The Goldilocks Principle

by Zary Fekete

The story of how Goldilocks actually came to the bears’ house has been misunderstood and requires attention. It might also help to know that Goldilocks isn’t her real name. She has a variety of other names, like Stefanie and Abigail, and it is easy to overlook the fact that she is actually not so different from the woman who lives across the hall or works one floor below.

What is clear after sifting through the versions of the story which have surfaced over time is that there was indeed a house with three bears and there was in fact a woman with needs and there were, therefore, reasons for the unlawful entry. It might be helpful to understand what drew Stefanie-Abigail into the house to begin with, why she decided to enter, and what led her to try so many different things in her search for an ending that is just right.

Put yourself in her shoes. After all, it’s not so strange that she would initially hesitate when the first bowl of porridge was too cold. She’s naturally suspicious. She has Instagram, but never posts anything herself. She uses it to stay in touch with her mother now that her parents are divorced. Her father is more talkative and calls her regularly. Her mom posts pictures of what food she ate that day. Stefanie-Abigail is torn between feelings of guilt because she is often bored with her father’s calls and feelings of abandonment because she wishes for a deeper connection with her mom. Is she cold with her father? Does she feel her mother to be cold with her? Certainly sometimes.

Stefanie-Abigail must also deal daily with the unfortunate tendency of the world to want to label her as a Goldilocks in the first place. As far as she can remember, this began when she was 13. She can remember the slow, simmering resentment she felt many years ago when, after bending over to adjust her socks during a middle school game of soccer, she heard the low voice of Susan whispering to Pamela that Stefanie/Abigail had a “fat ass”. The irony is not lost on her that modern women now so covet her particular body shape (that of a generous bust, narrowing to an acceptable waste, and widening again to spacious hips) that the plastic surgery market in Mexico now has it’s own tourism category with websites popping up daily featuring such attractively named packages as “Mommy Makeover” (for $8,800), “Tijuana Gastric Sleeve” ($4295), and the “Brazilian Butt Lift” which covers the procedure, the hospital stay, and the hotel package after the fact complete with meals for less than $5000. Does this make Stefanie-Abigail too hot in the eyes of her peers? Perhaps occasionally.

Since the topic of sexuality has already come up it is probably worth dwelling finally on the fact that the last inciting incident of Stefanie-Abigail’s unlawful entry into the house of men involves her internal debate as to which bed she will choose for herself. In fact, in the original English folk tale, the original reasons given for Goldilocks’ rejection of the first two beds was that one was too high at the head and one was too high at the foot. Females tend to be the choosier sex when it comes to partner selection. One man might take great care in how he dresses and in the kind of car he drives. He either is well off or portrays himself as such. But Stefanie-Abigail is interested in more than just that, so she will reject him as being too high at the head. Neither will Stefanie-Abigail settle for someone who is only good at making ends meet or successful with promotions or handy around the house or able to discern which way the stock market might turn. If she were to agree to this then she would be settling for a mate who was high at the foot.

Stefanie-Abigail wants something in particular in life. Observe her, if you will, this Thursday afternoon as she enters the coffeeshop/bookstore on the far side of the campus mall. She usually spends her Thursday’s there because that is where her best friend Marcia works. After chatting with Marcia, Stefanie-Abigail goes to the poetry translation section of the store to consider again whether she might pick up the new English translation of Renee Erdos’ Hungarian “Leanyalmok” poems; less for the poet’s designation of being the first Hungarian female poet to earn an independent living as a writer, and more for Erdos’ ability in that particular poem collection to get at what Stefanie-Abigail has been increasingly discovering in her own writing: a desire to get closer to the idea of being a woman who can reject motherhood and explore the female orgasm, while simultaneously being comfortable with the notion that it might be nice to be courted.

It is at this moment that she sees his back. He is also in the Hungarian section, and, possibly because of their mutual poetic interest, it doesn’t take them long to strike up a conversation during which Stefanie-Abigail learns a few things about him, notably that he himself is Hungarian, is studying at the same college as she, isn’t likely to return home for Christmas this year because of the high cost of flights, and is interested in grabbing a cup of coffee with her.

We’ll leave them to it at this point, with nary a comment or question like Goldilocks had to deal with after the bears returned home from their weekend stroll to find things different than when they left it, prompting them to make several obvious statements such as “somebody has been at my porridge” and “somebody has been sitting in my chair”. Why wouldn’t she have tried the porridge and sat in the chairs and entered the house to begin with? That’s where the good things are, for God’s sake. Shouldn’t we let her have her coffee with the Hungarian prince in private?  Doesn’t she deserve to be left alone?

The Goldilocks Principle

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