What amazes me the most amongst many, many things that fascinate and amuse me in life is what really attracts people. I am not taking about being fascinated and allured by the blinding glitz and dazzle of different products available in the market like shiny shoes or pretty dresses. Although they are most lovely and tempt me time and again to spend the money that I don’t have, on things that I don’t really need, they aren’t all that important in the grand scheme of things or so it seems. I am not talking about being drawn to a shiny coin glistening in the sunlight, long forgotten my some absent minded soul as he bustles around the city either. Draw to material things is all well and good I suppose, in a critical, pragmatic frame of mind, all these things are quite necessary to make the wheels of life turn, even if it maybe in a long drawn out, screeching tone that makes the scant hair on my forearms curl in annoyance. No what I am really, really mystified and stupefied by, is what really attracts people to each other.
I happen to be lucky enough to have a somewhat versatile group of friends, some in remotely healthy relationships, hopelessly trying to figure each other out and make things work in this worst possible scenario called life. The rest of us, like me are single, somewhat hoping and wishing and maybe even secretly praying that somewhere in the near future we could do the same as well, while mulling, groaning and complaining about how damn difficult relationships can be, but almost in a good natured way, glad to have someone out there infinitely patient to deal with our eccentricities. And yes, the sex is a nice little add on as well. After all at the end of the day, what healthy, some what remotely sane or for that matter even insane human being doesn’t want to get some?
This is all well and good I suppose, this is the easy part, I think. Maybe I am wrong, but I personally don’t feel being in a relationship is all that hard. Sure, sure it isn’t all that easy to incorporate someone else into your life, to share somewhat of a common existence, make sweeping changes to ones lifestyle and worst of all too actually grow to like and get along with each others friends. That’s always been the hardest for me. But really at the end of the day, when someone really matters to you that much, you are most willing to do all that it takes to make the relationship work, all doubts and insecurities pushed at the bottom of the bin and all flaws and imperfections ignored, even if it is for the time being. Bravo! This is all well and good, and this is how it really should be, or so I feel. Most people who are actually committed to each other in any way, shape or form do want a happy, functional, semi-normal relationship; hence they go the extra mile and a half. This is the easy part.
The hard part is to actually be successfully in finding this person you are willing to do all these things for. Here is where the complication likes and the politics of attraction begins. I have been single for a little over a year and willingly or unwillingly (I have truly forgotten which one it was, at first it was choice, followed by complacency, then apathy and gradually hopelessness) celibate for over nine months. Everywhere I look, see and observe there are men around me in all shapes, sizes and colors. I am intensely fascinated at knowing really what it is that attracts them to the opposite sex and willing makes them risk the possibility of ego-shattering humiliation, just so that they can go the extra mile and a half with someone. Here’s where I am stumped. Every time, okay that’s an exaggeration, many time when I am at a bar or a pub, I have made eye contact with someone throughout the course of the night that looks somewhat appealing, I am not overtly flirtatious, actually I am painfully shy at most times. I frown more than smile and talking to a stranger at the bar is completely out of character for me. I am usually happy sipping my drink in the corner and brooding away or exchanging playful banter with my select group of friends. I haven’t had a single successful bar story to narrate since I have moved to Bombay. I know partially it may almost be my fault, I could stop being so painfully arrogant and unapproachable, but what about the role of the other part in the picture? Don’t they have an important part to play as well to make this truly magical, movie moment? I guess not since it hasn’t really happened yet. Does it bother me and make me feel less unattractive, unappealing and uninteresting? Of course it does, I am the poster child for 20 something female insecurity. Do I regularly need validation? Yes, all the times. Am I ashamed of it? Sure am.
I have a lot of single male friends (this is almost like the male equivalent of always the bridesmaid never the bride, except with guys it’s always the friend but never the girlfriend) these boys go to bars and spend hours and hours checking out these so called ‘hot’ women, guzzling one drink after another and salivating at the very sight of them. I can almost understand it (okay, well not really) and even almost ignore it, but when it comes to relationships, they go for the completely opposite! And I am not talking about some what pretty, average everything, blink and miss in the crowd, girl next door types. I am talking about downright unattractive, (being ugly is excusable of course, after all the way we look is not really in our hands) foul mouthed, foul tempered, foul everything types!!
I think to myself, what the hell?! What is he thinking?! Hell, I am so much better than her! Really? HER?! HER?!!! I try to like this girlfriend of his, thrust into my life without even so much as a slight warning. But I secretly resent her, while putting up a brave front, smiling as I go though one painfully long excursion after the another, wistfully hoping that he will see the light of the day soon enough and dump her!
Of course I am jealous and bitter and a tad bit resentful. It’s natural to feel this way when every where you look slowly but surely, one after the other, all your friends are finding relationship bliss where as you are stuck in a rut that seems to have no end in sight. As lovely as your friends are and as much at the try to incorporate you into their new relationship, being the third or the fifth wheel doesn’t feel so hot.
My insecurities and jealousies aside, my view was totally validated the other day by a guy friend. (I have often felt terribly guilty for thinking such awful things about people I barely know. I know it’s downright hateful and childish to form such harsh judgments about someone and deem them less worthy and deserving of things that I don’t have because I can be a mad, hateful, jealous lunatic!) But then my friend said the things that he did and it made stop and contemplate over the complexity and messiness of it all. All of a sudden I didn’t feel like the rotten apple in the basket, I almost smiled in relief.
We were hanging out at someone’s house as usual, drinking late into the night, when someone broached the topic of ‘R’s’ girlfriend. Men can be quite nasty in the company of other men and well some times other women too. Someone mentioned how she looked like a witch with long black hair, sunken eyes and a hooked nose.
To this R replied, “Yeah, she was ugly, poor girl, I had no option, I had to fuck her.”
So are people really getting in relationships whether sexual or otherwise because they feel sorry for each other?! When did I miss the memo?
It’s not just him, its other people I know as well, another friend of mine who can’t stop ogling after model, actress types that infest Zenzi, but dated a 30 something obese women with braces. I have no problem with anyone dating anyone, seriously. Everyone needs a little love, I need some too. I just don’t understand this twisted fascination with the opposite ends of the spectrum. How and why does the insatiable lust for something truly awe inspiring manifests into something that is so incredibly hideous? It’s not the people that I am speaking of here; it’s the attitude and the thought behind it all, which I find revolting. When did average become so unappealing and unattractive? What’s an average person like me to do in a town which is so fascinated with extremes? Is there any peace and salvation for me and millions of women like me that tether on the brink of mediocrity day in and day out?