The Theories

Theory #1: How desi boys are raised
This one is a little scary, so I’m going to open with it. Bring on the outrage, especially of the kind my flatmate and shrink have thrown at me because this is an anti-feminist theory by their definition of feminism, though I define it differently, so I think it’s super feminist. Heh.

I have found that, when you take two desi boys and have them interact, however close they might be as friends, all their interaction seems to fall into one of three modes:

  1. Anger
  2. Bonhomie
  3. Mockery (damn I wish there was a synonym that began with c heh)

The first is easy enough to explain: you fight; you yell; you argue. ‘How DARE you talk to me that way?’ ‘Why did you do that?’ ‘You’re a terrible friend; I hate you!’ (Okay we all know hate is an emotion and boys don’t do emotion…hee kidding.)

The second is also pretty straightforward: Hail fellow well met; let’s have a drink to celebrate; c’mon man, let’s do X to distract you/cheer you up; Chin up, all will be fine. This is usually applied when something bad happens, or generally when life is good.

The third seems to me to be how guys respond to what they deem excessively emotional behaviour (i.e. all emotional behaviour). This is usually accompanied by ‘don’t be a pussy’, ‘what kind of man are you’ and other such choice phrases.

The point here is that guys are just not taught, as a rule, to accept, acknowledge and articulate their emotional responses to things, because it is not manly. This is a problem in two ways, because it doesn’t let them deal with their own stuff, and it also makes them very dismissive of women’s problems.

When it comes to the non-single man, he’s usually got a woman who understands him and can mediate him to other people and vice versa. With the single ones, however, this isn’t there, making it very hard to have reasonable conversation about expectations or hurt or any such thing when trying to date them.

Why does this theory spark outrage? Well because I think that it’s unfair of us to forget that while we’re teaching women to be strong we have to teach men to be weak too; in all our redefining of women’s roles, we need to redefine men’s too.

Theory #2: The Dating Bathtub
Between Delhi being the way it is–small concentric circles of people who all know each other–and my age, I don’t have a dating pool at 32; I have a dating bucket. Speaking intuitively, I’d say I need to properly date, as in spend a few months seeing every couple of days, at least 5 guys to find one with mutual choice. To date 5 seriously, I’d need to probably go on 20 first dates. And to get 20 first dates I’d need about a 100 guys who didn’t tok lyk dis. But given the size of the OKC dating pool–ok no it’s a bathtub–I don’t think I have a hope in hell of meeting twenty. Which is why the goal here is 50.

Theory#3: The Dating Desert
For urban Indian women today, you meet guys in college, and then when you start working. Lots of us meet them in B-school, or whatever postgraduate things we do. You meet them by the time you’re about 25 or so and then you get married by the time you’re about 28 or so. The interesting thing here is that, if you haven’t met a guy by the time you’re 28 or so, you suddenly realize that all the fun guys, all the guys you went to school and college with, all the guys you’d like to date are already long-term dating/engaged/married. This is not to say that there aren’t single guys in your age group–it’s just that they’re all single for a reason. Usually one of the following:

  1. Commitment phobe
  2. Brutally dumped by someone and therefore has trust issues
  3. Hopelessly in love with someone who is married
  4. Deep issues, whether mental illness, or some sort of insane self esteem problem, etc. (This does not mean that someone with a mental illness is not dateable, it just means they need to be taking treatment!)
  5. All-round player: oo look new shiiiinnnnyyyyy!

So then you are left with no choice but to date younger guys, except, if you are looking to settle down etc., the younger guy is at least the age difference plus two years behind you on that track. So then what? Then you wait, and once you’re thirty-five, all the divorced guys start to appear.

Theory #4: The Danger Zone
One of the vastly annoying things about dating as I’ve experienced it is the very large amount of work that goes into faking how you feel. For example, if you like someone, you aren’t allowed to show it; in fact you must pretend you don’t like them, because men like to chase. This is such bollocks! The problem with all this is that we all end up in a place where we are never sure where we stand with someone, and spend a ridiculous amount of time and energy trying to interpret them. This means that you have to:

  1. Ensure you disguise your feelings
  2. Pay attention to the other person
  3. Never take the other person at face value about what they say and do
  4. Make sure you figure out every possible interpretation of what they do and say and then collect evidence that one of them is the correct one

Instead of saying what you feel and believing what you hear.

Exhausting. I refuse to do it. But sometimes, it’s hard to help. Sometimes, I’m sitting there, tears running down my face, holding my phone, because he said he wanted to see me again, and he said he’d pick me up at 8 but I have heard nothing from him since then. Maybe he was busy; maybe his mum was ill (that’s what he said when he did surface); maybe he saw the message half asleep and forgot he hadn’t replied. It happens to all of us.

It’s tempting to assume the most pessimistic outcome too, because it helps you prepare yourself, and allegedly gives you a bigger kick when proven wrong. But I find that I just end up investing a large quantity of emotion and energy into something that comes to nothing at the end. It’s so much harder to turn myself away from the Danger Zone of obsessive interpretation than to give in and slide in, but it’s so worth it because all my brain is free to think whatever I want to think, instead of compulsively combing my memory for every fragment and trying to make it fit to an outcome.

(More will be added as they evolve.)

36 thoughts on “The Theories

  1. You forget to list men who were in the same predicament as yourself.

    Also, many ‘boys’ in traditional households are breadwinners for aging parents unable to balance career, family and love. They are single too.

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    • haha what do you think dating 50 guys entails? it’s tiresome for sure, but er it’s hardly calisthenic enough to merit the adjective exhausting…

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  2. I mean, like suppose, as you go along you like one of them? So do you continue to date that guy or do you still go on to the next one………. also excuse my naivety, I’ve never dated a girl and I’m 21……. all my theories are pretty much the product of other people’s experiences, novels and the occasional movie…..lol

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  3. Don’t agree with theory no. 1 though……… I know friends of mine who talk incessantly about their first crush, how they felt etc……… agree with commitment phobia on aging….. there was a friend of mine who once lectured to me about love and how it conquers all (I was arguing about whether love and relationships would be possible in a more conservative family set up…..)……. year later, he was dating six girls at the same time and talking about casual relationships…… so I suppose, in the end, love didn’t conquer all…..sad, isn’t it?

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    • age thing maybe? i do think guys ten years younger than me have a completely different experience of life so maybe things are different

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      • I think it’s more about how they want to appear in front of women…… they do talk feelings to other guys but not iwith girls present……. I even know a lot of guys who pretend to be someone else entirely when there’s girls involved, I suppose, they don’t want to reveal their weaknesses….maybe?

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      • well i’m not just talking about guys who are interested in me…i’m talking about OLD friends too. and mostly, er, to be ageist, these things are less of a deal when you’re thirty. then again maybe i’m giving 30 year old men too much credit.. =D

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  4. Well finally someone put the correct meaning of feminism in words ( referring to your first theory here ), the stereotyping of men to be “a man” is causing an indirect leveraging impact on the stereotyping of women… Ema Watson said the same thing in UN and the whole world finds it a revolutionary speech… you can claim the copyrights showing your blog : )

    On a serious note, thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience, there are some important things to learn for everyone, God Bless you!

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  5. I am single, but I was never as scared as I am now, after I read the reasons above.
    What if someone is broke. What if someone is just not lucky or unlucky enough. What if someone is this or that, but not the above. I am scared now. Should I see a shrink?

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    • why are you scared? actually i think fear is the biggest problem we all have when dating. indeed what if someone is broke. it sucks no? but that doesn’t mean you can’t date.lucky or unlucky enough for what? and it hasn’t much impact on how you treat people. you can be broke and courteous and not entitled.
      i’d engage more but i have a feeling you’re being a smartass. so while i dunno about a shrink maybe you should see a proctologist? to extricate your head?

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  6. Hello,

    Came across your blog purely by chance and found it really interesting.

    Being an urban woman in the early 30s myself I can really identify with your journey, albeit the South of Vindhyas come with a different set of cultural impacts when it comes to dating in India.

    Have just started going through your posts from the beginning. ‘The Theories’ are bang on and it was as if someone has delved into my mind and put my thoughts out there, although I must say I don’t think I could have articulated it any better :)

    Do keep’ em coming!

    PS: I am secretly hoping your blog would be the inspiration I need to put myself out there and begin dating, because I have all but given up lately :D

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Fantastic blog, am completely hooked! I’ve just hit 30 and am single (and a woman). It’s been..umm..(it’s hard to find the perfect word), ‘not easy’. At the moment, I describe this whole dating/marriage/finding a partner scene more with a sound which is – ‘argh’. I think The Dating Desert theory is particularly spot on and so well articulated. Am looking forward to reading more and seeing where this goes :)!

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  8. The moment you call it a project,the fire in dating is lost as you consider the guys as experimental animals in labs.That may be one reason that high burnout rate of guys who detest to maintain contact with you.The project needs secrecy as men should not know you are trading them.

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    • Dude why don’t you try that again without the big words? Currently you sound like an entitled guy who is angry with what I’m doing and of course knows better than me. Is that the goal?

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  9. Whoever has gone for a “date” has lost interest to continue the contact with you.Why do you think so.Because guys felt you are treating them like guinea pigs for your project.It is not dating.Just a meeting.

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  10. In your analysis of desi male mentality, you ignore a crucial variable—ethnicity. Delhi is a fairly multicultural city, so it’s filled with men from various cultures/regions. You can’t homogenize Bengalis and Punjabis into one blob when men from both those cultures act, socialize, and view themselves quite differently. Not to tiptoe into racist territory, but it’s easier to generalize Punjabi/Jatt boys as constantly overdosing on their own testosterone. Or the frequent observation that men from Karnataka, Kerala, or Tamil Nadu tend to be more reserved. Interactions between men from different subcultures is something you should also look into.

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