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.

Suddenly, Everyone’s an Expert?

The incredible power of Google (Bing?) has made every second person informed about sports, medicine, health, authors, issues, etc. That, and arrogance.

You have a problem, Google it. Need directions, Google it! Feeling nauseous, Google, Google, Bing! All that is fine but, what really gets my goat is when people say they know a lot on the subject because they’ve read so much about it online. Pardon me, but your ‘Yahoo! Answers‘ inspired cock-and-bull doesn’t really do much because it’s from as unreliable a source as any.

My basic point is that there’s too much emphasis on second-hand information and not too many people actually ‘know’ stuff. At the most, they have read or really researched the bare minimum of things and pass off their internet acquired know-how as intellectual prowess!

If you’re an avid RHCP fan, you’ll know pretty much all the lyrics to their songs and the reasons behind them. You will not be half as concerned about who dated whom and who did which drugs. If you adore Henry James and love a particular book of his, you’ll actually have a copy of the book, one which is well-worn and dog-eared. You won’t be reeling off stupid facts that hold no real significance to his life and work like you knowing a dike which serves an amazing cocktail called ‘Henry James’ or ‘Maisie’s Delite’ which as per you, ‘captures the essence of HJ’. These things don’t make you an expert. They make you come off as an arrogant idiot. Please.

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!