The End

Greetings faithful readers. (And the sudden spike of new ones. Did scroll retweet that article or something? One day in June I suddenly has a crazy spike in readers and followers.) I’ve been terrible lately, haven’t I? I don’t post and, honestly, it’s because I don’t want to. Even if I had a date, which I don’t, I don’t want to write about one more evening of me trying really hard to relate to and engage with a person who, even if I do succeed in connecting with him, is just going to vanish on me without the courtesy of a good bye. Honestly, I am also very tired of making all effort that to reach out to and relate with what, sadly, I have found to be a self-absorbed, self-indulgent and entitled group of people.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying all desi guys are horrible or useless or something, though I am very tempted to draw some very un-nuanced and unqualified generalizations about the group after the past four months. It might just be that because I’m looking at older guys (though I have dated younger ones), or because I’m in Delhi, or even because I’ve found it so difficult to meet single people in offline settings and go out with them. Heck it’s probably at least a little bit because I’m a picky cow myself! But the bottom line is that I have had multiple conversations with and attempts to connect with at least a hundred Indian guys between the ages of 23 and 40 in the past year, and dear lord it has been a lot of work with next to no payoff.

Most guys don’t want to make conversational effort. Okay I think, maybe they don’t realise it. So I tell them to ask me questions, to work a bit. ‘What is this, an interview?’ ‘I asked you to tell me about yourself!’ And then when I patiently explain that specific questions help move a conversation along, I get ‘Are you a virgin?’ or some such ridiculous thing, which is like a toddler that’s trying to push the boundaries with a parent–oooo I’m walking on the edge and if you react badly it’s because you’re not cool or chill ya.

Eyeroll.

Most guys think they deserve my attention (or that of any woman they have deigned to contact); they’re always pinging and they need instant responses. They don’t want to decide what to do. They make truly awful nudge nudge wink wink jokes, which, I keep telling myself, is because they don’t understand how oh the ol-ball-and-chain kind of jokes are deeply sexist and problematic. They are bewildered by generalized conversations about sexism and harassment: but are you saying I’m a rapist! I would never do that! How can you say that! And I explain. And some of them get it, and some of them don’t, and either way, all that work, all that investment, and later they are gone.

Maybe there is something deeply off about me; maybe that’s why it’s so difficult for men to relate to me as more than friends. Maybe I’m ridiculously picky. Though I have to say, as part of the project, I don’t think I have been. I’ve constantly been shushing my gut and saying give him a chance. And guess who’s been right every single time? Maybe Indian society has screwed up gravely in how it raises its men (ok ok more then maybe). We have all these fantastic women who just can’t seem to meet guys they can be with. It’s almost as if we’ve spent so much effort teaching women to be anything they want, to adopt ‘masculine’ emotions and reactions and roles, and all we’ve taught men is that they need to be ok with women doing what they want, or appear to be, or perhaps, to be fairer, to believe that they are. But they’re not. And we do not teach them to look to others first; we do not teach them to take on ‘feminine’ roles, emotions and reaction; we–yes even feminist women–hold them to unfair double standards just as they hold us to them too.

Whatever the reason, the main lesson I have learned in this past year is that I cannot do this. I cannot woo Indian men; I cannot coax and persuade them; perhaps I cannot even date them should there be genuine interest. Then again, there has not really been genuine mutual interest, so who knows.

When I set out to do this, I often got asked what outcome I expected, what if I met someone on one of these dates and fell in love–how would I deal with the project then? I used to say there were three possible outcomes. The best would be meeting someone who gave me the space to finish. The second best would be meeting someone. And the worst would be what has come to pass–that I would end up where I began, just more tired and frustrated. I think that all along I wanted to be wrong about the conclusions I have drawn in the past 5 years of dating. I wanted this experiment to prove that desi guys CAN be great for me, that the only reason I hadn’t met someone was because I wasn’t trying hard enough, I wasn’t casting my net wide enough, I wasn’t being open to possibilities. Somewhere deep down I was convinced that I would meet someone–as a friend said last night, ‘But it can’t end like this; you’re supposed to meet someone!’ Yes that is how the story goes, and I believed in the story.

But now I know that the story is, like all stories, just a story. It is powerful and hard to fight but just because you believe in it doesn’t mean that it always comes true. And so I come away from this project with, if nothing else, a much better understanding of myself, some great experiences, a book I’m going to write and at least two good friends. And you know what? That’s not so bad.

I don’t quite know what I’m going to do with this space now. I know I definitely don’t want to date for a while–unless I get to be the princess most men claim they don’t like and yet they chase after. I have things I would like to write about and they might be about dating and body image and love and suchlike pandemonium, but I’m not sure this is the right place for that, or honestly that people want to read about it! But I am very grateful for all the support I’ve had from you, my readers. I never thought I could write, and you’ve shown me that apparently I can. You’ve shown me that there are people who want to hear these stories, who are willing to invest in and root for a complete stranger. So thank you. And if I actually write that book, I promise to post about it so you know!

Resurfacing rant

Hi guys! Yes I know I vanished. Just like them boys I tell you =D

A lot has happened.

I quit my job and now work part time. I’m studying for GMAT. I’m going to go on a much awaited and very exciting trip to Europe all of June and some of July. I was fostering kittens (those of you ho follow me on Instagram might have noticed ahem). I have been enjoying this new, more relaxed, Gurgaon-less life. Though I miss seeing my DBF (Delhi Best Friend) since we don’t sit in the same office anymore.

I’ve gotten a lot of emails and some comments that urge me to get back to writing. I must admit they helped. It’s not that I don’t want to write–I’ve just had a lot going on and very little that isn’t frustrating in the dating space. And I don’t particularly want to write about my frustration, especially when it is basically rehashing things I’ve said before and often. I sometimes think of other things to write about, but in all my blogging career nothing has really inspired me to write like boys. Yes this is my cross and I bear it.

I have been trying to get dates, and I did go on one I haven’t written about, partly because he didn’t want me to talk about some things and I was too disillusioned with the whole idea of dating to make it fun and censor myself. So here I am, at #24, and stuck for a while. As you know, OKC has been positively charming (I’ve got a whole bunch of screenshots saved up), and I have been so bored I eve got back on tinder once. Got back off it shortly after as usual of course.

In the past two months (or so) I have tried to go out with quite a few guys. One guy with a terrible match wrote to me on OKC, but his work is so cool we started talking. And he kept saying he wanted to meet, but then didn’t seem actually inclined to do it. Then finally, after soooooooooo much time, he says let’s go out to dinner. We plan to meet at 8, and at 7 I call and ask where we’re meeting and he says he has to work late and will confirm if we’re on. At 745 he calls to say rain check. I’ve just come out of a satisfying session with my shrink so I laugh and tell him okay but he’d better bring his A game and have a plan. ‘Haha, Ok,’ he says. And that is the very last I heard from him–twelve days ago.

In this he reminds me so much of #23. Ah #23, who either read my post and freaked or is a really good actor and excellently faked being interested in me. I asked him if he wanted to do something (‘Definitely,’ he’d said after our date when I asked if he wanted to hang out again) around the first of April. ‘I’m a bit tied up this weekend,’ he said, ‘so let me get back to you.’ And there you have it, the brush off of cowards. I never have understood people who don’t have the courage to just say no. It’s over Whatsapp for Christ’s sake! What is the worst I could do? Could I be a desi guy and absolutely refuse to take no for an answer? Block me. It’s easy.

Sorry, I’m ranty today. Angsty too. Maybe because it’s the birthday of the last guy I was in love with, who, whatever his virtues, certainly didn’t appreciate me, and I, whatever my virtues, don’t seem to have completely shaken him off.

It is funny though that I should feel like this, so frustrated and angry with the universe, because hello, as this lovely quote I ran into today says, who the hell said I was entitled to love anyway?

It’s a funny thing about the modern world. You hear girls in the toilets of clubs saying, “Yeah, he fucked off and left me. He didn’t love me. He just couldn’t deal with love. He was too fucked up to know how to love me.” Now, how did that happen? What was it about this unlovable century that convinced us we were, despite everything, eminently lovable as a people, as a species? What made us think that anyone who fails to love us is damaged, lacking, malfunctioning in some way? And particularly if they replace us with a god, or a weeping madonna, or the face of Christ in a ciabatta roll—then we call them crazy. Deluded. Regressive. We are so convinced of the goodness of ourselves, and the goodness of our love, we cannot bear to believe that there might be something more worthy of love than us, more worthy of worship. Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.

―Zadie Smith

What is it about me, sarcastic, harsh, bitter, judgy, highly impatient me, that makes me think I am so lovable? Sure I’m nice and I do things for people, but where did I get this sense of entitlement–the very entitlement that I am sarcastic, harsh and impatient with Indian men for carrying around. Where did I get the idea that I am deserving of not just one unrealistic ideal man who adores me, but a few, so that I get to pick?  Something I’ve been thinking about lately.

And then, just when I am no longer lamenting the scarcity of men-I-could-be-into who are into me in my offline life, on Friday evening (guess which?), I suddenly have not one but three guys into me. One very interesting, one interesting and one totally not. The last is my downstairs neighbour, a nice enough guy who rants to me about water timings and keeps my car keys and starts my car when I go on long trips, and is in a long distance relationship. He’s dealing with it by going on Tinder apparently, where he saw me and ‘almost swiped right’. Then he decided to text me and see if it was OK to swipe right because he just wants to get laid, though heaven forbid he should articulate it that way. I sweetly told him no.

The interesting guy who I met at an alumni event held my hand for a while and then vanished when we went to after party at TC. Apparently there was a damsel in distress. Or something. Shockingly, I haven’t heard from him yet. The very interesting guy I then met at TC, when DBF started talking to him. He and I are supposed to go out on Wednesday. He might or might not suffer from the great vanishing disease, so to be on the safe side I shall believe our date when I’m actually on it.

And that, faithful readers (and really, I do appreciate that I actually have faithful readers), is all I have to show for two months. I might schedule a series on my OKc suitors though!

Desperately seeking…

This morning my ex boss stopped by my desk and asked me if I’d seen this. It’s viral she said, and I tossed back a silly comment about how it doesn’t seem to be viral in my circles because everyone I know is married. But then I went and Googled and I found it. It’s adorable. And really sad, because there is nothing about that ad that’s dramatic or shocking or wildly off the charts. (Though that’s probably because of the circles I move in, etc. It was a shock to me to realise my Tam Bram family is cray atypical.) It’s sad that this is something we think of as being so amazingly new, when clearly many people feel the same way. It also puts my own life into perspective eh?

The timing of this in very interesting because just yesterday I went on tinder for five minutes and after swiping left frantically with growing horror on my face I (first put the phone down) threw my hands up in the air and let out a silent scream. ‘Is it too much to ask?’ I said to my best friend, ‘is it too much to ask for the things I want in a guy? I mean, I just want him to be intelligent, have his shit under control and yeah maybe be taller than me. And, oh, yeah, single. It’s not like I’m putting all the ideal shit in there!’

So when I read that post I decided I’d also just once put that call out there. However extreme and idealistic and foolish it might be, and however much I know it’s ridiculous and irrational and not really going to happen, Mary Poppins might still manage to get my letter.

Is it too much to ask for an intelligent, tolerant, feminist, critical thinking, widely reading, salsa dancing, Spanish speaking, whiskey drinking, peaceful travelling, cat loving, polyamorous, confident but not cocky, 6-foot-tall single fully functional adult man who is comfortable with himself, likes to cook but likes me to cook too, is handy around the house, plays the guitar, likes people, genuinely appreciates strong women and can and will stand up for himself?

And then I went back into the dusty archives of all the blogs I’ve ever had and I found this. From seven years ago. Apparently my inner 16-year-old still has control. Which explains so much!

He’s tall, in the region of six feet. He is dark: he has dark hair and golden-brown skin. He is lean…not skinny but definitely not gross bulgy aliens-under-the-skin muscular. He loves to dance, salsa and tango and merengue especially. He plays the guitar, flamenco guitar. He’s articulate, fluent and expressive in English, Spanish and Portuguese. He’s Spanish or Latin American. He is passionate about life, and tolerant of passions he doesn’t understand. He makes me laugh. He dances the monkey ballet. He loves dumb charades, horsing about in the rain and cuddling. He is very happy to curl up on the couch with me and do his own thing while I do mine. He loves cats and children, and is ready to adopt five of each. He is at ease with people of all ages, all kinds and all backgrounds. He wants to make the world a better place. He loves food and he loves drink. He loves to cook and he loves to read. He has wanderlust, but once he gets to a new place he like to stay still for a while. He likes beaches and loves mountains with water-bodies, but most of all he loves cool mountains above sparkling beaches. He is an adult, and doesn’t need to be trained in the art of being a contributing part of a household. He adores me, and is ready to pretend to be teenagers every so often. He does ridiculous romantic things like leave me notes and send me flowers. He has to touch me when he’s nearby. He is as intelligent as I am, so he’s not intimidated and I’m not overwhelmed. He understands that difference does not mean discord. He is eager to learn about things that are not familiar. He is, of course, transcendental in bed :)

More interruptions

(I have all these posts planned and queued, but things keep moving me to write about other stuff.)

A long time ago, I went on an OKC date with a guy. He was really quite different from me, and I don’t know that I’d have gone out with him if someone had said hey I have a single friend and described him to me. But we did go out. We had a great date. Seriously. I think it was the last great date I had before the project. Total chemistry, physical, mental, conversational. Some of this might have been because I was still depressed at the time and latching on to whatever positives I could find and building it up, but still there was enough there to qualify as a really good date.

This guy had a blog and he told me about it, so I started following it. Unfortunately he was severely flaky and we basically lost contact in a week. He didn’t post much on the blog either. Suddenly, a few months ago he started posting, a flurry of heartbroken posts about lost love and dealing with things and so on. Being the horrible voyeur that I am I read them avidly and have now pieced together what has happened to him over the past two years.

The reason why I’m suddenly talking about him here is that he posted something today that really resonated with me. It was just one word at the end of a post about how he has lost all his potential and wasted his life.

I have some life left in me. Not much but some. And I want to make it all count. Every last breath.
I can’t be a has been or a never was. I want to be counted as an entity which mattered to the lives that I touched.
And its not just work. It’s life. It’s love. Fuck it. I’m an old world, impractical romantic. But that’s what I want as a token of having done something right in life.
Love.

It made me wonder why we spend so much time telling ourselves in this modern world that love is not a priority. Why do we feel the need to stress and underline that a life without love is the life to hold on to–love is an afterthought? Why did everyone tell me, for years, that I was foolish and silly to want love and I should focus on a career instead?

I’m not saying everyone needs to become Devdas or anything like that, but it’s true that there is pressure to deny that you want love. Sure, everyone doesn’t want it, but some people certainly do. God forbid you admit to it though. This same guy, when I met him, would have pulled out his hair with tweezers before making this admission, and it seems like he had to go to hell and back before he could say it out loud.

The value of your life in today’s world seems to only be counted by the stamps on your passport, the medals on your chest, the money in your bank and the house you live in. People forget the meaning derived from the friends you stay in with, the people you laugh with, the happiness and sadness you find in the lives you touch and the lives that touch yours. I remember tearfully telling my parents once that of course I have talnts and my life has value; there are so many people who love me and whom I love. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have a career path or get promotions. I add value to lives–just not the way people assume you should.

I can’t help but wonder if those years would have been easier on me if someone had looked at me and said that I did have a full, meaningful life even though I didn’t tick the boxes everyone said I should; that I had a valid dream, a legitimate aspiration–I wonder if my life would have turned out different.

Okay, sorry this turned out a lot more maudlin than anticipated!

Question: Dating many guys

The other day I got an email from a guy. He had many things to say, all complimentary heh, and a few questions. One of them if one I get a lot and I keep saying I’ll post about so here:

It just seems unnatural to me i guess. Like, as a guy, if i have a one night stand, and after the girl just sleeps on the other side of the bed and then we part ways, its easy to forget about her.

But when i sit with a girl, sharing stories, ideas & feelings, telling each other about our lives, for hours, and then parting with a kiss, this is the kind of stuff that’s gonna make me call her back, or intrigue me to a level that hampers my daily life! How can it not happen to you, or to the other guys?

In short: how can you date many people at the same time?

The short answer is: no one is serious.

The long answer however, is er, well, longer. When it comes to dating per se, I like to make the distinction between dating, where you’re sort of interviewing people for post of person I think I want to commit to and seeing each other where they’ve got the job as it were. Now people are different, much like organizations heh. Some places interview 100 candidates at the same time; some do select referrals one at a time. Well ok no one does one at a time heh. My point though is that some people are very gregarious and so they are not fazed by juggling several social commitments, don’t mind being out every night of the week and can keep track of many parallel conversations (or fake it at any rate hee). Some people can’t deal with so many stimuli and prefer to go slowly and carefully.

I am, obviously, in the former group. I love people. It’s like people, and new people, are my drug. I love finding out stories and figuring out quirks. As such I’m very happy to meet a stream of new people. And the dating that I’m doing is very casual. I rarely see the guys more than once. Yes we talk, we might kiss, but this doesn’t mean that there is enough of a connection to hook my heart, and so far none of them has given me any cause to think any of theirs is. Well my heart did get hooked once and it hurt like hell to get over it, but I did. And it only got hooked because the guy did and said things to lead me to suppose he was interested. But then again, he could be forgiven for thinking I wouldn’t be because after all, I’m dating 50 guys right?

Wrong.

Here’s the thing. I am dating a lot of guys, but every single one of them knows it. There’s nothing I hide about dating, about what I want, about what I feel. Every guy knows I am looking for love, and that I don’t think I’m going to find it. Now this is not just because I’m laying it out on this blog–I also tell them. And because of the blog, every guy I’ve gone out with has had a chance to look inside my head and see how I feel about him, after one date. So really, I’m the one in the dark here. I am also very open: ask me and you will get an honest answer. This is also something the guys know. So if you are someone who walks around talking of the value of honesty, you cannot blame me for reading your signals as honest, and you cannot say you didn’t think I was serious, because all you had to do was ask.

But my particular case aside, since I am definitely an unusual one, I really don’t see how anyone can offence at someone they’ve gone out with once dating other people. As long as you’re honest–‘I have a date’ not ‘I’m hanging with a friend’–respectful–‘Do you want to hear about dates or not?’ and kind–‘I’m sorry, I really like this other person so I can’t date you any more’ or ‘I don’t feel the same way as you do; we should stop dating’–you are not, in any way, transgressing.

As for calling a girl back, if you want to, do it. And if she wants to, she should do it too. Of course the way we articulate the rules these days, calling someone and saying you like them is a symptom of horrific clinginess and and indication that you are a psycho stalker who has married then in their head, so there’s a whole other can of worms there, but at least you’ll know you were honest and you communicated your feelings, so you did all you could.