It sucks being a romantic in 2018…
I was sitting with a friend’s friend on a balcony, on a cool Lahori afternoon, whining about a Mehndi (wedding party) I had to go to. He said, “but it should be fun… go look pretty and flirt with some boys…”… I took a long pause before I realized and then replied, “that stuff is not for me… somehow just doesn’t cut it… “ I blabbered on trying to explain myself. The poor guy got stuck with me.
He asked me a simple question and got a very long ambiguous answer. 10 minutes of one sided blabber and he interrupted saying… “oh so you’re a romantic…”
And it came in like a wrecking ball. That was it. I couldn’t put my finger on it. But there- the truth had unveiled itself.
Don’t get me wrong- I love the notion of being able to walk in a room full of strangers, noise and the smell of kebabs… and the idea of flirting with a boy or two- I mean who does not- but it is both a case of been there, done that and mmm doesn’t work for me.
You see I can’t even blame it on the movies- I wasn’t allowed to watch em until very recently. I grew up reading Sweet Valley High. The first show I watched was Everybody loves Raymond. Most of my influences, as far as opinion is concerned- are western.
But then there’s that girl inside me; alter ego if you will. Her name is Parvati. She wants to dress in a sari, play a record on the gramophone, write letters on her typewriter and just sit by the window and think. Reminisce. That’s how she flirts. This is the universe of her romance. She doesn’t go on dates- she wants the lover to walk in that door, just like that on a random afternoon. Sit near her, but never too close. Sip on a cup of tea together- well the choice of beverage is fluid really. But for now, let’s stick to tea.
She wants to have conversations- about unseen lands and the demons within. She wants to just sit- in that moment- and feel time freeze. Because for her, this is the only time it does freeze. She wants to go around sprinkling rose water in the room after he leaves. Smoke his leftover cigarette butts. Hum a song. Maybe do a little dance.
You see- flirting with that dim witted boy, wearing the same Khaadi kurta everyone else is wearing- whose best conversation is about the last holiday he took or his father’s glorious business- doesn’t do anything for me.
But you see- here’s the problem. Parvati lives in 2018. In 2018, you go out- you find a boy- he just doesn’t come walking in the door. There are rules- first date, second date- there are rules. Parvati does not want to follow rules- she wants the whole thing to break into a dance sequence from Devdas- but nope. You are only rudely interrupted by the waiter and an uncomfortable moment as to who shall take the bill.
In 2018, you put your feelings into words- the unsaid dear Parvati, no longer holds meaning. Yea- he ain’t getting it sister, unless you SPELL IT OUT. In 2018, you don’t look at hold on to the mug he had tea from, you ask him to do his own dishes. You don’t shy away when he looks at you in a manner to suggest you are beautiful- you ask him how you look, he says you are beautiful and you smugly reply, I know.
You don’t let him twist your arm- ever-so-lovingly- unless he has seeks consent before, obviously.
In 2018, you don’t talk about what lies beyond… you talk about the harmful effects of social media and he tells you too much caffeine is bad for you. You may also discuss the upcoming season of Games of Thrones and who your favorite character is. This shall be the most fun it shall get. At any point if he gets cheeky, you lovingly refer to him as asshole or fuck off. You say it lovingly enough- it looks endearing.
That diya you want to burn and dance with Dear Parvati- gives off toxins and he has breathing allergies. So unless you are carrying an anti-histamine, we strongly suggest you put it away, be a good girl and stop playing dress up. Mom’s calling and you have work tomorrow.