“My heart is good, but still I am a monster,” said the beast. “Among mankind,” says Beauty, “there are many that deserve that name more than you, and I prefer you, just as you are, to those, who, under a human form, hide a treacherous, corrupt, and ungrateful heart.”
I spend a great deal of time thinking about the romance in monstrosity, and the monstrosity in romance. Madame de Beaumont wrote “Beauty and the Beast” in 1740. The close relationship between romance and monstrosity has been present in our modern culture for at least 277 years… at least! She was hardly the first writer to romanticize monstrosity, but is certainly one of the more recognized presently.
So what do I mean by monstrosity in romance and the romance in monstrosity? I’m talking the kind of lovers who eventually turn into our personal monsters; love that turns (us) into monsters; situations that cause us to view love as monstrous ‘otherness’.
I have a problem with romanticizing monstrosity for 277 years, because I’ve been addicted to it my whole dating life without ever knowing. I’ve been in love with the duality of monsters for as long as I can remember. They are villains to some, and heroes to others…but they had depth. Loving them took a little work, and it was always worth it in the end of the story. I could identify with that… as a kid, I always felt maybe a little too grown for my peers and as an adult maybe a little to empathetic and emotional for the masses.. and just maybe loving me takes a little extra work.
The complexity of the monster always resonated with me though. Whether that means I identified with them or loved their multi-faceted characters… and I’m finding that maybe it’s not the most conventional love, but it’s mine and mine alone…
My modern monster is just affectionate enough for me to stick around but indifferent enough to never commit and provide me any sort of security in our ties. And who knows, maybe his monster is a neurotic know-it-all who is a little too intense and a little too emotional for him at times… But I do know the world could be ten Prince Charmings for every one Beast, and I’d find the Beast every time. I’d love him for his imperfections and his shortcomings. I’d love him because he’s mine and mine alone. And I’d love him because unlike most people I encounter, I find his imperfections beautiful and that they compliment my own…
To Be Continued,
**For anyone who hasn’t read the original version of the “Beauty and the Beast“, feel free to click on the hyperlink and take a read (it’s a quick read, I promise).**