I have loads of empathy with the prince in the Cinderella fairy tale – after all, I too love a woman with an unusual shoe size.
But when I read the story to the two-year-old Egg this week, I realised all’s not well in the state of Denmark.
I know and appreciate the lovely Snapdragon – I know she is beautiful, intelligent and a great mother. She is an excellent cook and at times I get an uneasy suspicion that she knows how to fly a broom. Her feet are merely a fascinating part of the package.
Cinderella’s prince, on the other hand, knows nothing about the girl he has a crush on. He doesn’t have the foggiest idea about her background, her education, her beliefs… He only has his unhealthy obsession with her feet.
Now call me old-fashioned, but I don’t believe that’s a stable foundation to build a royal marriage on. I don’t believe one word of this “lived happily ever after” nonsense the palace’s PR office feeds us.
In fact, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before she catches him surfing weird foot-related websites late one night, and then all the strange requests in the bedroom will make sense.
“This marriage started out as a fairy tale,” she will scream. “But it has turned into sheer hell!”
“I can change, my love,” he’ll reply meekly. And that will be followed by decades of therapy, feelings of guilt and resentment.
When little Egg is a bit bigger, I’ll make sure I warn her against marrying men just to escape the conditions you live in. With the generous proportions of her mother’s feet, she’s bound to have a shoe size that will attract men with unusual tastes.
But that’s one day. Our economy’s marriage to a new prince is a more immediate worry.
Tito Mboweni has all the right credentials. He knows the international economy, he understands the rating agencies and he has a wonderful track record. Even his initials are right – Madiba and uncle Thabo appointed a guy whose initials are TM, and he was our economy’s best lover ever.
But Tito can’t just play footsie with our beleaguered rand and limping JSE – he’ll have to tackle the entire economy, warts and all.
We need growth. We need job creation.
And that’s something only a solid long-term marriage between Tito and our glorious country can provide.