Ok, I kind of lost steam on the lighthearted Mindy post, so here’s one more interesting nugget from the book…
Men vs. Boys: Mindy recounts how she had a very life-changing relationship with an older man. Although they broke up – he was too condescending for her – she developed a taste for men as opposed to boys. Her point is that at 32 she had a career, a proper apartment and knew where she was going. But many of the people she dated were still living the college dorm sort of life. You know what she means. What we roll our eyes at and say “bachelors”. No furniture in shady apartment except for lone mattress on the floor. No food in the refrigerator and one lone vessel to boil Maggi noodles in. A job they just about straggle to in the morning after yet another night out on the town, resulting in perennial brokenness.
I think that this applies equally to both genders and, of course, many of us may have lived some version of this life when we moved to a new city and were starting out in our careers but the point is, how long can it go on before it starts getting a little sketchy and tiresome? Is 35 the cut-off point at which people need to grow up and get some furniture and a stocked fridge?
Mindy points out that when girls say they want someone who can commit, they don’t necessarily mean commit to them. But rather, commit to their own life. Get a table and a few chairs, focus on making enough to not be broke at the end of every month or even if you’re broke, be serious about whatever it is you’re doing for so little money, stop living as if you’re in some kind of transitionary stage ad inifinitum because post the late 20s, that stage should have run its course, even if you’re not acquired a spouse and babies. In the Indian context, I’d add, stop going back to college. Higher education does put a veneer of respectability around the whole thing, but really, you can’t keep real life at bay forever. So you’d better get to it – it’s like swimming, the first plunge is the worst.
Looking back on my own dating history, I realised I followed a similar pattern to Mindy’s. V, the man I married, was the second man I dated. Before that were essentially boys. The first man I dated – had a proper career, an organised house with a male helper to cook and clean and make such things as rotis – was too (coincidentally) condescending but he did give me a taste for dating grown-ups. Then came V, who was admittedly living out of a suitcase in a hotel (on his company’s tab) but I think one of the things that drew me to him was that he seemed sorted. He was clearly doing well at work, his life was organised and he could not only pick up his own tab at the end of a night out but (gasp) actually treat me to dinner. That’s not to say I loved V for his wallet – just as Mindy says she doesn’t expect every guy to own a house like that first man she dated – but that his well-stocked wallet and fridge and closet with clothes properly arranged and ironed signified that he wasn’t a total flake.