...and then

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

I men-t to do this post some time ago.

I've meant to do this post for a while, and no, I haven't I misspelt the title.

As you will doubtless know by now, I go through life with perennially failed brakes. I take very sharp turns and I almost always rely on my smile and my incredible good luck to keep me from becoming roadkill.

There's never been an instance where I've slowed down, parked and said, wait a minute -- look at the map, will you? Look and see if that's where you want to go. I've just put on shades, folded the top down, turned the music up and driven on without watching the fuel gauge or for signboards. And where has that landed me? With a lot of fun. A lot more trouble. A lot of serious heartbreak. If I were the only one, I'd have just sucked it up and gone looking for the next shiny thing that distracted me. But life's not a one-way road, right? More often than  not, things are a two-way street. On those, I crash into people, swerve wildly to avoid them or just run out of fuel, get off and say hello to whoever else is parked by.

Among those are the men in my life. I love men, as I've said before. And I think it would be safe to say they love me. As long as they don't live with me or know me too well.

But we won't talk about how they feel about me.

The first, most important and honestly the best man in my life has to be my father.
Before you think I have a huge Electra complex, let me make things clear. We fight. Big time. He speaks Greek in medium tones and I speak Mercurian very fast in a loud voice. And oh, he speaks turning to the wall and I speak loud in a vacuum. We just don't hear each other. Never.

But for all that, he's the best man I know. He's taken all that his circumstance gave him and turned it around to his best advantage. He has every value that I determinedly brush off as not valuable. Only, I know I do it because imbibing those values would mean a lot of very hard work. He has every virtue that makes me scoff but only because I know if I were to appreciate those virtues he possesses, I will never be able to look myself in the mirror and accept the person that I am now.

My father is an intelligent man but he is also limited by his complete and utter respectability. His dignity is great and he's much fun when he's a little high. He absolutely loves to annoy a girl or two (me!) but he knows how to make me feel like a princess. He can cut me down, or into a million shreds, with his sarcasm (my wool is black these days, in the family) and his expression of complete resignation but he can also make me feel like a million planets with just one word of praise, a smile of approval. And at 30, I still crave it.

There's much I don't like about him but not as much as what he doesn't like about me. And he still loves me incomparably. So what does that say about him? We fight, we're rude to each other and we're very very unforgiving for a few moments in the day, on bad days. But he can reduce me to tears with his great great love. Just like I can him. If there's a softer heart I  haven't seen one.

The other day I was thinking about all this and it struck me that the only person I've never had a fight with is  my best friend. He's everything I could ask for -- patient, utterly non-judgmental (which is a good thing or I'd  be sentenced so many times, I am that bad) funny, undemanding, giving, and most of all loves me, inconsistencies and all.

I will leave my husband out of this list of the men in my life because I've written about him often enough. And will continue doing so. He, after all, is the husband.

I cringe every time a woman says, "Men are bastards." It's embarrassing because that woman has for sure met many men who aren't but she's choosing to focus on the few that are. It's funny because I imagine her saying to herself as she tries to look vicious, "Except my dad. And my brother. Oh, and my uncle. Oh yeah, my best friend too. Of course, my English teacher from school." It's just stupid because you can't make sweeping statements of judgement like that. And while I've my share of complete and utter excuses for men, I am thankful for these men in my life for helping me maintain a healthy attitude towards men. And so, my list won't be complete without two people who have contributed towards my constant and undying faith that we cannot, and should not, live without men.

My brother. We are very close in age. We grew up as partners in crime. Then we hated each other -- short of killing each other we gave each other every kind of beating. Then he grew up and became stronger -- and taller -- than me so I couldn't do as much damage. So we started being snarky and mean to each other. We went through tough times -- we didn't talk to each other for a bit, I threw him out of the house for some time, he messed up the folks with his 'reading' of who I was. And now he's easily older than me in his head, has a reached a place in life after much struggle, strength and thought where I can take his advice, criticism and suggestions seriously. I have never loved him as much as I love him today.

Here's why he reinforces my belief in the goodness of men.
1) When he hugs a girl, or puts his arm around her, he is extremely careful with his hands. Without being uncomfortable.
2) He has accepted my parents -- who I struggle with -- as they are and has managed to establish a beautiful, peaceful, trusting relationship with them.
3) He takes his wedding vows seriously. Very seriously. He says till then it was all excitement for him but when he vowed to do what he did, the whole impact of it became larger and reminds himself of it every so often.

Finally, the guy who decided to enter my life in the quietest way possible and stay there forever. No bang at the first meeting, no immediate connection. But I know for a fact that if I ever put my speed dial in use his number would be one of the ones. This friend would also be one of the five I would call if I found myself in trouble that I can't extricate myself from. If I were to sit down and define a friend, I'd just point people in his direction. He judges without hurting, calls a spade a spade and knows what I am thinking without my saying a word. There's no pretence, no what ifs, no "I wonder what he'll think of me if I tell him...". In one word, he's what free feels like.

Thinking about these men in my life led me to thinking about what I like in a man. I know this should be a post for Judy or Revs but what's wrong with a married girl talking about what she likes in a man? I am still a girl, red-blooded and fun at that. Just because I've eaten, should it mean I can't check out the menu? If nothing else, a poor sod asking "What do women want" may actually chance upon this piece and take back something that will leave him less mystified.

Here's my list.

1. I don't like a man who doesn't listen. If you're saying that's so typical of a woman because women talk a lot, then I think you're running away from reality. Men talk a lot. Like a whole lot and nothing flatters them than a woman who listens. I am a good listener because I am genuinely interested in people. And by that coin, I expect the same from anyone, not just a man. In a man, however, it is very special.

2. I like a man to remember little things about me. It could be that I don't drink aerated drinks or it could be that I love colours white, green and purple. It could be that I prefer sour orange juice over sweet. I've so far met only one who does that a lot.

3. I am not overly hung up over funny men. A man's got to have a sense of humour in the sense that he needs to be able to laugh -- at himself, at the world around him, at a joke from Readers' Digest. It doesn't matter if he doesn't have me rolling on the floor, catching my sides, laughing like it was going out of fashion.

4. I like a man who has a passion. Or two. Music, art, reading, riding, cars, cockroaches, forks, watches, mud, Sumo wrestlers. Anything. Just anything that gets him going. And moving.

5. Speaking of which, I like a man who's active -- who walks fast or plays a sport or something. I've known non-physical people and I know for a fact that their attitude in life could do with general improvement.

6. I like cheerful men. Not in that irritating blowing-sunshine-up-your-glutes kinda way but someone with a quick smile, on the ready. Someone who laughs at the small ironies of life.

7. A man needs to like alcohol. Really. The ones who don't, I am very suspicious about.

Men, is that a tall order? And the lovely women who come here, what's your list?

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24 Comments:

Blogger Sythe said...

That's a bold blog post!

I guess your list of 7 seems fine, it is, after all, your list.

I'm also assuming that you've been successful in having this list fulfilled by your husband :)

5:02 pm  
Blogger Raj said...

Refreshing and a different post, among the feminist prerogative's in this world !

Considering that I am a good listener, I am always left speechless when questioned on my communities behavior. I can only ponder.

I don't think your list is a big ask, and does maketh a complete man :)

5:53 pm  
Anonymous Roxana said...

Yay, TRQ! See, you're one of my favorite bloggers and its awesome to see 2 posts in 3 days! :)
Lovely post - especially the part about your dad. My dad and I are just recovering from yet another fight (mainly thanks to my mercurial temper)! Your post had me in tears - so much of it is what I would love to say of my dad, only written much more beautifully!
Love the 7- pointer as well.. especially point 4 - I need that in all my people, both men and women.

6:30 pm  
Blogger TheFatOracle said...

Love my beer. 1 out of 7! WIN

8:44 pm  
Blogger Pointblank said...

Well.... I keep working on my list... Let see...

1. A man who respects women... Someone who understands that a woman has a right not only to equal opportunities, equal education etc... but to equal entertainment and equal leisure...


2. I like men who admit it gracefully when they are wrong. Even if hurts their pride. There is nothing as magical as hearing "I'm sorry, I was wrong".


3. I like men who can take charge of a situation - be it giving orders or fixing a broken pipe, he has to do it.


4.I'm not big on flowers or chocolates. Actually, I'm not very big on gifts too. I appreciate the thought behind it, but if I have the money, I would rather buy it myself. But I would really like it if he asks for my opinion rather than impose it on me, like "can we watch this movie or where do u wanna have dinner"?. I just feel my opinion or preference matters.


5. I like strong, yet sensitive men. Smone who is assertive enough to put his feet down or voice out his opinion...but sensitive to others feelings and needs.


6. Listeners... yup... If he can be a sounding board, then great.. :)


7.Someone who is enthusiastic about life, with an interest in arts, books and travelling.


8. And finally, someone who doesn't trivialize my problems. My problems are trivial. And I know that. But don't want anyone reminding me about it. I would love it if someone fusses over me...

So yeah, thats my list!!!

9:31 pm  
Anonymous Arun said...

This is such a beautiful post :)

9:55 pm  
Blogger The Coffee Cup said...

Nice one. Had me grinning about the alcohol part coz it's a feeling I share. A man who claims to not enjoy a drink always falls in my 'suspicious, be wary' list.
And hey such long 'break from blogs' could be avoided. It's fun reading you TRQ.

10:17 pm  
Blogger Tamanna Mishra said...

Not a tall order I say. At the risk of sounding sappy, I think I know someone who is exactly like you described. All those 7 points too. Guess who :P

10:22 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Sythe: Yes, thankfully the husband complies :P

Raj: Thanks, Raj. Glad you liked the post. It was about time someone said good things about our other halves.

Roxana: You have just made my entire week with your kindness. I am so glad you like to read me so much. Was going through an intense lull. I promise to be more regular now. Really. Dads are funny people. All the best with yours. May he always know you love him.

TFO: Rubbish. One out of seven it seems. In my book, 1-check, 2-I don't know, 3-Check, 4-check...Need I go on? Muah.

Pointblank: Good list, girl! Especially 3,4 and 8! Very important those. The first two I take for granted :)

Arun: Thanks. So glad you like it.

The Coffee Cup: So you know what I am talking about right? And I promise, like I said earlier, definitely more regular posting :) Thanks!

Tamanna: Let me see, that's a real toughie. Would that be the man you married? :P

4:45 am  
Blogger Shailaja said...

Could there be a more interesting topic? ;)

I love what you have written about your dad and your brother, so heartfelt. Makes me wish I could say the same.

Your list tallies with mine... and I think I pretty much went by it too in life.

And oh, being a careful driver through life is no guarantee. You can still be run over by heartbreak...

One of your best posts in recent times

shailaja

8:47 am  
Blogger Ramkumar said...

Wonderful Wonderful Post ! :)

Cheers to your kind TRQ ! Of late there have been quite a few posts of this kind - glorifying the Good that is there in Men and showing yet again that We shudn't be judged by the action of a few.. Nothing is more tragic when the Nice Men face the brunt of what a few other not-so-nice men have done.. and Trust me that is not a nice feeling - I have experienced that personally! :)

But every now and then when I feel despair, A beautiful post from Women like you keep me going !

I do hope that many Many Women and Men read this post and take away the take-home-msg !!

P.S: My comment on ur last post wasnt my first on ur blog ! ;) But yeah the first time I commented, it was on ur post on Molestation - so I guess it was lost in the sea of thghts ! :) :D

Welcome Back though! It was dry without u writing for a while ! :) :D

8:57 am  
Blogger Tamanna Mishra said...

:P It was that easy, huh?

9:26 am  
OpenID indianhomemaker said...

Loved this post.

I agree about people who not move and have no interests - even cockroaches will do, but everybody should have something they are passionate about.

And the entire list, except I am not sure what I think of men and alcohol, I know a few who avoid alcohol, they are fine I think. I admire them because they do get reminded that they are the odd ones, but they make their own choices.

2:34 pm  
Anonymous Phoenixritu said...

Now this is a great post, I like people who think for themselves and are intelligent. Most women would not write this honestly. Blogrolling you

4:24 pm  
Blogger pRasad said...

My first visit to this blog...The very first thing I noticed is you are writing since 2006...that's a way too long..cooool..!

Read your first post about men !!...Wonder how didn't you mention about height, weight, hair,looks blah blah (forgot?)..Enjoyed reading though..

Lastly, I feel men who don't drink alcohol are cooooool :)

2:27 pm  
Blogger The Visitor said...

Very well expressed.
I love this, woman!

PS: Do revisit this topic every 2 years.

3:52 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

I like my men to make my life exciting. They may as well justify their existence.

And they all do. My dad spends his days devising ways to get under my skin. My brother does it without planning. My male friends are on a constant mission to take me down a peg or two. *sigh*

4:37 pm  
Blogger Naushad said...

Whats nice about this post - HONEST! Made excellent reading. Hopefully will be an eye opener for ME..N :-)
Yup..for all said and done...us MEN will never understand Women!

N

10:46 am  
Blogger Quicksilver! said...

Tagged you! Details on my blog!

1:09 pm  
Blogger ‚ô•mily said...

haha. number 7 made me laugh.
http://justmycrazyboringlife.blogspot.com/

2:36 am  
Blogger le embrouille blogueur said...

Beautifully done !! It is nice to see such a clear (end to end) thought trail.Can I just say, that a lot of credit goes to you for how you are treated. It takes two to tango. It is with reason "he" is how he is with you. Bravo !!

3:49 am  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Shailaja: You know, it's always heartening to know when a woman ticks of her wishlist where a man is concerned :) Thank you so much, Shailaja. I've been very dry, matter and inspiration wise.

Ramkumar: Hey. Thank you for all the nice things you've said. Glad you liked the post so much. But I am happier to hear that more women are writing that men are good people. And hey, sorry I didn't remember your comment from that post.

Tamanna: yes :)

IHM: It's always such a pleasure to see you on my blog. And I agree, it is tough to be a non-drinker today. So full marks for those who are :)

Phoenixritu: Thanks so much for your warm compliments. And welcome to the blog!

pRasad: I took a while to decide if I should be offended by your question whether I "forgot" to include physical characteristics in my list. You said it very well yourself... height weight etc is blah blah. Most women, in case you didn't know, don't care.

The Visitor: You are another person I love seeing on my blog. :) So thank you for the compliments. In two years' time what if I have a different view of men? :P

Sue: :D I love your attitude. Totally.

Naushad: Thanks. Hey, we women are real easy to figure out. Just do what we tell you to and we're happy as bunnies.

Mily: How do I make that little heart? :)

LEB: Your words made my day! Thanks so much for the warm compliments, really. It takes two to tango, yes, and without taking anything away from who I am, I've met enough men who are wonderful to any woman no matter how she is treated. ANyway, thank you again for making me feel good about myself! :)

5:57 pm  
OpenID kabinispeak said...

Lovely blog!

The wife would probably have struck me out at Requirement #1 - our conversations are quite a bit like the way you described yours with your dad! Am glad she got past that minor gap :)

8:20 pm  
Anonymous Harjodh said...

Good article. The words you use to describe your relationship with your father are excellent!

5:27 pm  

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