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Book Review: Cinderella Was a Liar

Book Review: Cinderella Was a Liar

Prince Charming Isn't Coming: Enjoy your Single Life or your Partner, Either Way


    Brenda Della Casa's career as a casting director and journalist offered her the chance to talk with thousands of men and women about love, sex and dating. She used the opportunity to combine her personal experiences with the insights of others to make some sense of what men and women really wanted in relationships.

"I heard a lot of assumptions about men being thrown out there but when I spoke with the guys themselves, it became more and more clear to me that the messages women were sending to themselves and one another about men, dating, marriage and their own significance in and out of a relationship were not only self-defeating but deeply flawed," she said. 

To respond to that, she wrote the book, "Cinderella Was a Liar," which focuses on helping women have a healthy relationship with themselves first -- then their significant others. Divorce360.com interviewed Della Casa about her book, and we share:

Q: What inspired you to write this book?
My career as both a journalist and casting director has offered me a unique and precious opportunity to meet and speak with literally thousands of men and women about dating, sex, relationships and love. This rare opportunity combined with my own personal experiences and those of the men and women in my life offered me great insight into the different perceptions, thoughts, feelings and desires men and women held regarding love. I heard a lot of assumptions about men being thrown out there but when I spoke with the guys themselves, it became clear to me that the messages women were sending to themselves and one another about men, dating, marriage and their own significance in and out of a relationship were not only self-defeating but deeply flawed. The men, on the other hand, we're flat-out frustrated with how they were being seen. I decided to do more research and put together a book that not only shared ways in which to find love with someone else but how to find it with yourself. That said, it is important to mention  that this book is not about bashing women, quite the opposite. It's a book written for women by a female author who believes every woman out there deserves to know that her life is significant regardless of whether or not she's in a relationship and living with that knowledge will change their romantic lives.  

Q: Why is it important to understand the personality types of the "Twelve Sisters" that no prince wants to date and how can a prospective princess recognize their traits?
While "Cinderella Was a Liar" was written for women and audience of the book and blog (www.cinderellawasaliar.org) is mainly female, the concept of the Twelve Sisters was to highlight corrosive traits that both sexes can bring into a relationship. Selfish behavior, drama addiction, a pessimistic and jaded attitude are just a few of the traits  mentioned that  not only turn others off  but prevent you from being your best self and living your best life. So, how can someone identify the traits, habits, thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions are holding them back? All they need to do is take a good look at their lives. How do they feel on a day-to-day basis? Do they feel victimized? Are they drowning in what feels like a constant state of chaos? Are they on-edge? Are others on-edge around them? What are the patterns in their platonic, romantic, professional and familial lives? How do others treat you and react to you? There are mirrors all over the house that is your life but it is up to you to look into your own reflection and accept that maybe there are a few hairs to be tweaked here and there. This is not to say that you are the only person who needs to change in your life but changing our actions, reactions and outlook can have a huge impact on the actions and reactions of others and significantly change how they view us. 

Q: Marriage seems to be the ultimate goal for so many women currently immersed in the dating scene, why do you think that is and how does it impact their relationships?
It's been well reported that men and women view relationships differently and I believe a lot of that starts with the conditioning that is specific to little girls from the time they are old enough to speak. Young girls are told stories in which helpless women (princesses) are forced to rely solely on their looks and compete with the other women in the land for the chance to be "saved" by the "handsome prince". They are told that anything they achieve, be it a degree, the Pulitzer or the cure for cancer will always come in second to this the "accomplishment" of getting married and living "happily ever after." This message becomes a constant  in their lives and is perpetuated by romantic comedies, reality shows in which women bite, scratch and steal to "win" the man. and by one another. The most disturbing aspect of all of this is the way women vilify both one another and themselves for not being married by a certain age or for not being happy "ever after" with the man they married.  Society's pressure doesn't help much, either. Older, unmarried men can look forward to being a "confirmed bachelor" while women are labeled "Old Maids." It's horrifying and I believe has a lot to do with why many bright, beautiful, talented women devalue so many parts of themselves. This obsession with both fairy tales and marriage can have a devastating impact on a relationship because it allows no room for human error and places a huge amount of pressure on everyone involved in the relationship and the relationship itself.  The man is to be strong, perfect, righteous and willing and able to whitewash his mate's life and make her happy 24-7 while women are forced to compare their lives to the "perfect" blueprint of relationships designed by fairy tales, romantic comedy script writers, Press representatives for celebs  and so on. It places a lot of pressure on both parties and throws us all in a constant state of "less than".  No relationship can live up to those expectations.      

Q: What advice can you offer for those looking for the prince or "slipper" that fits them just right?  
The best way to find your match is to take some time and figure out who you really are, what you like and dislike and who you want to be. We all think we know ourselves but the truth is, many men and women flipped on the autopilot switch years ago and have been floating along participating in habits that no longer suit who they are or keep them in a constant state of unhappiness. They slip into roles created for them by others or who they think they should be. Living consciously and authentically is not something most people have the courage to do which is why so many people wind up in relationships with partners who don't suit them. The best way to find your best match is to be your best self and live your best life.  It is for this reason that I believe all men and women should take some time off of "the market" and date themselves. The more you get out there and live your life, explore different sides of yourself and fill it with people, situations and experiences that enhance it, the more you will protect it and not want to share it with just any ole someone from the bar or match.com. So, instead of placing your life on hold until you meet a significant other, realize that you are significant special and worthy of a life well lived, regardless of your romantic status. Take the trips, try the restaurants, go dancing, see the exhibits and host the dinner parties because you are worthy of happiness and fulfillment.  In doing these things there is also good chance you will experience a higher sense of self-confidence, more life satisfaction and you'll likely meet more suitors who share your common interests. The more complete you make your life, the more you realize that you are complete all by yourself and will happily hold out for your best possible match.  Besides, there is nothing more attractive than someone who can hold their own and bring their own joy, experiences, intelligence and wisdom to the table.    

Q: In a world obsessed with romance, marriage and fairy-tales what kind of benefits can a girl gain from stepping away from her quest to find the perfect prince and walking "bare-foot" for a bit?
"Walking Barefoot" is one of my favorite chapters in the book, so much so that it inspired its own website, http://www.strollwithoutshoes.com which is all about slipping out of your slippers and embracing, healing, tweaking and enhancing your life. We often forget that  ife is an individual  journey that we choose to share with one another. Though we walk with others, we must get to where we want to go on our own two feet. It is unfortunate that the idea of being an individual, being "alone" and flying solo terrifies so many people when I truly believe that getting to a place where we embrace both time alone and time shared with others is an essential ingredient in the recipe's for both happiness and happy, healthy relationships.

Q: What are some of the white lies we tell ourselves when it comes to dating and how can we weed out the fact from fiction?
I talk about quite a few in the book but I will mention three that really seem to do us in here. The first whopper Cinderella told us is that there is only one person out there with whom our soul will mate. What baloney!  While love at first sight, fate and the idea of "one soul mate" are all romantic in theory, in reality, they belong in the same category as Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. What if your one soul mate lives in Milan and you don't have the money to fly over there? Does that mean you're doomed? Of course not! The whole idea is just silly and it shocks me that so many grown, intelligent women willfully limit their thinking by believing only one person in a world full of billions can love them, honor them and respect them in a way that makes them feel truly loved. Another doozy is the idea that love is all we need or that when we get it, it has to last or it was never meaningful or "real". Men and women can meet and fall in love at one age and realize they no longer feel as they did, have grown apart or want different things twenty years later and before you know it, they are dissolving the meaning of their entire relationship. Some love lasts, some doesn't but that does not make it meaningless nor does it mean your "one shot" at happiness in romance is over.  In terms of it being "all we need", a healthy relationship takes compromise, friendship, passion, honesty and respect to last.  It's quite possible to love someone dearly but not like them very much, and certainly not want to enter or continue a relationship with them.The last one I will speak about is the idea that is better to have anyone than no one. There are so many women I have spoken to who stick with a toad out of fear of being alone. Again, I believe this has a lot to do with how society vilifies single women. Not only are these amazing women sticking with a man who doesn't value them or love them as they deserve to be loved but they have to live with the fear of wearing a scarlet S if they decide to walk.  Sticking with someone who treats you poorly, erodes your self esteem and keeps cracking your heart should not be a choice any man or woman feels they "have" to make.   

Q: With so many dangerous "Bad Potions" out there for a potential princess to stumble upon, what advice can you offer someone ready to begin dating again?  
Take things slow and pay close attention to the people you are dating. When someone tells you who they are through their words and actions, believe them. Recognize your own worth and stick to your boundaries, this is essential. While we humans are flawed and forgiveness is a necessary ingredient for any two people to have a relationship (romantic or not) making excuse-after-excuse for bad behavior is a one-way ticket to unhappiness city. So, to sum it up; trust your gut, be gentle but firm in your boundaries and recognize that they are as lucky to have met you as you are them. Avoid pedestal propping-don't put them on one and don't allow yourself to be placed on one. Be two equals getting to know one another and have fun! What are some of the signs that you've found yourself a toad rather than a prince and how should they be dealt with? Our "gut" is an internal alarm system that should be listened to in every situation. There are a lot of signs you've found a toad but I will list a few.  If he or she is sexist, selfish, verbally, physically or emotionally abusive, drop them immediately.  If he/she has anger issues (even if not directed at you just yet) move on. A man or woman who hates all of their ex's and says horrible things about them likely has issues you're not going to want to have to deal with. Men and women who do not take responsibility for their own behavior as in, "He/she made me act this way" or "My boss made me fudge my hours because he didn't give me a raise" deserves to be dropped back into the pond. Just remember that you deserve to be spoken to and treated with respect and if you feel you are being bullied, belittled or lied to, you probably are.        

Q: If you could have readers take three things away from your book, what would they be?
Getting to know yourself is an essential ingredient to being your best self, living your best life and finding your best match. If you are sitting there waiting for someone to "complete" you, you're setting yourself in a position where you will likely to be let down, even by good mates. You are complete right now, all by yourself. Your joy, sorrow, fears, dreams, anxieties, passions and everything else belong to you and the purpose of a relationship is to share, to give, to love, to teach and to enhance what already exists inside of the two parties in it. Taking time to value yourself, date yourself, learn to accept and love yourself is a gift we should all give one another, single or not. Don't shy away from accountability. Owning your thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions allows you the opportunity to recognize just how in control of our lives we really are. The truth is that we are all fully in control of our lives. It may feel as though we are totally out-of-control of things but if we look closely and with an open mind, we will see that many of our choices, thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions perpetuate that chaos. You can change your life by changing your outlook and how you approach the world. I promise you this. A failed relationship does not make you a failure nor is it an indication of your inability to  love or be loved.   

Q: Where is "Cinderella was a Liar" available?  
A: "
Cinderella Was a Liar" is available at all major bookstores and on Amazon.com.

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