The Joint (Ad)Ventures of Well-Educated Couples

What it really takes to create and sustain an exceptional and lasting marriage.

Marry a "Princess" or a "GLUM" at Your Own Risk

How to avoid marital freeloaders

If a woman ever says, "I want you to treat me like a Princess," pay attention and be very careful in your assessment of her character. When some women make this statement what they really mean is "I want you to treat me with respect." So the statement alone isn't sufficient evidence that someone is a "Princess." It's critical to look at the overall behavioral pattern to determine whether a woman actually wants—and expects—to be treated like a Princess. If she does, then marry her at your own risk.  

What is a "Princess"? Broadly speaking, a "Princess" is someone who enjoys an unearned position of privilege, someone that others take care of and provide for, who expects to be adored and pampered as a birthright.  

In comparison to a "Queen," which implies more equality with her husband the King, being a Princess implies a degree of immaturity and a kind of carefree exuberance that flows from a life with few responsibilities. While a Queen confers with a King about how to run a Kingdom, a Princess is more likely to be found skipping through the garden or admiring herself in a frothy new dress. You respect a Queen, you indulge a Princess. (In my definition of a "Princess" I am not referring to actual royalty like Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, who may bear a number of civic responsibilities. I am thinking of the concept of a Princess as she is portrayed in so many fairy tales and fantastical children's stories.) 

From the perspective of a modern day "Princess," all that ought to be required of her is to look pretty. A Princess doesn’t mind being patted on the head by someone from time to time as long as that someone continues to pay her shopping bills. A Princess doesn’t hold down an unrewarding job or contribute substantially to the work of running a household. She’s likely to recruit maids, cooks, and nannies to do the heavy lifting.  

Less an adult than an overgrown child, she is a play-at-home wife. She spends her days frolicking in the garden with her golden ball—getting her hair done, chatting with friends at Starbucks, and doing the downward dog before the admiring eyes of the creepy guy in the back row of her yoga class while your own butt gets bigger from all the hours you log in the office, supporting her self-indulgent lifestyle.  

Be very careful, men, because a certain portion of the female population is using books like The Rules: Time Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right as a dating guide, and these women have been pointedly instructed to “act independent so he doesn’t feel like you are expecting him to take care of you.” It’s always a shame to see a good man get duped by a Princess. 

In fact, in order to help you avoid being faked out in this way, I've created a brief assessment tool based on my observations of the "Princess" pattern of behavior. The Princess Assessment Scale is not scientifically validated, but I'm confident that if you ask yourself these questions, you will be able to accurately identify the Princesses among us. 

Dr. Shauna Springer's PAS (Princess Assessment Scale) 

1. Do they spend (or argue they should be able to spend) what most people would consider a large amount of money attending to their appearance (shopping, paying for an ongoing series of expensive beauty treatments)? Yes = 1 point 

2. Do they do their fair share of the crappy chores in life (as opposed to consistently delegating this to others…their partners, nannies, housekeepers, etc.)? No = 1 point. 

3. Do they yearn to "be discovered" in some role that puts them at the center of admiration or creates a group of "fans" (e.g. to star on American Idol or work as an actress)?  Yes = 1 point

4. Can they delay gratification? No = 1 point. 

5. Do they expect others to provide for them? Yes = 1 point

6. Are they overly focused on shallow things like physical looks and material wealth? Yes = 1 point

7. Do they point out how other women they know are treated like princesses by their husbands (implying that you need to get with the program if you want to stay happily married)? Yes = 1 point. 

8. Do they engage in a high degree of social comparison and do they work very hard to appear more successful than others (especially those of their age and stage of life)? Yes = 1 point. 

9. Do they work towards life goals that require discipline and sustained energy? No = 1 point. 

10. Do they fixate on, fantasize about, or idolize sex objects like Marilyn Monroe, women like Jackie Onassis, or others who have incredible luxury and wealth by virtue of their sex appeal or marriages to rich men? Yes = 1 point. 

11. Do they spend most of their time playing (e.g. chatting with friends at Starbucks, socializing, throwing parties, attending parties) instead of shouldering their share of the burdens in life? Yes = 1 point. 

12. Are they extremely preoccupied with either the size of their engagement ring ("I need it to be at least 1 carat, hopefully 3 or 4") or do they expect a proposal that requires a large financial expense ("I want someone to propose to me at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris")? Yes = 1 point. 

13. Can they handle their own emotions of disappointment in a mature way without lashing out, being defensive, or blaming others for their problems? No = 1 point. 

14. Do they base their treatment of you on your compliance with their princess expectations ("maybe I'd treat you better if you treated me like a princess")? Yes = 1 point.  

 

Scoring the PAS: Add up the total points. More than 4 points and you may have a princess on your hands, more than 6 points and you almost certainly do. More than 6-8 points on the PAS and it may be wise to take a pass on committing to the person you just evaluated. (Unless they can prove over a long period of time that they can grow up and be a fully functional partner in a marriage). 

© 2012 PAS by Dr. Shauna Springer. All rights reserved. 

 

Can a Princess be a male? Yes, absolutely. The male counterpart of a Princess is what my sister and I refer to as a "GLUM," which stands for "good-looking, under-functioning male." In the world of a GLUM, all that ought to be required of him is to radiate his obvious studliness. Charming and smooth, with beguiling looks, a GLUM is least likely to be found in any place where chores are actively being completed. When it’s time to do the dishes, he backs out of the kitchen with a boyish smile while saying, “I know better than to get between a woman and her kitchen!”  

GLUMS look to the women in their lives to do not only the chores but also the mental work of managing the family’s needs. GLUMS are mental free loaders. The result for their wives is that the GLUMs begin to feel like additional children to manage and tend, which is a far cry from participating in a marriage of equals. Before they start leeching off their partners, they are sometimes found in other blood sucking roles—perhaps living in the pool house of a wealthy person, perpetually "looking to break into the acting or modeling scene" (but really, spending much of their days floating in the pool). It's possible that 9/10ths of the men who appear on reality TV shows are in fact GLUMS—it just may be their natural habitat. 

Just as I created a "Princess Assessment Scale," it might be very helpful to have a "GLUM Assessment Scale" (the acronym "GAS" is fitting because it really stinks to be married to a GLUM and wouldn’t it be useful to have PAS/GAS scales?). I'd like to issue a reader challenge to accomplish this. What items would you suggest for the "GAS?" What are the distinguishing characteristics of a GLUM?  

Some of the items may overlap with items on the "PAS." For example, "Do they work towards life goals that require discipline and sustained energy?" would be an item that would help us identify both Princesses and GLUMS. There are other items that would not apply, for example: "Are they extremely preoccupied with either the size of their engagement ring or do they expect a proposal that requires a large financial expense?"  

What unique items do you think would identify GLUMS? If you're inclined, submit suggested GLUM-identifying questions as "Comments" to this Blog.  I'll review what you submit, compile the "GAS" based on some of the items you suggest, and provide the results in a future blog post.         

To sum up, for anyone looking to avoid marrying a Princess or a GLUM, I would suggest assessing your partner's sense of fairness before you get married. Does your partner have a sense of justice, and is he or she moved to correct injustices that are in his or her control? Does your partner consider men and women equal? If so, how does this value show up in how your partner treats the opposite sex? Does your partner have a good work ethic, and does he or she make efforts to do a fair share of the chores and the most boring tasks you have to manage together while dating? If your partner does not place a high value on fairness, and does not have a belief in true gender equality, you are much more likely to end up cleaning all the toilets in the house for the rest of your life.  

Shauna Springer, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist, relationship and lifestyle researcher, and author of Marriage, for Equals: The Successful Joint (Ad)Ventures of Well-Educated Couples. more...

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