Unwrapping, Not Unravelling

There’s an episode in ‘Sex and the City‘ where Carrie proudly declares to her posse of passionate femme fatales that she relieved herself at Big’s place. That revelation is met with a look of pure revulsion from Charlotte and shock from Miranda and Samantha followed by advice on how to, even remotely, never do anything so horrific at a guy’s place. So, basically never poop if you actually ever date someone is what one gets from this? Um, sorry but, I do like my Charmin time, folks and I’m definitely not going to let my relationship (when I’m in one, that is) get in the way of my bathroom reading time.

Nonetheless, this is something I’ve been noticing with girls and guys in this sea of dating, courting and everything chase-worthy, appropriately called twenty-something life. There is such a need to come off as absolutely perfect, something ethereal, positively radiating and shimmering – almost diamond-like when people here present oneself to each other, especially when it comes to dating. I understand that there is a need to put one’s best foot forward but, to parade oneself in a way that is projecting an image of sheer perfection and goodness seems a tad bit unrealistic, pretentious and frankly, off-putting (to me, at least). I get that an aura of good ol’ musky mystery and feminine coquettishness is attractive but at the same time, it is important to not get washed up by the stormy currents of dating etiquette, as this hopping about on one foot is politely referred to.

Moreover, it seems to me that participants in the dating game are equally baffled by the veneer of propriety and projected personality and are desperately trying to find out what’s really beneath the layers themselves. For instance, take the new dating app, Lulu – a way for girls to see if the guy they’re dating checks out. It’s a deeply antagonistic app, one based in so many pop culture, movie-esque and pretentious assumptions, it’s appalling to see women and men flocking to it. And, is completely one-sided, by the way – men have no option of contributing or countering their ratings/tags, etc. (I won’t go into just how anti-feminist the platform is, that is for a delicious new blog-post.) ‘Lulu’ is an example of how twisted the entire dating game has become. It’s not even fun anymore, these rules are flummoxing and retarded, to say the least. The current dating scenario is like a monster that’s just been fed everything it ever wanted and now just won’t tame the fuck down so everyone just keeps appeasing it.

Whether it’s deconstructing text messages with girlfriends or boyfriends or waiting three days before calling a girl you exchanged numbers with at a bar, there are unwritten, confusing and, ultimately just weirdly constricting  and intangible guidelines in this dating space. Take the case of HeTexted.com, a service where guys help girls decode guys’ texts. Some of the entries are just heartbreaking and absurd at the same time. The sheer number ‘Yahoo! Answers’ queries on the subject and the umpteen websites online are ridonkulous and bordering on pathetic!

Since I’ve grown up in a different country, it is funny to observe how ridiculously absurd this jungle of dating, romance and everything courtship in New York City really is. A city of eight million people, it is surprising to note that hardly a fraction is actually being real when trying to find the most real thing of all – a connection.

Moreover, it is absurd that, even when two people have found a connection, they’re still not really letting go of the facade that’s been created by them for the other person to make each other believe that they’re this, also that but, that really they’re just not all that stuff that they were kinda portraying themselves as all those other times. Huh? Girls wait before they actually even think of not caking on tons of make-up, changing six outfits and assiduously adjusting their hair-dos before meeting the guy they’re dating so that the guy finds them attractive enough.

On dates, there’s this constant and frankly speaking, hilarious guessing game of what to order and how much to eat. Oh, I’m a girl, I can’t make it known just yet, I enjoy Philly Cheese Steak and a triple sundae any day – gotta order the salad with light vinaigrette on the side and multigrain bread even though I’d rather choke on my bile than eat this hippy shmiff (new word coined!), really. What the heck is that all about? Just eat whatever the hell you want, lady plus, that hooch of yours needs wine, and lots of it – so order it. And, have some self-respect and split the bill or at least offer to pay once in a while, okay?

When you look at the guys, it’s a different ball game altogether. They’re pumping iron, working on their body to show off their pecs, abs, other rib-cage enhancer type things and what-have-yous so that they can some. Yuuuck. I mean, if you’re a fitness buff, I’m all for it but, working out to get the ladies is, umm… weird. And what’s with all these supposedly hip hair-dos? Excuse me, what is with the Macklemore-ish hair-do, the one with the shorn-off sides and mop-inspired residual foppy hair thing on top? They look ridiculous on ninety percent of the people I’ve seen them on. The movie, Don Jon, did a good job of exploring a bit of the body image and grooming styles of twenty-somethings nowadays. In fact, that movie was an eye-opener in so many ways – romance, sex, expectations, belief systems, the effects of media, pop culture, etc.

Anyhow, getting back to the point of this post, even when in some sort-of stage of a relationship, girls and guys have this weird hide-and-go-seek thing going on. Supposedly, it’s like a game, a light banter, a playful teasing, a friendly chase… Frankly, it seems a bit random and really just not fun. Maybe it is for some of you but, I’m just finding this ridiculous running around exhausting, fiendishly dull and not amusing in any way. I understand that it’s enticing to have someone be interested enough to make the effort to figure you out – like you’re a delectable gift (cheesiness alert!), waiting to be unwrapped with care. But, the current scenario just seems like everyone’s unravelling even without trying just from the sheer demand to keep it classy, mysterious, exciting and whatever else is the in-thing nowadays.

Here’s my beef, though. If you liked someone, why would you wait two to ten days in the first place to go talk to her/him? What is this hazy time-frame boundary and time-bound communication manual everyone’s following without really following what’s being asked to be done? Even more facetious is the fact that why would you not be yourself around somebody you’re genuinely excited and interested to know more about? What the hell is going around here? What the fuck is this mystery angle all about, when there’s no more enticing a mystery than being inherently yourself because aren’t people by virtue of just being themselves wonderfully intense, beautiful, fragile, wholesome goodness-filled individuals? OR AM I LIVING IN SOME FANTASY WORLD AND NEED TO GET MY HEAD CHECKED UP? No, right! Isn’t being real and just chilled out and honest to oneself and thus, to others the way to be?

Here’s what I think. If you don’t want to do it, just don’t. And, if you want to, well go after it, won’t you? Honestly, it’s better than all this running, chasing, faking, anticipating, whatever-ness. Seriously, let’s just be frank about it – he likes her, she likes him, they get together and take it from there, period. Whatever happens, happens. What’s so much of all this pretension about, anyway? Just get off your high horse, m’kay? Everyone has insecurities and they’re still likeable. And, no one even cares so much about yours, they’re much too involved in dealing with their own schmut (Really fond of the ‘sch’ sound right now, oops!), really.

Please, just go for it if you think it’s worth it. Definitely, don’t run around hiding and seeking, waiting and strategizing because that’s some sort of unspoken rule, because there is no such thing.The only time it’s okay to stave off is when you don’t feel ready, like really not there yet. Or when you think you could offer them something better or could try to make yourself better and then go at it. Otherwise, why wait?  I can’t think of another coherent reason to, really. Life’s short, go for it in the truest sense. That actually does make sense – to me, at least.

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Why I Love Dives

 

1. $3-$5 for a pint!!

2. Almost always 50+ years old. Love, LOVE the ambiance – the old wood, the worn-out leather seats, the regulars, the friendly bartenders.

3. The li’l notes patrons pin on the walls, carve into the maturing wood, hide somewhere in one of the corners of the walls.

4. JUKEBOX. YES, PLEASE.

5. Conversation with… everyone possible.

 

As the Fan Creaks Me to Sleep

Sometimes I lie awake at night — well, I’m sorta border-insomniac so most nights I lie awake at night — and just ponder over stuff as the gentle hum of the air conditioner soothes my ears.

At times, I think about all the things I’ve gone through, all the weirdness that is my life and the way(s) I handled or manhandled the situation(s). Y’know, little ‘Notes to Self’ for the future, so to say.

At other times, I think about society – just people, in general. It’s funny how selfish the world can be  and yet, most fight anything anti-social tooth and nail to fit in. It’s astonishing how many people leave good sense and go along with herd mentality. It appears that the want to be appreciated by the masses swallows the desire to be internally fulfilled.

And, most are unaware of this cyclical battle between the Spirit and the Ego. Lives are recycled, souls reincarnated, aimlessly wandering, devoid of thought processes, ignorant of their reality. The world seems like a whorl of directionless souls. Even being mis-directioned would be a step towards the correct flow, a foothold to veer the black hole of nothingness into the Light.

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Still, there is a glimmer of hope. The outliers who look at themselves. The ones who really see their potential and go for their goals, sans everything, sans anything. There are the few who just have an idea, a goal or a fetish, even – all consuming desire or a willingness to do what they set out to, to complete the opportunity they possess. These are the people who bring the Light, bring life, bring everything a little bit more into line.

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Whatever I may be thinking, I always aim to look ahead as I drift off to the land of dreams (Some of my dreams are quite disconcerting, by the way).

So, let’s look ahead – we have a life to live.

Virtue, Thy Name is Undervalued

Everyone everywhere complains about disintegrating society, the erosion of culture, customs and religion and the gaps between youth and everyone else. However, as pertinent as one finds the aforementioned issues, there seem to be deeper problems one needs to look at. Most of us have witnessed people cutting queues, seen a ‘hit and run’, vehicles speeding and not following traffic signals, the list is endless. Heck, most of us have indulged in one or more of the same!

The fact of the matter is that today virtues are largely forgotten, even mocked by most. Here are a couple of fast disappearing mannerisms, soon to become characteristics of the days of yore that are rarely practiced, seldom valued but, largely (and incorrectly) projected by most in society :-

Being Polite: Rarely do people bother to thank servers, cleaners and housekeepers. Scantly does one see a lady get up and offer her seat in a crowded public transport vehicle to a frail old man. Hardly do you see a young man let an old lady go ahead of him in a bank queue because he’s in a hurry to get his cheque cleared and go clubbing to celebrate his payday. Politeness is hugely undervalued, rarely encouraged and the polite are seldom respected and given the same treatment. More often than not, most polite folk are taken advantage of, mocked for being gracious and often considered easy targets for bullying.

The Polite, Kind and Humble Tree Shades the Weary Traveler

Kindness: A grossly under-rated virtue, kindness seems to be on it’s way to oblivion. Very few people are able to identify kindness, let alone appreciate or practice it. Most students think the ones who offer to carry something heavy for a professor must be doing it to butter them up. (The sad part is, most of them are.)

Gratitude: Few people are grateful (fewer can spell it right), more and more people are accustomed to privileges and think it is their right nay, their birthright, to have access to amenities like food (pizzas and such stuff), education (private colleges with dubious accreditation), transport (customized Hummers) and relaxation time (vacations to places which are ‘Facebook album’-worthy). However, a handful actually thank their parents, God, teachers or anyone with heart for giving them the opportunities they have. Perfunctory acts of gratitude such as the annual New Year card, Thank You note or hug are found aplenty but, real gratitude is hard to find today and, sadly is going the dodo-way. In fact, instead of feeling gratitude, most people feel obliged to help someone who has aided them in something at some point in life. Some don’t feel that either.

Humility: ‘If you have it, flaunt it’ seems to be the mantra today. One-upmanship rears it’s ugly head in even the simplest of things and keeping up with the Joneses is a matter of principle in most societies. Everyone is trying to make it obvious that s/he travels first class, dines at the best places with the creme-de-la-creme of society and has more visa stamps than s/he cares to count. Name dropping, brand-toting and showing-off are the current norms. Also, sometimes one wonders if people are trying to show themselves in better light or put each other down.

Knowledge and Learning Take a Backseat to Achievement and Winning

Knowledge: Perhaps the saddest case of all, knowledge or learning is an extremely undervalued virtue today. Schools train to achieve rather than learn, parents coax the bewildered student to get into a top institute as opposed to following her/his field of passion and peers deem a dedicated classmate as a nerd and bully her/him to no end. Most students score well but, application-wise they’re somewhere near zero. Rote learning rules the roost today. The majority of school and college goers have no idea what they’re studying, why they’re studying what they’re studying but, they’re all running to outdo the other.

Wisdom: Not many care about what the wise woman/man has to say but, show them a cunning woman/man and look at them run to get her/his counsel. Sadly, wisdom is considered as outdated as the IBM PC. Experience and learning leading to wisdom resulting in holistic development is fast being replaced with acquiring and manipulating leading to profit, corruption, cunning and exploitation for singular gain.

Wisdom Looks On as Youth Barely Notices

It is time to take a good look at the mirror and see where we, as a global society are headed and give virtues the emphasis they deserve in our lives. A strong society is made of more than high-flying corporate honchos. A virtuous woman/man is truly the only thing that has ever saved society in times of dire consequences.

A world with those who hold scant value for values will be of little value. It’s time for society to pull up it’s socks and look at leading holistic, meaningful and fulfilling lives as opposed to comfortable yet, empty existances.

The Lost Art of Holding a Conversation

Being a conversationalist, I enjoy a discussion on just about any topic. I find having conversations about anything and everything under the Sun not only triggers thought and results in exchange of information but, it also gives one food for thought to introspect and look at things in more than one way. I find talking things out not only to be therapeutic but, also enlightening.

Sadly, nowadays people value conversation less than cheap cologne, debating is misconstrued as arguing, discussions transform into gossip sessions and dialogues often become monologues. I find there is an increasing gap between those who are actually open to exchanging ideas and finding solutions and those who just want to shove their opinions down one’s throat. Isn’t the whole point of a conversation taking away something indelibly constructive, something that helps us piece the larger puzzle called life or am I missing something?

Ideal conversation must be an exchange of thought, and not, as many of those who worry most about their shortcomings believe, an eloquent exhibition of wit or oratory. – Emily Post

Often, when a group of girls start talking, it seems kinder to throw myself out of an adjacent window than endure the hateful gossip and bitching that ensues. Guys are not far behind, in fact guys can be nastier than girls when it comes to gossiping! Cattiness, thy name is gossip!

Another sad fact is with the advent of Social networking Sites, organic conversation has taken quite a hit. Facebook chatting and Skype never really seem the same and often when one meets a pal or actually talks to them on the phone after a long, long time, conversation is muted and awkward.

Moving on to body language during conversation; People hardly maintain eye contact, fiddle around and seldom display any interest if the conversation doesn’t involve gossip or dirty little secrets or confessions. Not only does this make the other person feel like they’re not being taken seriously, it also makes one doubt the interest factor and the validity of the discussion!

Also, why do folk keep talking about useless stuff like movies or music? I don’t think discussing movies and what-not is insipid but, it’d be great to discuss something worthwhile once in a blue moon! Why don’t people like discussing things like society, politics, philosophy or art? And, every time one initiates a slightly serious topic, either the topic is changed or turns into a mud slinging fest. For instance, try talking about politics and the ‘Obamacare‘ bashing begins.

At the end of the day, sometimes I just want to have a meaningful conversation about something meaningful – a heartfelt one-on-one about something not related to Taylor Swift’s newest song about her newest ex-boyfriend.

What about you? Take the poll!

In Case of Confusion, Read Between the Lines

Right. So, lately you’ve begun to notice that things and/or folk around you are a teeny bit weird. It could be something as minuscule as things taking longer than usual, something as significant as distinct coolness from someone you know or maybe someone’s taking unnecessary interest in what you’re doing. Something is off. You’re confused and uncomfortable. You can’t quite figure it out but, your mind’s all over the place trying to figure out where the loose end, if any, is!

Now, while a lot of times the fault lies with you and the cause is usually an errant action you took in the past, sometimes, just sometimes, it isn’t the case. There are a million ways to figure out your own mistake – introspection and retrospection being the most noble and effective of the lot. However, I’m not going to talk (write?) about that aspect here. That’s a whole other blog-post, it’ll come soon!

I’m talking about the times when it’s really not your fault that things are weird but, you think it is. And therein lies the problem – and the solution. You spend hours and days pondering over what’s wrong, analyzing every little thing, replaying events in your head on loop to figure out what went wrong, discussing every detail with your extremely bored (and irate) parents and peers on a daily basis and yet you seem to be going around in circles! You even go on to ask anonymous questions on ‘Yahoo! Answers‘ and Google the same and actually go through 90% of the search results! You’re restless, unhappy and you’re really unsure about what in ruddy Hell is goin’ on! I’mma stop you here, my friend. And really tell you why you’re so damned confused.

See, the basic problem here is that you’ve gotten some weirdass notion in your head and you’re just not letting it go. It could be something as dumb as thinking someone’s mad at you because you forgot their birthday or something as allegedly important as believing that everybody’s out to get you because you’re so good at what you do/ so beautiful everyone’s jealous/ so brilliant that people want to pull you down/ such a sinner that God *Cough!* *Godmen* *Cough* are punishing you (Really? Let me make one thing crystal clear here. God is always there with everyone. And She/He always encourages and helps you. Also, Godmen are shifty 99% of the time, don’t even go there).

Whether your notion is true or not is futile. But, to tell you honestly, it’s as true as God’s own word is here but, only in your head and it’s as true as unicorns and leprechauns are in the physical world. Succinctly paraphrasing the previous sentence – Bitch, get your head out of you ass! Don’t let it get to you! Don’t let it get you down and out!

To put it simply – your weird notion is a parasite feeding on your energy and killing you softly in the process. Just let it go. Even if your stupid idea makes perfect sense right now. Even if your gut is telling you that the shit you’re thinking is practical and consistent with reality. Even if your analysis fits in your mind. Because, it doesn’t in real life. You’re not doing anything catastrophically wrong. You’re not sending out weird vibes. You’re not unlikable. You’re not facing nine seasons in Hell. And, don’t bolster yourself by saying, “It feels like it.” or “It feels right.” Um, NO. You only feel what you want to feel, ‘kay. If you want to change things (And, I really think it’s high time you did), you’re going to have to start thinking positively and you’ll start feeling positive about things.

The main point is, you’re just obsessing about something being wrong. And, if you obsess about something for too long, it starts to show. It is only then that all of the above actually start happening. And, then you go, “See! I was right! My life IS fucked up!” What the hell? First you derail things yourself, then you say, “It was going to happen, I knew it all along!” I mean, if you knew it, why didn’t you stop it? If you’re so damn clairvoyant, wise and mature, why didn’t you do something – anything – about it? And, why do you think now’s too late? Where’s the sense in whining about things, people and situations incessantly? Where’s the sense in resigning yourself to whatever spiral you’re in? Where’s the sense in suffering yourself, making the people around you sick, blaming others and playing the victim?

Don’t sit there and take it. Just take control of your life and do whatever it takes to get it back on track – the track you want your life on. Do it now. Start this instant. It’s gonna be hard but, it’s worth it. More power to you!