(This is an excerpt from a magazine article written by a famous female writer Tishani Doshi. I found the piece truly intriguing and an echo of my own sentiment...gawsh, how I wish I had written it! Anyways, I share it here and hope it stirs you too. Kudos to the thought!)
Male female relationships are circumscribed by expectations and slotted into categories- boyfriend, father, brother, friend. But some elude this classification and testify to the pleasure of the detour. These bonds flirt on the lines between formality and intimacy and yet these are often men that we still want despite it all.
“In recent years I have come to realize that it’s impossible and a little unfair to expect one man to fulfil all your intellectual, emotional and sexual needs. Once you get your head around this idea and let go of the monochromatic, either-or vision of the world, you begin to see a whole grey spectrum out there. The relationships that are most important to me now are those that defy category or logic. I call them my what-if men. What if he weren’t married? What if he lived in the same city? What if he weren’t ultra religious or didn’t do drugs or loved dogs? The range of the what-if man is truly awesome.
A relationship with a what-if man is a nurturing one, it may be fleeting or permanent, but it is nothing like the cliché of an affair, which is hot and hurried and poof! Love and sexual tension may hover over the periphery, but for it to really work, certain boundaries have to be maintained- that’s right, no sex because physical intimacy puts a spin on things and slides it into murky territory.
You may hold hands with your what-if man or not. You may unburden your darkest secrets and fears or not. You may consider each other as your ‘back up’ or not. The joy is in recognizing something special in another human being, in making that connection regardless of timing and circumstances, and learning how to draw fire from it.
My favourite what-if man is 40 years older than me: a demigod in his own country, a poet and a political hero. We meet once in a year, if we are lucky; eat spaghetti alle vongale and drink copious amount of wine. We talk about ways of living and share histories. When people look at us, undoubtedly they’re thinking, what’s going on there? But it is nothing inappropriate or sleazy. It’s just what-if. What if he were younger or I older? We meet, we talk, we return to our lives, and we carry the other person with us.
The great beauty in what-if is that you never take anything for granted because there is no ownership or expectation. It enjoys a longevity that other relationships can’t sustain and it exists in continuity always shifting and moving to accommodate both your worlds. The what-if man represents possibility, yearning. His place is never fixed. If you know what you want and what you are willing to allow, it’s worth having a what-if man or two or three in your life; like manna straight from the skies.”
P.S. (Caution, mini post ahead):
Hi everyone! I don’t even know how to show my face for I have been so badly missing in action here. But when Maiths told me that the discussion for the month was “Men in our life”, and poked me to write, I could not resist the temptation to create this-almost a confession box of sorts. While I was scrolling down the articles already posted, I was amazed that some of you wonderful women thought of your father and brothers when “men” per se were referred to. I must have been born under a stupid, horny, faulty by default star for my first thought at this mention went to all the drool worthy male specimens that have come into my life and decided to stay. As for father/brothers/uncles/cousins... oh yes, thanks for reminding that these are guys too, for as such they relegate to the backgrounds as the air you take for granted.
Through blogging I have interacted with some of the wittiest of heads and three of them have become the fabric of my life and in communication with me from years. It is sometimes quite amusing to admit that my best friend, with whom I yack my heart out is actually an amazing 22 years old software engineer, who is in a relationship with the girl he loves, after I badgered him enough to do so. He started by calling me ‘fairy godmother’ but soon realized how I juggle between my halo and horns and the ‘fairy’ part disappeared. He is often hearing me out with such awe, as though my word is the epitome of truth that affects his thinking. He is half mad, overflowing with facts that he knows I don’t care a damn about, most brutally subjected to my poor jokes and possibly the funniest guy I have known.
Another is a 26 years old engineer again, who is a cassanova online yet the cutest, most sharmila guy otherwise. The repartee he churns out garnished with his super sexy voice makes him an irresistible catch. He came out of anonymity for me after almost half a year of me pestering him for that. He has a beautiful mind and such gentlemanly mannerisms that often I feel like the man here when I sometimes throw my flirting volleys at him. He just laughs and calls me crazy.
The third is another 25 years old animation expert, mighty deep and no-nonsense sweetheart with whom it all began after ages ago he had read my blog and we became best of friends. He does not write per se but expresses himself better in words than most I know. He has no qualms in saying “bahut kameene ho aap” when I pull his leg too much for not being able to lose his virginity yet despite being in the U.S of A. He is what girls should take home to mommy.
These are men who know me inside out and still want to know more. These are men I have never met and probably would never either. They NEVER compliment me...in fact you’d see them pulling my leg all over Facebook. But I know that if I were on my death bed, they would come from remote corners of the earth to see me, just so that they could tell me what a nautanki I look while dying.
We talk everything under the sun, yes, the most personal of stuff too without the teeniest hint of any sexual tension. They've been there as the unbiased third party whenever turbulent times rocked my boat. They make me laugh like none other and provide me something that I value most “effortless conversations that have a life of their own”. They make me accept that men and women can actually be just “best friends”.
And then there are other friends I have managed to find in the Head of a software firm, a Captain of ships, a Colonel in the army, an almost doctor in the making; The best of minds-the range is staggeringly large aged from 22 to 52, for I never can let go of people who once come past my periphery. Each communication happening now and again brings in a beautiful flavour to my life-like hand-picked best of flowers blooming in my little balcony garden where I tip toe to, every once in a while to escape the mundane and then carry back the smiles and warmth they leave me with. Does it make me disloyal to my man? Does it interfere in my relation with him? The answer is NO without any explanations. Try it out, maybe the What-If man unlocks you to your potential so that the man in your life sees you as he should.