Return To The Bay Of Pigs!

A long, long time ago, I had written a piece on how men can be more successful in wooing women. I had come across a lot of men who had complained to me about the difficulties they were facing when trying to talk to a woman or flirt with a woman.

Recently, a close stranger read this post (titled ‘Bay Of Pigs’) and decided to write a rebuttal for each of the points, this time from a woman’s perspective. What started out as an experiment in killing time soon became an insightful glimpse into the mind of women, what they think of men and what they expect from a man when he tries to flirt.

You need to read the original post for this to make sense, because in the interest of time and keeping in mind my readers with attention deficit disorders, I’ve edited those parts of this article that belong to the original.

Bay Of Pigs: Redux

(Note: The text in italicized black is part of the original post, while the text in brown belongs to the stranger, the woman who wanted to argue. Any mistakes in spelling or grammar are entirely my own and not the fault of the guest author.)

men-are-pigs

Men are pigs.

They say that God created Man because he was bored and that He created Woman because he needed a challenge. Man is the blueprint while Woman is the masterpiece. […] Men can consider this post as an eye-opener and take stock of what qualities they lack, and women can consider this post as an easy read and be amazed at my insight into the female mind.

Men are pigs. Truer words were never spoken!

1. Sense of humor: Most women look for funny men. But be warned, being funny does not mean cracking inane jokes and making complete idiots of yourself. It’s the wit that counts and not your ability to remember jokes. […] Just make sure you’re laughing with them, and recognize when they’re laughing at you!

A good sense of humour does appear to be amongst the top 3 of “what women want”, and the author appears to have it figured out. I think this is what most women want. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want a man that can make me laugh as such, rather, I like it when a man can keep it simple. By this I mean, a light and easy-going conversation is favored. I am the kind of person that is rather shameless, and have no qualms about laughing at myself. Men seem to love making jokes at the expense of the ladies around them, and get terribly disappointed when it isn’t received well by their female counterpart. In that regard, I am a good subject of jokes, I would say, because I almost always laugh along.

2. Build: Women are very realistic unlike men, and they know that not all men can have a body as hot as Arnie and Stallone. […] We men need to be realistic, and not stupidly optimistic. All women are hot, no exceptions!

Let me make this clear – most women do not aspire to be at the arm of men like Arnie; Stallone maybe, but not because of his build! Men are the only ones that want Arnie bodies. I wouldn’t want a “flabby piece of shapeless dough” (I’m shallow that way) I would like a fit guy though. Let’s face it – they’re so much more fun to look at, and show off! We women tend to look awesome pretty much all of the time (unless we’re caught in midst of beauty treatments like face masks or oily hair) and men need to realise they should at least try to live up to the standard we set so early on. Digressing from build, allow me also to add that well-groomed (which means well dressed, clean and smelling good, just in case you’re clueless) is what we’re looking for. So if you’re going to show up in denims and a sweatshirt, make sure you look cute while you’re at it, would you?

3. Chivalry: The concept of chivalry, for most men, stops at holding the door open to women. Wake up, men! That’s not all what women look for in the chivalry department. […] It takes great skill and greater patience to hold your own and also defend her while arguing in a group.

Ah! This is the tricky one. You don’t want to be chivalrous to a point where we constantly feel like damsels with faint hearts,  but you don’t want to be so aloof that we feel like you don’t care. It has to be just the right amount. That’s all I will say here. Why should we make it easy for you all the way? 

4. Possessiveness: Women like men to be possessive about them. It makes them feel special and wanted. […] For more advice on this, mail me.

Do men actually enjoy being possessive? Oh yes, you have the whole Neanderthal way of expressing ownership. You might as well pee all over us to state we’re “yours”! I personally don’t like possessive men. If a guy were to “tell me at every opportunity that they’re….” yaaaaaaaawn.. Oh MY, I think I just dozed off there a second! No no noooo! I really don’t want to hear that, I’d probably end up punching you in the nose!

5. Music: Women hate tone-deaf men. Every woman has a particular taste in music and it may not always match with yours. […] Listen to her favorite tracks with her, and encourage her to play it again if she wants to. You can pull your hair out later, when you’re alone.

Looking at the next point I’d like to say, mood music is very important – make it sensuous, trust me, you’ll enjoy it too (if you can get past the fact that you’re getting it on!) I don’t know about most women’s taste in music, but I’m always open to listening to new genres of music. In fact, most of the music I listen to today was introduced to me by men. If you don’t listen to death metal and the screeching, banging sort, I’m good to go. Some women really seem to enjoy sappy music, and that’s where I think you men should just take a stance and say, “hell no!” (and knock some sense into your lady’s head, please!)

6. Sex: Do not, I repeat, do not push the woman for a physical relationship. Women are very, very careful in this matter and if you push the wrong buttons (no puns intended) you come across as a sexually-frustrated despo! Be careful!

You have to tread carefully in this department. Women may say they are alright with casual sex, and want no strings, etc. but trust me, they almost always hope that strings will develop, that they dazzle you with their sexual skills, and you’ll fall in love with them. Sometimes that does happen, but I’ve noticed that men are capable of knowing the difference and maintaining it, women are NOT. I would suggest, if you really like the girl, take it at an easy pace in this department, and things will fall into place nicely.

7. Family Values: Most women like men who have good family values. Respect her parents and her family and she will like you all the more. Never ever call her dad “Dude!” or “Old Man!” because that will being down your brownie points!

What gets to me the most about a lot of Indian men is that they’re “mumma’s boys” and they want their partners to be as domestically awesome as their mothers. It’s all very well that you love your folks, in fact, I endorse it, but come on – recognize! I don’t know about other women, but that’s a big turn off for me. On the other hand, I don’t expect that my partner will get along brilliantly with my folks. It’s almost a universal fact that there will be friction between them. That’s what keeps life interesting, eh?

(On an entirely unrelated note – what exactly are brownie points? Am I allowed to cash them in for an actual brownie or two?)

8. Perseverance: Women like to be pursued with vigor. They hate being ‘flung’ around, if you know what I mean. […] Trust me, it works!

This one’s true, makes us feel special and adds the whole romantic movie atmosphere to real life. Lots of fun! Keep it real, don’t be a big pile of mush, because that gets old real quick. We like to be shy and coy and play hard to get – it makes the whole deal feel that much more special. Indulge us, would you?

9. Fighting: Fights are inevitable in every relationship, and when there are situations where you know that the reason is trivial, just take the blame. […] You do not blame the woman!

Don’t be irrational, that’s all. We are always right, that’s true, but we would get suspicious if you always agree – we’re smart that way. And that would lead to a whole new set of fights! So pick your battles, men, put your ego aside, in fact, maybe its best if you forget you have one, while you’re with us! 

10. The Ex- factor: Do not, I repeat, do not maintain contacts with your ex- girlfriends while you’re pursuing a woman, or when you’re in another relationship. […]

Hmmm, this one is a bit tricky. If you’re staying in the same city as your ex, and have common friends, you are bound to run into her, right? What we want to see is that you’re over her, and there is no residual anything for her. You’re better off if you cut all contact, unless you want to see us turn into raging lunatics? Oh and by the way, we’re complete hypocrites about our own exes – we will want to remain “friends” with ours, and you’re not allowed to protest. So there.

Good luck. Live long and prosper. If you didn’t understand that, you’re no fun, and you’re not a geek, which is what women want! (Or do we?)

AUTHOR’S NOTE

It takes great literary skill and greater convincing skills to get a chance to write for, or be featured on MirrorCracked. To have successfully passed all the barriers and made it on to this forum, I would like to personally extend a warm greeting to the lovely stranger (who has expressed her wish to remain anonymous) for her time and effort in helping men pick up women.

One beer coming your way, ma’am.

We are open for comments, opinions and brickbats, which I will deftly deflect in the stranger’s direction.

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Second Chances: Best Non-Fiction?

Something interesting just happened. A story that I had written more than four years ago just won the APAC Regional Literary Award for best non-fiction. I don’t get any money, its just a recognition. And I didn’t have the heart to tell them that it was completely fictitious. Anyway, here’s the story.

PS: Special thanks to Shruti Srivatsan for the nefarious idea and the inspiration.

SECOND CHANCES

“Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.”

 – Elie Wiesel
American Author
Nobel Peace Prize 1986

second chances One of the greatest attributes of life is its ability to deny us what we really want and give us what we really need. My life has been a constant game of badly-played chess, with every move as unplanned and sometimes, as stupid as it can get. Talking about friends and how they helped me reconstruct a broken foundation takes me back three years – a time when I almost convinced myself that I was a burden to everyone around me and decided that there isn’t anything else that I can offer to the world.

My time here was up, and I had to make a quick exit – to end my life and escape to that blissful afterworld where there’re no more complaints, no more angry glances, no more walking into a room filled with people who stop in mid-sentence and look at me as though I’m an unwanted piece of garbage, no more hints and subtle suggestions about me being a loser – and I chose the tried and tested path of a blade to the wrist in a bathroom alone at night.

It was in my second year of undergrad course that I found out I was really a loser. The faculty treated me with disdain as if they were teaching me only because they were forced to, and my classmates never even acknowledged my presence, let alone talk to me. What was the point to all this, I thought. Why am I here? I don’t belong here because I am not wanted.

The situation at home wasn’t any different as my parents never really had the time to sit with me and talk about anything. There was a big pile of unopened progress reports on the refrigerator, and every day I looked at them in the hope that at least one of them would be opened. My grades were good but not great, and I just wanted my parents to know about the time I got a 25 on 25 in math or the time when I cleared the physics paper. I wasn’t asking for a pat on the back and I wasn’t asking for a present in return. All I wanted was for them to smile at me occasionally, or at least look at me. I returned every day to an empty house and an emptier home. My time was up.

There was only one person in whom I could confide everything and he was the only one whom I could call a friend, in the truest sense of the word. Aziz was a fellow undergrad in my school and we’d met each other during the first semester in the English class. He was also an introvert and this is what drew me to him. I looked at him and realized that we had a lot of things in common. He never spoke in class and was always very calm and quiet and kept mostly to himself. The friendship began with a mutual smile and a lunch.

We talked about school work and girls and chess (we both had the dream of playing for the school chess team) and how we never could muster the courage to enroll. We became good friends and met up as often as we could and as frequently as our very different class schedules allowed us. I could call him a friend.

There’re times in life when we expect something, and something totally different happens. A better way to put it would be, “Things never happen as planned.”

After a month of fighting with myself, I finally decided to confide in Aziz. I picked up the phone and called him. It was perhaps the most important phone call I’d ever make. Holding the blade tightly in my hand, I was crouching in the corner of my room, and watching the thin rivulets of blood dripping through my fingers from the force with which I clutched the blade, when the call went through and he answered.

Today, as I sit here in Buffalo, NY and write about this, I feel tears weighing my eyes down. The journey from being a hopeless loser to crossing the Atlantic and arriving in USA for a Masters has been entirely due to that phone call. Aziz spoke to me over the phone for three hours even though it was almost two in the morning, and spoke to me about things so important that I’d never really considered. Being twenty-one years of age and ending my life would never allow me to discover myself. There’s a solution for every crisis, and it’s not suicide. Life has so many things to show us and teach us and it will, only if we give it a chance to do so.

Ending one’s life is so easy, but re-building it isn’t.

Aziz died on June 27th, 2006 in Bangalore, India, after being diagnosed with a malignant type of blood cancer. I held his hand in the hospital on the 26th and told him that I’d got an admission into SUNY Buffalo to do my Masters’. He smiled through his pain and squeezed my hand tightly. He had lost his speech a week ago, but I knew what he wanted to say. “You’ve given life a chance to show you the world; don’t take that chance away.”

It’s been almost a month since I’ve come to the USA and every minute I spend here, I owe it to him. In a strangely ironic twist of fate, I landed myself an on-campus job at the Roswell Park Cancer Center. There’re people like Aziz in all of us and there’re people like the old me in all of us as well. It’s important that we make the right choice.

I did, and I’m thankful for it. It’s worth these tears. He’s worth it.

ARLI Bloggers’ Meet Bangalore

What’s the difference between a man and a life insurance policy? Eventually, the life insurance policy matures.

Aegon Religare Life Insurance LogoThis past Saturday was quite interesting for me. I attended a bloggers’ meet in Bangalore, hosted by Aegon Religare Life Insurance (ARLI) in the morning. My first thought, on receiving the invitation, was, “Oh my. It’s about life insurance! I will need a good book to help me sit through this one.” I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought this at first. I arrived at Mocha with some trepidation, and waited for the other bloggers to turn up and the event to start. The event was managed by their agency and their point person was a lovely young lady called Anuradha. We chatted about this and that until we could begin, and I took a seat among the other people who had turned up.

At first glance, I could make out only three familiar faces in the audience, and the other three looked ominously like insurance salesmen! The Chief Marketing Officer of ARLI, Yateesh Srivastava, kick-started the meet with a brief introduction and took us through a well-structured presentation on their new product. This is where it got slightly more interesting. Apparently, people can now buy their life insurance policies online, in under eight minutes. It’s a concept, he explained, that hasn’t really taken off the way they hoped, but was making steady progress nonetheless. The product, called iMaximize, was launched twenty-one months ago, and has clocked 15,000 sales. Any decent life insurance salesman will tell you that this figure could have been better, but for a completely new concept of buying a policy online, I think its quite a decent start.

As I had suspected, quite a few of the people who turned up were not bloggers, but insurance agents and independent salesmen, and at first, it was fun to see them debating with the ARLI reps about the pros and cons of their online product. Very soon, however, it became a messy affair, with almost everyone in the room getting bored of hearing two people argue about vague topics. It would have been better to take that discussion offline.

As a person who has organized close to a hundred bloggers’ meets for the past five years, I was not too happy with the way this was held. I don’t blame the organizers one bit because most of the usual bloggers who attend meets in Bangalore were present at the Yahoo! Code Jam, happening at the same time Saturday. I have had enough of Code Jams to last me a lifetime. A lot of bloggers in Bangalore who are part of the Bangalore Tweetup were left out, and though I made it a point to invite them, it was probably too short a notice. Apart from this fact, I think the event was a success with some very good information being shared. But if I am allowed to disperse just one bit of gyaan – don’t invite non-bloggers to a bloggers’ meet. It’s not a healthy sign.

The 46-Rupee Meal

Ten years ago, when the world was a nicer place to live in, I was just getting out of high school, full of misdirected ambitions of making a difference in the world. Of the many things that were ideal back then, I liked the fact that I could have a hearty meal for less than ten rupees. That’s about 5 cents. Maybe not a ‘hearty’ meal, but certainly a couple of idlis and a vada for eight rupees. For the uninitiated, an idli is a white colored, steamed rice cake, about the size and shape of a BlackBerry Curve and a vada is a brown colored doughnut-shaped (and sized), deep-fried eatable that goes perfectly well with an idli. Ten years ago, a pair of idlis and a vada together used to cost eight rupees.

Today, ten years later, I realized that there has been a 475% increase in the cost of the same meal. A pair of idlis and a vada, today, costs 46 rupees.

Idli Vada
Two Idlis and a Vada - The 46-Rupee Meal

That’s still less than a dollar, but for someone who’s spent the better part of his life here in India, that’s daylight robbery. The strangest part of the entire experience today over lunch was not that I was fretting about the astronomical increase in the rate, but the equally enormous decrease in the quantity and taste.

The sizes of the idlis and vadas have reduced so much that its hard to spot them when you put them on a plate. You have to have a pair of really good binoculars to identify where they are and make sure that your spoon hits the mark. No, I’m exaggerating, of course, but you get the idea. And the taste, well, I have eaten pieces of cardboard (for free) that have been tastier.

I hate to call this inflation, because the term ‘inflation’ has a definition, a universally-accepted identity. I would call this phenomenon a gross negligence on the part of the Indian public, who have allowed this kind of injustice to penetrate every aspect of their lives. Our lives. Commonplace examples – a tennis ball that used to cost ten rupees now costs thirty. A piece of chewing gum that was half a rupee is now three rupees. A toothbrush that used to cost around four to five rupees is now thirty-five.

How I wish I were living in the stone ages, where all I had to worry about was the next critter I caught for dinner and the next female I slept with. If wishes were horses, I’d be a very rich, sexually-gratified stable boy.

When The Fan Hits The Shit

… I wouldn’t want to be anywhere within fifteen feet of that debacle. But, this post has nothing to do with fans or motors or shit. Seriously, there is no toilet humor in this post. Yeah, I know the feeling. I’ve become boring. Can’t help it. I’m probably in a very interesting phase of my life right now, with absolutely no idea what’s going to happen in the future. I’m poised precariously and I can either end up going to jail for murdering an endangered species of bird (out of frustration) or hitting the jackpot big time.

Most of the people who have made it big in life have been through this situation some time or the other. The stronger ones have come out smelling of roses. The weaker ones usually don’t come out of it. If they do, roses are the last thing on their minds. They would be on the hunt for that bastard bird to kill.

What bird, you ask? I have no idea. That’s the great thing about rants. It need not make sense to anyone, even the one ranting. Let’s all clap our hands together for no reason, sniff our fingertips and spit at the nearest wall. It’s going to be a three-legged race on the sharp edge of a razor blade. Hooah!

My Slow Chemical

The wonder of the world is gone I know for sure,
All the wonder that I want I found in her,
As the hole becomes apart I strike to burn,
And no flame returns…

Every intuition fails to find it’s way,
One more table turned around I’m back again,
Finding I’m a lost-and-found when she’s not around,
When she’s not around, I feel it coming down…

Give me what I could never ask for,
Connect me and you could be my chemical now!
Give me the drug you know I’m after,
Connect me and you could be my chemical…

When everybody wants you,
When everybody wants you…
Give me what I could never ask for
connect me and you could be my chemical now!

Give me the drug you know I’m after,
Connect me and you could be the chemical…

You could be the chemical…