“you have to kiss a lot of frogs”

My informant does not know where this proverb originated, but assumes it comes from the old theme of “prince charming,” the staple character in many different fairy tales.  She thinks it most likely stems from the story about the princess that kissed a frog, who then turned into a prince and they lived happily ever after.  Kathy interprets this proverb to mean that you must always keep trying, in every aspect of life.  The phrase is usually said in reference to one’s romantic life, meaning you must “kiss a lot of frogs” before you find the one that you want to spend the rest of your life with.  But with every situation in life, there will be obstacles and problems.  You must continue to always keep trying and you will find the perfect fit.

Kathy said this proverb to her daughter Lauren.  Although it did apply to her romantic life, my informant was referring to other aspects of her daughter’s life as well.  Kathy was mainly referring to Lauren’s attempt to finding a career.  In 2007, Lauren did not like the job that she had.  Lauren also did not like both jobs she had previous to that.  She is on her third frog and has still not found her prince.  Kathy said it to Lauren to try to be encouraging, telling her “you are just kissing frogs right now, trying things out.  So far none of the jobs have been your nirvana but you have to get out there and keep trying and eventually you’ll find your prince.”  My informant remembers this phrase and continues to use it because she believes it to be very encouraging.  In hindsight, she claims that she is so happy with her life decisions and situation because she had persistence and motivation to keep trying until satisfied.

I interpret this proverb in the same way as Kathy.  At first it seems as though it only references one’s romantic life, but there is a deeper meaning.  The proverb is applicable to so many different aspects of life.  It is a motivational proverb, paralleling with “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again,” and just the idea of persistence, ambition, and not giving up.  When implied to reference a person’s love life, it also parallels the proverb “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  The princess may be able to see something in that frog that is invisible to others.  The fact that he turns into a handsome prince after she kisses him acts almost as a reward for not acting in a shallow fashion.