A Proud/ Vain Woman

a proud vain woman

When was the last time you felt proud of yourself? Did you ace a test or manage not to flunk this time? Each individual has their own special set of skills and a unique scale for measuring it. However, none of the usual rules apply to you if you are a woman living in Pakistan. Your sudden burst of pride was probably born of a simple joy and crushed before you had a chance to acknowledge it properly.

The plain truth of the matter is that a Pakistani woman is supposed to feel no pride whatsoever. If she ever shows any inclination towards being pleased about an accomplishment, it must be vanity. The Masters degree she just received does not reflect upon her own hard work rather her parents’ generosity. After all, she cannot be allowed to have an actual job because that would throw suspicion on her character. The son she gave birth to after nine months of a difficult pregnancy is a gift from God and hopefully, will inherit nothing from her. Cooking is not rocket science. The feast she lays out at dinner table everyday is obviously the result of having too much time of her hands to watch cooking shows. Being offered an opportunity to move ahead in life is clearly a cause for concern or more often just a nuisance for everyone who has to adjust their schedule for it.

A Pakistani woman has to tread carefully and show no confidence in herself. Why would you check out your hair in the mirror before leaving the house? You aren’t a movie star on a film set. Going to the university with some lipstick on means you are trying to impress someone. Random people will stop you in the hallways and ask if you have recently gotten hitched or worse, they might gossip about your alleged affair with a notorious professor. “Look at her walking in her 3-inch heels as if she’s a supermodel on the ramp!” She hears the carelessly tossed out comment as she rushes to her next appointment. Apparently, it is unacceptable to wear high heels unless you are a celebrity or forced to attend a lame family wedding or one of “those” women.

People seem to believe that if he is a man he must be accomplished. Let us look a specific case. He has barely managed to pass high school and attached himself to the family business. He is the shining star of the family and a constant source of pride for his parents. If he says it’s important to go on that trip with his friends then it is surely no inconvenience. He must have a flashy bike or car because he has places to go to. So what if his qualifications aren’t that high, if he says he wishes to live in Europe then he must be supported with every last coin they possess. Years of going through low end jobs and leaving his family broke has not dulled his radiance. When it is time to find him a bride she must be the “fairest in the land” and have a good degree too. After all, that is the least they can do for their son who has made them so proud with his countless accomplishments. A man running his hands through his short tresses a million times a day is okay. He must look good every day so his suit with those perfectly coordinated accessories demand nothing but praise.

So you see dear friends, at the end of the day we cannot ignore one of our community’s fundamental rules: Her pride is shameless but his vanity is expected.

Good Girls Don’t Have Opinions

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“Dekho kitna bolti hai!” (Look how much she talks) If you have ever been forced into a gathering of relatives, neighbours or friends you did not know even existed, then you have probably heard this often. This is accompanied by disapproving stares (How rude!) and finger pointing at the unfortunate victim of interfering judgemental aunties and sometimes even uncles. (Hey! It’s a progressive society and metrosexuality is supposedly attractive.) They promptly launch into a discussion of how disrespectful it is for young girls to speak in “grown up conversations”. They rejoice in exchanging heroic tales of exposing the true character of such unsuspecting girls, who are frankly a danger to our gentle and refined society.

This begs the question :”How does a girl’s voice suddenly disappear the day of a party?” Perhaps, it is tradition for young ladies from respected households to strike bargains with Ursula, the Sea Witch, “under the sea”. In this case, they do not give away shimmering mermaids’ tails for shapely human legs. Rather, they lose the power of having a voice.

It is perfectly understandable when my mother pulls us aside before a party to say: “You girls stay quiet, you are children. Just greet the guests politely.” Considering how fond aunties are of making a mountain out of a molehill, I am thankful for her protective instinct. It’s not like I find any joy in their pitiful racist gossip anyways.

Returning to the aunties’ observation of a young girl being “tez” (Sharp) and “chalak” (Cunning) if she adds in her two cents to a public conversation. No, these are not compliments at all. It reminds me of a scene in Disney’s Mulan. When the Chinese emperor’s councilman comes to Mulan’s village demanding one man from every family serve in the emperial army, she pleads her disabled father’s case. On the sexist councilman’s remark, her father says, “Mulan, you dishonour me.”

Apparently, the norms of Ancient China and modern Pakistan are not so different. Adding logic and voicing a personal suggestion could strip away your family’s honour. Now this foolish dishonourable act has stained her character for all eternity. She has a brain! *Gasp* She can make her own decisions! *Double gasp* She has, Heaven forbid, opinions! *Cue fainting of delicate natured aunties*

She has thrown away her entire future with a few careless words. “But, I think…..”. Why oh why did she feel the unnatural urge to think? Her mother beats at her chest in mourning. Her father wonders how much money he will save now that her dowry is out of the equation. Her sisters curse at her fretting that  society might assume the disease of “feminine thinking” runs in the family like diabetes. All the while, the young woman in question sighs in irritation at all the needless drama unfolding before her. She pities those who waste their time and energy on it.

Let us now delve into the serene life of the lucky young lady who has miraculosuly gained society’s approval. Glowing with pride her mother gushes, “My shy daughter hardly ever speaks in front of strangers”. Translation: “I have trained my daughter to serve mutely and jump on command”. Me: “Can she also fetch and roll over?” In short, the naive lady believes she has raised her daughter to be the perfect wife and daughter-in-law. The only question the girl will ever ask is :”Aap chai mein cheeni kitni lyngy?” (How much sugar would you like with your tea?)

Can I Love Myself If I Am Fat?

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Hey guys! We all are, unfortunately, keenly aware of society’s primeval obsession with body image especially a woman’s physique. Recently, I came across a video titled “Women’s Ideal Body Types throughout History”, which compelled me to take a closer look at what sort of figure is considered acceptable by today’s society. Naturally, the first thing that popped into my mind was the idea of being “fat”, which is considered almost blasphemous now. Not only women but men too have been caught up in this tornado of “Fat is ugly”. Even as children, the “fat” kid is the butt of all jokes and ridiculed for no other reason than his weight being different from his playmates (If he is lucky enough to even have some).

The slightest hint of chubby cheeks and protruding belly or the poorly disguised suggestion of dieting by a friend, family member or colleague is enough to send us into hysterics. Phrases like “forever alone”, “I am turning into a pig” and “I can’t go out looking like this” start floating through our minds feeding our insecurities. Hold on a minute! What does gaining a little weight have to do with being attractive, marriage prospects or facing other people? Uhhh….apparently everything! Me: “Hey, I thought this was the 21st century of mature and civilized humans. Man has reached the moon for Heaven’s sake!” People: “No darling, beauty is still skin deep and fat people should be exterminated because frankly, they are an embarrassment to modern beauty”.

I may be alone in my “radical” theory but I possess enough knowledge of biology to understand healthy body weight so, I beg to differ. As most people remain unaware of their normal BMI according to age and height, they push their body to extremes trying to achieve what society terms as the “ideal body”. Every time we comment on someone’s weight, we are fuelling this ridiculous notion of an unrealistic body type. We are oppressing others by forcing them to conform to modern beauty standards, which are unattainable for the majority. Factors such hormones, stress, anxiety, activity levels, deviation from routine and even weather contribute to changes in weight. Fluctuations of a few pounds are completely normal so relax!

I was the lame chubby kid during my school days in my childish mind. Teenage years were a struggle and I constantly found faults in my appearance. As a result, I remained conscious about my figure and predictably unhappy about it. Eventually, there came a time when I realized that my happiness depended on people’s twisted judgment of my appearance. Gradually, I learned to love everything about my body and I believe that is probably the most attractive thing about a person. Never let anyone make you feel uncomfortable in your own skin. People are never going to be happy with you even if you bring them the moon and all the stars in the Milky Way! The day you understand this is the day you will realize that you are perfect in your own way.

Be happy

Be Happy

Till next time! Keep those endorphins flowing and smile! 😀

Why Are Nice Guys “Just Friends” to Most Girls?

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Hello! Today I will be exploring a dilemma that causes a lot of confusion among guys about what girls find attractive in a man. We all know that one guy who is super nice and yet that quality actually seems like a female repellant when you glance at his track record with the ladies. You know the one! He is that lucky guy who has tons of female friends but no girlfriend. So does that mean that every girl dreams of being with a deeply disturbed, blue-eyed, control freak always in the mood for “kinky-fuckery”? The answer is hell no!!! No girl wants to be with a Christian Grey unless she is so lazy in bed that she would rather be tied up then lift a finger to touch the guy *50 Shades mini rant over*.

So what is the poor nice guy doing wrong? The truth is that the majority of men, especially desi men, have a very limited and primitive idea of “manliness”. Their idea instantly conjures up an image of a silver backed male gorilla banging his fists against his chest in a bold display of dominance. What desi men fail to understand is that they have been gifted with a tongue unlike an ape. Unfortunately, when they do make use of this blessing, their vocabulary mostly revolves around choice curse words, grunts, yells, not-so-witty one-liners, crude pick up lines handed down generations and rare heartfelt confessions about their “difficult and unfair” lives.  A “real man” has giant muscles, “swagger”, a killer attitude and an explosive temper, gives one word answers, acts broody and distant for no reason, looks at women as if he possesses Superman’s X-ray vision, stalks random women at bus stops, prefers to use his fists in a conversation because talking is for pussies, is always unhelpful particularly when it comes to house chores and acts gross in general. Since there is no effective way of getting around a man’s perception on this matter, girls have been deeply influenced by the desi male’s mental sketch of “mardangi” (manliness).

If a guy does not demonstrate some of the aforementioned “manly” qualities characteristic of the desi Y chromosome (Yes, I am sure it will soon be scientifically proven that desi men have unique Y chromosomal DNA) every now and then, the girl’s mind will fail to place him in the category of men. As a result, his chances of building a romantic relationship with her will fizzle out faster than Afridi exits the pitch after being catch out without fail in each match.

Now, that I have revealed the BIG secret about why desi girls don’t think of nice guys as more than friends, the reality feels pretty twisted and just plain wrong. Good men are a dying breed and really need to be appreciated more. Alas, we cannot ignore evolutionary trends and must adapt to our changing habitats because it’s only survival of the fittest here. Until next time, Good luck! 😉