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:
- 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:
- Commitment phobe
- Brutally dumped by someone and therefore has trust issues
- Hopelessly in love with someone who is married
- 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!)
- 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:
- Ensure you disguise your feelings
- Pay attention to the other person
- Never take the other person at face value about what they say and do
- 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.)