Monday, January 3, 2011

Article in the Indian Express - January 2, 2011

The following article appeared in my Sunday column 'Un Intended' in the New Indian Express.

Harimohan Paruvu

These are not good times for guys, especially in areas concerning romance. In the good old days, romances were easy, pleasant affairs, filled with smiles, songs and dance. All guys had to do was to dress well, smell good, provide tissues and shoulders at movies, and they’d be off singing duets with the girl in the rain in no time. It was a safe and simple procedure. More so since girls were demure, coy, harmless, dressed in flowing clothes, walked daintily, smiled radiantly and talked softly. Watch any old movie and you’ll know.  

But then sometime in the past, guys complicated things, as they normally do. Instead of following the standard procedure described above, guys thought that they should be seen as macho. They patented a new method of staring at girls with the demeanour of serial rapists. They stopped shaving, wearing natty clothes and using deodorants. When girls fluttered their eyes unabashedly, guys looked away, instead of fluttering back, which is a sure way to start a romance. When girls started a conversation, guys clammed up like POWs, not letting any information slip through their clenched teeth. Under extreme duress, guys grunted, gasped or squeaked. 

Rattled by these incomprehensible noises, anti-social behavior and lustful looks, girls withdrew to saner, safer environs. Guys retreated too, stroking Neanderthal style beards, wondering what went wrong. Cracks appeared. Women started viewing men and their motives suspiciously.

Upon researching, guys found that girls wanted something else (as always) from a romance. They apparently wanted guys to carry them off into sunsets, kiss them and start large families. But due to certain basic design faults, guys never thought in those lines and considered the POW routine more romantic. They had no clue that these innocent looking girls had vastly different, action-packed ideas about romance. Soon, the inevitable happened. 

Girls finally figured out, sometime in the recent past (due to global warming possibly) that there would be no action if things were left to guys. No romance, no marriage, no family, no kids, no nothing.  And then, as they normally do, girls moved fast and decisively. A message was sent out that they were taking things back into their hands - from men. Action was the buzzword. They changed their wardrobe to suit the war-like situation; trousers, jeans, short tops and combat boots. They changed their physical characteristics; voices went from soft to whip-like, shoulders grew broader, hips narrowed, waists disappeared, muscles bulged. They started walking with a swagger like filmi villains, sat like warlords, swore like sailors, and put away more booze and cigarettes than the guys. 

Changes happened to guys as well, as they noticed this evolution with alarm (some with relief). Beards and moustaches stopped growing; they were no use anyway. Shoulders narrowed, hips grew and fragile waists showed. They developed high pitched voices and a sweet, sensitive nature. The roles reversed completely (almost, save for a few functions). 

Girls have assumed total control these days. ‘Get me that ra,’ she commands. He simpers, coyly, helplessly. It’s officially over. Guys have blown it. Things shall now happen the way they did in Ms. Eve’s days. I shudder when I think of what would have happened if these latest version girls met guys of the old days. If they dared to look away, the girls would have guffawed like Gabbar, slung them over their shoulders and whisked them off. Thanks to the demure girls of that time, those guys got away safely with their pride and honour intact. Can’t say the same about guys these days though. I sometimes wonder about them, and pray.


Rajendra said...

Just listened to a talk by a Godrej executive at a Mumbai B school. He talked about how the customer is now Queen, not king, and how she outspends the man 12 to 1. In other words, the male is close to becoming redundant, or at least, totally powerless. Echoes with the theme here.

Harimohan said...