Saturday morning, I was eating breakfast at Wolfgangs in Grand Rapids. Great place. There was a young girl, probably six years old, at the table next to me with a giant grin on her face. In front of her sat a stack of five pancakes completely drenched in syrup and melted chocolate rounded off with a dollop of creamy whipped goodness. She was adorable. But what made the scene quintessential was her choice of dress: a pink and purple nightgown with five Disney Princess heads covering her head to ankle. Instant childhood flashbacks.
Last week we talked about social norms. Today, I introduce you to a collection of media that has shaped female social norms at a very early age, The Disney Princesses. Now that they are seasoned and experienced, what would they tell this pancake princess about life and libations on her 21st birthday?
1. Pocahontas: Growing up, I was taught that the world is not something dead that you can claim. Every rock and tree and animal has a spirit and a name, and this is what makes life rich. When John Smith came to my village, I had to teach him the importance of appreciating our natural world. This is why an American Stout is my drink of choice. There are so many natural ingredients that can be added to enhance its taste, aroma, and mouthfeel, and until you experience many variations, you cannot fully appreciate the style. Live life with your arms open to the unfamiliar and your life will be rich.
3. Ariel: Now that I am 45 years young, there is so much I want to tell the young ladies who grew up watching my very young self fall in love much too fast! First off, I want to say that I absolutely adore Imperial IPAs. This robust beer has a bold hoppiness that just might rip your tongue out and leave you speechless! But jokes aside, to have a robust life, one filled with what makes you happy, you must learn to lean in to situations, not shy from them. And as stated by Sheryl Sandberg, “Fortune does favor the bold and you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try.” There is no life guide- you will make mistakes- but if you take chances than you will find yourself in grander situations never imagined before.
4. Cinderella: I was so dreamy as a young girl. I will always enjoy daydreaming, but I have also come to thoroughly enjoy real life; the everyday ups and downs. I have come to enjoy the wrinkles that appear around my eyes and hands, for each one represents a piece of knowledge that I earned and can share. And I want to tell you that you should celebrate every knowledge line because you earned it! No one takes you seriously when you are 80 years old and look 20. Our bodies are like Belgian Dubbels. True fans know that the older they are, the more robust and flavorful they become. Pick your fans wisely, you only deserve the ones that thoroughly appreciate you.
2. Jasmine: When I was a young girl, I lived behind tall castle walls that inhibited me from exploring the outside world. Everything I knew was given to me, my life was easy but it was also boring. Your life should be filled with experiences that give it girth. Life should be like a barleywine; strong, intense, and complex with a hint of fruit, sweetness, or bittersweetness. This variation never makes my tasting experience the same as the previous. Never hid behind walls, that is the easy way through life. Jump the walls and explore worlds beyond your comfort zone, you never know what you will discover about yourself.
5. Belle: Life is all about choices. I believe who you choose to surround yourself with tells a great deal about yourself. Keep in mind that life is hazy, like a hefeweizen. There are a lot of obstacles you will face throughout your lifetime, and if you choose to fight the haze with people who drain you (like the people who lived in my village), you will be miserable, so make the effort to find people who inspire you. This applies to your friends, community, and spouse. These people may not always be the most popular or best looking, but they will light something inside of you that draws you to them. Do not ignore that magical feeling.
All five of these characters experienced a sense of confinement and lack of choice. It wasn’t until they broke boundaries and tested their comfort zones that that they found (wait for it…) “a whole new world” of possibilities! These possibilities affected every part of their lives (including their taste buds) and so they felt compelled to share. Cheers!
Book Recommendation: Lean In by: Sheryl Sandberg