Category Archives: The Dating Game
We meet and we part. And sometimes we stay. All the rules, the victories (and the casualties) of these games we play.
This wasn’t a perfect Valentine’s month. But then, last February was and look how that turned out. Still, I got through it (this one and last year). The journey back to life is neither neat nor straight. At least it wasn’t boring. Here’s what kept me company along the way:
- A truly howl-a-rious thought in tweet via Chandani Agarwal.
- A year ago, I struggled with the burden of the label ‘fiance’. Now I find other people have felt the same burden of the even heavier label of ‘wife’. An interesting perspective gets added by the gay community reclaiming some of these words.: ‘Labels of Married Life, in a New Light‘ (via NYTimes)
- Books and dating – my two favorite topics!: ‘What your Bookshelf says about you to a Date ‘ (via HowAboutWe)
- This sounds like a relationship-in-denial to me, but what the hell? ‘Flirtationship’ is a great word!: ‘20 Signs You’re in a Flirtationship‘ (via Thought Catalog)
- I’d love to know who agrees with this: ‘What your favorite sex position REALLY says about you‘ (via HowAboutWe)
- In my teens, I’ve been pressurized to wear a dupatta ‘properly’ (read: across both shoulders with the bulk of the fabric hanging down covering torso) in Chennai. In the same conversations, I was also told the value of ‘addakam’ (loosely translated as restraint in Tamil) to a woman’s character. I see the connection in this piece, do you?: ‘Tied up in knots: The many meanings of the dupatta ‘ (via The Sunday Guardian)
- Stereotypes. Entertainment. There’s a connection, isn’t there? This is a comprehensive breakdown of every female stereotype and pop culture examples of each.: ‘The Female Character Flowchart‘ (via Overthinking It)
- A common theme in popular fashion poses is to portray the woman as ‘weak, slightly insane and even deranged’. Yolanda Dominguez’s project ‘Poses’ captures real women in daily situations in these poses to highlight this fact.: ‘What Model Poses would look like in Real Life‘ (via Messy Nessy Chic)
- If it’s written by a woman and talks about love & relationships, it’s ChickLit. And what if it’s written by a man?: ‘Women in Love, Only if You’re DH Lawrence‘ (via Annie Zaidi).
“Women writers could go out and wrench such columns for themselves by building a body of work in non-fiction that makes them difficult to ignore. That would mean hardcore research. That would mean a lot of time and energy taken away from creating fiction. This is not impossible to do. But given that their male counterparts get away with merely having opinions, it is also not fair.”
I think it would be fair to say that in my choices in the opposite sex, I’ve been a ‘brains’ person, a girl who liked geeks. In those personality quiz thingies, my answers have leant in the direction of Einstein & Socrates rather than Brad Pitt & Adonis. My men have all been talkers, thinkers even but not exactly lookers.
This month I tried something different – a good-looking, handsome hunkish, visual treat of a man. He fits all the acceptable norms of male attractiveness. Height – check, long legs – check, sharp facial profile – check, full head of luxuriant hair – check, long graceful fingers – check, nice butt – ooh, check, check, CHECK! Complete nayansukh as the ladies who tweet would have it. Bonus points for a traffic-stopping strut and a deep, warm laugh. And let’s be honest, my brain did the checklist on this long after he was out of sight and after much detailed *ahem* perusal. When he’s around, the most it manages is,
“Ooh, that is one nice looking man, that is!”
Well, it is true that he also is a good conversationalist and has an interesting opinion on everything from movies and food to quantum theory and religion. That certainly explains our great conversations. But when I ask myself what I like best about him, I have to admit that it’s that he’s so darn easy on the eyes.
For the first time in my life, I’m completely okay with it. He is so much *not* my usual type but I think I’ve had enough of heartbreak and drama from that type. Well, actually never mind the justification, who needs one to marvel at a piece of human beauty? It’s infinitely pleasurable and damn the accusations of shallowness. My eyes need as much nourishment as my brain, I’ve decided, and my brain gets more than adequate stimulation.
I wonder if I’m being disrespectful or condescending. After all, I would not like a man to think of me this way. On the other hand, I’m utterly frank in my open admiration of this man, not the kind of behaviour most women exhibit to most men. Is that not a sign of being treated differently, even specially? This association is too nascent and we’re too new to each other at the moment. But I could learn to savour this beauty; I am a lover of art after all. And then my interest which turned to admiration may turn to worshipful devotion too. Why should that be any less meaningful than the respect of the intellect? Both are things that human beings are born with, after all.
We are with other people because ultimately, they fulfil some need in us – companionship, boredom, respect, relatableness etc. If one can be entertained, charmed and even made happy by watching a movie, if one can be inspired by great art, why may it not be plausible that a perfectly satisfactory time may be spent with someone who pleases your eyes instead of your ears?
I’m still trying to decide whether my behaviour is decidedly regressive or aggressively feminist. Do tell.
I’ve really spent 2012 so self-absorbed, haven’t I? In my defense, I got into the utlra hot-and-heavy of commitment, did the deep soul-searching that everyone does after getting engaged (don’t they?), hit rock bottom with a break-up, wrote plenty of mournful stuff, bored myself and got back with the ‘Really now, are you over *all* the drama finally?’ and here I am. So yes, I haven’t really spent much of the year looking at other people and their relationships and what they think of them. But a new year is here with new people, new problems and adventures of the heart. And I’m promising to bring back the social butterfly that I and this blog have always been. Let’s start with a round-up of interesting reads:
- “When a woman is the sum total of her headscarf and hymen – that is, what’s on her head and what is between her legs – then nakedness and sex become weapons of political resistance.” A thought-provoking article on the objectification of women’s bodies. ‘Nudity, Niqab and the Illusion of Free Choice‘ (via The Express Tribune Blogs)
- I’m most intrigued by no.4. We never seem to think of condescension & sarcasm as would-be abuser traits. These seem to be cool & attractive behaviour, drawing us in like flies to honey. ‘Are You Dating An Abuser?‘ (via Psychology Today)
- ‘The Subtext Of An Entire Relationship In 4 Minutes‘ (via TheFrisky)
- Some surprises here on what guys do on Facebook before dating the girl: ‘10 Ways Guys Use Facebook For Their Dating Lifes‘. (via HowAboutWe)
- A great answer to ‘What Do Guys Wish Girls Knew?’ (via Quora)
- When do you google your date? The obvious answer was ‘before the first date’. But I’ve been meeting so many familiar strangers on account of social media that I find I only google after a couple of dates now. ‘Poll: When Do You Google A Date?‘ (via HowAboutWe)
- Ever notice how Satan’s head bears an uncanny resemblance to the female reproductive system? (via 10 Daily Things)
- Cosmopolitan’s hilarious and terribly wrong sex advice (via Uptown Magazine)
- What the dating guide has to say about Facebook: ‘When Is It Okay To Friend Someone You’re Casually Dating?‘ (via HowAboutWe)
- A study says bisexual women are likelier to be abused/raped. This article points out a few holes in that theory. (via Thought Catalog)
- 25 Things You Wish You Could Ask Someone On A First Date (via Thought Catalog)
* Inspired by Date A Girl Who Reads.
Date a guy who has sisters. Preferably a middle child, so he knows what it’s like to look up to as well as look over (sometimes overlook) women. Hope that they’re the kind of women you’d like because it’ll be like having that many more mothers-in-law. Take solace in the fact that PMS & the fact that women get puffier, then sleeker in a matter of days, will not come as a complete surprise to him. On the other hand, remember you might need to teach him that women have not been put on earth for his exclusive service. Mostly, it’s a worthwhile trade-off.
Date a guy who doesn’t worship his mother. It may be a herculean task to find such a man in India where ‘mama’s boy’ is a badge borne with pride, not embarrassment. Still, look for him. You may also get thrown off by an odd dysfunctional specimen who actually hates the woman that he popped out of. You’re looking for a fine balance here – that rare guy who understands everyone has foibles, everybody is human. If he can see his mother through the same lens that he uses on the rest of the world, hang on to him for dear life because he’s the one person who’ll treat you as a complete human being, not an assortment of body parts that he likes.
Date a guy who’s a father figure. Find him in a classroom or a coffeeshop. He’ll be listening intently (or he may not look it) but the woman next to him will always be talking. If he’s looking at her, he’ll be looking into her face. If not, he’s probably staring at his coffee but he’ll give a slight nod every now and then. He’ll make sure to be on the side of the traffic while crossing the road or even walking on it. He may not open doors for you but he’ll keep a constant eye on you as you walk across the floor to the restroom. And when you return, his response will be inversely proportional to the ones of the other men around. He might even lecture you a bit on dressing, walking or talking. Fight with him for your independence. Fight for space. Fight for your own time. Fight for your right to your opinion. Fight in every way possible. Stomp off in a temper. You’ll know you’ve found him when you turn and discover he’s following you quietly, at a respectable distance till you get to a safe place. And go back to him. Because even the most independent of women love their daddies.
Date a guy who’s had a lot of girlfriends. Look for him when he’s slightly past his prime. Wait till he has exhausted his bag of tricks on the women before you and tired of the games. Hold your counsel when he tries them on you. He can’t help it; it’s habit. But it’s like dying embers – keep it stoked just to the level that you like. Ask him about his past. No matter how discreet he insists he is, it can be done. Remember, he’s been a collector and old collectors love to tell their stories. Let him regale you with his escapades and bite back your jealousy and ego bruises. Then, after he’s began talking, when he takes a break to breathe and get a drink, tell him your conditions. Seal the deal then. You’ll need to keep listening to his stories for the rest of your life but remember, you’re the one he’s telling stories to.
Date a man with a lady boss. Date a guy who’s the only one in a team of women. Date a man who works in a woman-centric industry. Date a guy whose job it is deal with only women – like a bra salesman. Guys who have to rub shoulders with the everyday nature of women. Who have to deal with ambition, pettiness, stupidity, greed and every other human trait – in women, on a daily basis.
Date a gynecologist. Date a psychiatrist. Date a counselor. Date a teacher.
Date a man who knows women.
You’ve got to be really broken, tiny, so miniscule you barely at exist, to be able to do that. And if it’s something that you let happen because it was comforting, healing even, it’s brought you back to life. You’re not incomplete, you’re healthy and breathing and alive again. And so you can’t stop yourself feeling. Gratitude and pleasure and joy and tickled and comforted and happy. Now, try throwing that away.
Whew, who knew that having fun could be so much effort?
I have had a startling revelation that will revolutionize the way we look at relationships and well, men!
Everyone knows Bad Boys are bad news. Meh, that’s last century’s news. And yet – or possibly exactly for that reason – we are drawn to them and spend a considerable bit of our prime chasing illusions of acquaintanceship with them. But of course theBad Boy breaks our heart. That’s what he’s supposed to do. Then we sigh and move on….to another Bad Boy.
The cycle, seemingly fatalistic has one way out – or so we are told. As maturity (or possibly too much heartache) sets in, we shed our illusions of wild, fast, furious, exciting love and pledge our troth to another kind of man altogether. Enter the Good Boy.
From a love-lifetime of having experienced Bad Boys, we automatically conclude that we know his exact opposite completely. NOT TRUE!
The Good Boy is not necessarily Prince Charming, either. He doesn’t get romance and tenderness any more instinctively than the Bad Boy. The Good Boy‘s connection to mama will be elevated to monumental proportions (in that there will be a shrine to mama) while in the case of the Bad Boy, it was only an excuse for his bad behavior.
What’s worse, I’m discovering, there is a price to be paid, a fee if you will, for life’s lessons. So after going through the Bad Boys, you come to the Good Boy expecting to be healed and kissed and made alright.
Instead you come up against a formidable presence that requires your clearing up your messes before you step onto his carpet, so to speak. There’s no sympathy forthcoming (and I’m about to believe this is the version of sulking that Good Boys prefer). It’s time to play hardball (again!) and negotiate.
These aren’t ruthless. Of course not, these are Good Boys after all. But there is negotiation nevertheless. And there’s the overwhelming sense of guilt and foolishness hanging over your own head for your past mistakes. Obviously you’re coming to the table with a weak hand.
I’m thinking the whole thing is a set-up. The Bad Boy is nothing more than marketing spiel to get our defenses dulled and weakened in time for the Good Boy to close in and finalize a deal that’s sweet to him.
GAH!!! Good or bad, a man may never be what he seems.