Once upon a time, a beautiful, intelligent woman fell in love with an ogre, because that’s what beautiful, intelligent women are supposed to do.
Her name was Juliette. She was blue-eyed, with an oval face and light brown hair. Her nose was straight, symmetrical and just the right size. Her bachelor’s degree hung demurely on her bedroom wall. The rose-coloured glasses she’d had since she was young and innocent sat on the bridge of her nose, making everything seem even better than it was.
His name was Urg, because that was the sound he mostly made. His fur was long, coarse and matted somewhat around his nether regions. When he farted, children fainted. When he smiled at Juliette in the pub, she swooned. Unfortunately, she assumed that this meant love, rather than intoxication and airborne poisons from chronic bad breath.
So Juliette loved Urg. She loved him with a devotion that the stars and planets themselves could envy. He moved into her flat. She cooked him dinners. She picked up his dirt-and-other-stuff-besmeared-undies from the kitchen table, the TV, and any other place it pleased him to throw them. She did his laundry and paid his credit card bill and bought him a mobile phone, and considered herself the luckiest woman in the world.
Urg, on the other hand, wasn’t particularly happy. Juliette didn’t have sex with him nearly often enough. She circled job ads in the newspaper for him. She encouraged him to bathe. He growled. He sulked. He started to throw completely understandable tantrums whenever she made an unreasonable demand. And Juliette smiled, and thought that all ogres were the same, you had to take the good with the bad. After all, he loved her – deeply, madly, truly.
“You don’t have to date an ogre, you know,” said Juliette’s friend Marge. “I mean, you could date a human being.”
“Oh goodness, what an idea!” dreamed Juliette, “But you know all the good ones are chasing after fairies and elves. No, Urg loves me, he’s just a bit troubled. Growing up as an ogre, you know.”
Marge sighed, shook her head, and shut the hell up.
Three years of not-quite-bliss (nothing like it, in fact) later, Juliette asked Urg to marry her.
“Urg…” said Urg, as he watched the football.
Juliette started shopping for the dress.
Urg played World of Warcraft, and wondered vaguely where his dinner was.
“Ummm…” said Marge, “does Urg know he’s getting married?”
“Of course!” scoffed Juliette. “He’s an ogre, not an idiot!”
Juliette poked Urg to distract him from WoW for a second. Without a sideways glance, Urg backhanded her across the room.
“Urg” said Juliette (grunting, not talking to her fiance). “I shouldn’t ave poked him.”
Marge was horrified. “I told you not to date a stupid ogre! He’s beating you!”
“Yes, but only when I need it,” said Juliette, reasonably. “And he’s an ogre, it’s affectionate. Don’t be silly, Marge, I’m going to be a bride! Can’t you be happy for me?” And she skipped away happily, only a little lopsided where her ankle was a tiny bit sprained.
Juliette was euphorically happy. So was Urg, who’d just killed an elf and gotten all of his treasure (on WoW this time).
“FOOOOOOOOD!!!!” yelled Urg.
“Coming!” shouted Juliette.
Urg sniffed at the fettucini and threw it at the wall. “URG!” he stated, emphatically.
“URRRGG!” he yelled at her, and knocked her across the room again. But this time, he knocked her glasses off, and they smashed on the floor. Juliette shook her head muzzily, and stared at him again.
“Why, you’re nothing but a stupid violent ogre!” she yelled, and hit Urg over the head with a baseball bat. Urg wasn’t hurt, but he was a little surprised. Then she hit him in the groin, and all the matted fur in the world didn’t stop that one hurting.
“URGGGGG!” he screamed, and lumbered out of the house, never to be seen again.
Juliette cried, and looked around without her glasses. The world looked so dreary without them. Everything was so grey, and ugly, and scary-looking. The glasses had made it all so pretty… and this was what it was really like?
Marge walked up the path and, seeing the door in splinters from Urg’s escape, advanced carefully up the hall. “Juliette?” she called tentatively.
Juliette hunched and hesitated to turn, wondering what her best friend would look like without the glasses. Eventually she turned around. Lo and behold – her friend looked exactly the same. In a world of blah and grey, Marge stood out like a rose. “Marge, I broke my glasses!” she cried.
“Awwww, don’t worry about those stupid things!” said Marge. “There’s a new elf bar opened downtown… let’s go perve!”
And Juliette laughed, and put on her coat, and figured that life wasn’t so bad with a few good friends and a new pair of shoes now and then.