While my pessimism as regards men, may know no bounds, she reminds me that some markets are always booming! Viva manhood and the spirit of madness, then!
(Click on pic to see full comic on a new page)
Heeheehee….got this picture off The Lady‘s post.
It reminded me of the time my friend got married. The pre-wedding days were a time of much mirth for the cronies of the bride and groom. But of course. We were such a bunch of wits.
For the wedding night, we decided ‘as good friends’, we’d make things as comfortable and easy as we could for the two newly-weds. Aside from the usual decoration of the ‘love-boudouir’ and planned pranks (alarm clocks hidden around the room set for a different hour), one guy came up with the novel idea of directions. So we decided, we’d plant directions all over the couple to make it easier for them.
For her, there’s be arrows pointing to all the erogenous zones…ears, waist, breasts, neck, back of the knees etc. For him, we concluded all arrows would point to right below his belt!
Errrm. Am afraid to say that we reduced the bride-to-be to tears. Which, hopefully her husband did not on the wedding night. With our without our directions.
As with everything else, being pushed only makes me firmer in my place, even if I have an idea that I could change. This desperation connected with the marriage search is getting on my nerves again and once again I can feel my rebellious streak rising as I get ready to throw off the whole damn thing out. I can’t help it…it’s like being forced underwater and you can’t help struggling to get back to the surface to breathe air again.
Why should I be the one to willingly and ‘joyfully’ make the compromise?
What gives anyone the right to say that twenty-eight is too old and that I’ll get ‘left on the shelf’?
As I see it, I have a perfectly good life and I’d be insane to deliberately try and make it any less than it is by condemning myself to second-class citizen status for a man who demands much and appreciates so little. I have no chance of being happy in this situation or making anyone else happy either. And as for being left on the shelf, I’d much rather stay here than be carried away by a man who so obviously is less than me.
I seem to stand for a very tiny minority..if not all alone. Everywhere I see women making grave compromises to get into relationships with men who have very little respect for them to begin with and lose all of it the more the woman sacrifices. And alternately I keep slipping in the bogmire of insecure desperation of women who aren’t married and are getting frantic enough to stoop to such vileness as bitching, boyfriend-snatching and multi-man-managing. And finally of course the depression of women I won’t judge quite as harshly as they haven’t quite turned vamp as gotten resigned and succumbed to despair.
I’m not going to do that, by God I’m not. I’ve never been petty and I’m not going to turn that way now. It took a very, very bad experience for me to stop being needy and I’d be a fool to throw away the lessons and strength that came from there. And I’ve lived with my personal code of values through much weaker, more demanding times and not budged. I’ve never done anything that I need to be ashamed of and to date, I can look myself in the mirror with pride.
Enough of men have messed my life intentionally or otherwise. Now that I’ve found my freedom and my inner peace, damned if I’m going to let anyone take it away from me.
If that makes me a stubborn old maid, so be it.
So the mommies starts to murmer on marriage again. Thus far I’ve managed to avoid the issue for awhile after having survived a torrent of eligible bachelors (EB) awhile back. Steadied it to a light drizzle and then just a few drips (hmph, all men are!). But now, the Magic Mummy radar senses a break in daughter’s otherwise jam-packed schedule and jumps in promptly to fill it up with more EBs.
I sigh and lay down my wearied defenses and set out to interview prospects again. All the while ruminating on a thought that struck me in the shower last week (don’t all brilliant ideas come to you then? I also get some when I’m brushing my teeth in the morning).
We all know that an average girl child’s brain is injected with the marriage virus very early on in life and everything else we do in life from our choice of career, our grades, our dressing, personality, friends, social calendar are all supposed to be in preparation of the big M word. Why do men get married? Let’s see:
- Because they are in love (HAHAHAHA…alright I’ll shut my cynical self up a bit)
- Because they seek companionship (I don’t really believe it but I’m bored with the ‘man-hater’ title)
- Because they want free and regular sex (dare deny that one, anyone?)
- Because they want a housemaid/cook/nurse-for-ageing-parents (phooey to the US-returned types)
- Because their family wants them to get married (Yes, mama!)
- Because their ex- broke up with them and they want to show her up (with all due apologies to the women that are being now made miserable by my ex-es)
Now let’s look at them. 1 and 2 are really rare and when those exist, the man has quickly turned around and married her in his early 20s itself. 3 and 4 are most common of all and if you don’t believe me, ask ANY woman who is being subjected to the marriage market….we’ve all met a few specimens. 5 and 6 get to be more and more hard to avoid as the years pass…both make their life’s major decisions based on someone else’s whims and words.
Where does that leave us then? With men who are certainly not interested in marriage and only feed us the lines hoping to impress us and get a little fun in the process. Or the No.s 3, 4, 5 and 6 and they’re hardly prime cuts as far as marriage prospects go, never mind their degrees and dollars.
(Click to see full comic on a new page)
Oh and there’s always the specimen that doesn’t even know why he’s getting married. But then again, “I don’t know” is an answer I hear frequently. Oh men of intelligence and higher understanding, where art thou? *Sigh* And at the end of it, all I’ll have is a shiny needle.
Even after my own parents throw up their hands in despair at my marital status (or the lack of it) and stop bugging me, there are others who will persist, good intentions intact. The results are sometimes howl-a-rious. See here:
Surrogate momma: What happened to that boy in Bangalore?
Me: Who, Dee? He’s still in Bangalore.
Surrogate momma: You should marry him!
Surrogate momma: I think you like him!
Me: I do! That’s why we are friends.
Surrogate momma: So tell him that you like him!
Me: Why? He already knows.
Surrogate momma: No, you tell him “I like you”. Then he’ll say “I love you” back. And then you can get married!
Oh dear, who will tell her that saying “I like you” to a man is likely to have the exact opposite effect and send him running miles away from you. And what’s more….that he probably thinks that the very mention of the word ‘marriage’ is adequate basis for certification to an institution (the asylum type, not the marriage type!)
Then there’s always my dear friend-turned-mother-hen (Mother Goose, silly goose?) whose number one goal in life these days is to land a husband. Which objective she pursues with single-minded dedication. Except she does it by trying to convince me (?) to get married. First thing in the morning she buzzes…
Mother Hen: So, why don’t you call X?
Me: Now? Why?
Mother Hen: Why not? Yeh kal kal karte karte train nikal jaayegi!
Me: No, I managed to get it on time. That’s how I got here.
Mother Hen: No stupid woman. You better hook the guy or you’ll lose him.
Me: Darling, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but we broke up ages ago.
Mother Hen: So? You know how men are!
Me: I do?
Mother Hen: Yeah, full of themselves, never willing to admit they were wrong. So you go back and call him!
Me: And say what?
Mother Hen: That you want to meet.
Me: But I don’t want to meet!
Mother Hen: Settle down, woman. It’s high time. You’ll be much happier.
Me: I am happy right now. We should go man-hunting for you.
Mother Hen: I think I’m not the settling down type.
Me: Then why do you want to get married?
Mother Hen: So I have someone I can come home to.
Me: What’s wrong with your TV?
Mother Hen: That’s not enough.
Me: Oh for…! Why don’t you call Y then?
Mother Hen: No way! I don’t want to go back to him.
Me: My point, precisely.
Mother Hen: Arre, but thats different. I think X is perfect.
Me: Then you get married to him!
Mother Hen: Me? No way, can’t stand him!
Presumably this is the ‘It’s a crummy job but someone’s gotta do it so go hook him!’ school of thought. I steal quietly away to my boring-but-blissfully single existance away from mummies and their bandages for my supposedly ailing heart.
So I was talking to this friend of mine who is travelling. In between our usual banter, I noticed his unfortunate tendency to slip into allusions to sex. My innocent (!) request for chocolates was termed kinky! I concluded that he was sex-starved and hastened to advise him to,
Get back and get it SOON!
But no sooner had the words left my mouth did I realise that it was easier said than done….lady love after all wasn’t his travelling companion. So deeply dejected, I concluded that,
At least one time marriage is better than being single is when you get to travel AND have sex – any time you like, free of cost, without guides/travelogues/middle men and legally!
Sometimes I think the only reason women have a problem at all, is because of the fairytales that are fed to us as children, all ending predictably in
..and they lived happily ever after.
So who knows what “happily ever after” really means? I’m just finding out. Nope, I haven’t run off and gotten secretly hitched (not as yet). But after the rush of husband-hunting and weddings, I’m getting a earful of what the other side of ‘wedded bliss’ really looks like.
So friends, forgive me my transgressions while I take a sneak peek into your versions of ‘happily ever after’ (and for those who take offence….no more entertaining snippets from my love-life for you!!!)
Bringing up the lead, is my wicked friend Sensorcaine. Please note that reactions to her announcement of getting hitched were met by varied reactions from her friends…..one guffawed, another checked her calendar to see if it was April and I fell off my chair (literally). All of us tried (in vain) to tell the angelic-faced sweet man about the creature he was marrying. Ah, but men never listen…not even the sweet ones. Now, four years later…here’s Mrs. and Mr.Sensorcaine in their state of ‘Nappily ever after’.
Okay, I won’t be cynical. There’s always the Barbie and Ken couple who’ve settled down to a nice home in the suburbs. He works hard, she cooks, cleans and bakes hard (no, soft spongy cakes actually). They cootchie-coo and wear colour co-ordinated black tee and kurti to the Roger Waters concert. Oh and they bought each other matching iPods as wedding gifts. Sappily ever after does happen after all.
And of course there’s also the newly-weds at office. There’s been a spate of weddings among my colleagues, all within a month of each other. As they all troop back, tanned from the beach-resort-honeymoons, laden with jewellery (women) and a few extra kilos (eat, beta!), my cynical self wonders just how long the blissful smiles are going to last. For the timebeing however, we are greeted by their bleary-eyed, blushing faces in the mornings with an occasional sigh from the married-longer ones. The mood right now is definitely ‘Chappily ever after’
Then there’s my dear high-strung/Ice maiden friend who’s succumbed to the matrimonial overtures of Mr.FastTrack. At the wedding he told me, “Her life’s going to go spinning like she doesn’t know. Life with me, tends to be that way.” Ah, my poor friend. I couldn’t tell him a perfect match would mean an equally volatile temperament, could I? We don’t rat on our friends, we shield our eyes and watch for the fireworks resulting from Snappily ever after.
Suffice to say, I’m just glad everyone isn’t ending up like my poor classmate who found her husband cheating on her 2 months into the marriage. Instead of settling for Crappily ever after, she turned to divorce. Better for the guy too, methinx, remembering a certain Ms.Bobbit.
“What are all the towels doing behind the door?” I asked him.
“Breeding,” came the prompt reply.
“Breeding?” Quite used to getting such answers by now, I thought quickly, “I see, but how do they breed when there’s only one towel to begin with?”
Then this morning P on our daily morning update call says that her new husband (oh, stop laughing when I say that…they’ve been married 2 months, doesn’t that make him a ‘new’ husband and her, a ‘new’ wife?)..coming back, she informs me that new husband isn’t well and has been ordered (by her) to stay in bed today.
I cluck sympathetically
She says firmly.
So is this what “happily ever after” looks like?
This is what the stars have to say for me today:
The analytical side of your brain is about to do battle with the emotional side of your brain. Which side do you think will win? This prizefight won’t be bloody, but it will have a conclusive winner. The losing side will have to face a few unpleasant facts, and the victor won’t have much time to gloat. Luckily, you’ll be surrounded by fun people and exciting events for the next few days — these factors will help make your realization all but painless.
It is times like this that make me believe in astrology and remember why I was once a tarot reader. Last night I had a post forming in my mind, as clearly as I can see the words appearing on the screen now as I type them. And this astrological prediction sums up the situation as non-specifically as possible.
I’m living on the edge. No, I don’t mean the sex-and-drugs-and-rock-and-roll sort. I mean I’m living on borderlines….the line of control so to speak and each side is trying to pull me over to its side.
On one hand is the life I live as regards my family. My…let’s just call it ‘good Tamizh family’. That encompasses all the dilemmas of super-progressive thinking in terms of equal opportunity, confidence-building etc that I’ve been given while also the super-pressures of being religious, ritualistic, ‘family sort’, decent middle-class girl with utmost decorum and morals.
On the other side is the life I live, as regards my friends, my hobbies and a whole lot of other factors I can’t detail. If I’m a good Tamizh girl (not by choice but by extreme compulsion) in the first case, I’m a confident (if not over-abrasive) citizen of the Universe of Cool.
Thus far, I’ve managed to keep them both apart, with some difficulty but still successfully. It is getting to me…I swear it is.
A fortnight ago I met three women whose prime concern (and indeed a reason for concern since one of them is drifting into depression) is finding a husband. I laughed at it and thanked the powers-that-be for not letting it matter so much to me.
Last week I met someone who lives with her decade-older-boyfriend ‘in sin’ as my family would put it and I really envied her for the sheer freedom of being able to do something that breaks the shackles.
I’ve been dating a lot. I’ve had boyfriends, flings…and oh, everything I could want at any point of time and there still is a world to know about. My family of course remains blissfully unaware of several of these since I maintain the adage of ‘What they don’t know doesn’t hurt them.’
However, in my other avatar (and here’s where it gets to be really Jekyll and Hyde-like), I’m the dutiful prospective bride, doing the whole arranged marriage routine…int he modern way after all! So forget about the chai-serving routine, we meet in coffee shops, we talk on the phone and on email. And a few such interactions later, we decide whether to spend the rest of our lives together or not. It hasn’t changed. I won’t go into the right and wrong of it. Suffice to say, different systems work for different people, it certainly worked for my parents so I’m not going to judge its efficiency.
I just don’t know if it will work for me. I’m unsure at times, of how to behave in either case. I’m living a dual life that has gotten more seasoned with practice.
The fact is when I date a guy, I’m not sure whether I should be thinking of committment, especially since its obvious he isn’t. And then when I meet a prospective husband I don’t know if its right for me to be wanting to actually enjoy the date and laugh and have fun with him. It just doesn’t seem proper. On a date, I try to steer clear of the ‘boring family topics’ and make light of the M-issue…which isn’t lying incidently, because I do see the humour in the situation. On a ‘meeting’, I nimbly avoid all references to my implied ‘wild life’ (since I am a Mumbai girl after all, hence it follows I must be wanton and wild…or have the urge to at least).
It leaves me worn out. To be fair, I know its just a matter of knowing what I want and the person on the other side is more often than not, fortright with whether they intend to give that to me or not. But I’m not always sure. I’m always petrified that I’ll miss a cue and start being the ‘prospective bride’ with a date or the ‘fun girl’ with a matrimonial prospect. I suspect that has happened already more than once, and I have succeeded in scaring off the man in question. When that happens, I find I have relief mixed with regret for another man over and done with.
I don’t seem to be able to share this with anyone. Everyone else has made up their minds one way or the other. Prospective bride or sought-after date.
I want to be both. I want it all. Oh, well….you can’t be both Indian and Pakistani, can you? (with no political implications whatsoever except that the two aren’t reconcilable) And no one can live on the Line of Control for too long. The bullets are bound to get to you someday.
One way or the other, it looks like I’ll be choosing my nationality pretty soon. Passport office, here I come!
Another shouting match with my family. You know those scenes in movies where they’re trying to show a person who’s slowly losing it? They have this deep distorted voice booming all around in dingy gray surroundings. That’s how I feel now. And those voices are intoning…Marriage…Marriage…Marriage…
Wanna hear the spiel?
There is an age for everything…and you are at the right age now…
Its very important to have a life partner….to be happy…
Independence is good but you have to learn to adjust….your generation doesn’t want to do that
If you don’t get married now, you’ll lose out on the ‘good’ men
As you grow older, it will be harder to find a husband
I said, “And why is it a matter of life or death that I find one?”
They look at me like I’ve lost my mind.
When I took a vacation a fortnight ago my colleague asked me if I was taking leave to get married.
Last year when I quit my job, everyone thought I was getting married.
Friends, parents of friends, friends of parents, distant aunts and uncles, my 13-year-old cousin, my yoga teacher, my boss, colleagues….everyone wants to know about my ‘big day’.
Met S in Bangalore and she wanted to know what my ‘plans’ were. I told her, “I’ve drunk enough of coffee with strangers to put me off caffeine for life (and it has!). I’ve chatted, messaged, spoken to and met enough of eligible bachelors. I’ve dated men of all shapes and sizes and varying degrees of lunacy. Don’t talk to me about men!!!!!!!!!!!”
Recently, Dreamcatcher wrote about her cousin who got engaged to a guy she barely knew. I sympathize with the girl. A little bit. I’ve had enough of close friends giving in to this fight. And yes it is a fight. Ask any woman in this age bracket who isn’t fortunate enough to have a man in her life. Why fortunate? Because no matter who you are, it is drilled into you at every corner that you are incomplete without a man.
One of my friends had a rush marriage and pregnancy. Something hit me right there when she said, “Got fed up of everyone getting on my nerves. He’s as good as any guy I guess.” A close cousin with big ambitions that were all neatly folded away beneath those glossy kanjeevarams when she threw away a promising career in medicine to settle down in ‘matrimonial bliss’ with a guy she barely knows in a town whose name I can’t even spell…..a friend who graduated the same year I did and barely remembers anything of the corporate world on account of a forced marriage to a man who can’t make up his mind whether to live in India or the US and keeps her career on hold in the meantime….the number of such tales is staggering.
I really don’t see the point. I don’t have anything per se, against marriage. It is a social system, it has its uses, it works. But I don’t have to go out and drive myself bonkers trying to find someone to make it work with. What’s wrong with the alternate system of being single and content that way? Years spent trying to please everyone around with education and career and talents….being a twenty-something in this time is a nice balance of financial independence, modern thought and several options. But its a tough fight just to hold onto it all.
My best friend and I have this running joke that some day when we’re past this pressure, we’ll co-author a book about the weird experiences we’ve had in this marriage market. I am full of flippant remarks and the kind of observations that are should (I think!) put off any potential bahu-hunters. But no…..it isn’t about what I say after all, is it? It is about the fact that I’m female, 20s, of such-and-such family, employed here with XYZ degree. That’s what makes me eligible. That’s what makes me the nicely packaged, ready-to-cook meat in this bazaar.
I’m almost hoping one of those dowry-demanders turns up before me so I can do a nice whammy on them and put them behind bars. Tougher to shut up all the unsolicited advice, overzealous matchmaking and prejudices
Damn it all, I’m not going down without a fight.