Don’t try to give yourself a layered bob (and other lessons from ‘The Prince and Me’)

Good news, everybody: spring has arrived (in Canada, where I live — hello!). That means I’m spending my days remembering the movies I saw in the spring many moons ago; and this week, we’ll be remembering the glory of The Prince and Me. (Which I saw in the theatre with my best pal I think on Easter weekend, 2000-something.)

Ultimately, it is a movie that entertains and confuses me in a thousand ways.

But that’s why we’re here! We’re here to watch, read, question, and joke around, and to acknowledge that the purple floral blouse that Julia Stiles wears is the exact same one I owned and felt really great about. We’re here to discuss how the security for this royal person at this pretty standard university is terrible at best. We’re also here to say sure, you may meet some prince at college, but dial it down, Julia Stiles. Don’t just leave pre-med on a whim to get an MRS (which is a totally fine and personal decision any woman has the right to make, obviously —but she had zero interest in even being in a relationship in the first place).

See? So much to talk about. So let’s get this party started. Here are five things I took away from The Prince and Me — one of which is the most important life lesson of all.

1. Not all of us can get away with Julia Stiles’ haircut

This is a lesson I learned shortly after the movie’s 2004 release that I wish I better understood. Some of us just don’t have thick enough hair for the textured bob. Some of us really need a little more length in order for our faces to look long or just, you know, less round. Some of us don’t have professional stylists or the ability to style our own hair, so we need to have either no layers or a certain length to avoid looking. . . the way I looked. For a long time. Guys? I cut my own hair. Despite telling myself that I’d learned my lesson at 18 and then again at 21, I went for the layered bob again at 25 — without professional help.

See? Imagine trying to do that yourself. All I am saying is that with every bob, I thought, “I bet I look just like Julia Stiles.” I did not. I will not. I am not meant to have Julia Stiles’ Prince and Me hair. No matter how effortless she looks in the American Eagle top I totally inspired her to wear. Do I still cut my own hair? Yes, but not into a layered bob. 

2. Edward needs to get with it

What do I mean by that? Well, he chooses the University of Wisconsin after seeing a Girls Gone Wild video, because he wants to see women’s breasts. That is literally why he goes to post-secondary school. This is why this white, entitled, privileged dude takes somebody’s spot at a school. Because he can, and because he wants to objectify women. Cool.

. . . THEN, he meets Julia Stiles, and after displaying nothing but tried-and-true examples of sexism, he falls so in love with her that he wants to get married. Right away. RIGHT AWAY. How long did they know each other for? LITERALLY weeks. WEEKS! Red flag. Red flag! Red. Flag.

I mean, look: I get it. His dad is sick, and he has to go back home, and this means Paige has to chill there, too. But if any of our friends decided to abscond from school to live in Europe and marry some rich guy, we’d tell them to tread lightly. (Where are Paige’s true blues here?) Also: royal life seems boring. Really, really boring. Like, live your life everyone, but let’s be real here. No, thank you.

3. YES, you can “have it all”

If by “have it all” I mean “whatever you want is fine, just achieve your goals.” So what I like about this movie is that, sure, it ends with Julia Stiles and Prince Edward deciding to calm the hell down, not get married immediately, and support Julia Stiles’ dreams of Doctors Without Borders, which is great. You can hook up with someone forever and still live your dreams. (#HYFR)

BUT! If Julia Stiles hadn’t done that — if she’d said, “You know? I want to be single and travel on my own and goodbye to you,” that would’ve been fine, too. It also would’ve been fine if when Eddie kept trying to ask her out she reported him and/or made sure he was a certain number of feet away from her.

The prince did not make this story. Julia Stiles’ doctor dreams made this story. Because if girlfriend is smart enough to get into med school, she’s too smart for Eddie, the guy who went to Wisconsin to meet women he thought he could hook up with, where he then failed to listen to Julia Stiles when she was like, “Eh — I’m not feeling this princess life.” YOU KNOW?

4. Read body language and/or communicate, all of us

I think the most important thing to take away from this movie is that if someone looks like she’s not having a good time, she’s probably not having a good time. Julia Stiles in the Danish palace? Not having a ton of fun, you guys. Girl is NOT feeling #Palace #Life. Eddie also seems to be completely unaware that picking up a woman from Wisconsin and plopping her in the midst of A ROYAL DYNASTY might not make a ton of sense and/or might be horrible for her. Adding to said horribleness: Eddie’s mom, who clearly hates. . . everything? Her own choices? Her son? We’d know this if anything was communicated in this film, at all — but nobody communicates anything.

“There’s no, “Eddie I am feeling not super great about being a queen, since I’m like, 23” and/or “Hey, your Mom was kind of rude to me — something up with that?” Instead it’s nothing. Nothing! So: you know the frustration you feel when watching two characters interact without telling each other what’s going on? Remember that and apply it to your real life. “Would people be mad watching this?” is the question we should all ask ourselves; and if so, that probably means we should convey a wee bit more information. Because when I re-watched this movie a while back, my friend and I yelled “JUST TELL HIM THE TRUTH” at the screen.

5. This story isn’t real — rescue yourself

And this is actually a note to my former self. For you see, dear friends, I grew up working at restaurants and hardware stores and the mall, and in all of those places, I would apply a Prince and Me mentality to the daily grind. (You know what I mean?) I would actually think, “Maybe a famous guy will come in and then I’ll never have to work anymore!” And to that I say: no! NO! Rescuing is not an option (as we learned from Julia Stiles being “rescued” to Denmark, then realizing it was the biggest mistake she’d ever made in her life). Rescue yourself, all of us! If something works, run with it. If it doesn’t? Figure out why then either fix it or get out of there. Fortunately, Julia Stiles learned this lesson — even though, deep down, I wish she would’ve had to learn to dance to do it.

(Images via, via, via, via, via.)

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