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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An Awkward Conversation.

Boy: Just call her. Get it over with. Quick, like taking off a band-aid. And, be cool. Who the heck says ‘be cool’ nowadays, anyway? Now, where did I write down this girl’s number… This bloody maid, if you tell her a million times not to touch stuff, wohi karna hai!?

*Searches here and there*

Aha! Here it is! How’d it get here… lounging between the remote and the ashtray? A smoke to ease pre-call stress? Nah, post-call smoke type situation lag rahi hai yeh. Okay, here goes nothing!

*Inhales deeply and dials*

Boy: Hello?

Girl: Yes, hello.

Boy: Is this Anita?

Girl: Yes, this is her. Who is this?

Boy: Hi! I’m Ashish. Your mother and my mom spoke sometime this week about an alliance and I just wanted to get to speak to you before we decide to take things further…

Girl: Yeah, my mom mentioned something earlier today. How are you? Arre yaar, not another of those matrimonial site losers. Why do I have to go through this torture? I just want to get a job and enjoy myself…

Boy: Good! How are you?

Girl: I’m good as well.

Awkward Pause

(Pause)

(Pause)

(Pause)

Boy: So… What do you do? Are you working somewhere?

Girl: No, well… I was working for an MNC but, I recently quit so… I’m kind of in between jobs right now… Are you working or studying right now?

Boy: Yeah, I work for a bank. *Clears throatStandard Chartered Bank actually, I just got promoted last week so… Things are pretty hectic and there’s a lot of work to be done… It’s like I’m a mini CEO or something, hahahahe.

Girl: Seems arrogant… What the hell is a mini CEO… Like Mini Me or something?… Oh My God, I hope he’s not bald! AAAAAh, mujhe ganje se shaadi nahin karni…Mujhe shaadi hi kyun karni pad rahi hai…

Girl: Oh, that’s great!

Boy: Yup! Yessss! *Hi-Fives, err… Space?* I’ve made a good impression, ‘Mini CEO’! Hahaa! Good one, dude! Gotta use more of that scrumptious li’l phrase from now on!

Boy: Yeah, I landed this job right after my MBA, which I did from NMIMS, Mumbai. What about you? You’re an M.A., right?

Girl: Yeah, in Mass Communications… Lady Irwin, DU.

Boy: Cool!

(Pause)

*Awkward fidgeting at both ends*

Boy: So… what sun sign are you? Aur kya boloon?

Girl: I’m a Virgo

Boy: Oh!! I’m a Virgo, too! Virgos are the best, I tell you. They’re smart and creative and they are good looking and…uh… they’re practical and calm and…uh… romantic…

Girl: What a cheapo!!! Oh, yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that as well…

Boy: Yeah… astrology is fun and, and so useful!

Girl: Um, yeah. And, it helps in so many ways…

Boy: So, do you like watching movies? I like action flicks a lot!

Girl: Yeah, I like watching movies…

Boy: Great! I just saw ‘Elysium’. Matt Damon was awesome in it! Did you see any new flick recently?

Girl: Not really, I’m just really busy with looking for work and stuff…

Girl: *Checks the time* Oh, it’s 8:30 PM already? I gotta go, I have to make dinner. Chalo! Finally, I can hang up.

Boy: Sure! By the way, can you send me your FB link? I’ll send you mine as well… We can know more about each other that way. My e-mail ID is funkymunky@gheemail.com

Girl: Yeah, mine is dunkyshunky@chcheemail.com, I’ll send my FB page’s link to you.

Boy: Got it! Okay, thanks! I’ll send my FB page’s link to you as well. Nice talking to you! Bye!

Girl: Likewise, bye.

Boy: Well… thoda aur jaanane mein kya jaata hai? What’s the big deal in getting to know her a little more? Her voice sounded pretty mellifluous, actually.

Girl: What a loser! How arrogant and so pretentious! But, I suppose I should be polite and send the link-shink. Let’s see…

Your Crush Is Not Thinking About You, ‘Kay?

Okay, you guys, we’ve all been there. That sick yet, wonderful place where we fancy someone. It could be anyone – a friend, colleague, actor or some random face you saw on the bus or something. Basically, the fact is you like ’em and, they, well, may or may not reciprocate your temporary Arrhythmia. Most of the time, crushes are ones-sided affairs and the one suffering getting crushed under this huge weight is the last one to know that. So, let me make things easier for you, poor dear by telling you why the girl/boy you’re drooling over will never, I repeat, NEVER be your Coochie-coo and why you’re just wasting your time :-

a. You get up and think of the idiot as you get dressed for work/class/whatever with her/him in mind. You change your ‘outfit’ three times (Which one will s/he like more?), realize you’re running late, skip breakfast and rush.

STOP! Here’s why: You’re changing clothes like it’s a do-or-die thing! It isn’t. Rest assured, your Crush won’t even see the Houndstooth scarf or the Ferragamo tie you’re donning. ‘Kay. Quit it. Besides, it takes time and effort to wash, iron and darn those outfits! You’re missing breakfast, Bitch! It’s the single most important meal of the day. Don’t you know you’re going to fall sick if you skip meals like this? And, for what? Some ninny who doesn’t even remember your name.

b. All the time you’re spending thinking about this female/fellow is useless. You read a page of your notes/file and promptly start thinking about the color of said Crush’s eyes. Is it Bluey-Gray or Grayey-Blue? Hmmn. Must notice next time you accidentally-but-intentionally bump into her/him at lunch/the water cooler. You ‘Google‘ the girl/guy and actually go past page four in hope of finding out something, anything about the person. You stalk her/him on Facebook/Twitter and go through all her/his posts, pictures and friends and obsess over any good looking friends s/he has of the opposite gender or interacts with frequently on these platforms. You go for a movie and midway start thinking about how the second lead looks so much like your crush. What a cute ass s/he has! You wonder if s/he thinks about your ass. You make a mental note to go to the Gym so that s/he notices your perfect teacup shaped buttocks as you sashay past her/him. (Okay, if you’re a guy and think of sashaying and shit for a girl, you’re probably kinda gay and stuff. But, you can replace words to fit in your predicament, a’rite?) You forget the plot and piss off your friend to fill you in.

Aaargh! All the time you’re spending painting frescoes about your Crush and you which could parallel the ‘Mona Lisa‘, you could’ve finished all your assignments/work, taken that week off and gone for that awesome hiking trip you’ve been wanting to for nearly six months now. Your Crush, on the other hand, is probably zoning out somewhere and is not, in the slightest way, thinking about you. Also, your poor pal just wants to see the frickin’ movie, don’t irritate her/him by constantly jabbing her/him to fill you in! Bros before Hoes, remember!

c. You strategically position yourself so that there are a million chances for you and the Crush to ‘interact’ or to devise stratagems so that s/he notices you as you pose and pout or act sophisticated and flirty. You think of a hundred witty comments and imagine the wonderment your Crush will feel when s/he hears or sees you in action. “S/He’ll be starstruck once s/he hears me discussing Quantum Mechanics/ROIs with Delilah/Dave and maybe a little jealous if I touch Delilah/Dave on the shoulder? Man, this is an awesome plan!”, you think with glee.

Umm…okay. Hold your horses, mate. Not. Going. To. Happen. Why? Well, first of all, your Crush will be bemused why you’re screeching about shit that no one cares about and poor Delilah/Dave will just stand there flustered and scared while you deliver your ‘performance’ and wonder why you’re hitting her/him for no reason. Secondly, all the time you spend craning your neck to see if said Crush has noticed you will make you look like a moron and may result in sore neck muscles, a possible neck brace and a lot of money spent at the Doctor’s. Furthermore, if you’d used the awesome power of the amount of Grey cells that you used to devise ploys to entice this girl/guy, we’d probably have a cure for Cancer by now.

d. Any time you see your Crush with a member of the opposite sex, your heart starts sinking, you start tearing up and you start thinking of killing the POI or start hearing sad violin-type music *heart broken*. You frantically run around to get details of this mystery girl/guy and start obsessing if your Crush and the POI are an ‘item’. You start analyzing their body language, throw your pencil right near them and snoop around to hear snatches of their conversation.

Hello? They’re just talking, okay! No need to panic. And, even if they have a thing going on, it’s not like you didn’t know that s/he was never into you in the first place. Quit making a fool of yourself! Your nerves are on edge half the time and your brain’s on overtime for the rest of the day! Just forget the female/fellow and MOVE ON already!

I mean, it’s okay you have a crush and all that but, let’s be realistic. It’s a crush, it’ll go away. You probably don’t even like her/him that much. You’re just tired of being alone/bored/horny and need a release. Get your Klingon avatar on and redirect your energies into other stuff! Talk to your friends, go places and really immerse yourself in those experiences. Stop fantasizing and if you really, really like her/him so much, just go over and say ‘Hi!’ already!