Finding Cinderella   Leave a comment

It’s been said that I am a romantic.  This probably proves it.

A certain charity ball is an annual event where I live.  It occurs the weekend before Memorial Day weekend.

It was said that attending the charity ball was nearly impossible, as tickets were at a premium.  It was one of those situations where you had to know someone who knew someone (yeah, one of those events).  Nevertheless, it was a function I always wanted to attend, as I enjoy social events and being dressed up.  The event was a combination of an elegant buffet, live bands, a dance floor, and casino games.

As it turned out, 1999 was slightly different.  Tickets were available for some reason that escapes me now (several years after the fact), but the reason is unimportant.  What is important is that I finally had a chance to go!

I got one ticket and was looking forward to mingling, as I had no date and was very much single at the time.  I wanted to wear something “snappy” to catch the ladies’ attention, so I decided to pull out my Dinner Dress Blues—the Navy version of a tux.  (These days, my choice would be something less profound; but several years ago, I was a bit more “outgoing,” shall we say.)

Would I find my soulmate?  Yeah, it would be nice, although it was doubtful.  Nevertheless, I was ever hopeful.

I ended up sitting at a table with some friends.  One of my friends wanted me to befriend a woman she knew who was new to the area.  She was (and still is) a very nice gal—she’s just not my type.  I sat and did dance with my friend’s friend, but did not want others to think we were a couple; so, I would wander around alone at times.  It was one of those alone times that I spotted “her.”

My eye was caught by a woman whom I found very attractive.  She was taller than I was, but I did not care.  I have dated a couple of women around 5′ 9″ and 5′ 10″ (compared to my measely 5′ 8″).  I assumed she was wearing heels, but all the same, it did not matter if she was taller.  She had a beautiful smile, beautiful strawberry blonde hair pulled up in that elegant way.  She was not skinny, with a curvy-in-the-right-places figure.  I was enraptured.

We made eye contact a couple of times, sending a very quick smile the second time.  She was sitting at the table next to mine.  I spied her going to the buffet table at one point, so I just happened to wander there myself.  I made a comment about the food to her as she finished picking some delectables, just to see if I could get some conversation going.  Alas, she did not say anything in return, but she did give me a big smile as she looked over her shoulder at me.  Hmmmm, the hard-to-get type, I thought.

The evening went on and there was dancing, casino tables, friends I had not seen in years, and the goddess dancing with her female friends nearby.  I am not the type to go overboard, and I definitely got the feeling that I should not “push it” with this woman—but everything inside of me wanted to.  I at least wanted to speak with her for a few minutes and see if she was similarly interested or even just available.  I looked for her several times and even wanted to see if she allow me the pleasure of a dance with her….but to no avail.  Towards the end of the night, but could not find her anywhere.  Then, as chance would have it, I got cornered by a friend of mine….or should I say, an acquaintance of mine.  This was one of those “friends” that always talks to you about the same problems, over and over again, sucking the life right out of you—an emotional vampire, as it were.

Anyway, I was listening to her jabber away about the same problems with the same boyfriend that I told her to dump a couple of years before.  You cannot be rude, after all.  Well, just as the place was emptying out, I spotted the goddess walking out with an older couple (who I assumed to be her parents).  Just as I was feeling like I would never see her again and was cursing my luck to be trapped like that, the woman looked over her shoulder at me (she must have noticed me before I spotted her) and sent me a huge smile….and disappeared around the corner.


I did look for her outside as soon as I could get away from Vampira, but I did not find her anywhere.  Somehow, I would find her, though.  I was a man on a mission.

I inquired around.  No luck.  I even asked my neighbor, who is one of the gentlemen on the charity ball committee, if I would look through the guest list (but I never carried through, as that seemed tacky).  Then the idea hit me: put an ad in the paper!

But not just any ad . . .

It turns out that I got to speak with person face-to-face about my idea.  The woman loved my idea as I told her the story and how I wanted to find her.  She somehow pulled off a big coup (and later got in trouble for it, I found out).  So, my ad to find this mystery woman was published in the Sunday Times—on page 2! The ad read:

Did you lose your glass slipper?

A naval officer attended the Charity Ball. He sat at a table next to the left corner of the dance floor. A woman in a black & gold ball gown sat at the next table.

The officer would love the opportunity to talk to her—he never got to ask her to dance. If she would write at [my old mailing address], he will return her glass slipper.

At least Prince Charming got to dance with Cinderella . . .

That Sunday, I heard from two female friends of mine.  When I answered the phone each time, the first thing I heard was, “Are you Prince Charming?!  Oh my gawd! I can’t believe you did that!!”  Yeesch.  This was all well and good, mind you, but I really wanted to hear from the mystery woman.  The two friends that called, as well as numerous other friends that found out about it, all said the same thing: all sorts of women were going to flood my mailbox with letters.  I was told how romantic it was to put up an ad like that.  Yadda yadda yadda.  Now my hopes were getting built up.

. . . but did I hear from her?  No.  Did I hear from all sorts of women?  No.  Did I hear from anyone?  No.  Not a peep.  Not one letter.  Not even a postcard. (I live in a tourist spot and Lord knows how many of those we’ve got around!)

Two weeks went.  Three weeks.  I gave up hope.

. . . until one day in July.  Six weeks after I put out the ad for my Cinderella, I was stopped dead in my tracks.  I picked up my mail at my post office box, and amidst the bills and junk mail was a small envelope, addressed to “Prince Charming.”  My heart stopped.  Could it be her?

I raced home, feeling this was too important to read in the middle of the post office.  My mind was also racing, wondering if it was really her, why was there no return address, would I be disappointed, would this be the start of something wonderful?  My hands trembled slightly as I opened the envelope carefully.

Dear Prince Charming,

What a lovely thing to put in the paper.  I’m sure you have received many letters from women enchanted by your sense of romance.  I have to admit I find it absolutely charming.

She was very polite . . . wrong, but very polite.

Now I’m not vain enough to assume that I am the woman that you are looking for but there seem to be some similar facts.  I did indeed attend the ball wearing a black & gold gown and I was seated next to the corner of the dance floor but it was on the left if you were looking from the room, not the stage.  I’m not sure which left you are measuring.

She drew a little picture where her table was located.  It was her!

My dress was as follows: a high necked, short sleeved, black velvet top with a thin black velvet belt; rectangular rhinestone buckle at the waist and a floor length flowing gold skirt from the hip.

I am 5′ 8″ barefoot but was wearing very high heeled shoes and probably looked about 5′ 11″.  I have reddish-blonde hair, fair skin and dark grey-blue eyes.  I think I wore my hair “up” that night.

It was definitely her! My heart was pounding at this point.

I guess you’ve figured out that it was me or not me, but I don’t want to know.  If it was me—thank you.  I am deeply flattered and as a lady must tell you that I am married and couldn’t meet you.

Just my luck.

If it wasn’t me—I hope you find her and the two of you fall deeply in love and live happily-ever-after.  Either way I’d like to believe that someone out there thinks I’m pretty enough to go looking for in such a nice way.

Thanks for the fantasy.


My heart sank.  Ah, well, at least I tried.  It was a nice fantasy while it lasted.  I folded up the letter and put it in my top drawer.  It has been there ever since.

The fairy tale doesn’t always end the way you want it to . . . but you will never know if you don’t try.


Copyright © 2008 by JC Catlin


Posted March 31, 2011 by jccatlin

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