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Quoted In Sunday Mid-Day Story – ‘Why Men Won’t Let Women Speak’

Yesterday’s Sunday Mid-Day (20 November 2011) carried a story titled ‘Why Men Won’t Let Women Speak‘ by Soumya Rajaram. It was a 2-page feature on the phenomenon of women being unfairly (and harshly) targetted online for verbal assaults. The Twitter tag #Mencallmethings was referenced as was #LadiesWeWantAnswers issue (which I’d blogged about here).

I was quoted and the other recognizable names in the story were Kiran Manral, Harini Calamur, Janaki Ghatpande and The Mad Momma.

Here’s an excerpt of what I said,

“Pandyan finds that it’s the issues she discusses, often those that have no easy answers, that attract offensive responses. “There are rabid ones that blame women’s liberation, working women and women in general for the downfall of society, the breakdown of marriage and even the increase in rapes. Expressing such sentiments in the real world would provoke severe reactions. Online, they are just shrugged off as ‘creepy characters on the Internet’,” she says.”

Read the full article on the Mid-Day site. Here’s the epaper clipping:

Usually my media mentions go on The Idea-smithy. But the bulk of my experiences that were referred to in this story, happen right here at XX Factor. I’d really like to hear what you, my dear readers (friends, commiserators, guest-bloggers, detractors, trolls) think.

Misogyny Trending On Twitter With #LadiesWeWantAnswers

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

I was looking up the #mencallmethings hashtag on Twitter, when I noticed #LadiesWeWantAnswers trending in India. A search of both tags revealed a near-stagnant stream on #mencallmethings while my Twitter stream was throttled by the tweets on #LadiesWeWantAnswers. Here’s a random sample of some of the tweets on today’s Twitter trend:

@Mr_2Smooove: #LadiesWeWantAnswers why u tell us to come over & yo period on??? You serve no purpose for the night lol

@iRICKYMINAJ: Do you like it in the ass? #LadiesWeWantAnswers

@RAWjasekaram: jealous u can’t pee standing up? #LadiesWeWantAnswers

@cockyseaman: #LadiesWeWantAnswers why you look so fat in them jeans?

@BadaBrother: #LadiesWeWantAnswers i think we should offer you money.

I don’t think the notion of female harassment online could have been proven better. What is it with the internet that brings scum crawling out of the woodwork? If Alanis Morisette had happened a decade-and-half later, she could probably have penned ‘Ironic in under a minute, based on these two tweet-streams.

Related articles

What To Do When A Woman Says, “Do What You Want!”

The Mona Lisa (or La Joconde, La Gioconda).

Image via Wikipedia

I’m following an extremely entertaining conversation on Twitter. It all started with,

@dharmeshG: When a girl says “Do what you want.”, what should you do?

We all know what’s coming, don’t we? For your entertainment value, here are some of the responses that followed that tweet. First, the funny guys who show up at any slightly debatable conversation (and how could they resist THIS one?)

@cleanragamuffin Dude, do anything BUT tweet.

@PaglaShaitan: Word RT @Batmanush: Drink beer.

Then came some advice, albeit couched in a dig.

@tailing2ideas: man, that is a warning. back off from whatever you were doin 😛

@SupraMario:It means you’re fucked no matter what you do now, so you might as well go ahead and do what you want.

@chuck_gopal: If she is in some way responsible for your salary, then acquiesce to her wishes.

@sahilk: Do it and then pay for it later.

@slackerninja: Run for your life.

@bluebustees: Be very careful about what u say or do next. Its a trick

And the general consensus was,

@Mr_Anthrope: You don’t do what you want. And you do it with the broadest smile you can muster.

@oneblackcoffee: Do what she wants you to do.

@Raghu3885: Say “i would do what you want me to do”

@ideasmithy: Don’t do exactly that!!

This joke never gets old. Unless of course it was a genuine question. In which case, what, men are STILL having to ask  that??!

Flirting on Social Media

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

This post was inspired by a comment on my previous post. Apparently these days social media is a great way of meeting women (see slide number 25 in this ppt) .

So since I am out of touch with dating – I went ahead and opened up a Twitter account. Here’s where you can follow me.

And of course, I have a Facebook account too (who doesn’t?) so I got a little active there too.

So here’s the big discovery – it’s damn difficult to build a following on Twitter if you have an anonymous account. Nobody wants to follow me. But interestingly, a couple of women have been flirting with me – two have actually admitted that they believe in polyamory. Yes. There is justice in this world. One actually DM’ed me her email id and wanted to know my name – and even came on Gtalk. By the way, if you’re interested to connect with me on gtalk my id is marriedsingleagain 😉

On Facebook, there have been a few queries about my ‘relationship status’. And I guess it’s to do something with perceptual set. You know, the feeling when you buy a car and suddenly start to notice lots of cars of the same brand on the roads? Suddenly a lot of divorced/separated women have started noticing me. They pop up on FB chat or message me their number. Some of them are damn good looking – and it confuses me. Should I read anything more than sympathy in those messages? For example see these messages I get on Twitter.. why do women have to be so infuriatingly complex 😛

I was talking recently to a female friend who got divorced some time ago and she shared that the number of people who hit on her after knowing she got divorced is like almost 90% of the men she meets, and that men somehow think “a divorced women probably wants sex all the time cause she’s not getting it”

Some people suggested I try out a dating app called Zoosk on FB, and a dating website called BeNaughty – but they seem to be money making rackets – specially when a female in skimpy clothes (in the DP, no not that DP you dirty mind!) suddenly wants to chat with you as soon as you open an account – that’s fishy! And of course they want you to pay, for accessing messages sent to you :O Hello, this is the internet, peepullz !  So stay away from those crappy sites

So I’ve decided that social media is not really going to get me a date… and I am not going to make a pass on any woman using Facebook and Twitter… maybe a little flirting, being a little naughty online… but a relationship? Nah… Not until my divorce comes through and I resolve myself psychologically…

Yes, I do think I am not fit mentally to get into a relationship anytime soon. But flirting should be ok, right? 😉

XXFactored Jun11: Living In, Female Sanitary Products, Appropriate Parenthood, Male Orgasms & A Playboy Bunny

June feels like a good month. It’s the first time I have ever welcomed a monsoon in Mumbai.

I’ve been doing some writing, outside of these two blogs. My commentary on relationships has been getting an interesting (read masaledaar…look at the comments) response at Yahoo! Real Beauty. But the site’s new Recommendations section also featured a style post, a book  review and 2 app stories, all by me. FriendsOfBooks carried my list on 10 Great Vacation Reads For Children. I did some advisory content work on the topics of Romance, Relationships, Love & Sex (sorry, I can’t explain more due to the terms of the contract).

And in between all that, here’s what I was reading:

  • Notes On Living With My Ex-Boyfriend For Eight Months: Egad! When living in goes wrong. It was strangely comforting, though….to know that you don’t stop feeling or living. (via ThoughtCatalog)
  • ‘Should I Be Embarassed To Buy Tampons?‘ : Funny, I always thought it was very thoughtful of local chemists to newspaper-wrap sanitary napkins on sale. Was I being unknowingly regressive? Or do we just not *have* to shout out every little detail about our bodies? (via TheFrisky)
  • Dads, Hug Your Daughters!‘ : Pertinent but preachy? (via TheFrisky)’
  • ‘Man Takes Revenge At Girlfriend With Abortion Billboard‘ : Does this make you go “Aww, how sweet!” or “Ooh, touchy, touchy!”? (via YourTango)
  • Just in case you ever wondered…’What A Male Orgasm Feels Like‘ (via YourTango)
  • Indian parents seem to be caught in that unfortunate tug-of-war between the conservative ‘ladki se paisa nahin lenge’ attitude and pro-feminist/independence world for their daughters. (via Twitter)
  • The 5 Stages Of Most Relationships ‘ : Rather depressing how many of these are true! (via Maxim)
  • A rather funny (and annoyingly familiar) flow-chart on ‘How Men and Women Argue’ (via Maxim)
  • The story of an ex-Playboy bunny‘: Actually a rather good read. (via The Good Men Project)

XXFactored May2011: What We Clash On, How We React & A New XXFactor Mood

I’ve been busy this month so XX Factor hasn’t seen as much activity. But since my life’s experiences feed into this blog, you can expect a lot more in the months to come. Just give me a bit to catch my breath and make sense of everything that’s been happening and I’ll be XXFactoring before long!

Last month, I asked you what direction you’d like to see this blog go in and here are the results of that poll:

For awhile now, I’d been thinking it was time for this blog to ‘grow up’ along with me. But a grown-up me is still me and thus, I figured XX Factor should still be about men and relationships, only with a more mature perspective. I’m happy to note that my readers think so too. I did notice a few people still wanted a confessional on relationships. I’ve always been rather moody about my privacy, which is where the anonymity of blogging gave me a platform to talk but from within my comfort zone. My anonymity is gone now and with it my privacy (and security). But I don’t have the same fears anymore. And I don’t believe it is possible to talk about love, relationships and life without drawing from one’s one experiences. So, my posts will still draw from my own personal wisdom, even if I’m not giving you minutely updates of my dating life. 🙂

Incidentally, do check out my posts on Yahoo! Real Beauty; the latest one up there is kicking up quite a storm in the married male teacup! And the little I managed to read online this month:

  • What he says, what you think and what he really means!-“8 Things That Men Say” (via CafeMom)
  • Truth or flaming? Gaurav Kapur passes on a pearl of wisdom that most I men I know would RT and which would make most women breathe fire. (via Twitter, RTed on my timeline by Suketu Talekar)

XXFactored Jan2011: Dutch Dates, Blind Dates, Lipstick, Wingmen, Dumping, Sex & Style

The first month of 2011 opens bright and clear for me. I think I’ve gotten a grip on this Bookmarked feature but I’m still waiting for your inputs. Talk to me! Tell me if this works for you and why. Do you prefer getting the links as-and-when on the XX Factor Facebook Page? Or do you like seeing a ‘best of’ list at the end of the month? What else would you like to see? What would you like to dump?

Here are my picks for the first month of the year. We’re heading into the (not going to say it, not going to say it) pink, heart-shaped month of February and  that could mean a number of interesting things for XX Factor. Keep reading!

  • As a bonafide geek-girl, I guess these are the women, it would be a compliment to be compared to: Ten Classic Nerd Queens Over 40 (via Gunaxin)
  • To go dutch or not, that is the big question. Here’s some reasonably sound advice from a man: The New Take On Going Dutch (via ManOfTheHouse)
  • Pop psychology has its uses, especially in dating!: Judging A Guy’s Dating Potential By His Job (via YourTango)
  • There’s nothing quite like red lipstick. It really is the superhero cape for a girl! How To Do Red Lips For Indian Skin (via Republic of Chic)
  • If this were in a movie or a book, I’d deem it cheesy. But here, I’m all “Awww…”: “The customer is only enrolling so she can see you more often. The customer is in love with you.” (via PostSecret)
  • A Girl Who Set Up 15 Dates In The Same Bar…And Stood Them All Up! (via Nerve)
  • Find The Perfect Wingman! (via Foster’s)
  • Harsh but true: “You always post those “85% of people don’t have the courage to post this as their status” FB status updates.” (via ThatsWhyIDumpedYou)
  • On bad-boy-loving women and how to behave around them (via AskMen)
  • 12 Types Of Friends You Should Break Up With (via YourTango)
  • A matrilinear society in modern day India? (via TheGuardian, tipped off by Sveccha Kumar)
  • 10 Fun Facts About Kissing: See no.4 on this list! I’m tempted to say it’s worth living a short life if you live it rightly and kissfully! (via TheFrisky)
  • Tricky Tacky Trousers (via WTForever21)
  • Health is a privilege for Indian women: 70% can’t afford sanitary napkins, reveals study (via TimesOfIndia)
  • I’ll stick with ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’.:Passion Fades & The Phenomenon Has A LOLsy Name (via NakedCity)
  • What women really think of sex (via Twitter)

XXFactored! Dec2010 – Social Networking, Relationship Dilemmas, Fashion Follies & A Masulinist Edge

December has been full of drama and dazzle as always…a wonderful way to finish the year! I’ve been running ragged between parties, lunches, brunches, dinners, meeting out-of-town friends and family and celebrations. But I have managed to keep up with what’s hot and happening on the internet as well. And here’s what I was warming my fingertips with this month on XX Factor:

  • Financial independence, earning capacity…What’s sex got to do with it? (via Yahoo! Real Beauty)
  • Does this mean I can claim my romcom DVDs under ‘Education Expenses’? Lessons from 90s romcoms (via YourTango)
  • Grrrlllll power! Or maybe men are just easier to pick up than women! (via RhealityRings)
  • We’ve seen ChickLit and then DickLit (or LadLit). Now here’s to GadLit (which is my truncation of Gay Lad Lit)! Tell what is thunk? (via Gaysi Family)
  • Other people’s mistakes almost always provide a laugh…especially when they’re bigtime celebrity types. So here’s appealing to the inner cat in all of us. Miaow to that! (via Yahoo!)
  • Maybe a lack of flexibility is the cause for most of our problems. That, and the fact that we expect people to love in exactly the same way we do. (via Twitter)
  • My post on Yahoo! Real Beauty and a version of it that appeared earlier right here on XX Factor. I’m still asking for your thoughts.
  • Five secret tests guys use to evaluate you while on a date (via Glamour).
  • You can outsource anything in today’s day and age!! (via idump4U)
  • Of course, this has a misogynistic air about it but it is funny. How to spot (and save your wallet from) a golddigger. (via The Bachelor Guy)
  • Earlier posted on The XX Factor and now also on Yahoo! Real Beauty – the world’s most popular social network adds another layer of complexity to the already-intricate labyrinth of relationships.
  • If our relationships are a reflection of the games we’re used to playing, maybe the people we date, are images of our favorite toys. Who then are we, by the toys we play with? (via Yahoo! Real Beauty).
  • I can’t vouch for the people but the idea sounds interesting. For all you single bibliophiles out there! Alikewise is a dating website that matches you with people of similar book tastes.
  • Really interesting how many of the roles depicted on this list tackled gender stereotypes. Ten ladies who’ve cross-dressed for roles. (via TheFrisky)
  • Revolutionary or ridiculous? You tell me. I’m going with funny. “French Women Who Like To Swim Topless Protest By Asking Men To Wear Bikini Tops” (via TheFrisky).
  • I tend to avoid risque on The XX Factor but this one was too good to pass up! TheFrisky‘s Sexy Rating Chart!
  • Eh heh heh. This site makes fun of the Forever 21 brand. But this post likened superheroes to hookers. Funny, that resemblance never occurred to me. (via WTForever21)
  • Earlier on The XX Factor and now on Yahoo! Real Beauty: Why do we trade in the attention of a hundred men for the indifference of one?
  • A rather looooong article but it brings up some salient points. Gender equality isn’t quite as simple as it sounds, is it?”A modest proposal for male reproductive rights” (via MensNewsDaily).

If you found yourself featured here, if you’d like to be or even if you just enjoyed anything on this list (or…umm, didn’t), hop over to the XX Factor Facebook Page and talk to me about it! A very happy new year, everyone! XX Factor will see you on the other side of 2011.

Fabulis: An Online Gay Community

My friend Nikhil (okay, no pun intended there, that’s really his name!!!) told me about a project that his firm was working on recently and I thought it would be interesting to the Gaysi community. This is Fabulis, a social networking site for gay and gay-friendly people.

Fabulis appears to sit on top of the Facebook framework (it requires a Facebook account to login) and works more like an extended application than a network in itself. I guess this has its advantages since Facebook is an Internet phenomenon now and anybody who is anybody is on it (or is that Twitter, again?).

The site asks you to provide an email address and a location. My first entry threw up the following error message:

“Oops! Please enter a valid city. Please enter text as Boston, MA or Paris, France”

But when I started to type ‘M’ (since that looked closest to Mumbai even if Mumbai doesn’t abbreviate to MA), the drop-down menu of suggestions did list other cities including my home city.

When you sign in, you are asked to identify yourself as either a ‘gay man” or a ‘friend to gay guys’. Barring the obvious oversight in leaving out gay women, it’s a nice enough start. You’re also asked to enter tags to describe yourself and your interest with a default tag of ‘friend to gay guys’. I changed this to ‘friend of gay people’ and happily found that the drop-down menu of suggestions contained various versions of it.

Fabulis pulls the information from your Facebook account (including privacy settings), imports photographs and also shows you which of your friends are already using the application. It also draws up information from your Facebook calendar and posts updates of your public events inviting responses from other users of the community.

Once you’re in, the network works a little less like Facebook and more like Twitter. That is to say, you don’t exactly befriend people. You can follow them and/or be followed by them. The privacy settings allow you to raise the bar on who can follow you.

In addition to the obvious networking features, it also has its own network currency of Fabulis bits. Fabulis bits can be earned by participating in activities. Similar to the Zynga Games model, you can also earn by engaging in side-offers. These are plowed back into the monetary ecosystem as you spend them on answering other people’s questions or helping them along in their contests. You can also use Fabulis bits to buy upgrades and cheat codes for the games and contests. And finally, Fabulis bits are what you spend if you really, really want to follow someone who is ultra-picky about their privacy and has enabled the setting that forces followers to pay for the privelege.

I also tested the account deletion options (after an unsavory experience with ibibo.com which still refuses to let me go and insists on bombarding my mailbox with spammy messages). Happily Fabulis doesn’t believe in clinging on and the detachment process if fairly simple. You just click on ‘Settings’ under your profile name on the top-right which takes you to a list of options. The last of these is ‘Close Account’ with the expected “Are you sure?” message. Do note though, that if you choose to leave the network, you’ll have to go to Facebook and delete the application from having access to your account. If not, your Fabulis account will still be connected a la social networking on life support systems.

The prizes for the contests are apparently available to users in every location and are supposed to be very attractive to the gay community. I can’t confirm this myself since I haven’t participated in any of the events but it sounds like an interesting way to target the community. I guess a social network undergoes a collective learning process. Identifying itself as a network that addresses itself to this community is the first step and it will probably depend on the user group and how they choose to utilize the features that the site offers.

Fabulis is also on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

* Cross-posted on Gaysi and The Idea-smithy.

Because I'm Not That Scary (Those Aren't Horns!)

Some pictures of shy, demure, wallflower moi surfaced online. Nope, not paparazzi style ones, just a couple of shots from a tweet-party I went to recently. Result: I got called ‘cute’ by a Twerson (khee khee, tell me I’m funny!). Nobody calls me cute. I’m stopped in my tracks (briefly) and then decide to share my astonishment with the (cute) child with me in the pic,

Me: I got someone calling me ‘cute’ based on that pic at the party!

Asfaq: And you wanna kill ’em? And that’s a compliment, right?

Me: I just said thank you and smiled sweetly.

Asfaq: How sweet. Do they know you are the fanatic feminist types? And you will go back and blog abt it?

Me: Muhahahahahaa…

Asfaq: U R GOING TO BLOG ABT IT, ARE’NT U!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

A little later, a conversation with Rada (yes, yes, I do have some men friends and guess what, they don’t all hope I’ll wake up speech-impaired!!).

Rada: All Best Wishes for a Safe, Happy and Fulfilling 2009. Let 2009 be for you the year of the “knight in shining armour”!

Me: I think I’ll be happy with a common man in a clean outfit so long as he has some understanding of the terms ‘loyalty’ and ‘committment’! Thank you very much!

Rada: You have just defined the modern “knight in shining armour”!

Me: I have to blog this conversation, for posterity.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

And finally, in reply to my tweet asking if I should turn into a nice, sweet girl-next-door, says Cynic,

Sweet girl next door? er…personality transplant needed errr..

Gah!! I did try! Hebby noo yurrr, women and other creatures!! Be back on the other side of this day for more pow-wow!

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