Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The dating (mating?) game

Aha! Stereotypes exist for a reason. You tell yourself that when you try to understand the fundamental nuances of securing a mate.
‘Mate’ could be a friend (if you’re Aussie), but, as its verb form suggests, ‘tis an act. One to be engaged in with a member of the opposite sex. “Mating” would suggest having sex, doing it, or making out. Here again, we have some difficulties. A colonial hangover, six decades of Indianisation, and the sheer juggernaut of Americanese have conspired to create a language which is difficult to comprehend fully. Bit like fish and chips sprinkled with chaat masala, with dollops of mozzarella on top.
But I digress.
We’re not talking food here, or the English language. Instead, this is about securing a ‘partner’. So, while ‘making out’ in the Indian context would refer to a bit of tits-through-the-t-shirt action, in Yankeeland it amounts to having sex, or sexual intercourse, if you’re going to be picky about it. That would appear to be the end-game, but the process is no less enjoyable.
Let me explain. Boys like girls and girls like boys. God or whoever made it like that. So why are we so phlegmatic about it? We have ‘male’ electrical plugs and ‘female’ wall sockets. Where do you think this terminology sprang from? So, in a civilised, mature society, we have a lot of plugs running around looking for sockets to plug.
This plug-and-socket-syndrome can have some devilishly funny circumstances which can lead to some devilishly funny consequences. But, as is largely the case, the harbinger of all this horniness is the male.
Men need women. That is a simple, and simplistic, conclusion. As a man, I’ve been conceived in a woman’s womb, have suckled at a woman’s breast, have been bathed, fed, tutored, spanked, humoured, indulged, etc by a variety of women.
And then I reached puberty. (I have deliberately avoided saying ‘And then I grew up’ – I still haven’t).
Suddenly the female bosom was no longer simply a food source, or a pillowy comfort. Nay – it had morphed into a thing of magnificent attraction.
As treasured as the first pubes, was the first set of boobs. In retrospect, and a few boobs down the road, does a pair of sweater puppies still ignite the same passion? Doubtless, they do.
But(t), this enthusiasm has been tempered by…expectations. As a full-blooded male in the prime of his life (I know, I know), these expectations are a land-mine riddled two-way street. So, I ‘expect’ something of the women I am with, and they do too. Now, while sex itself is no less important in my life, I ‘expect’ a lot more. Contrary to popular stereotypes, I am not averse to commitment. But then again, maybe I set some rules, some ‘expectations’ if you will. And I can understand the ladies do so too.
Is monogamy an expectation? It should be, provided of course the woman I am with is a great cook, conversationalist and brilliant in the sack, not necessarily in that order. Too much to ask?
Further to that, is the experience phase. Life is a sequence of chaos; and you are more often than not thrown into the deep end. So, unless of course you’re the archetypical Mills-and-Boon childhood-sweethearts-to-incontinent-old-fogie brigade or somewhere in between, please bear with me.
You have your first crush, your first kiss, and so on, till you finally pop your cherry, burst your bottle, or, for the sake of simplicity, lose your virginity. Again, to demolish a few stereotypes, boys do remember the first time. It’s just that we don’t have any comprehension of the last time, so we need to do it again and again. And again.
Now, there are some women who are sympathetic to this male behaviour, but they’re the minority.
So what happens when an average, single male is on the prowl?
He looks for opportunity. Online communities are often the first step, but, if like me, you have little patience with figuring out cumbersome websites, you will try the old school tactics.
Pubs, cafes, malls, supermarkets, ATMs even, are all potential places to bump into an attractive, interesting specimen of the opposite sex. Friends of friends, and friends of colleagues, colleagues of friends…you get the picture.
Now, unless of course you’re a complete doofus who looks like the arsehole of a constipated rat, you have a, say, one-in-three strike rate. (This statistic has been derived from ‘experience’). This initial strike rate is of course relevant only to conversation, and the exchange of phone numbers. Now you’re in with a shout. By this time though, your own finely-tuned receptors screen the prospective mates.
Time for some stereotypes:
Thirty-something professional. Hard-working. Does yoga. Goes to the gym. Great conversationalist. Well read. Eclectic. Shops at the best stores. Perfectly turned out, even at 11pm, when I meet her for a drink after a long day in the office.
Now, this chick is also financially well-off, and insists on going dutch. Fair enough.
A week later, you call her. Drinks, you ask? Sure, she says. But tonight she’s got on the low-cut blouse with the frilly brassiere peeking through. Ooh. Two drinks later, and she wants to fuck. Unless it’s been a really long, dry spell, run. Inevitably, the thirty-something professional turns needy. So you get middle-of-the-night phone calls, expensive, embarrassing presents (how ‘bout an ornate, embroidered kurta which makes you look gay), and, horror of horrors “do you love me?” just when you’re in the throes and about to cum.
Then there’s the much younger girl. Just out of her teens, she’s all starry-eyed and is embarrassingly sweet. Unless you’re a completely heartless, spineless muthafucka, you’ll exercise better judgement and keep your distance. Sunday brunch is ok. Saturday nights at the most happening night club are not.
The nightclub. Ah, the nightclub. She catches my eye. The body of a goddess, and a face which is attractive, if not beautiful. And she has long, tousled hair which catches the light. We’re introduced. We make polite conversation. I’m feeling cocky. I go talk to someone else. She’s the friend of a friend. The friend in question is male, in a steady relationship, slightly drunk, and embarrassing both of us. But she’s an ice maiden. Vulnerable, and brittle. Her virginity is guarded like the holy chalice. It is spoken about in awe. Mount and do? Don’t waste your time.
Travel affords you plenty of opportunity to…experience things. Cuisine and cars are top of the list, but girls figure too. You’ll inevitably meet the eastern European with the charming accent, who loves marijuana and will give you the most amazing head ever. These pitstops however require extreme caution. They’ve been around, if you know what I mean. Irrelevant, but fun, these are to be filed away with the ‘experiences’.
What about ‘good friends’? The ones you’ve known forever, the ones you may have had a crush on a long time ago, or the ugly duckling who grew into a swan? Well, well, well. These women are the ones you’re most comfortable with. They’re the ones you talk to. The ones whose middle-of-the-night calls seem perfectly natural. The ones you can sit chatting with through the night. If, in a moment of weakness, you overstep the line, and sleep with one of them, it’s almost comforting, in a strange way. Like scrambled eggs on toast on a rainy morning.
And then there are the ex-girlfriends. They have a proprietary air about them, can be mother-goosey at times, but there’s a mutual understanding which prevails among exes. Good, if not great sex, no questions asked. Sometimes, however, it may rekindle emotions which are best left buried. You’ll have an ‘oops’ moment and disappear. Six months later, you might sleep with her again. Oops.
Finally, there’s the peer attraction. This one has ‘danger’ written all over it. The woman in question understands who you are, what you do, why you do it, and is somebody whose work you yourself admire. And to top it all, she’s devastatingly sexy. In an ideal world, it would be true love. The end. Roll credits. But no. She comes with baggage. There are ‘moments’. You say stupid stuff. She says stupid stuff. You smooch. You fight. You smooch again. You fight again. Things are awkward. You go back to being ‘friends’. Then, one fine day, you’re hanging out and you need to go meet any one of the above discussed women, and she gets completely jealous, it’s almost endearing.
So we’re done with the stereotyping here. What’s the point again?
Will you meet that one amazing woman? Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, but I want to run into her in the bookstore (cheesy), help her onto the moving train which she’s running to catch (filmy), or, horror of horrors, let her dent my car so I can get her phone number.
But who is she? Where is she? Will I ever find her? Does she exist to begin with?
The chaos continues…roll dice.


*About three years after this piece was written, this blogger married the sexy peer.

1 comment:

Tarangini said...

I don't know about the 'enlightened or entertained' (after all, you didn't tell me anything about guys I didn't already know.)

But I was a little bit offended! Especially tending as I do, to favour frilly bras (without or without the see-through blouse.) :P