Rumpelstiltskin was the forefather of men who lie. Or perhaps “lie” is too strong a word, especially when considering how in denial the male sex is about what schizoids they are. Rather, Rumpelstiltskin was the forefather of men who spin you a false yarn. “Yeah, baby, I love you. You’re the only one for me. I’ll never leave you.” How do you think this type of false yarn came about? From the maestro, of course–the granddaddy of yarn-spinning himself. Granted, it was straw, not yarn, but still–surely you get what I mean.
Like most, the heroine of the story, Lisa, is jeopardized by her parents, specifically her father, who boasts to the king that she has the ability to spin straw into gold. Adding to the steadily collected villainous males in the story, the king eyeballs Lisa like some sort of golden goose and insists on locking her in one of the towers of his castle with a spinning wheel so that she can perform the impossible feat her father claimed she could. If she doesn’t, according to the king, he’ll cut off her head. In point of fact, the king seems to be the only one in Rumpelstiltskin who isn’t one for spinning a yarn about his intentions. The appearance of Rumpelstiltskin himself, however, serves as the pinnacle of truth-twisting and ego-serving.
As he comes to Lisa’s “rescue” by offering to truly turn the straw into gold, he, naturally, expects something in return: Lisa’s necklace. It’s in this moment that Lisa learns the imp only appears to those in desperate need of a trade. In his own skewed way, he’s sort of like a symbol of the young man who capitalizes on the older woman’s desire to be sought after, willing to accept what kernels he can give her at any cost–even self-debasement.
The catch with giving the king what he wants the first time serves the opposite result of what Lisa had hoped to achieve: freedom. Instead, the king only desires more, the natural inclination of men who are given a modicum of what they want. Thus, she’s put into an even larger room with even more straw she must spin into gold. And, sure enough, here comes Rumpelstiltskin, ready to make another trade for Lisa’s ring, the last trinket she has to offer. Peddling herself and her wares, Lisa is, like me, subject to those who spin a false yarn. Everyone–every man–in her life has sold her a distorted line. One that makes her believe, maybe–just maybe–things will be as people say they are.
But, oh God, what a fool I am. At least Lisa managed to take refuge in karmic vengeance from the sight of Rumpelstiltskin entering the presumable bowels of hell at the end of her ordeal. Me, I just keep listening to the yarn, keep believing it. That’s what happened with my latest bloke, Mitchell. I ought to have known from his name that he would turn out to be a prat. His pasty body and unkempt hair made me believe that his ugliness would make him a nice person. He was not. But he was so adept at tricking me into thinking he was.
In retrospect (that odious phrase that is almost as bad as “in hindsight”), I could see just how violently his false yarn-spinning was. Telling me things like, “You’re the girl of my dreams”–all that fuckin’ jazz. Mere years was all it took for me to see that he was lying. We met at a pub in Mayfair, which led me to believe that perhaps he had money, but, as it turned out, he happened to stumble in after a disappointing job interview. He chatted me up, telling me the most classic of sweet nothings, like, “Those eyes…” And I, like Lisa, fell for his yarn, thinking he could offer me salvation from myself.
“Jacqueline? Jacqueline? Is that you?”
In the midst of thinking about Mitchell at that same pub in Mayfair where I met him, an old chum of mine from university recognized me.
“William?” I returned, and rose to give him an unconventional (by British standards) peck on the cheek.
“I thought it was you. My God, what’s it been? Ten years?”
“I’ve just come back from America,” he explained, as though that was the reason why we had fallen out of touch when, really, it was because I had deflected his advances back when we were both studying behavioral psychology together.
“Oh? What were you doing there?”
“Getting dafter, I suppose. What a sodding joke that country is. I would’ve got out sooner if the money wasn’t so good there. Rife with high-paying headcases.”
I nodded at him. He looked better than I remembered. In fact, I could swear I saw his hair turn from grey to black when he paid me the compliment, “You’re looking lovely. I must confess I looked you up before I came back to see what you were doing…I’ve thought of you often.”
Yeah, baby, keep talking. Spin me your falsest yarn and I’ll believe it. I want you to lie so hard my ears ejaculate. Just tell me anything but the truth. I’ll never believe it anyway. Not until it’s too late and I’ve already metaphorically promised away my firstborn child. We’re all Lisa, just buying in to the lines of the Rumpelstiltskins that constantly manage to pop out of nowhere, preying on our need to be rescued by any means necessary.