Monthly Archives: July 2009
Yesterday I went out with a friend whom I haven’t seen or spoken to in eight years. This is one of my memorable Facebook moments since that’s how I found him after all these years. It was an odd, intense friendship back then and for various reasons, we just lost touch. How wonderful it was to discover that he hadn’t changed and I hadn’t changed but both of us were just a little older and with a few more stories to tell each other!
I think the really special thing for me was being able to sit down and talk to a man, as a friend, as a confidante, as a partner in crime, as a co-conspirator, and yes, even as an attractive member of the opposite sex. I really think, as my wise commenter Jay Cataldo puts it, I have been overwhelmed with a run of bad experiences.
This is not to say that I’m forsaking my fiery XX Factor views. I still do think that most Indian men are mama’s boys, there is far too much rampant male chauvinism and creephood to merit my calling them a fair and intelligent species and that men are not keeping up with women when it comes to ‘getting with’ things. But I’m also thinking that there are indeed a few exceptions (note, I said ‘few’ and that means the chances of finding any one of them if one goes looking for them are equal to the chances of winning a jackpot).
I think I’ve spent far too long in too much agony and all of that was because nothing fit my ‘plan’. My life didn’t turn out the way it expected (actually it was better) and men didn’t turn out anywhere close to what I hoped they were (they were much worse). And yet, I think it’s time to sit up and just get used to the person I am and the life I have. I’ve become the kind of person who really doesn’t anymore need a man to feel complete so I may as well stop whining about their inadequacy…I mean, I don’t need them to be perfect anymore after all so why?
Interestingly enough when I talked to my friend about the plan I had had and how things had turned out instead, he smiled and said,
I could never imagine you as a housewife and mother at 23..you know that kind of life. I always thought you were more like me…you have the same spirit of adventure. I have had a chance to express it and you haven’t, that’s all
Maybe I shouldn’t need validation anymore but well, I still do and it felt good to hear that from another person, someone whose views I respect. We talked about our careers, our love lives, what we had learnt (me through my multitudinous relationships, him through his varied travels), how we had changed and how much more we were ourselves. It was oddly sweet to be able to have a conversation that included such snippets as,
And now that you’ve stopped flirting with me, we can move on to matters of greater gravity. 🙂
I think dating with an end goal in mind (marriage) is such a loaded event, it’s practically like going for a job interview. You’re so concerned with whether things will turn out right, so disappointed when he does or says something wrong, so terribly agonized when you make a slip…that you forget to actually enjoy the experience.
Yesterday for the first time in ages, I looked at my watch around 9pm and was struck to discover that it was actually half past eleven. For probably the first time ever, I enjoyed a bottle (or perhaps more) of wine without keeping count of how much I was drinking, how quickly it was going in and what I was having it it. It was a tremendously soul-lifting experience to enjoy an experience without worrying about it.
We were friends, we were strangers, we were on a date and we weren’t, we were two people who were remembering what we already knew about the other and discovering other things that we liked. Once again, to re-iterate what I said last time, it wasn’t about where we were or how we were related to each other, what labels we hung on each other. It was about the man himself and he was wonderful.
Among the many things we discussed last night, relationships and attraction were starring features. At one point I found myself saying,
I love men and I know why I love them. It’s not just the physical aspect of it. It’s that combination of vulnerability and strength that is uniquely male. Women are never really that vulnerable. It is so easy to hurt a man, it’s so easy to break a man, so easy to shatter his ego, his sense of self-worth, his very spirit….and hence you don’t.
And as soon as I’d said it, I knew that was exactly true. He pondered it and said,
I don’t think women have ever hurt me.
Then maybe you’ve only known women who have loved you very much. But then again, I have hurt men I’ve loved too. So it isn’t love. Let me revise – you’ve only known women who have cared for you very much.
So that’s what its about then. Loving a man comes naturally as does the ability and on occasion, the desire, to hurt him. Beyond that, reigning back that desire and acknowledging the effort it takes to do so….I guess that’s the space where relationships are born.
At the end, I enjoyed being with him because he was so uniquely himself. But also because I loved who I was when I was with him. So it is about the person himself and it’s also about who you are when you’re with him.
So I’ve done the ‘date a younger guy’ thing too. Don’t I sound deliciously cold about it?
A once young nineteen-year-old me, on hearing about a friend’s new boyfriend exclaimed,
But he’s younger than you!
to which I got a succint, if somewhat stiff, “So?”
Well, I don’t know. I guess I was just one of those people who followed the rules so to speak. Used to be, anyway.
The truth is I’m surprised how painless it was. It was a refreshing change to not have to think about how I sounded and how sure I was about something. I mean, I was older and by corollary, wiser!! But it was also surprising in equal measure, how good he gave back, not just in verbal volleying but in terms of his own experience and impression of the world.
We had several intelligent conversations, we made each other laugh and we had fun. It was nice. For all purposes I might not even have remembered the age difference except when he decided an appropriate serenade would be,
And here’s to you, Mrs.Robinson….
Hmph very funny, I don’t think a five-year age gap is all THAT big a deal. Okay, now I don’t think it is anymore. The friend mentioned above was dating a guy 7 months younger than her so you can see why this is such a sea-change from where I was a decade ago.
To come back, for the experience itself. As we spoke, I was also becoming aware of my own age. It wasn’t that his opinions were not intelligent or that he was shallow. I could understand where he was coming from but in a lot of cases, I realised that I didn’t want to react that strongly anymore. Not that I had stopped caring but just that my emotions were less fiery and more thoughtful now. I don’t think this has to do with personality differences because I was exactly the same when I was 25 – jaded yet curious, excited and cynical in equal measure. In an odd way it was like seeing a then-and-now of myself.
And finally I was left with the sense that this is how dating and relationships should be. It’s not about the place or how or where the two of you met or how the future looks. It’s got nothing to do with age or similar backgrounds or shared interests. It is and always will be about the person himself.
Well of all the people to have a lesson from, a younger man? A child shall lead the way, they say. 🙂
Of note, if you’re wondering where things go from here…well, they don’t. He’s going his way and I’m going mine, both of us in agreement that it was an excellent experience. I never thought I’d say this but it is a good feeling to be able to feel that way.
I love this song. Unabashedly. I wish I could dance outside in the rain singing this very song. In fact, maybe I will.
I was talking to a friend about (what else?) a guy we both knew. Nothing much to tell except that he was cute and thought I was too. Attraction is a good thing, even more so when unencumbered by the social mores of committment.
I particularly loved her for saying,
As I see it, it was just a human thing.
Absolutely. It was one of those delightful things that makes you feel good to be human. Then for thought, she added,
Isn’t it interesting how we never got to wondering what he would think?
I gave it some thought and I realised it didn’t matter. Not that he didn’t matter at all to me, but just that it wouldn’t have made much difference to me either way. Is that modern promiscuity or liberalisation? Who gives a damn anyway?
Really, truly a man’s attention is a lovely thing. Several men’s attention is mind-blowing. Perhaps it is the effect of turning 30 and shutting my ‘planned life’ down but I find I just don’t have the bandwidth to worry about approval anymore.
There have been a number of times in my life that I’ve had the pleasure to think at least to myself,
Hey, it’s raining men!
Aren’t I lucky? We all are. From experience, it is just a matter of attitude. Every single time I stopped worrying about whether ‘the one’ was out there, I found myself surrounded and drowning in a thunderstorm of potentials, prospects, just-flings, men, men, men.
It always made me glow within. All that changes is that I’m grinning real wide now. 😀
God bless Mother Nature
She’s a single woman too
She took over heaven
And she did what she had to do
This post was written a few months ago. While it may be said that I was in an anti-man phase then (and have presumably recovered now), I find the thought behind this post still holds true in my head.
It was a hectic week. Sunday lunch at my favorite restaurant, a midnight birthday party, a movie, a play, dinner-and-conversation twice in the week.
It looks like it is going to be a hectic month. Picnics, parties, long-awaited reunions, movies, shopping, city jaunts, long conversations, weekend getaways.
None of these plans have a man in the picture. Friends, colleagues, classmates, family. But no boyfriend, husband, partner or lover.
My job pays for my various (and occasionally expensive) interests. I have a wide circle of people whose company I enjoy and often do fun stuff with. I have a smaller-knit bunch of people who care for my health, my happiness quotient and my well-being. I have a diverse range of things to do and fill up my time with. I do what I do reasonably well and I get my sense of identity and validation from them.
I wonder now if men truly have become redundant in my life. And I wonder also, if that makes me a feminist.
I don’t hate men. I just don’t seem to need them anymore. The degree carried a definition of my life, the job brings me material security and mental stimulation, the people are my emotional support and my hobbies make my life worth living. It is an individualist life and I enjoy it. My needs are met and continue to sustain my lifestyle.
On a date, I carry with me, my wit garnered from my wide exposure, my opinions formed from the freedom and access to think and my ease of being that comes from the confidence of having lived this life for awhile. To a relationship, I bring the ability to listen and support, a willingness to share responsibility and the quality of non-dependence. But I also pack in an unwillingness to defer to an opinion I don’t subscribe to, a revulsion of playing second fiddle and an ego to match the individuality.
A desirable package overall (well, a lot of people seem to want my life – including me!) but not very conducive to a long-term relationship it would seem.