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    CLIQUE STORY: “The Ballsy Princess”, by Justine Paolini

    When we were little, we were given this slightly freaky, chauvinistic dream of being a pretty, fragile young thing waiting for a tall, devoted man to come and save her. The girl who waits for her prince charming and crashes out in bed after a long day of dancing and singing with birds. God help us, get out the cupcakes and herbal tea. Introducing Princess Dimwit.

    On the other end of the spectrum there’s Princess Mononoke, the girl with blood all over her face and a spear in her hand. The girl who didn’t wait for anyone to exist or defend herself. The Ballsy Princess. The story is perhaps not the most elegant, but the image has a lot to say. And it’s kind of your fault, gentlemen, if we keep coming back to phallic symbol.

    Without going as far as Mononoke’s wolf skin and thirst for vengeance, you still meet a lot of Ballsy Princesses. They admit their desires and ambitions, without worrying about what others might think. And you’re reassured whenever you talk to one of them. You tell yourself that there are a few who have found the balance – that fucking Holy Grail – between Cinderella and guard dog. Neither submissive nor dominating, just there, calmly making their way through life without getting stepped on, and without barking at others. The Girl.

    There’s often one amongst your friends. She tells you about how she can spot an arsehole at 10 miles, which means she doesn’t waste her time, her liver, or her vagina. She tells you how she talked shit to some well-known actress during a photo-shoot, and no one said a thing. She controls her character with a sort of ferocious yet gentle diplomacy. She’ll talk to you about an ex without shitting all over him, but she’s also capable of giving a guy a bollocking if he stands too close to her in the subway: Did that prick think I wasn’t going to notice him pressing his dick up against my arse?

    Nice. So cool. You want to be a Ballsy Princess too! But hold your horses, it doesn’t mean she’s got men by the bollocks. She’s already got balls, and so doesn’t need to grab others and crush them to feel virile.

    When you look at yourself a little, you tell yourself that you’re a bit of a Ballsy Princess as well. You stood up to your boss without getting fired – winning – you decided you didn’t need a man to feel like you exist – winning – and you even had the guts to call out that old woman who discretely tried to jump the queue at the post office – right, maybe that wasn’t great, but still. You go out all the time, you go to parties and you get out of there when you meet an arsehole – winning number 1. Fuck you’re good, your mojo’s on fire. And you even won a tenner on the scratch cards the other day. Nothing can stop you.

    But it’s always at that moment, that peak of self-contentment that you bump into your ex. Not the “yeah, it’s cool, we’re still friends” ex, but the chieftain ex. The supreme leader of the little group of exes who have stomped on your heart. The one you just love to casually talk shit about, while you secretly wish that, eaten away by shame, he’d call to tell you he loves you like crazy, like a soldier, like a film star. Aaaaaaah, fuck!
    You rip your phone out of your pocket, shove it up against the side of your face, which is right in his crosshairs, and add a big strand of hair over the top. Best camouflage ever, there’s no way he’ll see you. The thing is, you’re standing in front of the door to the bar, and there’s no way he won’t see you. A deliberate mistake, as a pain in the arse would say.

     

    “Ahhhh it’s you!? Fancy seeing you here!” (Your voice is dangerously lacking in sincerity, my dear)

    And he, with a huge, perverted smile, says:

    “Hey, how the hell are you? I don’t think you’ve met my girlfriend.”

    Your eyes fall on the girlfriend in question, this sort of nuclear sex bomb perched on endless legs, glossy hair and that perfect Hollywood smile. And sitting atop her skinny waist, an abnormally round stomach. Either she’s got a load of trapped wind, or she’s knocked up. But judging by her shithead smile, it’s not gas. As soon as you realise she’s heavily pregnant, you get a flashback of breaking up with this guy. After almost three years together and a categorical refusal to move in together, he came out with this legendary phrase:

    “Listen, I don’t want to build anything together, I’m not looking for commitment, and I really don’t want kids. They piss me off, and all they do is hate you when they grow up.”

    Back to reality. That was two years ago, so there’s been no time for a serious psychological treatment which would justify this U-turn.

    You’re gobsmacked, you can’t bring yourself to say anything other than a strangled “Ahhhh, amazing!” This prick looks like he’s loving seeing you go to pieces. And that bitch just keeps smiling that unbearable, horsey smile.
    Anger, bitterness, spite, basically all the worst things about you, are channelling themselves into your fists and your eyes, and it’s getting kind of obvious.
    You excuse yourself for whatever reason, and run away to the toilets, like a kid in high school. You sob like teenager, any shred of dignity long gone. And most of all, it looks like you’ve lost those lovely new balls of yours.

    You sniff a lot, and try your best to hide what a state you’re in, and go back to the bar where your friend, a Ballsy Princess, is waiting. She knows you well, and can see something’s up. You tell her what happened and start beating yourself up about it. You’re an immature piece of shit who can’t get over anything, that’s right. You tell yourself you’re just stumbling around like a budget version of Bridget Jones. And you hate Bridget Jones. That’s how much you despise yourself right now.

     “Hey, listen, stop it, it’s normal to feel like that. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, just that you’re human. But you can’t seriously be jealous of that tart. Remember what an arsehole that guy was!”

    “…”

    Jesus she’s right. He was an arsehole! He was rude to your friends and family, he never gave a shit about saying anything nice to you, or making you feel good. He thought you were shit and talked down to you. He constantly turned up at yours, and never bothered bringing a bottle of wine or a packet of pasta. Oh yeah, because he was a tight-arse on top of it all. And he forgot your birthday. YOUR BIRTHDAY. What a complete arsehole! That poor tart, she’s got no idea what she’s let herself in for.

    You’ve never wanted to kiss your friend more. Thank you! And it wasn’t that complicated after all. It was even kind of silly, but you just needed to hear it, to remember that this guy belongs to a time before you became a Ballsy Princess.
    Remember, honey, your balls started growing when you decided to leave that moron.

    At the end of the day, we’re really just like guys on this point: it doesn’t take much for us to lose our balls. And it doesn’t take much to get them back.

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    Justine Paolini
    Sometimes she's an actress, sometimes she writes, sometimes she travels
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