The Fantastic Four
By Sanniah J. Minhas, Assistant Editor at Ideas Evolved. Sanniah is a sophomore at LUMS.
Prologue: In my nineteen years, I have come across various testosterone-fuelled individuals many of whom have left their mark and scarred my once flattering perception of the opposite sex. The world tends to group together all men as a single identical unit with homogenous emotional capacities and an identical ‘world-view’ (read ‘female-view’). In the course of my first-hand experiences I have realized that this in fact is a monstrous lie; men are ever-changing and inconsistent with varying tendencies to handle emotional stress.
I like to believe that there are certain ‘shades’ to the opposite sex that can be grouped together under a few broad categories. Henceforth, I take my pen and bring forth in first-hand accounts, the colorful chaps that have shattered my hopes of ever finding a Prince Charming who will sweep me off my feet and take me off into the sunset to a land where the unromantic traumas of in-laws and bawling off-springs do not exist. But before I do so, I believe brief introductions are in order:
- The Sappy Flirts: After watching a series of gyrating Munnis and Sheilas on the telly, they have foolishly been lead to believe by Bollywood that women are epitomes of perfection underneath their Gul Ahmed and Generation outfits. They pine for true love and believe that a perfect relationship or happy marriage is the key to a blissful life. Did I say ‘relationship’? Oops. Sorry I meant ‘relationships’-plural please.
- The Chauvinistic Bastards: A female looks good on their CV. To enter the choosy executive world is their hearts desire. However they realize that they cannot do this alone. After all you do need a female who will clean up after your mess, provide you your daily nutrition and then dress up to look good on your arm at executive dinners where your Boss’s wife requires company. Girlfriends are too much of an inconvenience so they jump straight to marriage; after all, not turning up with flowers on Valentine’s Day is less punishable with a wife than with a girlfriend. Enough said.
- The Self-Injured Neurotics: They did believe in love. Once. Unfortunately their world shattered soon after their lady love ‘gracefully’ declined their advances. Unable to accept reality or give other more sensitive females a chance, they spend the rest of their life chasing and then discarding random ‘chicks’.
- The Enticing Untouchables: Living examples of ‘life isn’t fair’, these men have looks the likes of Richard Gere, mental acuity comparable to that of Steve Jobs and the sincerity that can only be likened to Prince Charming. These sadistic individuals are almost ALWAYS ‘taken’ and are happily committed to females that have been blessed with the beauty comparable to that of the legendary Greek Goddesses.
1. The Sappy Flirt:
Well aren’t you the ego-booster? We met only a few hours ago and already I have a FaceBook friend request from you, ten text-messages in my cell phone and more than just one random ‘bump-in-to-each-other’ on campus. Dare I venture into the content of your messages? You have lauded the texture of my hair, commented on the ‘mystery’ of my eyes and quite wrongly remembered and then complimented the color clothes that I wore when we first met. Well, well you’re quite the ardent admirer aren’t you?
What a coincidence that I too remember the first time we met. Standing there, dressed in a too-tight T-shirt to emphasize what nature has endowed you with, wildly patterned shorts to show off tanned, hairy legs and with hair mussed to perfection, you made quite the pretty picture. As a common friend (‘incidentally’ female as well) introduced us, the drifting odor of your SetWet ‘Sexy for Men’ hair gel and the engulfing scent of your generously applied ‘Eternity for Men’ by Calvin Klein seemed to thickly saturate the air between us into an invisible wall that reeked a message that I can now decipher as: ‘Keep Away-Danger’. Well, I suppose you’ll be happy to know that there and then you did catch the eye of every female in our vicinity and attracted quite a few ‘comments’ on your prominent attire.
Our next conversation, barely two days after our formal introductions went something like this:
You: Hi Sanniah! Kaisi ho?
Me: I’m okay! How was your day?
You: Buss yaar. Tum nahin mili aaj. Din kaisay acha guzarta?
Me (quite flattered but not willing to admit): Aisi bhi koi baat nahin hai.
You: Kyu nahin ho sakti? Buss tum mujhay kisi din milo aur mera din poor aka poora badal jaye.
Me: Umm. I’ll talk to you later. Bye.
Him: Chalo I’ll see you tomorrow (insert random nickname). Tum ne meray liye time nikalna hai buss. We’ll write poetry together under the trees!
I admire you. I really do. Your inconsistency to adhere to social norms and proper decorum is fascinating and inspiring. Rather than follow the unspoken code that applies to modern-day relationships, you quite obstinately follow your heart’s desire to say what you want, whenever you want and to whomever you want:
(Two months after our introduction)
You: You’re pretty.*wink*
Me: Haha, that’s kind of you. Thanks J
You: You’re nice too. You know something? We should get married.
You: Nahin tum meri baat ghalat samjhi. We owe it to the world! With your
personality and my good looks, the world will thank us for producing the perfect kids!
Yes, bold, daring and insanely reckless is how I would describe you. Bravo you deserve a hearty applause. For a second there, you almost had me reeled in; a man who proposes marriage in the first two months that I have known him is a rare find and a man who talks about his ‘good looks’ while proposing to the object of his affections? Let’s just say we’ve hit the jackpot, haven’t we?
If only not too long ago you hadn’t used the exact same lines on my best friend, then on her friend and then again on her friend of a friend and then again on her friend of another friend. Tsk tsk. You’re quite the player aren’t you? Surprised I know? Let me share a well-known fact; most women don’t keep quiet when someone uses the words ‘you’, ‘marry’ and ‘me’ in the same sentence. Time to buy a thesaurus you say? But, of course.
2. The Chauvinistic Bastard:
Well hello there. We met yesterday to discuss our ‘prospective’ marriage as you may remember. Our eyes met for a second over the translucent cloudy steams, teetering in graceful convulsions above rim of your delicate china teacup. As our fingertips brushed you probably thought that you felt my heart flutter as the tip of your manly, calloused fingertip lingered over my not-so-feminine chubby fingers. You graced me with a hello, your deep voice resonating in the room that had gone momentarily still because our mothers were watching our every move with teacups hanging half-way to their slightly-parted lips. You looked at me deep in the eyes and watched me demurely lower mine and ask you whether you take sugar with your Tetley. You seized this moment to graze the ends of my hair with your broad palm to whisper: ‘You look beautiful-head to toe, lips to fingernails, feet to eyebrows.’
You know, it might just have worked. I might have fallen for the faint scent of Burberry drifting from the inside of the collar of your primly pressed hundred-percent cotton Gucci button-down, your platinum cuff-links and your BlackBerry blinking with the thousands of emails you had to put off just for me. Why thank you, I forgot to tell you I was touched. What a coincidence that my phone was blinking upstairs with a hundred text messages inquiring details about you from your hair color to your shoe size and other indelicate physical features.
But here’s the thing, if you say that you believe in love at first sight, I know that you’re lying. I know about your previous hooker girlfriends, tanned and blonde back at the university in California who you proclaimed undying love for just to get them into bed. Surprised I know? You should have cleared out the lusty comments left by Rachel, Jennifer and Naomi on your FaceBook page before sending me a friend request.
Now I’ve probably made you uncomfortable by knowing too much. Your mother won’t like that will she? Shhh. Don’t worry. My uncanny observational skills can be our little secret. After all, in our life together, there will be plenty of secrets I will be privy to including your little drinking habit. Surprised I noticed? Yesterday when your mother was taking me in, everything from the color of my hair to the quality shoes I was wearing she mentioned that the apple of her eye prays five times a day and condemns sharab in society. Uff Taubah! How can people even think of indulging in such sin? Yesterday, when I lowered my eyes and asked you if you wanted sugar, I saw your BlackBerry screen wink up at me with a wallpaper of you and your college pals toasting your ego with Black Label Vodka raised to your lips. Don’t worry. Our secret. But you probably should change that wallpaper. After all, your big-shot company with the millions of rupees profits every year does have a reputation to keep and your boss strictly warned you to keep all ‘controversial’ activities to a bare minimum. Don’t worry, I enjoy office perks such as free BlackBerrys and all-expenses paid luxury trips to Dubai as much as you do and as a good future biwi I seek to protect your untainted social image from the unforgiving public.
Today I got a haircut in preparation for our next meeting. Tomorrow you just might notice the change and then will rack your brain as to what exactly is different in my face. When you won’t figure it out you will say, ‘You look beautiful-head to toe, lips to fingernails, feet to eyebrows’. You will forget that you used the same line yesterday.
I don’t have anything against you using the same line, darling. All I’m saying is that do not presume that I am insanely attracted to you and your irresistible Burberry scent.
Then what is it that might make our ‘contract’ agreeable to me? Is it the red Deepak Perwani jora that your mother promised me because ‘red is my color’? No, not particularly. Is it the huge Damas diamond ring that you plan to get me so you can show off my hands to your executive friends and then set out a hearty roar of laughter saying ‘Money, well-spent?’ No, I’d rather ignore the lusty, suggestive looks that your over-weight co-workers unabashedly shower me with. Or is it the promise of a honey-moon in Dubai with the first-class tickets and the honey-moon suite? No, it’s not although I daresay I will enjoy watching you gape and drool after voluptuous belly-dancers and their invitingly smooth, muscled bellies gyrating to horny beats.
It’s the fact that you have a library in your brand-new, state of the art home in Defence. Yes, your newly built house still reeks of expensive paint and immaculately polished light fittings but that little room down right next to the foyer which you carelessly pointed to as ‘the place where I keep all my reading stuff’, calls out to me with its endless mahogany brown shelves lining every square inch. You know that I’m an avid reader with Dickens, Austen and Shakespeare spilling out from under my bed and closets for lack of proper storage. I relish the fact that I shall get to line these hungry spaces with my first and foremost loves and if you don’t have a problem with that, then in short, we’re made for each other.
So what do you say? Rishta qabool hai? Don’t forget you have to say ‘qabool hai’ thrice.
3. The Self-Injured Neurotic:
There is something horribly wrong in the balance of the universe when men who are not in their right state of mind and are only on the lookout for a little bit of ‘playboy’ fun become insanely attractive.
Last month, we met in a boardroom full of stiff people whose every breath resonated with proof of an impressive IQ and an intelligence surpassing that of ‘normal’ people like me. As I squirmed restlessly on a faded green, once-plush chair worn down to threads, afraid that any suggestion I was to give to this ‘productive’ meeting would give rise to a collective snicker that would vibrate through beige walls, you took the stage with your hands in your distressed, faded denim jeans and a hint of a smile. With a few words you managed to maneuver the conversation and dispel the tensed up atmosphere with carefully placed jokes. I felt my heart beat pick up, my palms become moist and an uncontrollable quiver of feminine pleasure made its course through my body as you turned to address me directly in front of a difficult-to-please audience.
Seconds turned into minutes, minutes merged with hours and hours churned out days and ‘somehow’ we were talking every day for hours into the night as professional topics of conversation melted into more personal ones. Your text messages to me were tinted with obvious attraction and mine to you were gushy and full of adoration. As our paths unwittingly crossed in University, I could not hold back the red hue that colored my cheeks every time you so much as glanced at me. Invisible birds were chirping musically and the world seemed to coo as we playfully continued our little escapade on electrically transmitted signals.
Yes a nice little story we had going on there. Sadly all good things come to an end and you turned out to be, in a word- crazy. Let me recall the text-message conversation that shattered my little fantasy:
You: Can I ask you something?
Me (fantasies of a proclamation of undying affection and running off into the wilderness already playing in my mind): Yes, of course?
You: Why do we talk so much?
Me (utterly bewildered): I don’t know. Does that bother you? =/
You: Yeah it does. Just don’t fall for me =P I’m only going to break your heart.
Me: O.o. I think I can manage?
You: I didn’t want to tell you this but I’m in love with somebody else. She is the most amazing person I have ever met in my life and I can never stop thinking about her. But I can never be with her. She says she’s getting engaged to someone else…..I want to be just friends with you.
So there we have you; the heartbroken, unstable male that I like to call the Self-Injured Neurotic. Rumor has it, that you have ‘broken’ the hearts of many other tender-hearted, unsuspecting females by first ‘falling’ for them and then pulling back ‘guily’ of having insulted the untainted, ‘pure’ love that you entertain for your unreachable beloved. Wow. You’re full of drama aren’t you? You certainly would give the producers of ‘Kyu ke Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu thi’ a run for their money.
Am I heartbroken because of you? Certainly. Are you worth the trouble? Probably not. Am I insanely jealous of your lady-love? Maybe. Are you a lost cause? I like to believe not. See, I may be a hopeless dreamer yet at the same time I am sensible enough to safely predict that someday you will wake up to the searing, all-too-piercing burn of heartbreak as your beloved spends her life happily in the arms of her betrothed. A word of advice: it’s time to purchase the much needed dose of pure caffeine at Life’s very own Coffee-House before it hurls itself at you in a swirling, murky mass of steamy despair and unbearable, hot disappointment.
4. The Enticing Untouchables:
I’ve known you since the day my mother handed me my first Lady-Bird reader labeled ‘Fairy-tales for Children’. You are Prince Charming; you are the knight in shining armor that saves the day when all hope is lost and you are the inspiration behind the lead male role in every Hollywood romance. You are also very much unavailable to the likes of me; a healthy, mentally-stable, purely heterosexual and very much single female because your heart has been ensnared by a ravishing creature whose very mention sends a spear of jealousy through my possessive heart.
What is it that makes you so special? Is it the fact that your deep bass voice resonates with the frequency of my heart when you speak? Is it how even the brief minutes of our conversations leave me light-hearted and relaxed? Is it how every time, you step back and open the door for me when we step into class? Or is it because I believe that if I googled ‘perfect’ I’d end up with a picture of you? Combine the above and we have you- the reason why my faith in men still persists.
Your affair with She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named bounces off in gossip and seeps through the cracks of our University walls. But instead of bashing your relationship as ‘fling’ or a ‘time-pass’, gossipmongers’ take your name with a reverence and feed stories of your adoration for your lady-love as fodder to love-starved and highly imaginative individuals, filling them with hope that their ‘perfect’ romance is just around the corner. We are told that after a friendship of two years, you declared undying affection for the object of your desire and proposed marriage to her all-too-willing parents. Now her hand is weighed down by a ring that you saved up to buy after slaving at teaching tuitions around the city, just because you wanted her to have physical proof of your devotion to her. That Damas diamond ring shimmers and sparkles every time she raises her delicately small, white hand to show it off her female minions, not only blinding them temporarily but also cutting through their hopes of ever landing you and crushing my all-too-similar dreams into a thousand little glimmering pieces.
Since your amore for She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named does not allow you to spend more than five minutes talking to any other attractive female, I do not have any snippets of conversation to allow me to delve more fully into your character. However, the portrait of you in my mind, allows me to escape into self-constructed fantasies where my Self-Injured Neurotic miraculously adapts your persona and adores me with the same ardor that you honor your inamorata with. Till then, I continue to ramble on a personal grudge, lament on unfulfilled dreams and carry around the hefty guilt of a low self-esteem.