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Washington Voices

Front Porch: Cramps, comments, and a crown

Thu., Dec. 1, 2011

Wearily, I dumped my briefcase in the corner and shrugged my overnight bag onto the bed. I’d been away from home working on my book.

As I sat down on the edge of the bed to shuck my shoes, a flash of glitter caught my eye. A sparkling tiara rested on my pillow.

Now, I’ve never been a Lilac Princess or a Prom Queen, and I most certainly am not a morning person. Yet every day before he leaves for work my husband, Derek, kisses me and says, “Good morning, Princess.”

After almost 26 years of marriage, he decided to make it official. He went out and bought me a crown and left it on my pillow to welcome me home.

Smiling, I placed it on my head and went to the kitchen to cook dinner. My sons loved my Queen Mum look, and I found I sat up straighter and walked taller while wearing my tiara.

I took to randomly wearing it around the house, and one day I accidentally left it on when I went to pick up my son, Sam, from school. We drove to the library and while several patrons took quick second looks, no one commented on my crown. Not even the librarians who see me every week.

Librarians are known for decorum and discretion. And perhaps I wasn’t the only tiara-wearing patron in yoga pants and a hoodie who checked out books that day. But Spokanites as a whole are notoriously nonchalant. Could it be that residents just aren’t impressed by royalty – even pseudo princesses?

I decided to wear my crown on Saturday while running errands with Derek to gauge the reaction of fellow shoppers.

Our first stop was delivering turkey noodle soup to my mother. “Thank you,” she said, as I handed her the soup. “Why are you wearing a crown?”

Mothers notice these things. “Derek says I’m a princess,” I answered, and quickly realized that I needed a better response to that question.

Turns out I really didn’t need any kind of response. Spokanites for the most part, are walk-by commenters.

A few minutes later as I filled out a deposit slip at the bank, the woman next to me whispered, “You have a tiara. Super awesome.” She didn’t make eye-contact and quickly walked away.

The teller, however, asked if it was my birthday. Apparently, wearing a tiara on your birthday is more common than I knew, because a lady at Costco asked me the same question. She didn’t wait for an answer. She just squealed, “I LOVE it!”

When we got in line to pay for our purchases, the cashier asked, “Is it Princess Day?”

“Every day is Princess Day, according to my husband,” I replied. This generated a lot of “ohs” and “aws” from the folks in line behind us. And Derek beamed.

At our next stop a lady grabbed my arm as she walked by and said, “Nice crown! Is it real?”

While I tried to formulate a response, she said, “Say it is, OK?”

“Yes. It’s real,” I said, and gave her my patented princess wave. I’d worked hard on the wave, which is a cross between the standard figure-eight beauty queen wave and the papal blessing. I wished I’d brought some glitter dust to trail along behind me.

I wasn’t surprised to find that men were much less likely to comment. When we stopped by the movie theater where my nephew works he gave me a hug, glanced at my tiara, but didn’t mention my flashy headgear.

However, one gentleman at our neighborhood grocery store made my day. He leaned in to the cashier and said, “She’s a princess. She shouldn’t have to pay full price.”

Sadly, the store wasn’t offering a royal discount.

By the end of the day I understood why Shakespeare’s King Henry IV said, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

Even a lightweight rhinestone tiara can make your head ache after a while. In addition, as the day wore on, I got a cramp in my smile muscles and my wrist grew sore from waving.

It isn’t easy to be part of imaginary royalty. From now on I think I’ll confine my crown-wearing to home. Being my husband’s princess is a lot less work and it’s more than enough for me.

Contact Cindy Hval at

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