Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Inner Prince

I am quite conversant with the notion of an Inner Princess. Mine's been lurking there for years, even in my radical 20's when I had my punk haircut (what we used to call a 'spike' in the olden days with ... wait for it ... a long-ish fringe that had been spiral permed. Oh yes.) Despite all my feminist reading and studies, my lefty leanings, my desire to bring up my boys to treat women as people, she's there. She even seems to have survived motherhood. Actually I think motherhood re-activated her. Something to do with suddenly becoming the equivalent of a scullery-maid; you know, what with the unceasing waiting hand & foot on someone else , cleaning up all the mess and smell, and realising that nobody (not even me) pays me as much attention as previously because the focus is all on the children (and why not, after all? They're infinitely adorable.)

Some things my Inner Princess loves:
  • Adoration.
  • Articulate expressions of adoration.
  • Receiving flowers.
  • Dressing Up.
  • Being pampered.
  • Time and means to indulge in aesthetic pursuits such as reading, writing, dancing, thinking.

Things she's not so keen on:
  • Housework.
  • Living in mess and chaos, knowing that it's her responsibility to deal with it.
  • Getting dirty hands.
  • Listening to other people's burps, particularly if they say yabba-dabba-doo whilst eructating.
  • Being too hot.
  • Having to wear daggy old clothes that no longer fit properly because child-bearing forever changed her waistline.

She's very shallow and you can see it's a good thing I repress her most of the time. Sometimes I think she wouldn't know a good thing if she tripped over him whilst he was bringing her a cup of tea in bed every morning, and always treating her nicely and valuing her opinions, and NOT being a drug addict or an alcoholic or a wife-beater or a terrible father or even a dickhead.

During discussions of one of the Inner Princess' pet peeves, someone raised the notion of the Inner Prince. Which stunned me a bit. Why had I never assumed men had Inner Princes? Do they in fact have Inner Princes? Yes, according to one source.

So that got me thinking. What does the Inner Prince want? To fight the dragon?

To be waited on hand and foot? To be master of all they survey? To ride the fastest steed in the kingdom?

Does he exist at all? Do men bury/repress their Inner Prince? And do the Inner Royalties seek each other out? What does the Inner Prince want?



  1. After a discussion with my guy this is the knowledge that I have gleaned:
    *Inner princes are very sensitive and easily hurt- they don't want to be exposed unless they are absolutely certain that they are safe
    *Inner princes are rarely safe in the presence of other guys
    *Inner princes are quite easy to repress/hide/deny
    *Inner princes are not offended by bodily functions or daggy clothing or dirty hands
    They are rare and precious beings, just like princesses. They want to feel important too.
    I am also raising a son to be a sensitive soul, and he is gentle and kind...BUT there is still nothing as funny as a fart joke, cleanliness is rarely a priority and jam must be a fruit because it has a picture of a strawberry on the jar. I'm afraid these things appear to be written into DNA and they come hand in hand with a repressed prince.

  2. What a thoughtful topic....until I had sons I didn't realise there was an Inner Prince buried in every man.Certainly my MIL knows about the underappreciated prince inside her son. There is too much pressure on guys to be macho.I think I shall have to add that to my New year's resolutions ---to try seeing things once in a while from the perspective of the IPrince instead of always from that of the I Princess.....and by the way.....a cup of tea delivered to you in bed every morning is a treasure better than pearls.Keep him.

  3. How much bandwidth is available for me to launch on this topic?


  4. Let's hear it, Joke. I'm all ears.

  5. Ha ha! Look at your gorgeous son, what great pics!!

    Actually, that brings me to my opinion on the Inner Prince.

    I reckon they just want to be able to poke their sword when they want, and be told how well they did it. :)

  6. Well, I have to admit, I have inner princess tendencies as well, rather similar to yours it sounds like. Is it really too much to ask that I get to have a pedicure every few months? Hmmmm?

    I think my boy has an inner prince in training.... he seems to be a rather sensitive sould, and I'd like to nurture that.

    Your boy is adorable in his costume!

  7. OK.

    The Inner Prince.


    1- This is just one man's opinion. I've conducted ZERO
    grant-funded research on the matter. I'm also a
    product of the place/time/circumstances into which I
    was born.

    2- I am of righty tendencies and tend towards being
    more likely than not of a theological bent, and not
    particularly attuned to feminist thinking; neither am I modern, contemporary or up-to-date.

    You have been warned.

    The Innah Prince is a simple creature. What the Innah
    Prince is simple ABOUT isn't necessarily simple
    though. I could write volumes thereon.

    At the core of it, the Innah Prince really only wants:

    1- Modicum of praise and acceptance.
    2- To lead as stress free (nagging counts as stress) a life as possible.

    What the Innah Prince will NOT do is discuss--at least
    not in depth, and likely not freely--how he is feeling
    at any given moment. Furthermore, the Innah Prince is, UNLESS HE MAKES IT A SPECIFIC PRIORITY, a spectacularly bad mind-reader. If he does make it a priority (and he ought) he is merely a mediocre-to-bad mind-reader.

    Most Innah Princes are "fixers" rather than
    "optimizers" when it comes to Innah Princesses. This,
    in combination with the mind-reading thing, is a key bit of knowledge. That is, if there is something the Innah Prince detects* as unsatisfactory to his beloved, he will go and fix it.

    In this regard, the Innah Prince is usually counting
    on, frankly, being told if something is less than
    optimal. Sure, fine, sometimes it's clear. If the
    dishwasher spontaneously bursts into flame, or the car
    has its engine fall out...the Innah Prince will lead a
    guy to seek a solution. But unless something twiddles the Innah Prince's Realization Knobs of Unambiguous Obviousness, he needs to be told.

    The easiest way to confuse a man's Innah Prince is to start crying and when asked what's wrong blurt out "I shouldn't have to tell should know!" Sometimes that's enough to keep him befuddled for 3-4 hours.

    Therefore, if it's a situation where, oh, his beloved is not-that-happy with the way he talked to her sister, or anything involving emotional nuance and (watch this, now) this goes on unverbalized, the Innah
    Prince's radar will.not.blip. Even if he is
    assiduously paying attention and on the lookout for
    signs and clues, his radar might, maybe, perhaps blip
    25% of the time.

    This is because regardless of whether a man has an
    Innah Prince or merely an Innah Baronet, men tend to
    assume that if we haven't noticed X, then it doesn't
    exist and therefore it doesn't demand a solution. So the answer to the question: "Why hasn't [insert name] done anything about _____ ?" is because he hasn't noticed it. And he's not going to notice it, unaided, ever.

    Now. The SMART Innah Prince is actively aware of these
    shortcomings. An if there is one thing Smart Innah
    Princes have discovered is the beauty of compensatory
    skills. I may not be able to pick out when my wife is
    hurt that I spoke to her friend X with a "snotty tone
    of voice" but I can buy a dozen roses or some yummy
    chocolates at random. I can't figure out what it was I
    said wrong, but I can say "I love you!" frequently and
    at odd intervals. I can't for the life of me figure
    out when she feels she's fat, but I can get her pretty
    things for Christmas & St. Valentine's and so forth.

    Mind you, guys being a reticent lot, we don't discuss
    this much, and we NEVER discuss this among ourselves
    (I know, I've attended various meetings of the guild) unless it is to brag about our prowess or misery. (Monty Python had a great skit about this sort of behavio[u]r)

    Should I have daughters, I'd make damned sure they
    were aware of this. A lot of women aren't and wind up
    with guys whose Innah Prince is the Prisoner of Zenda
    or the Man In The Iron Mask, or who are outright jerks.

    Lastly, when a guy has missed something that is important to the Innah Princess, his Innah Prince will almost certainly be horrified. Do not abuse this knowledge.

    A traitor to the cause,


    * Keeping in mind the lack of clairvoyance, we shall
    not discuss what he SHOULD detect.

  8. Well, I really enjoyed your post, & I enjoyed reading all the responses too.
    I totally agree with Aunty Evil.
    But for a full & perfectly sane sounding explanation, Joke takes the cake!!

  9. For a guy usually so monosyllabic in his comments, this was truly eloquent, AND enlightening. I am dumbfounded with admiration. In one fell swoop Joke, you have shed light on mysteries of the workings [or failure to work] of the male mind that have puzzled me since first I was a blushing bride...

  10. Don't men get to release their 'inner' Prince everyday!? From where I stand it certainly looks like they do. They get to have families which barely impact upon their fabulous careers. They get to run the country and head up big businesses. They get to swan in and out of family life and always be the hero. I could go on!

  11. What great food for thought. Thankyou, commenters. Bearing in mind all this input, my mind now wanders to the core essence of Inner Royalty.

    Basing this loosely on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, perhaps an Inner Royal is what we’d like if all the business of daily subsistence is taken care of, with our mythological history and make-up thrown in for good measure. Thus, the Inner Princess aspires partly to be the Fairest in The Land; to wit, the love of pampering and dressing up/adornment to enhance said aspiration, and also the rewards for being the Fairest, ie garnering expressions of adoration.

    For an Inner Prince then, as Joke discusses, perhaps we can consider the Fixing of Problems as the modern equivalent of Dragon Slaying or Following a Quest? Then there is too, the need to be the Finest Hunter or the Bravest Knight or the Strongest Man in the Land, which I suppose these days manifests as Fastest Car/Motorbike, Guy with the hottest-looking-chick or the Impressive Athlete? As Aunty Evil pointed out, an Inner Prince probably also wants to be admired for possessing these skills (and for the magnificence of his sword).

    But I’m also drawn to Tracey’s Sensitive Inner Prince, the one who when all the slaying and being the best is achieved, has aesthetic and sensitive tendencies, for which he seeks nurturing. I hope that I can nurture this part of my boy-children without repressing the achieving and questing sides of their natures to produce well-rounded men in later years. And also to encourage that sense of responsibility that comes with being Head of State to treat other people well and to have a care for society’s greater good. No pressure! :-)

    PS. Joke, you sound like your IP has these qualities covered, despite your alleged genetic ‘shortcomings’.

  12. Part of why things are a mess is that we, as a society, have lost sight of what it means to be a man. The current definition is a mish-mash of how much (and how much better) A Man's Stuff is, and also how successful at self-absorption a guy can be.

    Something I was taught in the late mesozoic is that in order to be a gentleman, one had to be both gentle and manly. That is, capable of much, but wise and goodhearted enough to put those capabilities to the greater benefit of others.

    I don't know that men are wired to be nurturing qua nurturing. At best we can be 1st Assistant Nurturers, but no more. What we can be, if I may use an extravagant metaphor, is the bone part of a musculoskeletal system.

    That is, a man is someone in whom all who know him may find safety and shelter--and not just in a physical sense. That's not to say that others NEED that safety and shelter, but that a real man (i.e. an Innah Prince who has a real good idea how a well-run principality operates) is capable of that.

    Wow. Who knew I could be so serious? Please don't tell anyone, my reputation as a shallow bon vivant will be wrecked.


  13. The Inner Prince does recognise beauty, loyalty and intelligence as these are qualities he himself posses. He understands that: to adore is to love.

    He is, unfortunately, held captive and lost inside a towering fortress surrounded by a large moat and tall walls that he himself had built for protection. Somewhere along the way he has lost the floor plans and not built a gatehouse from which he can exit.

    Unless he is a master craftsman, the Inner Prince will never see the light of day on the outside of his fortress.

  14. Sounds like he needs true love's first kiss to break the enchantment? Laughing at the lost floor plans and missing exit....

  15. Easy. The Inner Prince grows up to seek constant adoration!

    Not your little one, I hasten to add. He's going out to slay some mighty big dragons!

  16. Yeah Yeah (no the Inner Prince is not a reject taking his hairlessness to an Ashley and Martin). By Yeah Yeah - I mean I couldn't say it any better than your correspondents here. Though I will say I love the little prince contained in your inner city sanctuary :-)

  17. Too late Joke. Your cover is blown....

  18. OMG - those photos !!!
    To be blown up and framed, so gorgeous !! OMG !!

    As for your Inner Princess - mine is equally selfish and un-appreciative, despite a good bloke that bows to her, and helped her farm a good boy.

    She still wants her tiara sparkled, and sometimes I just want to slap her !

    And I have to agree with Aunty Evil about the sword-poking-congratulatory stuff. *snort* !

  19. I'd flagged this to read the comments at a later date, not having anything edifying to add as I KNOW NOTHING about men at all.
    Thanks to Joke I am Enlightened. And I mean that seriously. Great post Stomper!
    My inner Princess just wants some peace and quiet and time alone to read. And to be cooked for (which does happen on a regular basis). So, not much to ask for really.


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