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Sunday, January 18, 2009
So You Want To Marry A Mermaid?
Mermaids. Nixies. Merrow. Sirens. Rusalka. Sea Nymphs. Almost every culture has their version of watery women whose irresistible embrace proves detrimental to the poor fisherman who happens to fall in love with one.
Sometimes, the seduction (and pursuant fatality) is deliberate. Odysseus' Sirens fall squarely into that category. That type I highly recommend avoiding, for obvious reasons, but I have found they are in the minority. No, most mermaids can't help that they drive men to madness, destitution or drink... it's just their nature.
There are, however, a few simple tips for understanding and avoiding these potential pitfalls if you've found yourself in the position of falling in love with one of these fishy femmes fatales. You poor bastard.
7 Simple Rules For Dating A Water Nymph:
Give her things. Shiny things. Things that smell nice when added to baths. Mirrors and jewellery and small tasty edibles. Even insofar as your average landbound lady likes gifts, they are
to the care of the mermaid in your life.
Never raise your hand or your voice to her in anger. Harsh words wound her as deeply as a knife edge, and mermaids never, ever forget a slight (a trait they have in common with most of the Fair Folk).
If you do happen to harm her in this way, you must treat the wound seriously, apologize sincerely, and patch her up as quickly and as effectively as you can; otherwise, the damage to her heart may never fully heal and she will grow more and more distant and resentful of you.
Be prepared to weather the tempests. "Moody" is not a sufficient word to describe the giddy highs and black melancholies of a merrow. Emotions can shift in a moment, from glass to gale, with no warning and seemingly no reason. The trick is to ride out the storm, be calm and gentle and loving, and trust that it will end... eventually... and she will be back to the adoring fey creature you fell in love with.
Accept that she will hurt you deeply without meaning to, and that you will hurt her deeply without meaning to. Even the nicest, sweetest nixie does not fully understand or share your human concepts of what is cruel and what is not. She will hurt you with her words and her silences and her moods and her absences. It is not personal and you must not take it personally.
Conversely, you will say and do things that to you seem harmless but reduce her to angry tears; in this case, as with rule #2, treat the wound with love even if you don't understand why she is so hurt. The important thing is that
she really is
that hurt, and needs you.
Speaking of absences -- and this is probably the most important rule --
you can never truly possess a mermaid
. She will never be yours, really, not in any accepted human sense. Even if you do marry and have a happy family, you must understand that she could leave it behind with a flick of her tail and then come back months (or years) later and act as though nothing had changed.
This is usually the hardest thing for a mortal man to accept... that his merwife can love him deeply but still require time away from him in her own element. Many men have tried to cage or chain their sea-maids, and while it may work for a time she always eventually slips his grasp and leaves him heartbroken. No, your best option (and it takes a man of great courage and strength to do this) is to accept her need for space, open the door, and leave the light on for when she comes back.... which, if she truly loves you and you have given her her freedom, she will. She just needs to be herself for awhile.
If you have been so foolish as to attempt a union with a mermaid and treated her badly or tried to confine her, and she has left you, you will forever be a broken man. Accept this fact. She will take your heart with her back to her home and you will never heal from her loss.
Many men, having lost their water nymph, dissolve into alcoholism or other escapes. Others simply kill themselves. I cannot overstate the impact losing a mermaid-wife will have on you... so if you do not intend to follow the rules, do not even attempt the union. It will destroy you. For all of their odd moods and frustrations and sensitivities, when you have experienced the innocent pure love of a nymph, mortal women will never measure up. Beware.
This rule comes from the lips of a man who himself has endured... I mean, enjoyed... the love of a merlady and has had a (mostly) successful relationship with her for years. His advice for anyone smitten with the scales is simply to believe in her -- really, honestly believe in her. Take her needs seriously, support her in her dreams and always keep in mind that she is a special creature. Never forget that, for if you falter and begin to treat her like a normal mortal woman, everything will be lost. It sounds simple, but it is not.
In closing, unions with watery women are difficult, stormy, frustrating and potentially dangerous to one's own sanity. So why would anyone ever try it?
Ah, if you ask that question... you've never looked into the eyes of a mermaid, have you? Lucky.
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