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Love and Other Fairy Tales

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Phryne damsel

‘Men,’ she reflected, ‘had strange notions.’

Based on the numerous examples she had known to date, no matter how different they looked, despite age or position in society, they all suffered from a strange need to play hero to a damsel in distress. She found this seemingly universal trait absolutely infuriating. Potential sexual partners displaying known symptoms were quickly abandoned untried, no matter how enticing the physical delights on display. Even lovers who initially appeared blemish-free would succumb, resulting in an urgent need to exit, stage left.

She was not in distress - she had climbed up here for the view.

Phryne puzzle

‘Women,’ she thought, ‘were more practical.’

Once, whilst wallowing in artistic romance, she had decided that a man would complete her. She couldn’t recall why. Things had not gone well and it had taken an unfortunately long time to understand that she was neither the problem nor the answer. One morning she awoke with a strong desire to be happy again, and left. Subsequently it was explained that she did not have that choice. Seething with rebellion, she painfully pieced herself together and when whole, she left again. Permanently.

She had no time for stupid rules - they were for breaking.

‘Variety,’ they said, ‘was the spice of life.’

This was an approach she wholeheartedly endorsed, indulging without restraint in pleasure after fleeting pleasure. Champagne blurred faces with names long forgotten. So many choices left to the toss of a coin, the luck of the draw, how it felt at the time. She would make no apology, had no regrets. This thirst for new experiences was part of who she was - but it wasn't all. Some things, like a crumpled blue ribbon, were far too precious to be left to chance.

chess

She could do serious - for the things that really mattered.

Clueless knight

‘Knights,’ she observed, ‘rarely knew how to ride white chargers’.

As a young child she thought her father clever, debonair, handsome; he shone so brightly against all others. But she had learnt that behind the veneer lurked only selfishness. A hard lesson, but one that had endowed self-reliance and a desire to learn every skill possible. She still admired clever, debonair, handsome, but was no longer in awe - or surprised when it rung hollow. She sought these days to surround herself with capable and loyal; it was working well.

She could do everything herself - but good company was always welcome.

Phryne windmill

‘Damsels,’ she believed, ‘should get themselves out of distress.’

The world was full of horrors waiting in dark corners to pounce. Fear was paralysing, but even giants could be dismantled bit by bit until they were just a pile of cogs. This was a lesson she was willing to teach anyone. Embracing the unknown: riding the wild wind that surrounded it, laughing, thrilled, alive. Yet sometimes even she longed for quiet, calm, solid. Which could be frightening in itself, if she let it - but not always.

Why tilt at windmills or be afraid of shadows - if you didn't have to.

Phryne and Jack