Thursday, April 10, 2008

Out Of Frame

I don't exactly fit into this article's description of the kind of women who are too successful to find a mate but I have yet to meet a desi man who I have not completely intimidated. Maybe desi males have a lower threshold for tolerating women who are not in a need of a marital crutch.

I have found being articulate to be a major negative in being able to have and sustain a relationship. If you as a woman are able to think and critically analyze issues and situations you are a problem. That makes you unfeminine, cold and quite impossible to like. If you have opinions, be prepared to defend them zealously (another telling sign of not being prime wife material). However, if you decide its not important to fight over everything you believe in and let the man win, you are spineless and unreliable - how can he trust you when you'll go along with anything he says. What is an opinion worth if you won't defend it with your life ?

To strike a balance is to choose which battles to fight - that can get tedious and enervating. I used to look at all these disparate symptoms as an assortment of relationship challenges. The truth is they are all manifestations of acute discomfort and inadequacy.

The man tries to imagine me in a typical desi domestic or social situation only to find that I would be a complete misfit. What would his family and friends think of this oddity ? What are the chances of such a woman as myself translating into good wife and mother material ? Finally and most importantly, what are the chances of my growing dependent on him ?

The point of friendship and companionship as the single biggest driver of marriage is complete lost on them. It never occurs to them that a woman who has everything that she needs could still want a man who can be her truest, closest friend for life. That if he is able to offer just this, nothing else really matters.

I could have compensated for my cultural pretensions by being piss poor and uneducated. That way, a man could use money as the controlling lever in the relationship. In the absence of it, he wonders how the command and control structure of marriage could work in my case. The enlightened desi man hates to view himself as the typical Indian husband and tries very hard to be anything but that. While he has the right intent, execution is a very different thing.

In the best case, his methods will be subtle and he will allow much wider latitude but the framework of the average desi marriage will still be what it is. Those of us who have personalities that don't fit that frame are likely to be (or become) alone until we run into an outlier much like ourselves - a man who is just as desi as us in spirit, value system and culture and yet not constricted by any of it.

He could be a man who was raised by a non-traditional desi mother and grew up around other women who did not fit the frame either. Strong male role models who loved, respected and indeed helped such women realize their true potential is doubtless very helpful. To find such an ecosystem in desiland is very hard because the pH would be completely wrong for desiness to thrive in.

Yet these issues are hardly unique to desis - give or take a few parameters, they readily translate across cultures and ethnicties. The more women don't fit into the traditional defined boundaries of their gender, the more men will balk at the notion of partnering with them for life simply because they have no idea what to expect in such a partnership.


polaris said...

glad to come here,thanks for sharing!

as said...

The post is well articulated but leaves concrete details to the imagination. If you want to break limits of the framework as unconsciously/consciously used by the desi male(enlightened/Neanderthal) , then the framework must be explicitly spelled out in different contexts; and perhaps even more importantly an alternative must be suggested not only in the abstract , but as applied in concrete situations. Eg:- sharing household work , finance and investing, alllocation of joint/alone leisure time, political/religious affiliations and many others.

Aybuk Hiawog said...

True, some people would be intimidated when faced with something different, but not just guys, even girls would find it intimidating.