tutored adults for the GED.  After I got my teacher's license, I taught in urban alternative education high schools for 5 years before getting married.
    • Using your late teens and early twenties to get advanced training for a career is a good investment even if your long-term goal is to stay at home with a large family.  Vocational or academic training at the postsecondary level hones memory, organizational and people skills.  All of those "soft" skills will be useful as a SAHM.  As importantly, you can contribute positively to your family and community more effectively when you have marketable skills.  
    • I know personally that I certainly helped more people in a Christ-like manner when I had the training to teach science and the life-experience to help students navigate the social services they needed for themselves and their families than I ever could have if I stayed at home without education until I married.
  • I'm sorry, but I don't have a magic trick to figure out if you're following God's will.  I will say that I don't think the process is terribly complicated and should never require denying your gifts and talents because "God wants women to be wives and mothers only."
  • If your motivation for dating includes "I want to be popular", you need to get your life priorities in order.  It's not ok to use another person so that you can be more popular.
  • There's not so much a "right time" to date or marry as a "wrong time".  Don't start dating to avoid a major problem in your life.  Don't make decisions about marrying someone in times of stress.  Those are "wrong" times.
  • For me, knowing that I wanted to spend my life with my husband was a process.  I needed time to get to know my husband well enough to realize how much I liked the idea of spending our lives together.  There wasn't a magic moment when I fell in love with him; instead, I grew to love him more and more as we spent more time together as a couple.
That last worry is the best example of how parent-led courtship is a cover for arranged marriages.  That worry doesn't exist in dating; couples that dislike each other break up.  I worried that I might not find someone to marry - but I never worried that my father would marry me off to someone I didn't like in the name of God.  That's what's happening in CP/QF families that court and the best proof is that there hasn't been a massive uproar about this book.

The last section in the chapter I'll discuss involves what I imagine is a common complaint among CP/QF SAHDs:
" I have occasionally heard young ladies say something like this: 'I wish I was a guy. They get to make all the decisions. They can just go and choose a wife. I mean, here is one of the biggest decisions in my life, and I can't do a thing about it! I just have to wait for someone to come to me!' "(pg. 117)
  • Kudos for removing the cult blinders a bit.  Young women are screwed in this system.  Not only are women denigrated for having the audacity to attempt to attract men, the overreliance on fathers and brothers prevents women from getting a realistic understanding of the number and quality of men interested in them romantically.  Dating can be rough, but both genders in that system tend to have a solid understanding of what type of person they can attract.  
    • The system can make women think that they have more suitors available than really exist.  Nearly every big name QF family has at least one unmarried daughter over the age of 24.  For some of those women, they clearly expected to have mobs of young men waiting to sweep them off their feet - except the mob never appeared.
    • The system can also cause women to underestimate the number of men interested in them.  Sarah Mally has recounted when a few guys reached out because they were interested in courting her.  How many guys reached out to her dad first and got rejected?  Zero?  Two?  Ten?  The total number would be important for Sarah to know to judge if waiting at home for a suitable husband to appear is working or not.
Sarah's response is....I'll let your read it first:
"But think about that statement. Would you really want to make the decision yourself? Imagine the mess we could so easily get ourselves into. Aren't you grateful that we can let God handle it? Yes, we can pray, we can prepare, we can get to know people, we can be aware of those whom the Lord brings into our lives, we can discern Godly young men, but we can't "cause" anything to happen. In fact, if we date, we have no guarantee that we will ever get married. However, I think of it this way: by putting ourselves in a situation where we are powerless and unable to bring it about ourselves, we have no other good option but to trust in the Lord." (pg. 118)
  • That's not actually rebutting the idea that women should be actively involved in finding a spouse.  
    • Yes, most women would want to be actively involved in dating - including the person who complained to Sarah.  
    • Yes, women can get into a mess - but so could all of the men who are looking for those silent SAHDs so that's not a valid reason for excluding women from actively seeking a spouse.
    • Neither men nor women are guaranteed a spouse through dating or courtship so I have no idea why she added that excuse to this argument.  
    • If the only way you can trust in the Lord is by being absolutely powerless, you don't have much trust in the Lord.  That's the same lack of logic that drives me insane about people who compulsively try to prove that the Bible is true; if you believe in facts, you don't have faith.
The last few pages of the chapter are a story taken with permission from another book.  Kids are supposed to wait for their dad to set off fireworks.  They decide to set a few off and manage to blow up the entire bag of fireworks.  The kids are sad when their dad explains that they can't set off any more fireworks because they all exploded.    Three pages condensed into three sentence with no loss of detail sadly enough.....

Personally, my parents would never have left us unattended with fireworks and a lighter or match.  That's some shitty bad parenting if your kids are too young or too impulsive to be safe.  Also, we would have understood that if the entire bag goes up in smoke that there are no fireworks left.

The next chapter lets us understand how helpful parents can be.  Goody-goody gumdrops! This should be a hoot.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Before You Meet Prince Charming: Chapter Six - Part Three

The exhortation section of Chapter Six drags badly.

In the hands of a different author, I might think the author was demonstrating the painful strain that waiting puts on humans by making the reader slog through long anecdotes that lack any internal story arc.

From this author, though, I think the issue is an absolute lack of life experience.  The stories remind me of talking to my cousins when they were toddlers.  One cousin gave me a breathless description of how the grocery store was out of peas when they went shopping and so "mama had to buy green beans!!!".   Her twin sister detailed the horror of having a bunny appear out of nowhere in the yard when they were playing and running terrified into the house.

Funny stories from the mouths of two-year-olds.  Agonizingly dull when told by a 26-year-old author of a self-help book.

This section starts with Sarah talking with a 12-year-old after a talk delivered by Sarah and her dad.  The twelve-year-old has a boyfriend which Sarah is silently aghast at.  Sarah attempts to use leading questions to get the kid to realize that dating a non-Christian at least six years before the girl sees herself getting married is foolish.  The tween seems wonderfully immune to Sarah's line of questioning and mentions that it's hard to wait.  Sarah mentally devalues that statement by saying that the tween hasn't had to wait as long as some other people - but she walks that idea back in the next sentence.

I don't think it's a great idea for a 12 year old to be in a serious dating relationship, but Sarah never bothers to ask what "dating" or "having a boyfriend" means to the tween.  Asking that question, however, requires understanding that "dating" is not a single monolithic concept practiced identically by all age groups.  Ms. Mally would also have to be willing to learn from a less "emo-pure" person - an idea that is clearly beyond her worldview as demonstrated by this book...repeatedly.

The next page can be simplified to "God wants us to wait because God's Plan for us requires waiting."  Ms. Mally misses the circular nature of the argument.  She also lists a few Biblical characters who are required to wait without discussing the nature of their waiting.

After that warm-up, Sarah launches into an example of waiting in her life.
"How much longer, dad?" I complained.
I was about 13 years old, and Dad and I were late for a birthday party. I've been looking forward to it all day, but now that it was time to go, Dad wasn't ready. At first I tried to wait patiently, but after waiting about a half an hour, I was getting upset. After all, several families with girls my age we're going to be at this party, and I was hoping to have as much time as possible to be with my friends! (pgs. 111-112)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Before You Meet Prince Charming: Chapter 6 - Part Two

The first post on the allegorical section of Chapter 6 was me ranting about how insane Ms. Mally's insistence that the Princess learned how to weave, bake, paint, dye and goldsmith in less than two years while still being a female member of the royal family who was well into her marriageable years.

The rest of the allegory can be summarized as watching the Princess fall back on her traditional hobby - daydreaming in the castle until interrupted by the Alligator.

Apparently the Princess handled the year she was 18 pretty well - she mastered a heap of really complicated trades and taught those trades to the young women of the village.   *thumps head softly against desk*

In the year she turned 19, she started daydreaming about falling in love someday.  This doesn't seem to be as big of a character flaw in my opinion as it is to Ms. Mally.  I know that I daydreamed about meeting my future husband and falling in love; those daydreams helped me decide to actively focus on dating instead of focusing the majority of my energy on my career.

The first quote is a good synopsis of the rest of the chapter.

"But meanwhile she would often feel hurt when she heard of knights who came for other maidens, and she would find anxiety and even sorrow in her heart as she thought of her own predicament and the dreams that might never be fulfilled. The seed of Discontent grew. The more she was looked out the window, the more she felt sorry for herself. And the more she felt sorry for herself, the more she looked out the window." (pg 105)
  • I don't remember feeling hurt when other couples got married before I did.  My feelings were longing to begin a family of my own.  I did feel anxious sometimes that I may never find the right person but it wasn't an overwhelming feeling.
  • Ms. Mally and I do agree on one thing - the Princess' habit of wallowing in her angst to the point of removing her self from her family, her friends and her duties is a terrible idea.  
Some period of time later, the Princess ends up by the moat.  The Alligator notices that she's looking sad and asks what is wrong.  The Princess begins by denying his observation angrily and then admits she's down.  The Alligator recommends the Princess actively try to attract men which leads to the following dialogue:
""My father says I must guard my heart," the princess said.

"Guard my heart for whom? You actually believe that a prince will come for you? Thou hast too much faith in your father and his fairy tale dreams. You are sheltered here in this castle. Silly princess, even if a prince were looking for you, he could not find you!"

"But what if he does come? My father says that my heart is the greatest gift I can give him."

"Hast thou not noticed, dear princess, how many of the friends mingle freely in the courtyard, at the balls, and at the fairs? They are happy. Do you not see how much fun they are having? They are enjoying life. Such friendships are harmless - in fact they are healthy."


"Why, of course. Everyone knows that such relationships are necessary for one's education. How will you be able to know that Prince Charming is the one for you if you have never known anyone else? How will you get experience in socializing with knights? Think of all the fun that you are missing that you have every right to be enjoying!"

"Fun?" she asked." I am not sure that I would classify it as such. After all, Maiden Flirtelia is heartbroken because the knight who said he was in love with her married Miss Peacock instead. Several of my other friends from the village are married... but not happy." (pg. 105,107)
  • I'm struck by how weak the Princess' arguments for following Emo-Pure are.  
    • Two of her responses are "Dad said I should do it this way" with no reasoning on why this was the best choice.  That's the sticky bit with Emo-Pure after all; it's a new enough concept that Sarah Mally's parents didn't adhere to it before they married.  Neither did the senior Botkins or the Duggars for that matter.   When their kids write books, the kids have to walk along a knife-edged cliff.  If the kids say that their parents' marriage was irreparably harmed because the parents didn't practice Emo-Pure, the parents' ministry/income will take a hit.  If the kids admit that their parents are doing fine after dating, the kids undermine the main theme of their book.  
  • The third response of the Princess' begins with absurdity and ends in dangerous territory.
    • Enjoying dating and being sad when a relationship ends are not mutually exclusive.  Her friends are having fun at balls, fairs and running around in the courtyard; they are also sad when a relationship ends.
    • There is a world of difference between being unhappily married and being unhappy while being married.  
      • Marriage encompasses all of the emotional states of the spouses.  At the risk of being overly obvious, I was miserable when I found out I was critically ill and was going to have to deliver my son at 26 weeks gestation.  At the same time, I was grateful that I had the unwavering support of my husband.  I was unhappy while being in a happy marriage.
        • Ms. Mally's implication that happy marriages lead to perpetually happy moods for the participants sets her readers up for massive disappointment when they marry.
      • On the flip side, some marriages do not serve the spouses well.  Spouses can bring out the worst tendencies in each other.  One spouse can be abusive.  These marriages need either intensive work with professional help to change unhealthy patterns or should be ended.
  •  In real life, the Princess wouldn't need to worry about a Prince finding her.  She's a member of the royal family and apparently pretty to boot.  Members of the Court would be able to find a diplomatically beneficial marriage for her.  
  • For CP stay-at-home daughters (SAHD), being found by an eligible man is a real concern!  There are a limited number of unmarried men who have never been divorced, can support a potentially massive family, are theologically aligned with the SAHD's parents, and is interested in the young woman.  Making sure that the daughter is known to exist by every man who fits the criteria should be very high on the priority list of her parents.  The Princess' response of "Nah, I'm pretty sure he'll show up someday" is a non sequitur and a stunning indictment of the lack of practice SAHD have in defending their belief systems.
  • The most depressing bit for me is the fact that the Princess is right that "her heart" - whatever that means - is the most valuable thing she has to give to her husband.  
    • I can't imagine a Crown Princess' marriage prospects being treated so cavalierly so I'm going to assume she doesn't have a kingdom to pass on to her spouse or children.
    • She lacks the ambition and cunning sense of strategy that many royal women who lost kingdoms due to their gender used to determine the best marriage and how to influence  the new court to place their grandchildren back on the throne they lost.
    • The Princess' education seems to be non-existent outside of riding a horse and some manual household skills that would be of no use to a member of the royal family.
    • The Princess hasn't had a child yet and comes from a family that has never mentioned any other surviving kids.  That would count against her in many courts especially if she lacked a massive dowry.  After all, the first duty of female royalty was to produce heirs.
The Alligator tells her to do as she pleases but be aware that she will end up missing out on her dreams if she spends her life cloistered in the castle.  The Princess retorts with a fancier version of "Better to be single person wishing they were married than a married person wishing they were single!" and flounces off.
  • That aphorism is a true one, but not one that applies to the Princess.  Her guiding principle is "Better to lose every hope in my heart than lift one finger to make my dreams come true!"  That, however, isn't nearly as pithy a statement to storm away on....
This leads to an epic fit of moping by the Princess:
"She was tired of listening to his senseless words. Hoping to find a few minutes alone, she walked through the parlor, down the beautifully carved stone hall, and up the marble staircase to the bedroom. Closing the door behind her, she threw herself down on the bed and decided she would not even try to hold back the tears already beginning to roll down her cheeks. Through her large western window, the evening sun rays were shining brightly into her room, illuminating the soft white rug and warming the feather quilt on which she was laying. But she was not enjoying the sunlight or taking any pleasure in the beauty of her royal quarters." (pg. 107)
  • I've never heard the term "parlor" used in quasi-medieval literature before.  
  • The "soft white rug" sounds like a cleaning nightmare to me - but it was probably a nice spot for her lady-in-waiting to sleep.  You know - one of the massive retinue that the Princess had as a crown Princess that is strangely absent from this book.
  • This paragraph brings another first for me.  Sarah Mally is denigrating her heroine for excessive negative emotion demonstrated by the Princess' failure to enjoy the creature comforts of life.   By the same token, once your house has appeared in "House Beautiful" no one in your family is ever allowed to have negative emotions.
Up next: Ms. Mally's lessons in waiting patiently....