by Alex Drake
There was a gorgeous princess who—by some means, or feats, or whatever, don’t ask me—was long, long sought after by all the men around. So some guy—a prince, probably, but you could say a shepherd, that’s how it usually goes in these things—spent a lot of cash or magic or something, or maybe he got buff in a gym or from fighting trolls, or maybe a magic fish
leapt into his ear and gave him the answers to a pixie riddle—again, don’t ask me why. Stop laughing, bitch, I’m doing my best. it’s been a while. So somehow, he got this girl or her father or both to agree he was
And—and this is the part I remember best—there was a moment after the wedding, when they were finally alone—stop laughing, you whore—when they were alone, and the guy started getting ready for bed. Maybe he turned around to whip his dick out, or maybe he went to the bathroom to freshen up, but either way, he turned around, and instead of seeing a nice-looking girl spread out on the bed, he finds she’s been replaced by some old hag. Don’t be dirty, shut up. And he’s furious. He asks her where the hell she put his wife and, like, almost beats her to death. Then she tells him she’s his wife but some dumb old witch cursed her to look ugly for 12 hours a day or said she could only look pretty for 12 or some such bullshit. Of course it’s got to be daylight or nighttime—no sliding date range, no. And she says it’s up to him whether she’s pretty all day when everyone can see her, or at night when they’re… you know—stop saying she can do it with the lights out, I see you smirking.
But you’re right, it’s what he decides at least. He believes her, sees through this, I think he called it a mask of ugliness, I guess, cause he sees the engagement ring or a special tat the girl had, and he buys that she is what she says she is. And he thinks, thinks a long time, because he’d rather keep a pretty wife just for him—I didn’t know this was code back then—then he says, sure, be pretty in the daytime. And the version I remember had them live a long time and gave him a whole lot of credit for not picking her pretty side at night.
Man, she says, that’s a rough one.
Yeah, I go. Real tough.
Do you think it messed them up? She puts her legs up on the side of her bed.
Her, probably a little. She got to spend the day looking the way she wanted and her private hours getting done by someone, so it wasn’t like her life
was gonna change much. It’s not like she’s not wondering what would have happened if she hadn’t been so pretty, though. And him, he’s definitely super tortured—a real princely douche—you know. Probably thinks he gets extra credit for not making her be hot while he gets down; it’s definitely going to wreck things when they get into financial entanglements and gambling debts and shit.
Be serious. She kicks my foot lightly. I raise an eyebrow, climb down onto the floor next to her. The ceiling is so white it seems to spin.
I don’t know, I say. And it’ll probably mess him up. He’ll spend the rest of his life wondering if he married the woman he thought, when half the time she’s old and ugly, or maybe not. But he’ll feel like he got pulled in by that nice looking part, tricked or something, never mind that it’s the same person.
But everyone gets old and ugly eventually, don’t they? She kind of looks up to face me.
Not if you keep dating younger girls.
Be serious. She squeezes my hand, though. I guess she gets it.
I mean, yeah, that’s the point of marriage. Trick someone into loving a future, old, ugly you with a good-looking side. Hide what’s coming next in a bunch of sex appeal.
She kicks me—
—and tight cheeks. Without it, who bothers?
Hmph. She’s serious now, brows together. It’s pretty messed up that the girl only feels comfortable being pretty in public, though.
Yeah. Well, I say, they get to be superficial with her. They’re strangers. Ideally, he would love her for what she is, but people as a whole are kind of shitty.
But he doesn’t, really.
Ehh, I say. Maybe he comes around. Definitely does some interim side dishing, though.
Interim side dishing. She’s not impressed.
Yep. We stare at the ceiling in silence.
If anyone got to pick how pretty I was, she whispers, I’d cut my nose off.