Like most children my age, I was highly exposed to the Disney animated film phenomena in its heyday. I sang along with the princesses, feared their villains, and swelled with happiness when they got their Happily Ever After. Despite my enthrallment with literally every Disney movie, there was one that I watched ad nauseam for one very specific reason: the prince.
Even if you haven’t seen The Little Mermaid, it is almost impossible that you haven’t heard of it. Admittedly, I love this movie for lots of reasons: the bright colors; the fact that every summer growing up I pretended to be a mermaid while splashing around in Lake Michigan; and, of course, the music. Sha-la-la-la…
But it was that confused, beautiful boy that really made my heart pound in my chest. Let’s get real for a second: Prince Eric is kind of an idiot. Not only does he not recognize the face of the girl that saved him, especially after he wakes up to the sun freaking shining around her like a halo as she serenades him back to consciousness; he also spends the rest of the movie vaguely thinking that she might be the one instead of just asking her! “Hey, are you the girl from the beach?” NODNODNOD. Problem solved, movie over.
All of that aside, Prince Eric certainly had his moments. He had me hooked. The way he looked at Ariel with fascination as she combed her hair with a fork, or the adventure through the town. Siiiiggghh. What I wouldn’t have given for someone (if he was a prince that would be totally cool) to look at me that way or do those things for me.
By the time Prince Eric came around and realized that Ariel was indeed the girl he was searching for, he had totally redeemed himself. Bound and determined to not lose her again, Prince Eric more than made up for his momentary weakness. How? He battled a giant sea witch capable of crushing him and his perfect, perfect hair.
When I get down to why Prince Eric really made my heart go pitter-patter, it really all superficial. Realistically, at five or six or whatever age I was when my first memories of The Little Mermaid formed, I didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to fall in love with some guy you had met once. Or that 16 wasn’t exactly the ideal age to get married.
All I knew was that Price Eric had the most perfect black hair with impossible swoopy bangs, dreamy blue eyes, and the most enchanting smile I had ever seen. I could replay the scene of him playing the flute while his dark cape flutters behind him over and over for hours.
I wish I could say that there was something deeply profound about Prince Eric that made me fall in love with him, but there simply wasn’t. He was pretty, and funny, and had a smile that still gets me every time. I don’t need him to be smart, I just need him to shut up and kiss me in that lagoon right before we both topple into 1.5 feet of nasty swamp water. Swoon.
Who was your first fictional crush? Do you want to write about them for Rogues Portal? Email pitches to Samantha! (Submissions are unpaid at this time.)