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Unequal Affections

A famous couplet by W.H. Auden goes,

If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving be me.

I thought it was desperately romantic but also insightful. Even in the most compatible of relationships, there is a certain inequality. Of power, of responsibility, of initiative and yes, even of love. At any point of time, one person seems to be giving more, trying harder and the other is demanding more, needing more.

In an ideal world, these things ebb and flow and balance out over time. These equations are probably not static and shift over time as both partners grow. But as we all know, human relationships are anything but ideal. So should we live the idealistic dream of pursuing someone we can’t bear to be without, for whom we will do just about anything (and also bear the risk that they may not reciprocate, or worse, misuse our affections)? This after all, epitomizes living to the fullest, with and for the object of one’s passionate affections. Or should we take the practical path of looking for someone who is willing to meet our needs, supply all our demands and needs us so much, that they will do as we please? It’s the safer option, especially in today’s cut-throat times but it needs a careful rationing and rationalizing of emotion.

Quite simply, is your ideal relationship with someone who can’t live without you or with someone you can’t live without?

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A version of this is on Yahoo! Real Beauty.

XXFactored!: November 2010 – Lists, Style, Love And Harry Potter

I’ve barely posted through the month of November. What with one thing or another with the domain problems and having to move back to good ol’ free WordPress, things got pushed aside. But the XX Factor Facebook page has been active, sure enough. And for those of you who didn’t catch the updates as they happened, here are the highlights once again:

  • I was surprised at how accurate these felt even in the Indian context. Human relationships are universal, I suppose. 20 things couples should do before they move in together and another 20 they should not do after moving in together (via TheFrisky)
  • What I want to know is – what qualifies as ‘new’? 10 basic rules for a new relationship (via YourTango)
  • Of special interest to me since I made the first move with Mr.Everyday and I did at least two of the things on this list. 🙂 10 subtle ways to make the first move. (via TheFrisky)
  • Flirting styles by the cast of Beverley Hills 90210 (via Lemondrop)
  • 7 tips for dressing curves that are a must-read for the Indian-woman-sized figure. (via AllWomanStalk)
  • A tricky question indeed: “Am I wrong for hooking up with my friend’s ex-?” (via TheFrisky)
  • Pool Noodle girlfriend & other gross things guys do. Eww, dirty boys! (via TheFrisky)
  • Much of this, common sense. But we all need reminding of THAT sometimes, don’t we?: How to fall in love with Mr.Good Enough. (via YourTango)
  • We’ve read these a hundred times before. We know them off the tops of our heads. We rarely disagree with each other on these, no matter what our differences. But still ‘men’s mistakes’ always get us off…laughing!: The 10 stupidest mistakes men make with women. (via TheFrisky)
  • An Indian (?) guy reading an Indian (?) author. HOT! (via HotGuysReadingBooks)
  • 12 techno-relationship rules to live by. (via TheDailyBeast)
  • A whole list of things that made me go ‘Awwww’ and which would make my boyfriend cringe if I ever actually mentioned them!: What do men really find romantic? (via ThirdAge)
  • The best way to be with a funny woman. (via DoubleViking)
  • 4 secrets every woman should know. (via TheRealCougarWoman)
  • How to buy lingerie for a woman. (via ModernMan)
  • 8 Harry Potter tools we want for our relationships. (via YourTango)
  • The Dance Of The Pot – How did we ever turn into such a patriarchal, chauvinistic society? (via Devdutt)
  • I was baffled by an invite I received recently which asked for ‘Smart Casual attire’. Read about setting a dress cold for your party. (via ManofTheHouse)
  • Feminism turned on its *ahem* occasionally biased head. (viaWords&Pictures)

I really have been a listmaniac this month, haven’t I? 😀 I’m still waiting to hear what you think of my picks! Love? Hate? Snooze?

XXFactored!: October 2010

Did you know that The XX Factor was on Facebook? In addition to the posts that come up here, I also frequently link to articles of interest that I find all over the blogosphere. Style, dating, relationships, humour and everything else XX Factor outside the blog find their place in my links. Facebook makes it really easy for me to share what I read with my interested readers. But I realized some of my readers are not on Facebook and I don’t want them to miss out on the entertainment! So here’s what The XX Factor was reading this month:

  • How do you know when a relationship is exclusive? (via Lemondrop)
  • Bharatmatrimony’s witty insight on marriage. (via Twitter)
  • 5 tired boy moves we’d like to see laid to rest. (via Lemondrop)
  • 5 romantic gestures that will turn her off! (via Modern Man) Yes, you’re welcome, men!
  • What is your dating style? (via Facebook)
  • A schematic mapping a woman by her behaviour into every single media stereotype ever. (via Overthinking it)
  • Do you have all the 8 types of friendships you need to grow as a person? (via The Frisky)
  • Where are you on the Hipster Fashion Cycle? (via Republic of Chic)

A Little Faith

🙂 I was reading through some of my back posts recently and I realised I’ve been pretty harsh on men. Yes, well, as a certain old acquaintance-turned friend pointed out,

Your opinions are coloured by the pain you have felt. But that’s no reason to tar all men with the same brush.

Heard and understood…and its time to issue public apology to all those men who do not fit the stereotypes I’ve been bashing. And now for a nice sweet real life example to illustrate…

SNC (oh phone): No, that’s impossible. Work is work, you know that. Yes, maybe Saturday too. What can I do about it? No choice.

5 minutes later….

SNC: I’m the world’s best actor!!!! I’ve successfully convinced Mrs.SNC that I am working late tomorrow and on Saturday too. She wanted to do something on this long weekend that’s coming up.

Me: Why, you evil man! Why are you lying to your wife? Hmph….men can be such…%$#@

SNC: You are totally alien to the concept of romantic surprises, aren’t you?

Me: Eh?

SNC: I’ve been planning this for a month. Tomorrow I’ll start out ‘for a short drive’ and then head towards Mahabaleshwar. Its a long weekend and I have plans. 🙂

Me: Ha! What if she believes you and goes to work on the weekend too?

SNC: *smirk smirk* I’ve enlisted her family’s help. Her sister has spoken to her and convinced her that she needs help with a project tomorrow so she has to be at home. And her parents have announced that they are visiting on Saturday so she’s got to be there to see them.

Me: ….

Well, what’s left for me to say?

A close friend is getting married this weekend on a sudden impulsive desicion and I’ve been playing devil’s advocate since she announced it to me. Hmm…I guess I could do with a little faith.

The downside of this revelation is that I probably won’t have too much of masaaledaar, argument-inducing posts up here. Well…then again, people will continue to err and men…uh, some men will continue to be jerks. So I don’t worry too much.

That Heady Ol' Feeling

I spoke to a friend last night. She said she was going out to dinner. Not family. Not an old friend. Not a classmate or a colleague. Not a ‘marriage prospect’. None of those secure, timetable-managed things. But something quite like…a date!

I had another call at 11:00 pm. She sounded ecstatic. She hasn’t sounded this way in oh….5 years. All for what? A simple dinner with someone new, whom she liked. One memorable experience in five years of good grades, promotions, splendid matrimonial prospects, family joys…but this one dinner stood out.

I’m glad she’s stumbled onto that heady feeling again. And I’m so glad, so thankful for being well acquainted with it, feeling this all of this year. Dating is good. Finding someone attractive, discovering that they might..just might feel that way too, the pondering and plotting over how to talk to them (or answer them when they talk to you), the apprehension coupled with gleeful delight…..it makes me feel young and alive! Even when one isn’t sure of the outcome.

Will this date be enjoyable? Will she like me? Will I bore him? Do we have a lot in common? Do we conflict or complement each other? How can I meet him again? Shall I ask her for her number? Will I seem too pushy? Too eager? Too cold?

Oh perhaps, the uncertainty is the charm of it all.

Finding someone you like isn’t easy but that makes it all the more of a thrill when you actually do. Getting to know them, the childish-but-nevertheless enjoyable little games that one plays, the flirting…it is all good. Well, who am I to dictate the morals of the age? I say anything that makes you feel good, is good.

So this one time, I’ll shed off my cynical cloak. There are 6 billion people out there (and more coming in every minute!). Its just possible you may like someone (a lot of someones…). Strange as it may sound, a lot of them like you too. Get out there, talk to someone, have a conversation, make a date, go out to dinner, catch a movie, meet some friends, discover how much you have in common, how much you can learn from each other, have fun…..life is here for the taking!

A Reflection In Someone's Face

I switched on the idiot box and my fingers froze on the remote to this song.

I never was a major Jagjit Singh fan but some words stop you in your tracks. And I liked the video of this one. I don’t know why the cast of this song didn’t do that well in their careers…I haven’t seen them around since. Does anyone know the name of the guy featured in that song? I think he has the most convincing expression I’ve ever seen for the sentiment of this song.

It made me remember something I haven’t seen in a long time. All of these relationships and flings later, I’d forgotten what it was to yearn for and to be looked at longingly, lovingly. They all were fun, interesting, enriching even. And yet….

Love, that’s what has been missing. Odd to realize that after so many I-love-yous, isn’t it?

Tera chehra hai aaine jaise
Dost mil jaayenge phir bhi
Na milega koi mere jaisa

Tangled Hearts

A friend of mine used to say that at his wedding, he’d play this song by Julio Iglesias.

To all the girls I’ve loved before
who’ve travelled in and out of my door
I’m glad they came along
I dedicate this song
to all the girls I’ve loved before

What a excruciating move! Like the final, last blow to think of an old love on the day of one’s wedding and also, at that crucial moment of giving up everyone else for one person, to dedicate that moment to everyone else. I shuddered at the thought and thanked my stars that we had never been anything more than friends. And yet, I might probably be able to say something similar.

Human beings are strange and vulnerable. We need, so very desperately, to believe that we are unique, that we are special…knowing all the time that we are not. Maybe those of us who understand that best are the ones who most need to feel especially needed.

Having influenced somebody isn’t enough. It still twists your heart into a pretzel to see that they’ve moved on and are well and happy without you. And moving on and away also has a way of wrenching something akin to blood from within you.

Ah love, what emotional acrobats you make of us!!

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