Monthly Archives: February 2011

XXFactored Feb2011: Defying V-Day Month With Sugar Mamas, Smart Girls & DIY

February, month of Valentine’s day and mush-mania from the media. I’m determined not to add to that deluge of pink teddy bears, silk hearts, roses and chocolates. Here’s presenting my picks for the short n’ spicy month of the year:

  • The Rise Of The Sugar Mama (via YourTango).
  • I’m actually flattered as I think a smart woman would be if she read on to page 2: Thought Catalog on why you should date an illiterate girl (link courtesy Alfred Lee).
  • A good piece on innovative alternate uses for everyday products in beauty/fashion. (via Vintage Obsession)
  • This is so not good news for us. Ladies, what’s this strange fascination we have with mystery (the more dangerous, the better)?: “Want to pique a date’s interest: Play hard to get” (via LiveScience)
  • Sexual success dampens criminal behaviour. It’s not so much ‘calming influence of marriage’ as it is ‘ambition fulfiled’. (via The Economist)
  • “Admirer Calls out Girl’s Facebook Status ‘Im so sick of boys being such dicks”…and ‎….and the comment-war that follows touching on everything from boy-girl relationships, online venting and Digg vs Redditt. (via Digg)
  • An erotic writer writing as a man experiencing a woman. Gender lines crossing all over. (via RamyaRanee)
  • We’re not a stockinged country but everyone loves legs (yes, we women do too!) and I love graphs in pop culture. So here’s presenting a matrix of stocking styles. “What your hosiery says about you” (via The Frisky)

How To Break Up

I read an article which touched a raw nerve. The article had tips on how to break-up while avoiding the discomfort of the whole process. Now, having gone through this so very many times, I can attest to the fact that practice does not make perfect. There is no easy way to dump someone or get dumped for that matter. In either case you look bad. It is uncomfortable for both parties.

That should perhaps be one’s solace, that no one is the ‘winner’ in this. It’s a relationship that needs termination, not a race or a war – at least I hope it hasn’t reached that stage. Even in the worst, most unpleasant situations, try and remember that there must have been some nice moments with the person. That’s probably preachy and I can’t live up to that always, myself, so I’ll try another tack.

Speaking out of pure practical intent, if it’s over, the person and the relationship do not deserve any more time and attention invested in them. Make a clean break, it is really the simplest thing to do. Elaborate farces, heavy emotional drama all of them take their toll…or at very least require you to do SOMETHING…anything.

And finally I think anybody who has been close to you, even briefly deserves the dignity of the truth, at least. Leaving a person with empty questions is consigning a shitload of emotional baggage to their lot. Maybe that’s what you want after how they’ve made you feel…but really, how much do you gain over making a person think of you everyday, badly? I’d rather they don’t think of me at all than think of me maliciously.

Don’t bother with the blame-game (how does it matter who is responsible anyway? Believe me you’re going to feel just as shitty about it, whether you acknowledge it or not). And honestly, honestly it does not matter who actually verbalises it, partings are generally painful anyway.

As for how they are going to react, if you’re breaking up with them, why should it matter anymore? I tell myself that…and yes, I’m a person who can’t handle other people’s emotional scenes and tears. They are responsible for their behaviour but you are responsible for yours.

I’m all for a clean break, the simple truth, served up direct without frills.

Being at peace with yourself is often a function of how cleanly you’ve lived your choices. Think of all that, the next time you need to call a halt to a relationship.

———————————————————————————————–

*An earlier version was posted here. One version appears on Yahoo! Real Beauty.

Fallen Eve

To ‘the one special woman’,

You are the stuff of memories that never fade, rust or get forgotten. You are the overriding factor above everything hormonal, practical, emotional, logical and fair. Indeed, you must be special.

I’ve been thinking about you a lot. Do you know who I am? I am the one who he leaves to chase you. Or the one who battles with the insurmountable statue of you up on the pedestal. I am the real-world girlfriend. I spend the boring, traffic-laden, polluted days with him while he reminisces about the special candlit dinner-violin serenaded moments with you.

Actually we’ve met a few times. Once you were a good friend who toyed with the idea of him while I stood around waiting and then handed him back to me, slightly soiled, a few months later. The thing is you gave back to me his bruised ego to heal but not the fragments of his heart. That you kept for yourself and I’ll never be able to touch them.

Some other times you’re a stranger, nice and pleasant. You are never off-balance, never irrational, you never scream like a banshee. No, I do that….after all, security brings a level of peace and calm and I wouldn’t know what that looked like.

A lot of other times we haven’t actually met or even spoken. I’ve looked at photographs of you, heard about you from friends (and from him) and wondered a great deal about what you must have that I don’t. You aren’t prettier. Or smarter. Or nicer. Or more loving. But in his memories, you are incomparable.

I’ve thrown in the towel a while ago. I can’t compete with a memory. Or perceived perfection. I am real. Flawed, inconsistent, imperfect. I have acne, PMS, extra inches around my tummy, doubtful taste. I’m the real thing. Well…that can never compare with the poetry of a fantasy, can it?

Your position isn’t exactly a complete one either. For you do know what will happen the minute you succumb? You’ll turn into me. I guess you know. Which is why you let this state exist as it is. I guess it is better to be adored from a distance than ignored right to your face.

Do I sound bitter? Yes, I am. Very. I wanted someone to want to settle down with me, not settle for me. No one wants to feel like a consolation prize.

My Best Friend’s wedding‘ was about me. But I am not always like that. The platitude talks about wanting happiness for someone you love, even if it is not with you. I aspire to do that, even if I don’t always succeed. Believe me, if you think its difficult being friends with me, you have no clue what its like for me to battle envy and resentment and like you for who you are. Well, you are likeable. Which makes it even more difficult.

I won’t ever tell you this to your face. Why, I wouldn’t even admit to him that he’s important enough to me to colour my thoughts of another person. But I feel it. I guess all I have left is the thought that….

Eve’s greatest enemy isn’t Adam
But another Eve

Even if you are a better woman than I am, I love him more than you ever will. Now if only, he’d understand that. But that probably doesn’t matter.

Signed,
The ordinary woman

——————————————————————————————-

An earlier version of this post is here. A version is also posted at Yahoo! Real Beauty.

Press Cutting

You’re in trouble when you start believing your own good press.

But you’re a woman when you start believing your own bad press.

What we girls need is a little less guilt and tad more thoughtlessness.

A version is posted to Yahoo! Real Beauty.

Not So Ugly Valentine’s Day Truths

How ironical is it to watch a movie called ‘The Ugly Truth’…censored? Minus the hot scenes, it feels caricatured, artificial and silly. Hmm, just like real life. So my dear children, here are my lessons for today:

  • Love isn’t pretty. Or neat or tidy. It has dirty fingernails (which are jagged), it’s a little less rectangular and more square than you imagined. But square is comforting. It’s surprising.
  • Fighting happens. Bickering happens. And not in the cute romcom way. Clashes happen in hurtful, devastating, ‘I’ll regret this all my life’ ways. You may break up at the end of the day. If you don’t, it’s love. As basic as that.
  • Yes, men are stubborn, egoistic, childish and silly. And women are moody, bitchy, manipulative and silly. Sometimes the adjectives interchange. Anyone who seems like they’re out a fairytale is lying. Bet on it.
  • Valentine’s Day is the annual bonus for retailers, media companies, restaurants and entertainment moguls. It’s a ploy by politicians to gain some publicity (and votes, hopefully). But it is a day that celebrates love.
  • The same guy who can’t find five minutes in the day to speak to you,  will run to the chemist when you sneeze. He’ll crib about having to keep the air-conditioning down when you’re around but he’ll hold you, unflinchingly in the stifling heat when you’re hungover. Men are mind-boggling.
  • The same girl who is too cool for Valentine’s day, who revels in singledom (even after she’s not) and has a 125% booked social calendar would prefer to snuggle up with a blanket and watch ‘Guess who’s coming to dinner’ on a weekend. Okay, women are mind-boggling too.

The truth isn’t ugly. It’s just bigger than you think. Just like love. Don’t let the pink teddies *bleurgggh* make you puke. Don’t go blind on the red hearts and try not to get lynched by a political mob for buying cheesy gifts. It’s just another day in the year; heck, it’s Monday! If you know someone whose smile makes you feel better, speak to them. That’s all Valentine’s day needs to be.

Alternately, you could get out a good book and your favorite comfort food. Love for self comes before all. Have a great day!

To Marry Or Not To Marry, That Is The Question

Recently a friend explained why he doesn’t believe in the institution of marriage. He can’t stand the political dynamics that are natural to any family, the complication of multiple opinions and agendas and the excessive rituals. I can’t say I agree. I know there is a common notion (further popularized by pop culture) that women are programmed to love the idea of marriage, due to the paraphernalia of weddings. But those aren’t my reasons for believing in marriage.

First of all, I distinguish the wedding from the marriage. The wedding is the formalization, the ceremony that symbolizes that two people are henceforth bound together, socially and legally. Customs may vary but this is the fundamental purpose of every single wedding ceremony conducted over the world. It is a ritual and like all other rituals, it only has as much significance as the people carrying it out, attach to it. It is true that no paper or custom can ensure or create a fulfilling union between two people. That has to be built by the two people in question, bit by agonizing, confusing, wearying bit.

Let’s look at marriage itself, beyond the rituals, beyond the superficialities of sindoor and rings. It is the meeting and combining of two people’s lives. It is the merging of assets, of tangible ones like money & possessions and of intangibles like career, eating habits, lifestyle choices etc.

Take the most basic human action of eating. Everyone does it. It’s difficult enough to decide on one meal to be shared by two people (eating place, seating, cuisine, taste, spice, vegetarian/non-vegetarian etc). How much more complicated it would be to repeat this for the rest of the two people’s lives? Multiply that several thousandfold for every other aspect of life above food.

This alone tells me that the only sensible way to start is to do it in an organized manner. Marriage signifies just that, with several of the supposedly meaningless rituals providing a framework for two people to undertake this arduous venture. I’d say that’s a template at best and can (and should) be customized to the couple’s requirements.

Considering what a massive undertaking this is, it’s only prudent to account for issues and breakdowns. I think it’s a fool’s errand to go starry-eyed into something as big as a lifelong relationship and assume blithely that everything will work out in a ‘happily ever after’ way. Marriages are not always happy. Unions are not guaranteed to work. Compatibility may not last. While a relationship should only be undertaken with the hopes of it working, the possibility that it may not should also be borne in mind.

What then of two lives that were joint together (or at least attempted to)? The division of those aforementioned assets is yet another complicated exercise, one that often consumes the people involved, completely and leaves everyone dissatisfied. There’s no easy way to unite or to end emotional involvement; that bit is always going to be bloody. It seems wise to at least sort of the relatively easier things like possessions and even that’s not easy. A formal ritual strikes me as the process that can be closed most cleanly. If at this juncture, the law must be brought in as an impartial third party, it is only fair to have it be a party to the union right at the start, which is the legal wedding ritual.

Personally, I may have the temerity to go against society and the strength to survive a messy breakdown, outside the structure of marriage. However, I cannot guarantee the same for my children. It doesn’t feel fair for me to thrust my life’s choices and their consequences onto my children, even before they choose it for themselves. Society still isn’t easy on the children of a single parent, especially an unmarried one, never mind an unmarried mother. Whether I ever have children or not is immaterial. This is far too important for me to overlook what might be even a remote possibility.

I won’t (and haven’t) run around desperately in search of a partner to sucker him into the grand party of a wedding. I’ve lived a reasonably happy single life for many years. However, if I decide to build a lifelong relationship with a man, marriage is the only way I’d consider going about it.

———————————————————————————————————–

A version of this article is posted at Yahoo! Real Beauty.

You Can’t Hurry Love…Or A Man!

Phil Collins tells me that,

“You can’t hurry love, you just have to wait. Love don’t come easy, it’s a game of give and take.”

A friend’s mother imparts the following wisdom on men and marriage,

“Don’t expect any kind of sense for about 3 years. After that they kind of settle down.”

PATIENCE is a virtue, apparently a prized one for a woman. Me? I never met a man who didn’t make me, within hours, want to bang my head on the wall. Irrespective of how much I liked him. I think men are like that. Born to annoy.

How does thou annoy me? Let’s count. (In no particular order of priority, they’re all equally irksome)

  • Stubbornness
  • Bird-watching
  • Commitment-phobia
  • Juvenile jokes (toilet humour, anyone?)
  • Bad taste in clothes, furniture, colors, everything!
  • Complete cluelessness about the concept of ‘Conversation’
  • Hormone surges (okay, cross that, it isn’t always a problem)
  • EEEEEEGO (with a huge, big, monstrous, mammoth of an E)
  • Mixed-up priorities (“Let’s go watch the match now!”, “Why do you need to shop again?”)
  • The gall to comment on my taste (“Haha, your brown lipstick looks like you’ve eaten mud!”)

Phewwww..*Deeeeep breath* I think I’m forgetting. I’ve never been high on patience anyway. Some day, some day, some day I’ll learn to tolerate a man being a man. And not keep looking into those starry-eyes and asking,

“Okay, have we grown-up as yet?”

—————————————————————————————————————

An earlier version is here. A version is also posted at Yahoo! Real Beauty.

There’s A Woman Behind The Wheel!

So gender jokes and misogynistic statements are now politically incorrect. But few people seem to have any qualms bitching about women drivers. These are usually accompanied by rolling of the eyes and a knowing nod (from the listener). I find it hard to believe that in this day and age of rational thought and scientific evidence, people can still think that a person may be a bad driver simply because she’s a woman. Driving is a skill (just like swimming, cooking, painting, mathematical thinking), one that involves a sense of direction, co-ordination, space, speed and timing in addition to knowledge of using the vehicle. How could it be gender-specific?

One thing that is notable though, is the harassment that is meted out to a woman on the road, even in a so-called ‘safe’ city like Mumbai. When I’m trying to cross the road, I find drivers often speed up in an attempt to ‘scare’ me. I know this because when I jump, they usually laugh and often even slow down just to show that they were just doing it for a joke. To aggravate the matter further, when I then try to cross, the behavior continues and my only alternative is to wait for the boors to pass before trying to cross.

A woman behind the wheel, faces a vehicular version of the same thing. I’ve seen drivers swing in alarmingly close, try to cut off, lane-change and blare their horns unnecessarily when they notice the person in the driving seat is a woman. I know all of these are visible to any driver; it just seems a lot more when the driver is female. As above, these are usually accompanied by jeers, laughter and even offensive gestures. So the average woman driver has to contend with bad roads, traffic jams, pollution and noise and above all that, harassment too. How many men would drive well if they were subjected to the same thing, every minute that they were on the road?

There is any number of bad drivers on the road and yes, some of them are women. But it’s preposterous to label the entire gender as being bad drivers. The accident rates don’t show any discernable differences between offenders of either gender. That makes me want to think women on an average, may be better drivers (and not worse) since they handle a more stressful situation with the same degree of success (or failure). Male chauvinists, think before you make a wisecrack about lady drivers – this time the joke’s on you.

—————————————————————————————————————–

A version is also posted on Yahoo! Real Beauty.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,077 other followers

%d bloggers like this: