Monthly Archives: September 2006

The Ex-policy

Does anyone know what the best ‘ex’ policy is? I admire…no, I am deeply envious of those enlightened souls who are ‘great friends’ with their exes. They’ve obviously got it all figured out just great and I haven’t reached my Bodhi tree as yet. I am struggling, as yet in vain, to define just how to deal with that increasing species called ex-boyfriends. (Here and here are some previous attempts)

My trouble these days seems to be too-fast exes rather than just too-many! Well…that too but mostly I’m alarmed now by the rising conversion rate of boyfriend/consistent date to ex. I was born finicky but I seem to have just turned fussy now. Hence, having concluded that men in general, have only one head that can actually be put to any use, my super-high standards of dating are crumbling. But after awhile, I can’t pretend my interest remains nor that my patience stays constant.

Which brings us to the issue of the ever so sensitive, ex-policy. Now a guy I recently dated said that he was great friends with all his exes. I retorted, “well, you don’t know me as yet.”…ah, I was being peevish but I don’t like being clubbed into one junta-group like that. Then I said, “I have a different equation with each person I’ve dated and that’s because I was a different person with of them.”

Which is all very fine, but each one takes up even more effort than the relationship/dating schedules did. For starters we have the relationship issues, differences and incompatibility in the starring roles of BIG HURDLES to being friends. Spice that liberally with any fights, verbal arrows that would have been thrown and you have a masaledaar creation that’s not going down with any amount of antacid. Okay, fine, some people have amicable break-ups. Everyone isn’t a melodrama queen like me, perhaps (oh, but how??). Then we get to how to face someone who’s seen a side of you that the rest of the world doesn’t?

I think my biggest shame in meeting the ex-love of my life was the memory of an extremely sappy (and scorching) love letter I had written to him on his birthday….which of course he refused to return or destroy….gave me a good enough reason to let me go of him at least and there you are. (But oh how mortifying!!! I hope I never see him again….)

Then there are the more obvious and twenty times more mortifying incidents. I had a day that started off just fine till I bumped into someone I’d ‘politely declined’ after a few weeks. Which is fine, since we hadn’t discussed it too much since then. And then he remarked that I must have had a rocking weekend. I wondered what he was on about till I realized in the rush to get out of the house, I hadn’t had a proper stab at my make-up as yet. If he’d been a part of the Master card ad, it probably would have read

Weekend alone spent on DVDs: 700

Getting there early: 1000

New shoes after losing old ones trudging through mud on a rainy day: 3000

Spotting the hickey before she does: PRICELESS

I so much wish I could have wiped that smirk off his face. Well….then again…

Knowing who was really responsible and it certainly wasn’t YOU!!!”: ABSOLUTELY PRICELESS

Smirk smirk….I think I’ll stick to being the catty ex.

A crisis of stereotypes

This is going to be a personal post not a fiery commentary on ‘issues’…this blog has gotten to being quite aggressively feminist. Ever since I started writing XXFactor, I seem to have gotten an image of a feminist, which I’ve been hotly protesting. Now see, that is the whole point, isn’t it? Its not about what I believe but how passionately I believe it and how vehemently I express it. I still maintain that having an opinion doesn’t make me a feminist, it only makes me opinionated…and that much I am willing to acknowledge.

Why am I so anti-feminist? Well, as a matter of fact I do not believe that women are the superior sex. I don’t like stereotypes and the feminist point of view is as rigid a stereotype as the male chauvinist one….this whole new woman, (a la Cosmopolitan or whatever mag is propagating it) and the ‘kill the men’ syndrome. Like Sensorcaine once said, “I’d like to know where they’d all come from and what they’d have to talk about if it weren’t for men at all!!”

It struck me this morning that some of my opinions are probably very little to do with real belief. My revelation for the day is that I suffer an identity crisis. No, not an identity crisis in the sense of the “What kind of a person am I?” I pretty much know the answer to that and it is that I’m the kind of person who always has an answer to that, only it’s a different one from minute to minute. No, my identity crisis has to with gender. I have never strongly identified myself as female. Before you jump to any conclusions about my sexuality, I haven’t ever strongly identified myself as male, either (“a man trapped in a woman’s body” and all that…phooey, I didn’t say that). What I am trapped in is a stereotype-obsessed society.

Coming back to the crisis….would it be a crisis at all if people didn’t insist that it matter as much to me as it did to them? I was a tomboy in my childhood, then a near sexless being in my adolescent years, surrounded by a bunch of hormone-ridden boys who never even noticed I was female. And now? I’ve learnt the trappings of this stereotype. So I dress a certain way, talk a certain way, behave a certain way.

No issues then, no one has mistaken me for a man for many years now. Now oddly enough, when I started blogging, in the early days, before I wrote about the woman’s role today, my readers assumed that I was male. It irked me then. Just like it irks me now that people assume I’m a male-hating feminist now. And oh, this being described as a ‘chick-blogger’. It is the most mortifying experience on the blogsphere!! I mean, what the hell….on a medium where people have never seen what I look like or sound like, only read my views, all I am is a female body?

In a circuitous way, I’m going to backtrack to why this is offending me so much. My problem with each of those descriptions is that I don’t see them as any part of my identity. My gender…is simply the way my body is built….and it has very little to do with my real identity. Dammit then, I don’t want to be seen as a headstrong woman or even a strong woman. I want to be seen as a strong person.

I suspect some of this conflict comes because I grew up identifying far more with my father than with my mother. Freud could probably explain the mixed-up gender roles that followed from my wanting to be ‘like dad’, being attracted to men who were like him but also wanting to please them all by being the complement….and oh, I’m out of steam by now. But I’ve made my point I think.

Like the Godfather said, “Everything’s personal.” Incidently, quoting that character is a more masculine habit than feminine but I was referring not to the movie, but the book(which is a feminine thing to do since women are supposedly more verbal while men are visual.) :p I’ll shut up now. Whew…rant over.

On the same side

One of my friends was telling me about his former room-mate (also once a classmate) and how they got along really well. He said he’d gotten up early one Sunday to make him a nice breakfast and the maid servant was rather scandalized when she discovered it wasn’t for some girlfriend but for another guy!!! I think it was a nice thing to do, nevertheless. Especially because my best friend once woke up early on Sunday morning to make me breakfast too. And I adored her for it. While we spend sooo much time talking about (and trashing) our relationships with the opposite sex, we rarely ever acknowledge the value of our bonds with people of the same gender.

I have a lot of friends, male and female. I myself spend most of this blog talking about men. But the fact is that there are so many of the wonderful people in my life are women. Some of my dearest friends. I had this great pal back in college. She was different from me…..sort of a complement. Exactly one year older than I was, we even celebrated two of our birthdays together. It felt like she was the ‘other side’ of a Cancerian……the quiet, tender, gentle aspects that I never admitted to publicly, she was while I was the headstrong, no-nonsense, spotlight-loving Cancerian side that she hid. She and I…we were perfect and complete. We’d spend hours and hours on end together. People started to murmur that we were lesbians. I laughed till my sides ached while she looked at everyone else contemptuously and continued our talk. In time we parted ways for reasons I won’t go into, in this post. But it was a very painful parting for both of us. A couple of days later one of my friends came up to me and said, “I wish you’d tell her to stop going around telling people that the two of you have ‘broken up’. That sounds unbelievably sidey.” I didn’t say a thing. To him or to her. That break-up hurt just as much as breaking up with my boyfriend did. Perhaps more.

The lady I call my best friend today probably loves me much more than any man ever did. And I am far more committed to her happiness than to that of any man, at least as of today. If it ever came to it (and I hope it won’t) and I had to choose between her and a man, I’m quite certain I’d pick her. She’s far more important to me than any romantic/sexual partner is ever going to be. I won’t go into the science of why we bond with people of the same sex. Somewhere that kind of friendship, to me, acquires a level of ‘purity’ that friendship with people of the opposite sex can’t have. I’m speaking of course of a completely asexual friendship here…there’s something deep and pure about such a bond. Is it because I’m a woman and supposed to live in the realm of the emotional rather than the physical that I value a 100% emotional relationship above a physical/emotional one? I don’t think so. Men bond too. And in some ways, even better than women do. Allowing for stereotypes, I think most men get along better with each other, irrespective of the nature of their links, than women do.

And yet, it seems like they have even less social sanction to do so than women do. I can still talk about really loving my best friends and being so close to them. I imagine most men would shy away from saying such things even about people they are really very close to. Why, though?

The Best Kind Of Guy Friend

You know who the best kind of guy friend is?

You can admit to being madly attracted to him and he’ll look at you in the eye and tell you the truth if he is not. And after that, he won’t stop taking your calls or meeting you.

You can confess undying love to him and he won’t sleep with you unless he reciprocates.

If another guy breaks your heart, he won’t mash him to pulp but would consider it if you asked him to. And he definitely won’t bond with that guy no matter how many interests (and ex-girlfriends) they share!!!!

He can call you whiny, drippy, weedy, dependent, clingy and over-emotional but NEVER when you’re actually crying.

He’s willing to be your date when you’re stuck or stood up but won’t feel too bad if your boyfriend shows up again and you decide to go with him (again!).

He’s quiet. Or talkative. Charming. Or devilish. Thoughtful. Or forgetful.But he doesn’t change his treatment of you depending on the stage in your relationship.

He doesn’t dangle girlfriends or admirers under your nose all the time.

He doesn’t have a girlfriend…or better still, is gay!

He’s a guy but he actually cares about what you feel. All in all, he treats you like a buddy but remembers you’re a girl.

Now that’s a guy really worth having as a friend. Ladies, do you suppose such men exist? Men, shut up, I don’t believe you.

—————————————————————————————————

*A later version of this post appears here. A version is also posted to Yahoo! Real Beauty.

Body beautiful

Ah….now that sounds like the kind of story you’d expect to see listed in the sidebar of a women’s magazine (which my sources tell me enjoy readerships that are over 40% male!!!).

Here’s a conversation that smug me had with fidgety male friend this weekend:

FMF: I don’t want to meet you till I’ve lost weight.

Smug me: (“I don’t believe I’m hearing this!!!”) Why? You don’t have to become beautiful for me.

FMF: *Chuckling* Yes, but I want to.

Smug me: Why? I have no such reservations about myself before meeting you.

Later….

FMF: So I still want to lose weight.

Smug me: But why? Enjoy your body as it is. I always assume I look great.

FMF: But you do!

Smugger me: *BIG GRIN* Yes, and you believe it because I believe it!

FMF: Grrmmmff…

Now, am I right or not? Just for the record I am no raving beauty. Not even close. I could list out my physical imperfections but….why? Why go to all that effort to make myself feel bad? The cosmetics manufactures/gymansiums/apparal dealers are at it full-time. But well, they have to earn their living.

And I have to live my life. In this body. With this face. Under this head of hair. Of this colour. And with eyes that look this way. And none of them are anywhere close to what the beauty magazines define as perfect. Worse still, on the same face (and body), they’re a motley crew at best.

But I can make heads turn when I walk into a room. I know I can and hence I do. Not the other way round. Go back and read that again, please.

I’m not saying I’m this so totally confident woman who couldn’t care less what the world thought of her looks. Give me some credit, I’m a woman after all…with all the vanity a woman possesses. I just decided to lose the insecurity. Its a constant battle but worth fighting every single day. And you start winning more and better each time.

When I was a teenager, agonizing over pimples and braces and labouring under the burden of dusky skin in a country obsessed with the milky-white…yes I was there once. My best friend in contrast…was a complete contrast. Strikingly good looking, fair skin, deep, clear eyes, a perfect profile and body. She could turn from a beauty to a complete knockout with one swish of eyeliner. Black eyeliner makes me look like a close relative of the Adams family. Of course I was insecure. I tried very hard not to be jealous. I don’t know if I suceeded. I know she didn’t let on that she knew. And she was a good enough friend to never use it to her advantage.

Time passed, we drifted apart…..which was a good thing. I really came out into the sunlight in those later years. I guess I could very easily have let myself get slotted into the ‘pretty girl’s unattractive best friend’. That is a stereotype, one that people fall into unwittingly and then despairingly accept because they don’t know that they can be any different. I was so lucky, then. I had a chance to be something different and I took it.

Years later, I met my pretty friend again. And we were best friends all over again. Older this time. Wiser. And more beautiful. I’ve learnt that vivacity can be as attractive as placidity. I now know that a bright personality is as beautiful as clear skin. I am so thrilled that twinkling eyes (even if they crinkle) are as appealing as big, luminous eyes. I’m so glad for that time we spent apart because it gave me time to accept our differences. It gave me a chance to accept myself…and then learn to like it…and the most pleasurable bit, fall in love with the mirror.

The most wonderful thing about physical attractiveness is that it really reflects what you feel inside. Sushmita Sen says her beauty secret is ‘Feel beautiful to look beautiful’. And Bipasha Basu adds, “Wear clothes that make you feel sexy, even if they aren’t in fashion.” (errrr…..someone should probably remind Ms.Basu of that…or am I alone in thinking she looked her voluptous, exotic best earlier while this new skinny look makes her look like Barbie doll fell into a muddy puddle?)

Vanity may not be a bad thing. I find I feel really good when I believe that I look good. I wear some very funny things sometimes but they make me feel oh, so very good! And that’s really the only thing that counts.

Even today, before a big meeting or an interview or an exam I like to spend a little extra time and dress well. I love bright colours and my family, friends, boyfriends and bosses have long since stopped trying to reason with me. I wear red lipstick not because it matches my dress or the vogue but because I like red lipstick. My hair is wind-swept and sometimes stuck out in all directions but I love the way it feels around my face. Oh, and yes, there is the tattoo. Which doesn’t look exactly the way I wanted. And since I’m carrying around a few extra calories all around these days, is certainly not picture-perfect. But I’ve learnt to love it. 🙂

P.S. – NMF loved it too! He never had a chance to notice all the imperfection around. But of course he never had a chance. I refuse to believe that its an imperfection. Who’ll doubt me when I’m so sure?

And jaan….”beautiful” comes in many shapes and sizes and colours.

Golden-skinned Cuddly Statuesque Roman-nosed Cute Seductive Graceful Solid Flowing Lustrous Beaming Twinkles Clefts Sharp features Soft features Soulful eyes Kind eyes Mischievious grins Dimply smiles…BEAUTIFUL.

%d bloggers like this: