Once upon a time on the Isle of Staten, there lived a fair Maid named Marian. They called her Maid Marian not because she cleaned well. She didn’t. Nay, I think it was fair to say Maid Marian loathed taking a rag to counter as much as dental work and so paid another fair maid a goodly sum to do it for her. Alas, Marian was called Maid because she was single. Since her Prince had passed the people of the kingdom, especially her mother, wanted her to find a new love.
Their concern grew such that an angry mob gathered in the tavern. Well, not angry really, more like a slightly annoyed mob. Their clothes were tattered, their teeth crooked and their hair in desperate need of brushing. The barkeep and the wench served the crowd beakers of ale and mead and soon they were calm. Some even put down their pitchforks and blew out their torches.
When it seemed everyone had settled in, Marian’s best friend, Bruce of Chelsea stepped forward. As always he was wearing his best finery including breeches from Marc Jacobs. He unraveled a lengthy scroll and cleared his throat. Having done voiceovers, his booming tenor traveled well across the crowd.
“Hear ye, Hear ye. On this date in the year two thousandth and a four the realm of Marian’s friends and family, having thus witnessed and heard endless complaints about the opposite sex. We do hereby decree and insist that our fairest Marian embark on a Quest to find a man who doesn’t suck. It will take great feats of bravery, strength and fortitude as she searches all the land and the World Wide Web to find true love again. But we trust the fair maiden is most beloved and therefore will eventually find a man worthy of her affection.”
The pretty mellow mob burst into applause as the maiden felt her cheeks flush and the crowd silence to hear her speak. She stepped up to the podium.
“Greetings good gents and ladies. Verily, it is so. A goodly length of time has passed and I know henceforth I must honor your quest. It is not that I don’t want true love, but time has made my corset tight and my hair turn gray and I fear I might not attract a worthy suitor for your bequest.”
“Get a good photo for your profile!” One lad bellowed.
“Lie about your age!” shouted another.
“By my troth noble friends, I cannot lie to my suitors. Nay, I will but only betroth that who is honest and true and wants to meet someone his own age.”
Robust laughter rose from the now tipsy mob. Sir Bruce stepped forward and kissed the fair maiden on her brow. “Tis true, Men are dogs” he said. The maiden sighed and bid her friend and the crowd adieu. Thoughts swirled about her noggin as she arrived home. She couldn’t wait to loosen her corset and climb into her royal bed, but sleep would not befall her. She often struggled this way. She took deep breaths, she counted, she read her Holy Grail and even took Ambien and yet, nothing would let her sleep, perchance to dream. “Ay, there’s the rub” she thought to herself.
The morn did come, sooner than the fair maiden liked, her eyes were puffy, her raven colored curls tangled in knots. The maiden sighed in the mirror thinking, “Who will want me?”
Still, she was good to her word and promise and with a cup of French Roast and her MacBook Pro, she took on her first challenge; filling out her profile on AreYeOkCupid?
The first question immediately confused the poor maiden. “Are ye looking for a partner, lover or soul mate?” She did not like the choices and so clicked “other” and wrote, A knight in shining armor of course!
When she completed her first task she sought the counsel of her sister and Bruce to upload a photo and they settled on one that was recent without highlighting the wrinkles on her forehead, the fine hair on her upper lip and her droopy left eye. They evaluated her essay and her sister sighed and said, “Thou art demanding in what ye expects of a good man. Would you not accept anyone but a knight?” The Maiden shrugged and giggled and when they left, she gratefully took to her bed, certain that a good morrow would come. Her dreams were filled with hope and men who on bent knee asked “shall I compare thee to a summers day?”
Alas, there were no such suitors on AreYeOkayCupid? Or even on Matcheth.com. In fact, there were dozens of paramours who looked like scoundrels and fools often bedecked in sunglasses and baseball hats. Some gents bore no garb at all, flexing muscles in front of a mirror. When the maiden did find a suitor quite handsome, she wondered why there was a female hand resting on the lad’s shoulder, a wench clearly edited out of the picture.
In spite of this, Marian was determined to complete her quest and attempted to respond to the wayward scribes that often called her lovely and fair but clearly didn’t read her profile. Other suitors claimed to have slain dragons or be great philosophers and scholars even though they wrote poorly. “You pretty. I kill Dragon once. I like meet you sometime. Give me cell.”
The brave and gallant maiden was undeterred and continued her search over hill and dale, journeying across the land of Manhattan to the County of Kings. Yes, even Queens. And whilst she met many a kind noblemen, there were obstacles the poor princess could not overcome.
Sir Talksalot regaled her with details of his impending divorce including the fact that he still dwelled in the basement apartment of the castle he shared with his ex. She attended a feast with Prince Wandering Eye who drank so much grog he could barely walk and pinched a wench’s bottom right in front of the Maid. The Court Jester was entertaining at a beer Garden in Williamsburg until she realized when he slid off his stool that he was less than five feet tall. Renaldo hailed from the The Isle of Long and refused to eat at a French bistro insisting that the French were dirty. There was The Marquis Du monotone, Lord Lisp and the handsome knight of Princes Bay who neglected to mention that he was afflicted with scurvy. There was hope when a Noble Kent from Dumbo swept the Fair Maiden off her feet grateful that she had completed her Quest until he texted her that he was just looking for friends.
“Then Join Facebook” Maid Marian texted back. She was beginning to lose faith in her ability to attract a prince. Dare she say it, she was beginning to doubt the unfairer sex in general and she was lonely. While she was not exiled to her castle like her BFF Rapunzel, she felt alone at parties where there were many a knight, all taken by maidens and princesses. What was wrong with her?
For seven long years, the Maiden roamed the land to find her one true love. She met writers and buskers, life coaches and firefighters, professors, lawyers and even an embalmer. There were tall knights and short knights, long knights and even blind knights. There were black knights and Spanish knights, old nights and boogie knights.
Still, no one captured her heart.
Each night she returned to the castle alone wondering where for art thou Romeo? While most men liked big Quests, the maiden didn’t. She had grown weary. She decided to delete her profile and face the angry mob defeated. Then, just as she was about to click the button she noticed a tall, handsome Prince who hailed from the dominion of Indianapolis. He was an eloquent scribe and a gallant Nobleman so she agreed to meet him in a small, drafty diner in the realm of Wall Street. He noted her request for shining armor and a knight on horseback and confessed that he preferred to walk. “To reduce my carbon footprint,” he said. The maiden found him easy to banter with. He was shy, but charming, kind and smart but still there was the matter of the horse and lack of armor.
She agreed to meet him for a second date in the Bay of Ridge where upon he professed,“Thou art very pretty.” He wrapped his long fingers in hers and boldly kissed her. “Ye art quite handsome yourself,” she thought, but still the armor and white horse thing was difficult to overlook considering she had traveled so far, through Hill and Dale and Bob and Jake.
And while she went on another date, then another, and another, the maiden convinced herself he could certainly not be the one. He was too tall, chewed too loudly; he talked in his sleep and had no horse or castle.
Still, his gentleness, his tenderness, his maturity and his utmost devotion to the maiden made her fall in love. Nay, it was not a big balcony scene stealing kind of love like her buddy Juliet, but look where she ended up and the Maiden was tired of drama. She often felt jealous of princess Cinderella, but she had a dysfunctional childhood that she carried into her marriage so how good could it really be? Then there was Belle who had a rocking wedding with the Beast. Maid Marian was impressed that Belle could overlook all the beasts’ imperfections; particularly the hair. The Maiden realized that perhaps Belle could see beyond such trivial things and and stare deep into someone’s heart.
Besides, Maid Marian knew she wasn’t getting any fairer and she was tired of traipsing across the empire in her too tight corset.
She returned home and gathered the angry Mob. They had cleaned up nicely since she last saw them. Gone were the dirty faces, the pitchforks and torches. Some fine wenches even had some lovely handbags. Thanks to a recent chemical peel, Bruce looked especially handsome as he unfurled a long proclamation and spoke into the microphone:
“Hear ye, Hear ye, The Fair Maid Marian has, at long last returned from her Quest!”
The crowd cheered.
“BUT she was not successful!”
The crowd moaned in disappointment.
“But do NOT DESPAIR FAIR CITIZENS!!! Maid Marian knows there are plenty of fish in the sea, stars in the galaxy, chips in the bag…”
“WE GET IT!” the crowd roared.
Marian, shocked that she had somehow forgotten to tell Bruce grabbed the microphone from his manicured hand.
“Actually, I did meet someone.” The fair Maiden told the crowd. They grew so silent you could hear a torch drop.
The gay best friend looked back at Marian.
“Does he know how to joust?” a voice yelled.
“No. No he doesn’t.”
“Is he good with a sword?” screamed another.
“Does he have a large castle?” hollered a third.
“Prithee, I beg you to listen. I have traveled long and far to honor your request and I have learned, Nay, I know now, there is no knight in shining armor.”
The crowd gasped and mumbled inaudibly.
“Every knight has a chink in their chainmail. Some are dishonest, some are nasal, a good many of them have no hair. But is it not what is in their hearts that is truly important? He is an excellent lover, a devoted friend, and a kind soul. Perhaps we don’t live Happily Ever After in a castle, but just live.”
And with that, the crowd grew so angry, they chased the poor princess all the way back to her castle, where she pulled up her drawbridge and climbed into her royal bed, her new beaux beside her.
The handsome gent pulled the maiden toward him stared at her with his fetching blue eyes. She felt safe for he was as comfortable as her favorite cotton shirt. He professed his love and she professed hers and while they could not gallop off on his white horse into the sunset, they could live simply and contentedly ever after.