Monthly Archives: January 2013

I feel like a character in someone else’s coming-of-age story

….the kind about a young man discovering himself, his faith, his relationship to his environment and where he fits in. The sort of story where his thinking is turned upside down when he meets a certain woman (usually older or bohemian or both). I feel like that woman.

This woman surfaces in several instances of pop culture. She’s a bit of Mrs.Robinson (The Graduate) with a touch of Joan Harris (Mad Men). She’s also Penelope or a somewhat older Aphrodite. She’s independent, wiser, more mature. She challenges his notions. She intrigues him and she leaves him cold too. She understands him better than most people in his life do. And then she doesn’t seem to care at all. He gives her his secrets and she sets them aside, carefully but disinterestedly like she’s seen so many like them before. Because I have.

Is she a friend? A lover? A mentor? A mistake? A life challenge? She’s a bit of everything and when she leaves, she’s that woman.

In the recent years, I’ve been around a lot of younger men, dated a few. There is a pattern. As I get older, I find I’m getting to be more of me – tougher, more independent, more assertive and (it is hoped) wiser. It is that, precisely that which draws a certain kind of young man.

I don’t know if I like it. The attention is flattering with its sweet awe, its charming regard. But it is so much like taming a wild horse without making it dependent on you. I don’t want to be a babysitter any more. My mother hen days are over and behind me (for good, I hope). No man has been worth thus far and I’ve come to believe no man ever will be. After having been maternal for the most part of my life and visualizing a future of playing mommy I find I’m having to, even wanting to let that go. Curious feeling this, consciously letting go of something that once defined you. I figure I’ve to learn to care differently. Then I realize I’m already doing it and it feels like I just shed a hundred years of burden. It was there all along. I really, truly don’t give a damn. I can care because I feel like being generous and not because I just helplessly do.

I want to lead, I want to initiate and I want to drive forward. But I no longer want to carry, to nurture or to take responsibility for someone else. The romance is kicks and that’s all it is; not a season pass to timed commitment. The men are lovely too. I don’t feel like fighting much now. Their opinions really count for so little and matter even less in the grand scheme of things. I will and am living my life of my own sweet will, regardless of them.

How does this work in a relationship? Just like it does for every man, I suppose. I let go of my imposed femininity with much difficulty. It’s a coming of age for me too then.

Date A Man Who Knows Women

* Inspired by Date A Girl Who Reads.

Date a guy who has sisters. Preferably a middle child, so he knows what it’s like to look up to as well as look over (sometimes overlook) women. Hope that they’re the kind of women you’d like because it’ll be like having that many more mothers-in-law. Take solace in the fact that PMS & the fact that women get puffier, then sleeker in a matter of days, will not come as a complete surprise to him. On the other hand, remember you might need to teach him that women have not been put on earth for his exclusive service. Mostly, it’s a worthwhile trade-off.

Date a guy who doesn’t worship his mother. It may be a herculean task to find such a man in India where ‘mama’s boy’ is a badge borne with pride, not embarrassment. Still, look for him. You may also get thrown off by an odd dysfunctional specimen who actually hates the woman that he popped out of. You’re looking for a fine balance here – that rare guy who understands everyone has foibles, everybody is human. If he can see his mother through the same lens that he uses on the rest of the world, hang on to him for dear life because he’s the one person who’ll treat you as a complete human being, not an assortment of body parts that he likes.

Date a guy who’s a father figure. Find him in a classroom or a coffeeshop. He’ll be listening intently (or he may not look it) but the woman next to him will always be talking. If he’s looking at her, he’ll be looking into her face. If not, he’s probably staring at his coffee but he’ll give a slight nod every now and then. He’ll make sure to be on the side of the traffic while crossing the road or even walking on it. He may not open doors for you but he’ll keep a constant eye on you  as you walk across the floor to the restroom. And when you return, his response will be inversely proportional to the ones of the other men around. He might even lecture you a bit on dressing, walking or talking. Fight with him for your independence. Fight for space. Fight for your own time. Fight for your right to your opinion. Fight in every way possible. Stomp off in a temper. You’ll know you’ve found him when you turn and discover he’s following you quietly, at a respectable distance till you get to a safe place. And go back to him. Because even the most independent of women love their daddies.

Date a guy who’s had a lot of girlfriends. Look for him when he’s slightly past his prime. Wait till he has exhausted his bag of tricks on the women before you and tired of the games. Hold your counsel when he tries them on you. He can’t help it; it’s habit. But it’s like dying embers – keep it stoked just to the level that you like. Ask him about his past. No matter how discreet he insists he is, it can be done. Remember, he’s been a collector and old collectors love to tell their stories. Let him regale you with his escapades and bite back your jealousy and ego bruises. Then, after he’s began talking, when he takes a break to breathe and get a drink, tell him your conditions. Seal the deal then. You’ll need to keep listening to his stories for the rest of your life but remember, you’re the one he’s telling stories to.

Date a man with a lady boss. Date a guy who’s the only one in a team of women. Date a man who works in a woman-centric industry. Date a guy whose job it is deal with only women – like a bra salesman. Guys who have to rub shoulders with the everyday nature of women. Who have to deal with ambition, pettiness, stupidity, greed and every other human trait – in women, on a daily basis.

Date a gynecologist. Date a psychiatrist. Date a counselor. Date a teacher.

Date a man who knows women.

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