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What Dexter Proves

A man would rather follow a serial killer’s day on TV than have an emotional conversation with a woman.

I am definitely not the weaker sex.

Debra And Dexter Morgan
* Image from JuniorLayouts Free Dexter Images

** A version is posted to Yahoo! Real Beauty.

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The Neanderthal In The Nice Guy

I was watching ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (HIMYM) yesterday (and may I add what a tremendous improvement it is on the clichéd, hackneyed ‘Friends’?). Barney, (commitment-phobic bad boy) convinces Marshal (married, nice guy) to ‘stand up for his manhood’, which translates to refusing to help in the house and make sexist cracks at his wife’s expense. As expected, a fight ensues between the couple, peppered with the sort of humour that makes this show very relatable and watchable.

What struck me was the thought that otherwise normal, decent, nice guys are probably going along in with their blameless lives, when they suddenly get distracted by a misnomer like Barney. It doesn’t matter how intelligent, evolved, caring or thoughtful the guys are, an idiotic jerk-boy can suddenly bring out similar behavior in them, just like that. Does that mean that every man has a jerk-boy in him but some just hide it really effectively until it answers to that primal call from the more ‘out’ jerk-boy?

I thought about the boy (like that was a surprise). He’s the one who got me hooked onto this show in the first place. He likes the character of Barney and thinks Ted Mosby (the ‘normal’ one) is a whiny wuss. He loves Shrek and Homer Simpson. He cheers very loudly at exactly the kind of jokes as the one I detailed above, on HIMYM. And last night we watched ‘The Green Hornet’ where he hooted through every sexist crack, every ‘I’m-a-brat-and-proud-of-it’ dialogue spewed by the lead character.

Hmm. In each of those cases, I glare at him, which only spurs him on to even greater hooting, laughing and applause. On occasion, I narrow my eyes, start to breathe fire and then, launch the offensive. Women’s rights, male chauvinism, the faults of the Indian man, herd mentality, cowardice, foetal survival rates, tolerance to pain and emotional fortitude are some of the weapons in my arsenal. No sireee, I don’t play clean, not when I’m challenged.

Yesterday since he wasn’t around during HIMYM, I had to substitute his laughter in my head and argue with an imaginary him. Of course, I won. Well, I do, even otherwise. But then I got to thinking about why he continues to uphold that gutterslime philosophy. He isn’t a male chauvinist. He’s actually not a spoilt mama’s boy. He actively stands for the independence and emancipation of women. And this I have to say honestly, he is proud of, rather than resentful of, his girlfriend’s successes. Then where is the source of Mr.Neanderthal in my Mr.Everyday?

Then it hit me:


Neanderthalism is to men, what shopaholism is to women.

It isn’t true of the majority of the gender. Most people see the idiocy of it and avoid such behavior, without excessive effort. But one practitioner comes along and makes it seem oh-so-cool and the rest of us ‘normal’ sorts feel like losers. The practitioner in question has to be in an innately weak state of mind to succumb to such behavior. And hence of course, he/she seeks to convert others to feel better about that fact that he/she isn’t alone. They’re obviously so convincing in it that the rest of us feel compelled to drop our otherwise intelligent/normal thought and face a momentary lapse of reason.

I am not a shopaholic, never have been. I know an excessive hoarding of possessions has to be an unhealthy symptom of something else going wrong. And of course, I’ve indulged in it more than once. Hey, everyone slips up sometime! It’s sort of like…falling sick. But I recover with time. I’m not a chronic spender, just a prudent women subject to occasional bouts of mad shopping.

And similarly, my Mr. Everyday and hundreds of other such ‘normal’ men are just regular guys, who’re occasionally seized with the desire to be Neanderthals. I could live with that. Even Neanderthals are scared of fire-breathing females.

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*If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram

It All Started With A Big Bang!

It’s hard being a woman. The whole multi-tasking thing is starting to fire on us in a beeg way and I have a sneaky suspicion that men are sniggering at us from behind their hands (or err, gadgets).

For starters there is the image of the modern, intelligent woman. Some slogging, plodding and hard work bring us the degrees and promotions. That ought to be enough to cement the image, right? Wrong! One must be a good conversationalist as well.

Now this being a good conversationalist business is tricky. What does it mean anyway? Be an entertainer? A good listener? A confident talker? A jocular being dropping witticisms with every eyelash flutter? And all of this while ensuring said eyelashes don’t drop into the food, lipstick doesn’t get onto teeth during self-induced laughing bouts and ‘statement jewellery’ doesn’t get entangled in the tablecloth, the waiter’s tie or the door. Flashes of skin must be accidental and with a large majority of us regular women are; only with us they take the form of embarassing wardrobe malfunctions and not the fantastical literary ‘accidental flash of skin’. Difficult indeed, being a woman.

Then there is pressure to be a good date. Yes, make no mistakes, women suffer performance anxiety too. Yes, I know there are enough of men who will turn somersaults on the tops of the incomplete Mumbai metroworks if they think they can ‘win’ the attention of a girl they find hot. But what after that? Even the most aesthetically sensitive man will tire of looking at a showpiece. Therein begins the pressure to be good-looking, well-groomed and smart.

This is particularly difficult for women like me who very reluctantly don the garb of chickdom. Dressing up nicely is about as far as we’re able to go. But after that, the same forceful opinions and loud declarations backfire. Well, they never really get us brownie points and in this case we go from being branded ‘rabid feminists’ to ‘arrogant bitches’. Whatever.

Okay, okay, time out. So how does one set aside all the high drama and clashes and conflicts? Dating must be fun too, right? Let’s see, what are the common points of interest?

Books are out for a large number of people, at least in this city. The ones who do claim to read are mostly doing it for the impression, but that’s for another rant. I set my cynicism aside and dived into a genre I thought sounded promising. Graphic Novels!

“Comics.” I am told curtly, a steely look coming into the hitherto worshipful eyes. From there it only goes downhill as I blab on a bit about Fables and Sandman before being run over by a barrage of Superman, Batman and other superhero trivia. I’m relieved I didn’t mention Spiderman (actually Spiderman Loves Mary Jane); he might have thrown something at me!

How about movies? We already know how that turns out. Television seems to offer a safer ground. Reality TV is what everyone claims to hate but secretly watches, one finger always on the remote, when they’re alone. Chicks lurrve Sex & The City, guys are maniacal about Star Wars (and sometimes FTV, or if they’ll admit it, regional channels after midnight). I am about to throw up my hands on yet another possibility when I quite inadvertently hit upon an answer.

“Sheldon Cooper. Amazing. Hmm.” I say, a dreamy look coming into my eyes. Of course that’s my weakness for condescending geekboys (cue Jupiter Jones).

“Sheldon Cooper. Indeed.” He agrees.

We look at each other over the glasses of rum (another thing we have in common..but more on that another time) and grin. And suddenly I know I’ve accidentally stumbled onto the common ground.

Why is this show so popular? Let’s see. It’s four superbrainy (and nerdy) geekboys who live next door to a dumb blonde. Well, not exactly. Only two of them actually live there, the others just keep lounging around. They sit around tossing phrases like ‘Doppler Effect’ and ‘Vector co-ordinates’ to each other, playing one-upmanship games of job importance and prowess with the ladies and slobber over the girl next door in her tiny shorts, who does *wonder of wonders* smile at them and even joins them for dinner sometimes. I can see why this appeals to the boys.

On the other hand, I don’t think Penny is actually dumb. She isn’t a brainiac like any of the boys but she’s sensible, funny, friendly and nice. Yes, she’s easy on the eyes (tele-symbolised by tiny clothes). But she doesn’t carry a diva attitude even with the salivating boys next door. What’s more, their boasting and intellectual showing-off rarely bothers her and more often than not, she’s the one who really gets what’s going on. A la ‘Boys. Will So Be Boys. Hmph‘. Heh, she’s already got our sympathies. But hang on, she doesn’t need that. That’s one girl surrounded by four guys, all smart, interested in her and willing to do everything from fix up her creaky door hinges to be guinea pigs for her cocktail waitressing. They hit on her (gently, geekboys are nice that way) but they’re nice to her. They even let themselves get roughoused by the bulldog boyfriend who hurt her. Okay, who’s the smart one now? That’s the girl we all want to be!

For all that it could seem to be about a semi sci-fi, fantasy geekboy story, The Big Bang Theory is the battle of the sexes at its finest. Four men and one woman and guess who is winning? That’s enough of ego massage for even the most rabid feminist side of me.

On that note, I’d like to thank the makers for bringing out a spectacular show and also facilitating enough of gender-common conversation for dates and more. It certainly started with a big bang!

5 Reasons I'm Looking Forward to Sex & The City 2 Movie

If pop culture reflects the mood of the people, this generation is quite high on an oestrogen-and-botox laced cocktail. SATCmania is a phenomenon. I know I said I didn’t like the book much. The first movie was quite bad. Even the TV series that spawned the wave of hysteria petered out in a rather disappointing way (Alexsander Pietr what?!). I know it’s not smart, it’s not politically correct and yet I stay true.

The second movie is out and hits Indian screens in a few days. I’m queueing up for tickets as soon as they’re available. And this time, I’ve even actively looking for wonderful, fabulous, fashionable friends to go with. We’ll all deck up, wear insensible (and gorgeous) shoes, touch up our make-up every few minutes and scream and oooh in the theatre.

The last time round, there was a collective shriek from urban women worldover while the men struggled for cover. Well, you guys better shield your ears this time round. You’ve been warned. And in case you’re interested, here’s making sense of the phenomenon that has men baffled – Sex And The City!

5. The crazy costumes. SATC proves the premise that fashion is entertainment; humour, drama (even melodrama) and horror! From Miranda’s funny hair to Samantha’s bling skirts to the mother of all fashion screenplays…Carrie Bradshaw herself!

4. Priveleged whining – For the same reasons that a KJo movie is fun, for the same reason hundreds of Indian women tune in to the ‘K’ franchise on TV each day. Credit card overdrafts, catfights, relationship angst. The problems are magnified, too grand to ever happen to such mundane mortals as us and it makes us feel better that even Fabulous has problems.

3. The Old Girls Club. Yes, it’s bitchy, it’s sluttish, it’s venemously anti-male. Okay, modern female bonding rituals are still works in progress. They feel good anyhow.

2. Samantha Jones. She’s the ultimate fantasy. She’s bold, brazen, cares not a whit about what men think, is a great friend and dresses on whim. None of us could actually be her. Most of us have too much of Charlotte (prude) or Miranda (pragmatist) or Carrie (chicken) in us. But that wicked, whimsical streak in us all responds to Sam’s flash. Hooo girl!

1. Habit. The story has been done to death. Big-Aidan-Big-Aidan-Big-Aidan yet again. Gay men are either adorable or bitchy. Friendship lasts forever. Bad ex-es get their dues. Good ex-es come back when you’re getting bored with the current. Yes, yes, yes I know. But think of it this way. You already know the ways a ballgame can end. One side wins or the other or occasionally there’s a tie. And yet you watch each one with rapt attention. It’s sort of like that. It’s a chicklit saga on steroids. We’re hooked and we’re going along till the ride ends.

Manguide 3: Hobbies & Interests

We know where they live. We know what they do for a living. But what do they do that makes their life more than an existance?

I used to wonder at people who had no hobbies or interests at all….I mean, what is that all about???!!! Now I know a new breed of people. The kind who grew up from the ones I mentioned earlier and ‘cultivated’ a few hobbies. I know it is perfectly appropriate to say that a hobby is cultivated but well…that’s just it, isn’t it? As far as I’m concerned, you love doing what you love doing because you love doing it. Simple? Not to a lot of people apparantly. So here’s a sassy ode to my favorite species of lab rats and the things that they claim to enjoy doing! Ha!

The Bibliophile: Okay scream your lungs hoarse, men, before you proceed reading. Yes, tell me that some of you actually do enjoy reading. Fine, now that we have that out of the way, here’s why I don’t believe you. I claim to love reading. I like some authors, some ideologies, some styles of writing and I know why I like them. I think over what I read and I have an opinion. Reading is, I have said before, like sitting inside another person’s head and seeing the world through their eyes. But it doesn’t stop there!!!! I am so sick, sick, sick and tired of men who parrot out things other people have said. Like hello, I know some brilliant people have said some brilliant things but quoting them ad nauseum does not make you appear intelligent, it just reminds me of a tape-recorder. And oh, by the way Peter Drucker, business periodicals and Chicken Soup for the soul don’t count as signs that you are a bibliophile. So for gawdssakes, ladies, before drooling over the ‘intellectual’ find out whether that’s second-hand intelligence that you’re being fed!

The Listener: Likewise actually where music is concerned, as for books. Moreover I want to strangle the person who said ‘If music be the food of love…’ (oh deyaam, was that Shakespeare?). Beware, beware, beware of the specimen that has a song for every one of your moods, women. That’s a man who has been reading ‘How to hook a woman by snooping into her playlist’. Yeah, yeah I’m a cynic. And I’ve just heard too many renditions of ‘Lady in Red’. I have nothing against romantic numbers but its fun to turn around and tell the guy you dig Floyd and Maiden and see what he comes up with then.

The Musician: As opposed to the above species that only listens to music, this one actually makes music. Now he may be good or he may not. I’ve known a few and I can tell you most artists, even the amateurs are faintly temperamental. Which is probably part of their allure (oh, ask me!!) On the other hand, do be prepared to become the audience for the anthology of your new boyfriend’s compositions. Not to mention private renditions of their works-in-progress. A song, just like a building can be a masterpiece when complete. But just like the brick-laying and cement-mixing isn’t pretty, the process of finding the correct tune, getting it right on those instruments is fairly nerve-wracking (especially if you have to listen to ever goddamn plink and wrong boom-thump) Another point to note is he’s likely to have some kind of a band, even if they only play in the car park (we don’t have that many garages here!) And no, if you think you like one musician and you’ll love the lot, you’re likely to be disappointed. It was a musician-boyfriend who pointed out the different personality types in a band. He said,

The lead guitarist is probably a charmer, the smooth talker, who gets in with all the babes. He’s the most visible one of course. The drummer is likely to be anti-social, which is why he prefers sitting behind the huge set up making big noise and not being disturbed by the world.

Ah, and what did my boyfriend do? He was the bass guitarist, easy-going and charming enough to be part of the ‘front’ but not so ambitious as to want to upstage the lead. I validate that as well as his observation of the rest of the band. Pick your musician with care.

The Traveller: Now this type is fairly fascinating for his multiple exposure. I’m however crossed by the sneaky suspicion that he views the world by a Marie Antoinette-esque viewpoint, oblivious to the idea that most people wouldn’t choose to live in shanties, dirty roads et al if they had a choice. Besides, you know what someone’s grandma said (mine didn’t, she wouldn’t have approved of dating!)…”Don’t fall in love with a traveller, I’ll tell you why, he’ll take you to the airport and kiss you goodbye.” Well, realistically speaking this is obviously a man who likes a change in scenery ever so often so what does that say about his stability? Debatable I know, but worth thinking about.

The Conoisseur: Oh god, how I hate/loathe/detest/abhor this type! His muse may be wine, fine art or literature. Whatever it is, you can be assured that you won’t be spared without a lesson at every opportunity. And no, don’t think it’ll work out well if you share the taste. The conoisseur is snobbish about his interest and it defines him. He’ll brook no competition and it will perpetually be a game of one-upmanship of who knows better. Blah, who gives a damn…I know I’ve wanted to stuff the grand interest in some extremely uncomfortable places.

The Couch Potato: Ah, the only real hobby that my generation has. It’s called the idiot box, darling, but the idiots sit outside it not inside. Nuff’ said.

The Monitor Maniac: Okay, this is a tad different from Couch Potato. The internet is a smorgasbord of delights after all. Gaming, chat, blogging and let’s not forget…porn. There’s a whole new world in there! So what’re you doing outside it, baby? Perhaps you met online. Chweet. Maybe you should keep it that way instead of trying to take it offline. ‘Never the twain shall meet. So forget about the “Do you think we should meet?” It spells doom for an online relationship in the exact same way that three other little words do on a real-world relationship.

The Gamer: As specifically different from Couch Potato and Monitor Maniac. Some things that should be warning signs. 1. He enjoys speeding, fighting and cussing. 2. He is thrilled by the idea of hitting a few buttons and changing lives. 3. His latest score defines how happy he is. Once again, he’s similar to the Conoisseur in that his interest governs his sense of self-worth and while he may seem to gravitate to you on the grounds of shared interest, he most certainly won’t brook any competition. Well, go battle it out over the joysticks if you like. I’ve thrown the damn lot out of the window with the remote control.

The Artist: Now this type I do like. Also unlike the Gamer/Conoisseur, there’s no such a thing as competition among those who love their art and are confident about it. If you share the interest, you might even learn something from each other. On the other hand, there is the temperament, weirdness and the addictions that build the stereotype. Ah well, roll me another joint baby…

The Sportsman: This one as different from the Gamer since he plays games in the real world, not on a computer/TV screen/mobile phone. I don’t actually know too many of this type, possibly since I gravitate to the more ‘heavy-head’ types. I imagine the guy would be quite pleasant if he played some sort of team sport though there’s the whole thing of his having way too many ‘boys’ nights out’. I’m mortally afraid (like every other woman) of the locker-room talk phenomena as well. But that’s unfair I guess, men gossip as a rule, behind lockers or water-coolers. On the other hand, this type is likely to be closer to the whole virile-brutal-masculine thought than his less ‘active’ counterparts. Well, if you can bear to live in ‘Oog hunt. Oog kill. Oog be number 1.’ land, then he’s the one for you. Besides he’ll come in useful if you’re faced by a gang of hooligans.

The Gastronome: I never know what to say to this type. I’m after all, someone who thinks that food is fuel to the body-machine and nothing more. Also, the typical Indian man who loves food is scandalised by the thought of a woman who doesn’t enjoy cooking and horrors, admits to it as well! Whatever on earth can be so interesting about eating? I’m flummoxed. But well, this man is probably the easiest to hook with the age-old wisdom of the way to a man’s heart being through his stomach. Hmm, just watch it with the oily snacks though, you don’t want that adage to refer to cholestrol and have him blame you for his deteriorating health.

The Chef: Yes, this type I am absolutely floored by. When a woman can go out and do things that men have been doing for years, what’s better than a man who comes in and does what we’ve been doing for years? A man who likes cooking is a big, big, big turn-on. Besides this is one interest he can’t fib about. 🙂

Have fun with the boys….just check in on how they’re having their fun!

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