Monthly Archives: March 2007

Good Friends and Bad Books

So I finally finished ‘The secret dreamworld of a shop-a-holic‘. Oh, don’t run away! My taste in books hasn’t turned as sour as my taste in men (highly questionable according to one reliable source). Let’s start with how I come to be in possession of this disastrous book.

Earlier this month, I spotted it while browsing through the bookstores at Heathrow (Oooh…I lurrve how that sounds…like I’m this so-hip globe-trotting exec type or something. Gah, but I’ve already cribbed about how all I saw of London was the airport). What the hell, I decided I’d at least get some shopping done. Cliché queen as ever I bought a Beatles CD and then scouted about for something by a Brit author.

That ought to have been easy I can hear the book-lovers harrumph….I mean think P.G.Wodehouse, Shakespeare, JK Rowling, even Enid Blyton! Ah, well I own all the Harry Potter books (though I could kill to get an autographed edition of the last-and-soon-to-be-released one) Suffice to say I ended up looking at what someone recently discovered as ‘the hottest new chick-book author’. And errrrm…..I remembered that this series came highly recommended by the Best Friend. Guess that was the clincher? So I picked up this book…never mind the pinky-pink flap and the verrrryy gurrrly title.

In a word…DEPRESSING. Different people function differently I suppose but in this month when I’ve been recuperating from stress and trying to collect my scattered wits from too much running around, the last thing I want to hear about is how another maniac is running to disaster. Each chapter, running up the bills had me on the edge of a heart-attack. And then suddenly, abruptly as though the author realized that her predominantly female readers might enjoy melodramatic horror but would need a happy ending….she gave it one! So maniac turns UltraCool, meets man of dreams, has great sex, lands plum job. All’s well and God’s in heaven. Triple Yurrrgggh. I gave up fairy-tales when I was seven.

Remind me again why I subjected myself to this torture…oh yes, the Best Friend. This set me thinking….now how can two people be so close and yet so utterly different? Best Friend and I never agree on clothes, make-up, books, music, movies or even men. Thank goodness for the last one though….no man’s going to have the honour of being fought over by the two of us. But coming back, we don’t seem to have anything at all in common. And yet I can spend hours talking to her and still have enough left over for tomorrow (and beyond!)

So all in all, she’s a fantastic person (albeit with rubbish taste in books….and errm…great taste in best friends!) This reminds me of another incident where we were looking at some guy’s photograph and I said,

Don’t judge him on that alone. A photograph doesn’t always match the real life thing, you know?

She agreed solemnly with

Yes, look at you!

Eh, what? My photographs are great!

Khud ke mooh se khud ki tareef nahin karte…

No seriously, everyone says I’m photogenic!

They have to say that. As your best friend, I’m under no obligation to lie to you!

A corollary to this observation then, I suppose, then is that

You don’t need to have anything in common to have a bond.

Oh but just remember to avoid the other’s recommendations on books!

Heard-felt-thought-did

A new series, I call this ‘Heard-Felt-Thought-Did’. I may not use all four of them in the same post and the order may vary but I think it would generally occur in the HFTD order. This is my latest attempt at succinct expression.

Heard:

You’ll find another man who makes you very happy!

Felt:

After sometime, one doesn’t want a new man to make one happy. One would almost rather be mildly content with the old man.

Thought:

But life, it would seem, plans otherwise.

Did:

Went back to work and other distractions.

Ways to make a man mad

Someone recently commented that my grin had a glint of ‘undisguised evil glee’ in it. I’ve shown before that I have a touch of the devil in me and when it comes to men…tra la la la…that’s my favorite species of lab rat, daahling.

Here then are some ways to unnerve a man:

  1. Smile at him. Stare at him. This is most effective when the man is a stranger but also works if you already know him. Umm not if you are his girlfriend/wife but all other connections. Most people are quite nervous about being stared at, anyway, and men in general, aren’t as used to direct attention from the opposite sex.
  2. Express your appreciation of other women. No, don’t be a doormat and condone all his bird-watching, especially if you are his date. That’s sheer bad manners but a lot of men do it anyway and it’s a waste of time getting angry or pouting. But try matching him beat for beat on his evaluation of the woman. Here’s what generally happens: He’ll gape, then if he’s quick, he’ll decide to play the game for what it’s worth and join in the evaluation of a woman. And from there on, he’s totally lost because baby, no one can evaluate a woman more precisely, objectively and correctly than another woman. It’ll teach him to respect you when he realises you know far more about women than he does.
  3. Be mean. Be nice. Be catty. Be sweet. As a woman, you have a birthright to moodiness, considering the quantity of chemicals that naturally course through your body every month. Take advantage of that and befuddle him. Men just never have gotten used to the thought that moods change but a person doesn’t.
  4. Indulge in as much male-bashing as you can. Why do men never understand that the more you talk about something, the more is your interest in that subject? Or perhaps it’s the competitive instincts coming to fore. Most men I know bristle up at all my male-bashing and are too busy defending themselves to actively dislike me. Serves them right….all little boys have an excess of argumentative energy that needs to be channeled.
  5. Surprise him. In some way where he can’t tell whether you like him a lot or hate his guts. It works. Every single time.

And now having laid out my mad ways, I hasten to assure you that these are only ways to make a man mad, not a good way to get (or retain) a man. I have to say though, that they do attract a certain sort of man….the kind that spell their names with a capital T (for TROUBLE). Given my track record, you’re probably better off avoiding these, if you like most women are actually looking for a nice man to settle down with. On the other hand, if you enjoy tormenting them like I do, please drop me a note and we’ll have a nice catty cribbing session. Meow!

Hello to a fellow non-stranger

She is someone I’ve seen around in the places I frequent. We have several common acquaintances in this easy come-easy go world. But we’ve never made an acquaintace here.

Now, when I read a post by her that echoes my mind so much and makes me think of all that runs through my mind when I write on XXFactor, I think that’s also a reason to lean across and say hello!

So, Compulsive Confessor, here’s saying hey there, I know you and I agree with what you’re saying.

– IdeaSmith

After all, while you’re in a I-hate-men mood these days, I’m in a make-sure-I-get-some-bloody-value-from-their-existance phase. If the crib-fest leads to a new hello, well, that’s certainly good value!

Disposable

I almost remember the days when getting hold of a photograph of someone who made your heart beat….was a big thing. And it would treasured, placed carefully between the pages of a favorite book and lovingly thumbed every now and then.

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We’ve moved far ahead. Instead of one photograph, carefully and lovingly framed and placed next to a bed or desk at work, there are folders and sub-folders of digital camera uploads. Now….well, does anyone remember the names of half the people in those pics? I’m running out of titles to name those pics…I still retain some of my old habit of making a note of the memory at the back of each photograph. There are dozens of pictures of and with each person, countless birthdays, anniversaries, parties, celebrations and outings. There are a forgotten number of folders. I periodically sift through them and delete the ones I don’t remember. And increasingly, I’m finding it easier and easier to do.

And I’m just one part of the gigantic social system sprawling across cities and continents. Each of us is a just a brief interlude in the lives of others. As they are in ours. We don’t grieve over a lifelong love, we don’t yearn deeply for a soulmate. We are briefly and slightly acquainted with many.

We are a generation of fast learners and fast movers and we drain out the maximum value from everything. So we milk the one serious relationship we’ve had to full value. This would probably be the very first or at least the most intense one (not necessarily deepest…I doubt most of us even understand the difference).

I’ve been asking myself…..

What do we look for in relationships?

Firstly, there is the career that defines and supports each of us. We have hobbies and friends who keep our lives full. We don’t cry on anyone’s shoulder…is that why so many of us are so cynical most of the time…because our negative emotions don’t find adequate expression? We value our individuality and take pride in how complete we are on our own and how little we need from other people.

Why then does the mating dance still continue? Moreover what is the relevance of the fact that they’re so temporary? So many of them that we lose count or even the value of any single one.

Relationships used to be about trust, about needing the other person and yes, about love. I don’t think most of us even fathom what love is, now…I for one, don’t. Our relationships are based on entertainment. How much fun it is, how melodramatic, action-packed, inspiring or ‘charging’ it is. And once it stops being so, the show is over.

I’ve written earlier about the magic of the first few dates. The initial encounters tinged with flirtation, verbal volleying and an effort on both sides to impress are superbly entertaining, to say the least. Of course with time and sexual intimacy, affection even and the emotional games that we play, there is enough to provide us recreation for awhile. Entertainment is the groundstone for our relationships.

If you disagree, think of the common reasons why people part ways these days. We have flings, not even affairs to remember. Each affair has its paraphrenalia, places visited, token romantic memories and the ritualised flirt-woo-seduce-argue-make up-break up syndrome. Once we pass the juggling and tightrope acts and reaches the ‘stable’ stage, it isn’t entertaining anymore. So we either spice it up knowingly or unconsciously with melodrama. We cheat, we lie, we play mind games, we over-analyse and worry and we fight. And then once it has been wrung of all its entertainment value, we discard each other and move on. No one can perform for that long, after all, even the clowns and trapeze artists have to sleep at night. So the big tent folds up, the performers and the audience part ways. And each one goes home to sleep alone.

We rarely experience heartbreak. I think its really more an ego-break, the kind of pain you feel when you come second in a race. It’s about not having entertained the other long enough or well enough. We’ve all become performers and we have our starry tantrums and diva egos. It pinches like nobody’s business, to be seen as clingy, boring or drippy. After all, what does that do for one’s ‘dateability’ after that? It can ruin our future prospects and after all, that’s what it is all about, isn’t it?

Everyone chases a dream and our generation is living on the promise of tomorrow paid for with EMIs….bite-sized portions of our full emotions traded in for the just-within-reach laughter and flirtations of today. Who has the time to wait till tomorrow? Or to wait to see if this grows into one big thing, when you can just as easily settle for several small things available today itself? This is the day and age of instant food, 24/7 service, home delivery and disposable relationships.

After all, we are spoiled for choices. In our gadgets, in our careers, in our residences and in our relationships. After all, when a product doesn’t work, we trade it in for a better model. And we frequently upgrade. We do the same thing with our relationships. And get used to it being done to us. I’ll accept plastic of course, that’s the only way to attract more prospects.

Someone I know once said, “You aren’t committed if you are still looking.” From the men I’ve dated and from my own internal confusion I know, the one thing that stops us from staying back, from holding on, from ‘settling down’ is the thought that there may be a better one, just around the corner.

I’ve done this myself. Been so prudent, so stingy in sharing myself with the people I’ve been with. It is easier to get out if you’ve invested very little in the first place. So my relationships have been little more than fun and entertainment. I’ve been angry when the other person has described me as ‘amusing’ or ‘entertaining’ but really that’s a compliment I guess since that’s what I have been and that’s what I’ve expected in return.

I was wrong. Not in what I’ve done but what I’ve believed. A man can be more than a fun date and an amusing conversationalist. I know I can be more than that so it follows that men can be too. It just has been a matter of what I was willing to give and what I was willing to settle for.

Does anyone know what love actually is? In fact does anyone say “I love you” anymore? Too little or too often so it loses its meaning. After all, how much love can there be in a love that sparks instantly and dies out a supposedly ‘long’ 3 months later? And would that have really been love if something bigger, better comes along almost immediately? How different is this one from the other? It’s a different person in a different time that’s all. But what about the emotion? Is anyone special anymore?

Where really is the place for love? It is a mighty realisation that I may probably never have been in love. The people I’ve held onto and paraded as my grand loves have just been ones that I waited a little longer for, before I began to believe that something better was around the corner for me too. But then, possibly…is that love? The willingness to forgo that option of upgrading, of proverbially putting down your money on that one and saying to yourself, “Enough now, this is what I want and I’ll be happy with it.”? Yes, I think so.

So what’s happening? Have we become so easily disposable? Or have we just ceased to share deep emotions that make the kind of memories that one wants to hold on to?

I’m not looking for disposable anymore. I am not in that much of a hurry anymore, I’ve seen enough of circuses. I don’t want to live in a tent and move when the grass (or astro-turf) gets too thin for me. No more plastic flowers please, I want a seed that I can nurture and create a garden with. And then build a little house right in the middle of it that says,

This is who I am and this is where I live. Come in if you like, but leave the disposables and the plastic outside. We grow our own stuff, in here.

Manolos And Sindoor

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My latest obsession is Sex and the City. For the past few days I’ve been wrapped up in the love lives of Carrie, Samatha, Miranda and Charlotte, dazzled by the wardrobes and their lifestyles, amused by their incessant man-izing (!) and thoughtful over the dilemmas they face. Okay, I know I know, I’ve taken the late train, but hell I’m driving it!!! I’ve been watching the early seasons of the show back-to-back. Desperate Housewives (still on air I think) didn’t do the same thing for me. The other program I liked so much was Ally McBeal.

Do these two have something in common? ally.jpgOh, apart from the fact that they feature sucessful, rather neurotic, ‘with it’ urban women? Errrm, it’s the same life. The same story. So Ally sees dancing babies in then midst of a courtroom drama on human interest issues in New York(?) while Carrie and her friends explore and demonstrate the vagaries of Manhatten’s delights. Ummm…and I battle Mumbai’s crowds, enjoy its movies and pubs and obsess over my men. Oh and I also enjoy Sapna Bhavnani’s column where she shows us a glimpse of the mayhem within our own heads.

So why do we identify so well with these women and their lives? And why not with the protagonists (and victims) of the K-serial brigade? We turn up our noses at their over-the-top antics, their crazy plotlines and their melodrama. But of course, getting sloshed on Cosmopolitans the night before a photo-shoot, maxing a credit card on shoes and running after dancing babies is very rational.

Their fashion sense is disastrous!!! Think plate-sized rings, think snake-shaped bindis, garish sarees and pantomime make-up. We think they’re too painted up! It’s Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and let’s not forget Manolos only for us, dahling.manram.JPG

Their value systems are oh-so-archaic and warped!! kyonki.gifThey make it sound like the only way a woman can be strong is by being bitchy and venomous!!! Ah yes, it is very progressive to obsess over the ticking biological clock , go into depression over a good-looking man’s committment-phobia, benchmark ourselves by the bedroom standards of ‘how-many-notches-on-the-bestpost’ philosophy and live with erectile dysfunction, cheating and abuse just for the magical ‘MARRIED’ tag.

Now before I get branded a woman-hater as well (the anti-feminists are up in arms already!!!), please go back and read the first paragraph of this post. I, like most other women in this set, watch and enjoy these shows. I echo these sentiments. But I have to wonder, what makes me so different from the ‘typical Indian bahu’ who supposedly watches the K-serials with the same fervour that I devour SATC? Is my mania with lingerie and perfume that different from her obsession for jewellery and silk? Are my television idols any less insecure, confused or noble than hers are?

I’m blessed with all the insecurities of my gender and I relate to women who live these out on-screen, in lives that look like mine. And they do the same. But I’d turn my nose up at their taste and they’d probably right me off as trash (brown trash since I’m Indian?). We’re all as hypocritical and shallow as each other. Or no, that’s not fashionable. They’re cynical but I’m just jaded, dahling….pass me another cocktail.

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What would your ex- say about you?

Maybe I’ve just been watching too many episodes of Sex and the City but then, I’ve also been pondering on committment-phobias a lot recently.

The last episode I watched ended with Mr.Big (Carrie Bradshaw’s grand love) getting engaged to someone else and Carrie musing:

Maybe I hadn’t broken him in at all. Maybe he hadn’t broken me in.

Maybe some women are meant to run wild until they meet someone equally wild to run with them.

Could that be true I wondered? Also Mishi‘s comment on my last post makes me think,

What would the people we’ve dated say about us?

I’ve asked myself this a hundred times over. Of course. We bother about the opinions of practically EVERYONE on the planet. How about the opinions of those we’ve loved (or thought we did), those we’ve leaned on and held, those who have lived through moments of love and hatred and deep emotion and passion with us?

I really wish I knew the answer to that. I know this is probably a trick question so it is highly doubtful that one would get the ‘right answer’ from an ex- but it bears thinking about anyway. I always thought the men I’ve dated would say that I was funny, intelligent, hyperactive and overemotional.

But what if they feared losing me just as I’ve feared losing them? What if my individuality, my stubborness and temper threatened them as their flightiness and flirtatiousness has threatened me? What if, when we broke up and I thought I was letting them go, in essence, they were the ones letting me go off flying since they sensed I couldn’t be tied down?

The big love of my life (also best friend and longest running relationship ever) once said that he knew I loved him but also that he could never tell, when I woke up in the morning, what mood I’d be in and what I’d decide to do. I always thought of myself as stable and loyal. Was I, really? Or perhaps….just maybe….did the men I’ve loved know me better than I knew myself?

And if that be the case, what happens next? I never knew I was meant to be an ‘independant flier’ but when I think about it, everyone I’ve ever been close to has settled down, in relationships, marriage and jobs. While my life remains even more of a nomadic hippy journey than ever.

When you realise the road isn’t moving but you are, where do you go?

The label on me says…

We all know that men never listen. I’ve had to remind certain people of things I’ve stated categorically earlier.

I am a great friend. I’m worth my weight (or in my case, at least fifty times my weight) in gold as a friend. No kidding. Ask anyone who knows me. They’ll tell you I’m slightly mad but they lurrve me nevertheless.

I am a so-so girlfriend. Its not a role I’m comfortable with but I manage to be just about passable. Don’t expect a trophy.

I’m a really horrible ex-girlfriend.

Anyone who reads this blog SHOULD know that. I can be whiny, clingy, nasty, catty, indifferent, cold, fiery or troublesome. However I do it, I will most certainly be a pain in the side (if not a pain in the heart…but who said the men I date have hearts?).

We also know that men never read directions so this is mostly for my own safety later. My lawyer would approve. After all, even if he is a man, he is a lawyer and presumably hence, has read the directions and decided to be a friend.

Ms.Housekeeper

So everyone knows that I’m on a week-long vacation (having sucessfully shouted it out from the rooftops, my blog and down the phone receiver to my less-lucky-and-long-suffering friends). But true to my OCD tendencies I fall back to old habits. Let’s see…

Saturday: I jumped up and down and also moped about having a UK visa stamped on my passport but absolutely no memories of the place (having not ventured out of my conference room at all). Opened my suitcase and started throwing things out in a bid to energize myself to unpack. Then I promptly fell asleep amid the ruins that used to be my bed and was dead to the world for 4 hours. Which of course meant I stayed awake all night, albeit having a long conversation, the kind you remember for a long time to come, as a milestone in a good friendship.

Sunday: Twenty phonecalls, a much-ahead planned meeting and a wake-up call later, I still managed to be late for a movie. But had hajaar fun anyway. And came home to rip open a DVD of Sex and the City Season 1. This by the way is my gift to myself, as a treat for being in London and missing it.

Monday: Yoga. Blogged. Blogged. Blogged. SATC. Yakked. Yakked. Yakked. SATC. Did not sleep at all.

Tuesday: Slept half of the day and woke up feeling bloody guilty. So I turned out my cupboards. Also tried to clean up the mess on bed after Saturday’s aborted unpacking attempt.

And now I discover that I have:

  • Too many clothes
  • A stash of shawls that never get used
  • A micro-mini skirt that I have neither a matching pair of shorts for, nor the guts to wear by themselves
  • Several skirts…more than trousers, actually (!) And I always thought I was a leggings-sort of gal.
  • An office wardrobe that looks more like stuff you’d wear to a picnic, a movie, a party or bed.
  • An office wardrobe with the mandatory grey, blue, white stuff..that just hasn’t been used in a long time.
  • A summer wardrobe big enough that I don’t need to do any shopping.
  • A pink umbrella (!)
  • Stockings, a beret, a hat, a sash and several scarves I don’t remember buying but have seen in the past three spring-cleaning attempts.
  • A pajama set I’ve never used, my college tee-shirt, a slinky lingerie set I remember buying and forgetting about.
  • A tube of sunscreen gel…imagine that!
  • Two extra tubes of each of my favorite liquid lipcolour shades. In original packing, including the plastic seal around.
  • A bowl full of lipsticks of different brands in varying shades of Dusty Rose, Warm Toast, Cinnamon Kiss (translation for men: pinkish-brown)
  • One shelf full of bags, none really appropriate for whatever situation I’m going to find myself in..but all have-to-haves!

Hmph. And to think I pride myself on being neat, organised and efficient with resources. I never thought I’d be a shop-a-holic. Now my cupboards look so neat I don’t want to take any clothes out of them, for fear of messing up the careful arrangements.

On the other hand though, I have some strange habits. When I was a kid and received pocket money, I would tuck away a few coins, a note or two here and there…between shirts, inside a necklace case, behind a book. And then forget about it. It was such a thrill discovering it years later. That’s something I haven’t gotten over. I’m still thrilled to discover a 10-rupee note in my pocket even if my wallet has twenty times that amount.

So likewise, spring-cleaning can be like a treasure hunt in much the same manner…discovering something that you knew about long ago and forgot after that. It’s also, however, heart-wrenching. I hate discarding things….just as you get used to things, they’ve worn out or something….*sob*. In fact, while I’m in the mood for confessions, I think I took up fabric painting as a way to hang onto my old clothes. I’d just paint on them and wear them again so my family couldn’t bug me to discard stuff from my bulging closets. All went well till a classmate hooted, “For gawdssakes buy new clothes!” Hmph, no one appreciates recycling unless as a fashion statement. With a heavy heart, I learnt to let go of my prized painted possessions as well.

Ah well, the odd things you discover about yourself. Continuing this thread (albeit on a cheerier note) I didn’t feel bad about relegating to the ‘to-discard’ pile this time. So while I’m in this mood, out go the too-tight blouse that P once gave me, the satin suit I wore on my 16th birthday and never have worn since then, the frayed jeans, the numerous chudidaars and dupattas long divorced from their kurtas and having waited long enough for a new partner.

The one thing that hasn’t made it to the discard pile in over 10 years is a tee-shirt with a picture of a sunflower right in the center and the words

He loves me!

and

He loves me not!

scrawled at the edges of each petal. It’s a ratty looking thing now but I used to consider it my lucky tee…….for some strange reason I always got asked out by a new guy (often the latest crush) each time I wore it. It isn’t even THAT spectacular looking! But well, some things just are lucky I suppose…..and I’m allowed my bit of silly superstition. I wonder if I need it now though, since my problem seems to be too many men rather than not enough…but well, I’ll hang onto it for a dry spell anyway.

And now I must go and rearrange my shoe cupboard and catalogue my bookshelf. For some reason I’m having more fun on this vacation than I imagine I’d have had touring France (as originally planned). Okay, so I’m a confirmed boring girl-geek.

The Bad Boy

Now for a post on something I’ve been meaning to write on for a long, long while. It should have come earlier, I know so much about the subject after all.

Why do women love bad boys?

As a confirmed bad boy-o-holic myself, I wonder why I’m continuing to make the same mistakes I did when I was sixteen. First I think we need to define what we mean by ‘Bad Boy’. The Bad Boy isn’t necessarily a tattooed, leather jacket-clad, guitar-toting, beer-guzzling rogue….he’s a concept. A Bad Boy is just someone who isn’t a Good Boy.

Okay, let’s start over again. I’d have said Good Boys don’t really exist but well, perhaps they do. There are enough of men around that I’m not attracted to and I’ve come to categorise them as Good Boys. Or well, to assuage their ego (oh gawd, even Good Boys have them!), they’re the Nice guys. Good Boys are the straightforward, predictable ones who treat women well and don’t play games. I don’t think they’re necessarily the ones with a value system strong enough to respect women, I think they’ve just been slow on the uptake, on how to make themselves more interesting.

Let’s forget about the Good Boy for the moment. I haven’t dated any of them, I’m enthralled by the man I can’t figure out…just yet. He’s confident, a smooth-talker…oh so smooth, he can sass you right back, even call you a bitch to your face, except he’ll make it sound like a compliment. And we fall, fall, fall. Who needs a motorcycle and dreadlocks? All you need is the guts to be a complete bastard with women. This by the way aren’t my words of cynical male-hating wisdom, they’re quote-unquote an ex-boyfriend’s advice to his Nice Guy friend. Oh, and my ex- was clean-shaven and well-dressed but he had no qualms saying such things to his friend in front of me. See, that’s what makes him a Bad Boy.

Characteristic traits of the Bad Boy – Is:

  • Emotionally unavailable
  • Insecure (mostly about appearance but that could be because I only date guys who’re too successful to be insecure about their intelligence)
  • Ambitious (Faster! Bigger! Better! Prettier! Thinner! Richer!)
  • Generally discontent with the state of things, their job, car, house, mobile phone, clothes and YOU. Stay around one long enough and you’ll also get to be THE ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MESS
  • Control freaks or at least male chauvinists

Okay, now that we have them defined, let’s understand why women like them so much? I can only theorize, being too close to the subject myself. I think…women enjoy a challenge just as much men do. We don’t exactly have the same ‘hunter’ instincts (though some of us in recent times, do that too). There is a strong nurturing instinct even in the MW. Bad boys are essentially little boys at heart. Very badly behaved little boys. So, we reason, as with all badly behaved little boys, we discipline them, love them a lot and turn them into civilized human beings. After all, what woman can resist a ‘betterment/improvement’ project? We all like to play Florence Nightingale/Guardian Angel. What better to salvage than a fallen angel?

The trouble is that Bad Boys are not just badly behaved little boys, they’re the ones who never grew up because they couldn’t. For whatever reason, I won’t go into those at the moment. Why are we assuming that we can make them grow up when their mums didn’t? Or after trying so hard, why are we resentful when then turn around and bolt, treating us then, like the strict mother figure?

I know it is slightly sick to be drawn to someone who eventually treats you badly. But that’s what most of us do. There’s an element of danger that makes it exciting. And oh, I suppose there’s the failsafe option of being able to blame the break-up on what a jerk your ex- was. An unusually wise male friend described it as the peculiar ‘long-suffering Sati Savitri condition’.

No one breaks up with a Nice Guy once they’re dating him. I suppose some women cheat out of sheer boredom and frustration. But the guilt of dumping a Nice Guy is just way too much to handle. Most of us prefer not to even go there. In fact I’m a little leery of Nice Guys since they make me feel like a grimy, homework-not-done bad little child. At least with the Bad Boys I get the feeling I’m the more mature, ‘clean-and-correct’ one. All I know is that Bad Boys hold their appeal and continue to be hazardous to my romantic health.

There is of course the other theory that a lot of women have been used and abused by men who don’t respect them, early on. Hence we continue to gravitate to such men, out of sheer habit (that’s what the psychologists say!) and also out of some resentment. A kind of I’ll-despise-you-since-you-don’t-respect-me-but-let’s-both-be-miserable thing. Well, who says we are smart? We suffer from substance abuse the same way that cokeheads and alcoholics do….we call it Bad Boy-o-holism.

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