Fractured fairytales foreshadow failure

Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Georgie Porgie, puddin' and pie, kissed the girls and made them cry." -Mother Goose

Courtesy Of Joel Irwin
Courtesy Of Joel Irwin

With training like this as children, is it any wonder why us single folk are often highly unsuccessful at finding eligible members of our preferred sex who make our hearts flutter and soar? I know I'm not the only one who has felt like a failure at some point during my dating career.

Well, good news, people! Our relational inability is no fault of our own. Mother Goose has had it in her plan all along for human babies to grow up unable to successfully reproduce, therefore leading the way for geese to rise as the dominant species! These nursery rhymes have been broadcast to us since before we were even able to comprehend their meaning. The legacies left through stories of horrible men, women, and animals have trained us to be the men, women, and animals that we are today.

Humans in these rhymes we recite don't usually grow up to be happy or hitched. Perhaps the most common mistake encouraged by these rhymes is just sitting around, feeling lonely, full of frustration from failed past attempts, waiting for a good date to just fall into one's lap without doing the work to actually initialize the action. Well, I guess she'll be comin' 'round the mountain when she comes, just whenever she feels like it. No rush, lady, I'll just be here... waiting... singing... I'm not saying it's outside the realm of possibility for her to come around, but odds aren't high. There's a reason why this rhyme is often dropped over and again, and with such sweet, patient angst.

We all remember Miss Muffet's suitor, a creepy arachnid who sneaked up and scared her off. This either teaches little girls to behave ridiculously in the presence of spiders, or it teaches little boys that it's all in good fun to act like creepy crawlies around chicks.

What caused the old woman in the shoe residence to have too many children to cope with? Perhaps she was bumped and dumped too many times by too many smooth talkers. But it is the father(s) of all the children who has perhaps set the worst example of all by not sticking by the family and helping with chores around the shoe.

And don't even get me started on Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater! Any man who would enforce his wife's fidelity by stuffing her inside a vegetable deserves, if anything, to be on some trashy crime channel, not in children's folklore!

Luckily, my mother prefaced things like nursery rhymes and stories about Santa Claus by saying that they were fun to imagine, but nothing more. In light of this practice by a few people's mothers, a small few of us have not been completely ruined by poisonous relationship rhymes.

However, I propose that the hopeless among us take time to reread these childhood classics with new eyes. Perhaps then we will realize the follies we have wrongly faced due to the influence of such misinterpreted blarney, find our mate after all, and live happily ever after.

• Libby Sterling can be reached at

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