Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Man Shop

*Image by Runs With Scissors via Flickr

This post was written in jest. If you are offended by strong female opinions, jokes about the dating market or the battle of the sexes, please read no further.

I remember an urban legend that did the popular rounds a couple of years back. It described a Craigslist ad, unabashedly detailing its writer’s requirement for a ‘Sugar Daddy’ in return for her services as a Trophy Wife. She got a response from a potential Sugar Daddy sort who explained that since what she brought to the deal (looks) was a depreciating asset while his contribution (money) was an increasing asset, the deal did not make sense. He proposed a ‘rental’ agreement as opposed to her ‘buy’ offer.

Back then, it caused a lot of mirth among the men who read it, one of whom gleefully forwarded the entire thing to me as his reaction to XX Factor. It made me mad enough to write a post, which unfortunately, I never ended up publishing. So now, here for your mirthful pleasure (and please read with a huge, big scoop of salt), I present – The Man Shop. So in the traditional dating market, women are coming up short on account of their fading looks as compared to men’s increased earning capacity? But now that women are wearing boardroom collars (and carrying matching handbags with corresponding purses), this relationship economy is turning on its head. The man is now available on sale just as well and my gender has always enjoyed shopping. Let’s look at what The Man Shop has to offer: When we go window shopping, we find the following on display:

Perfect Provider

Cost: Not for sale. This one is for display purposes only, showcased in fairytales & myths fed down countless generations to women.

Maintenance: An elaborate production of movies, books, maxims, wise-women sayings.

Lifespan: The length of one romcom/ chicklit novel/ fairytale.

Benefits: What are the benefits of being with a guy who is not commitment-phobic, lazy, insensitive, selfish or mean but is courteous, romantic, egoless & forgiving?

Risks: Delusion. Unrealistic expectations.

Okay, let’s move on to the actual wares on display.

Trophy Boyfriend

Cost: Moderate to High depending on the circles you move in. Rich, successful men like having women fawn over them (actually all men do). It’s not impossible to acquire one of these so long as you’re willing to bury your pride and keep from getting too fond of him. The tricky part is the competition with the other women. Wear your clearance sale-fight cap. Maintenance: High. They are fickle and whimsical (or maybe that’s an affectation, just because they can). Be ready for high upkeep of beauty, wit, intelligence (or stupidity, whichever caught his eye about you). Lifespan: A week at best. If he’s still there after that, the chances are he wasn’t a trophy in the first place (and is hanging on to you for dear life). In the far chance that he falls in love with you, he’ll still be too used to too much female devotion to make a really good partner, short-term or long-term. Let go if he doesn’t. Benefits: He looks good, he makes you look good and he’s perfect for turning your nemesis/ex-boyfriend green with envy. Risks: None. P.S. – Remember to treat these men like ice-cream. If you get one, enjoy him while he lasts and then forget about him.

Pedigreed Pup: (A version of the Trophy Boyfriend with an impressive degree)

Cost: Expensive (unless a rare one is going slumming for the fun of it, you generally have to match their status symbols) Maintenance: High (fragile egos, tight schedules) Lifespan: A few weeks. Benefits: Flashy, impressive Risks: Reneging on their deals with all tracks covered. P.S. – Read the fine print.

Toy Boy

Cost: Moderate (generally impressed/overawed by the financial edge you have) Maintenance: Low to Moderate (will look up to you for advice, for directions on how to live their life etc) Lifespan: A couple of months. Benefits: Willing to be puppy-dogs Risks: Messy if they fall in love with you. P.S. – Never treat a Toy Boy as a Trophy Boyfriend. If he’s that flashy and he’s dating you, he’s probably got an older woman fixation in which case you’re the prize.

Married Man (If this offends you, move on to next item. If a product exists & this one certainly does, assume there’s an interested buyer)

Cost: Low (desperate for any crumbs of the perks of the hallowed bachelor days) Maintenance: Very low (especially since you have more options than he does) Lifespan: As long as you can stand it Benefits: Unrestricted Freedom Risks: The wife finding out. Let’s not talk about conscience; it could be all you hear for the rest of your life.

Fuck-buddy

(Friend-with-benefits if you may please) Cost: Moderate (Even going by the premise that most men are always ready to f@#$, relationship history irrespective, the species is a little rare on account of the fact that some men can’t stomach the same attitude in women) Maintenence: Zero. That’s their key selling point. Lifespan: As long as you can both sustain it (or till one of you gets married, in which case see case above) Benefits: All the comfort and convenience of a friendship. No judgements over nature of love life, career or monetary status. Risks: Loss of a friendship; awkwardness if one decides to get married (and presumably both keep in touch after) and the big one – if you can come and go as you please, so can he. * To be continued when further stocks arrive.

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The Myth Of Monogamy & The Promise Of Polyamory

Image Source: James Callan on Flickr (via Zemanta)

The Single Married Man says:

Yes, I am back.

So what do we talk about today?

How about the reasons why men cheat? But I am sure there are tonnes of articles and justifications that you can find on the internet (Google informs me there are 4.7 million results when you type that phrase in)

So I thought I’d merely point you to a couple of very interesting articles someone shared online.

One was this review of Stephanie Coontz’s book “Marriage a History” which says:

“Marriage was a way of turning strangers into relatives, of making peace, of making permanent trading connections,” Coontz says. “There are many different languages that call wives the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of the word ‘peace-weaver’.”

The other was a blog post written by Dave Pollard who writes:

Anthropologists have concluded that such settling is unnatural, and that is why the chemistry of love binds us to a single partner only for a brief period sufficient to produce offspring and ensure they are sufficiently provided for until they are weaned.

Personally speaking, I am attracted to people all the time, and I don’t mean it in a sexual way all the time. Today’s generation calls it by new names like “Friends with Benefits” and the needless need to label relationships.

Happiness comes not by defining and putting boundaries around a certain thing, but by expanding it.

In my decade of being married I can count the moments of true happiness and the hours of feeling burdened with expectations and pain and hurt.

Yes marriage is hard work. And while people crib openly about going to work on Mondays and celebrate by saying “Thank God it’s Friday” – no one (at least publicly) says they are sick of marriage.

Commitment. That’s a big word. A word that gets interpreted by different people even if its the same context. Add infidelity to that list.

Women say commitment has to be not just physical but emotional as well. However, every married man doesn’t share everything with his wife. How about bitching about his wife’s habits to the boys? Is that a break of commitment? How about sharing that with female colleagues? Suddenly the lines blur, depending on who the audience is.

“But its the intent” Do I hear you say?

Unfortunately, intent is never visible – no matter how much intuition you go by. What matters is behavior. In offices men and women often end up having “office spouses” – a usually platonic relationship. Would their “real spouses” call that “emotional infidelity”

In the overall analysis, every man and woman has different emotional, intellectual, sexual needs. So why not have different “loves” for each need. And such needs change with time too. People grow apart.

Our parents’ generation did not marry for love – hence they stayed together. If we marry for love at least we should be committed to love itself.

The Pygmalion Complex

I watched My Fair Lady last week. What a delightful movie! And alongside enjoying the music and the plot, it set me thinking about..what else…gender stereotypes.

We have the superbly fresh flower-girl Eliza Dolittle and the indoubtable Professor Higgins. Everyone knows the story of the professor’s transformation of Eliza from street urchin to society belle.

I think some men have an irresistible compulsion to mold the woman in their lives. Yes, I know women have been accused of doing the same thing to their men for generations countless. Dare I suggest that we’re better at DIY personality improvement programs? 😀 But I jest.

Source: Movies-Wallpapers

Let’s come back to Professor Higgins. Once the street corner flower-urchin has been duly slapped into shape…errm, transformed into a lovely lady with a besotted high-society admirer, her creator suddenly wants her to go back to being submissive and receptive of his tough if not insensitive admonitions. Now is that wise? Let’s forget about fair, but is that really a realistic expectation?

There seems to be a subtle parallel in a lot of today’s so-called ‘liberated men’. So they’re all good and fine with knowing women who’re intelligent, accomplished and confident. They even manage to submerge their egos at their counterparts’ successes. So long as she’s also a perfect hostess, has a glamour-magazine-spread shaped body, cooks like a dream and loves children.

Because she’s so good in everything! I’m just a regular guy!

Hah! I defy any geneticist to prove to me that being a woman endows me with a good-at-cooking-and-keeping-house gene. Double bah!

To come back to the The Pygmalion Complex, is there really such a thing? Yes, I do think so. This 55-word story I wrote a long time ago was based on a real-life experience.

She proposed. He declined.

You’re too intense for me.

He said then.

A few years later, they met.
He was older, she wiser.

He frowned,

I don’t like what you’ve become.

You didn’t like me the way I was!

She wanted to cry when he said

I did. I miss who you used to be.

It has been my lot to have known a lot of strong-willed men. I seem to be drawn to such people. Every single one of them has tried to change me, initially by brute force (using everything from mean, sniggering taunts to abusive, controlling behaviour). In the more recent times, my own stubborn will stands in the way, so instead I get a sulky man on my hands instead, very like Professor Higgins at the end of the movie.

What is this compulsion with changing people? It seems to give the changer a sense of power. For the changee (the woman in the case), it is like having an alternate father-figure. In the story, poor little Eliza was an impoverished flower-girl with a neglectful father so Professor Higgins really did elevate her social status. But even so, he wasn’t really ready to be able to treat her as his equal, socially and intellectually. In Ms.Doolittle’s memorable words,

He is a gentleman because he treats a flower-girl as if she were a lady. You would treat a lady like she was a flower-girl.

Perhaps the sufferer of a Pygmalion Complex also experiences the empty-nest syndrome following being a father-figure, once his protege gains ‘adulthood’ or a voice and opinion of her own. Don’t fathers behave very much the same way with their daughters? It is a commonly visible fact that mothers are quicker to accept the changes of time and embrace the reality of their offspring’s adulthood than fathers are.

At a more deep-rooted level, perhaps men do find it more difficult to let go of the control and power that comes from being a protector/teacher/guide. Whether he’s a father or a mentor, it is rather touching that at the end, he seems to have suffered more from the growing pains of his child/protege. My Fair Lady ends with Eliza demonstrating that she truly is a lady and in every way, the Professor’s equal (if not the stronger sex) when she lets him fret a bit but finally does return to him.

Ah, men. Why do they confuse independence with not caring?

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