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!

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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!

Wading through shit

Regular commenters might have noticed that things have changed around here. Now your comment is not only moderated, you also need a WordPress account to comment. Why you ask?

Last week, when I was travelling like a madwoman, this blog was nicely trolled. Now don’t get me wrong: I have no problem with trolls. Trolls are everywhere and here I am living my life online–I’m bound to run foul of a few. And yes, in my frustration this past month, and from being on the move all the time, I have stopped blurring out OKC ids, which is not good practice.

I was accused of cheap journalism, told I was a cyber bully, all sorts of things. And  then someone else stepped in and started linking to my photos from OKCupid, uploaded to imgur. I’m slightly horrified that OKC lets you download pictures from profiles, but maybe this guy is a bit more than your average internet user and knows some way to do it. But hey, it’s nothing that’s not already online and public, and also something I’m linked to here. He did a sleazy comment too, but hah that’s an actual compliment compared to the usual OKC sleaze.

And then someone, using tor and gmail (ahem) posted a threatening comment, purpotedly from the hackers collective Anonymous. Because you know, I’m so important they’d want to troll me, and also that’s how legendary hackers work: they leave you comments with incorrect information and threaten to hack into your life, ending with a smiley. They don’t, you know, hack into your life.

Dear <my name>,
You have come to our attention as a repugnant bully and a creep. You were reasoned with to respect other people and their privacy and not misuse dating sites, but you declined. Your unethical and harassing behavior has been noted. Would you enjoy if you, your close friends and your family were humiliated online? I doubt <incorrect name of workplace>, your college mates or even little <incorrect name> would have a great time if someone were to spam the internet with their very personal information.
:)
ANONYMOUS

And I’m the cyber bully. Ahem.

So I’ve always held that if you put information on the internet, it’s likely to come out. There’s no point in telling yourself you can control it. I also actually go out with people and email with people so I’m not exactly anonymous. Plus most of my friends and their friends and also most people at work know my identity. (Yeah Mr. Troll, you can call my boss and tell her what I’m doing and she’s going to say, ‘And? Your point is?’.) Obviously my anonymity is a bit of a joke. And I’m okay with that.

Still, I’ve never been threatened before. And coming as it did at a point when I was tired of the constant low grade stream of ‘u r fat’ ‘u r ugly’ ‘cn i lick ur pussy’ ‘i wanna bite ur boobs’ type stuff I get out of OKC (and have been getting for the past 8 months), something snapped. I realised that, as part of this project, because there’s no point in doing it if I don’t make an effort, I have really been putting myself out there these past 8 months. And I’m so very tired of wading through shit. All. The. Time.

Now this doesn’t mean I haven’t met some really wonderful people here–both dates and commenters–and I haven’t felt a great deal of support and respect for what I’m doing. I don’t even need to mention the regular commenters who just hang out here and then rush to my defence when I am trolled. And at least two of the dates have become beloved friends, who rallied and petted and soothed and promised contacts in Cyber Crimes when this happened. Still, over time, the shit has begun to obscure and smother the possibility of good.

I thought very seriously about shutting this whole thing down and, yes, letting the trolls win. I have gained plenty from this project already, and I don’t really expect to make it to 50 anyway. I don’t expect to meet a partner, even a short term one–just look at the data so far. I spend more and more time trying to find dates and less and less time enjoying them. And I really am tired of the excrement. And that day, with all the other stressful stuff going on in my life at the time, I really just wanted to stop.

But then, sleep, family time and the rallying of the blog people made me feel better. I began to think about it as a problem I needed to solve. (I think I even figured out which OKC boy is the troll.) And here is the solution. I am not putting myself out there anymore. The blog is out there enough. Enough people know what I’m doing. So people can write to me, people can set me up with people, i can just stumble upon people who want to go out with me in real life (hahahahahahaah! yeah I know.) And comments are only allowed with WordPress accounts.