Yesterday I went out with a friend whom I haven’t seen or spoken to in eight years. This is one of my memorable Facebook moments since that’s how I found him after all these years. It was an odd, intense friendship back then and for various reasons, we just lost touch. How wonderful it was to discover that he hadn’t changed and I hadn’t changed but both of us were just a little older and with a few more stories to tell each other!
I think the really special thing for me was being able to sit down and talk to a man, as a friend, as a confidante, as a partner in crime, as a co-conspirator, and yes, even as an attractive member of the opposite sex. I really think, as my wise commenter Jay Cataldo puts it, I have been overwhelmed with a run of bad experiences.
This is not to say that I’m forsaking my fiery XX Factor views. I still do think that most Indian men are mama’s boys, there is far too much rampant male chauvinism and creephood to merit my calling them a fair and intelligent species and that men are not keeping up with women when it comes to ‘getting with’ things. But I’m also thinking that there are indeed a few exceptions (note, I said ‘few’ and that means the chances of finding any one of them if one goes looking for them are equal to the chances of winning a jackpot).
I think I’ve spent far too long in too much agony and all of that was because nothing fit my ‘plan’. My life didn’t turn out the way it expected (actually it was better) and men didn’t turn out anywhere close to what I hoped they were (they were much worse). And yet, I think it’s time to sit up and just get used to the person I am and the life I have. I’ve become the kind of person who really doesn’t anymore need a man to feel complete so I may as well stop whining about their inadequacy…I mean, I don’t need them to be perfect anymore after all so why?
Interestingly enough when I talked to my friend about the plan I had had and how things had turned out instead, he smiled and said,
I could never imagine you as a housewife and mother at 23..you know that kind of life. I always thought you were more like me…you have the same spirit of adventure. I have had a chance to express it and you haven’t, that’s all
Maybe I shouldn’t need validation anymore but well, I still do and it felt good to hear that from another person, someone whose views I respect. We talked about our careers, our love lives, what we had learnt (me through my multitudinous relationships, him through his varied travels), how we had changed and how much more we were ourselves. It was oddly sweet to be able to have a conversation that included such snippets as,
And now that you’ve stopped flirting with me, we can move on to matters of greater gravity. 🙂
I think dating with an end goal in mind (marriage) is such a loaded event, it’s practically like going for a job interview. You’re so concerned with whether things will turn out right, so disappointed when he does or says something wrong, so terribly agonized when you make a slip…that you forget to actually enjoy the experience.
Yesterday for the first time in ages, I looked at my watch around 9pm and was struck to discover that it was actually half past eleven. For probably the first time ever, I enjoyed a bottle (or perhaps more) of wine without keeping count of how much I was drinking, how quickly it was going in and what I was having it it. It was a tremendously soul-lifting experience to enjoy an experience without worrying about it.
We were friends, we were strangers, we were on a date and we weren’t, we were two people who were remembering what we already knew about the other and discovering other things that we liked. Once again, to re-iterate what I said last time, it wasn’t about where we were or how we were related to each other, what labels we hung on each other. It was about the man himself and he was wonderful.
Among the many things we discussed last night, relationships and attraction were starring features. At one point I found myself saying,
I love men and I know why I love them. It’s not just the physical aspect of it. It’s that combination of vulnerability and strength that is uniquely male. Women are never really that vulnerable. It is so easy to hurt a man, it’s so easy to break a man, so easy to shatter his ego, his sense of self-worth, his very spirit….and hence you don’t.
And as soon as I’d said it, I knew that was exactly true. He pondered it and said,
I don’t think women have ever hurt me.
Then maybe you’ve only known women who have loved you very much. But then again, I have hurt men I’ve loved too. So it isn’t love. Let me revise – you’ve only known women who have cared for you very much.
So that’s what its about then. Loving a man comes naturally as does the ability and on occasion, the desire, to hurt him. Beyond that, reigning back that desire and acknowledging the effort it takes to do so….I guess that’s the space where relationships are born.
At the end, I enjoyed being with him because he was so uniquely himself. But also because I loved who I was when I was with him. So it is about the person himself and it’s also about who you are when you’re with him.