The Dateable Man

Addressed to Men, for the benefit of Women.

If you’re a male and are single / divorced / separated / married but available / in an open relationship / nursing a heart break / just a plain philanderer, there is more sex / companionship / romance out there than ever.

Tinder, bumble, grinder have made sure that even the most hopeless, out of shape, out of sorts and even out of mind men have a hope of getting laid/ find a companion. If you still haven’t, read on. If you are a woman who has had the misfortune of swiping the wrong kind of men, read on, in fact share it with men in your world and save other women from the future misadventures.

I will not be sugar coating the scenario because I am sure if I do, the message will be lost. While you try to the turn the gender gap in your favour through dating apps, let me help you become a little more worthy for the most amazing thing on this planet, a woman. Here are a few things, which may help you behave yourself better than you are capable of; and thus enhance your chances of getting much needed feminine warmth in your life.

You are not cool.

No matter how many packs you have tucked under the skin-tight tee (lose the tee to begin with especially if it has a logo of the brand which is bigger than your face) or how amazing the picture is, if you think you are cool, you just aren’t. Same goes to women too in case any are reading this. If you think you are hot, you are only going to attract the specimen mentioned above. Which may work wonderfully, but in case you need more than that, drop the “I am hot and I know it”. Pack in a bit of surprise. Let her uncover those abs at the right time, much like all the other things you think you are good at. So next time when you feel like flexing the biceps, don’t, give an honest smile instead, you won’t regret it.

Open the damn door!

There will be more women who would be willing to go back home with you (though not necessarily for the reasons you assume) if they felt they are with a man who knows how to treat women right. Basically, women want to know how good or bad a job your mom did with you and the best reflection of that is how you treat them. Chivalry is often misunderstood, it is not just about opening doors and pulling chairs, it’s about genuinely respecting the presence of a woman. How? Start by listening, try not to focus too much on the cleavage and the legs, listen! She is trying to give you the master key to her bedroom while you were not paying attention. You will get ample time to check her out if for once you can keep your desperate self in check and just have a conversation. Women are great at observing your tiniest movement, so it you think a fleeting glance on her tush would go unnoticed, you are wrong. She is watching every little move that you make. If your mom wasn’t kind to you while growing up or chivalry isn’t something that comes naturally to, Google the crap out of it, seek help, talk to a therapist and practice it till you get good at it, your dating world will change forever.

Size does matter.

Both, of what you pack between your legs and between your ears. When I say it matters it doesn’t mean bigger is always better (well it is indeed better than small, in both cases) Good news is there is a right fit for both. You can’t give every girl you meet an earth shattering orgasm or a laugh. But to some you are just the right fit. What’s worse than not packing enough is trying hard. There is no better way to kill a great conversation or sex than trying too hard to be good at it. Relax, sit back, just do what you know and if you think you don’t know enough, learn from the right sources. Women are equally insecure in the dance of mating, in fact their list of insecurities is far longer than yours. That said, wait for the right fit, it is somewhere around the corner and when that happens you will feel like the best hung stand up comedian in the world or in other words just what she wanted in a man.

Truth is sexy.

Vulnerability in men is the new 6 pack. There was never a better time for a man to come across as insecure, vulnerable, defective. While the entire “man”kind is trying hard to be alpha and scaring women away, be your real self. Be honest, truthful in your failures as a human being. It only makes you relate able. Know the difference between vulnerability, pitiful and brooding, they are not the same. Look up their meaning online. You want to come across as a regular flawed human being not someone who has nothing to look forward to or deserves sympathy. While women love a project or work in progress, rarely anyone would want to associate with someone who is pitiful. Also it is tiring to keep the “sorted” pretence going, no one is sorted, everyone knows that, more sorted you try to appear sooner you will wear them out. Accept your flaws and let them see the real you.

Quality over quantity any day!

Ok, I am going to save you a lot of money on dates, drives, dinners etc, which you would spend courting women who are just not your sort but you still do it out of lack of action. Desperation is a real thing, I get it, but what is going to happen when you do get in bed with someone you aren’t really into, is what I call “post climactic depression”. Firstly, sex isn’t going to be good. Secondly, you wouldn’t want to be in that bed but won’t be able to get out that easily either. Thirdly, it will just make you doubt about your sexual skill set. Better option is wait it out, follow the things that I have already mentioned and wait for the right fit. Keep the faith you will get laid, but in this case “how” is more important than “how many”. If you don’t want to take my word for it, go ahead, swipe right on the next available profile and learn it the hard way.

Needless to say in the road of courtship all roads must lead to a bed, the journey would be way more enjoyable if we men stop acting like what we have been told a “Man” is.

21st Century Parenting

A man offering parenting sounds both brave and foolish. I just hope this falls in the brave category.

To me parenting is less about gender and more about being aware. Being first of the three brothers in a  Punjabi joint family, most of my childhood was spent breaking bones and no one taking responsibility for my misadventures. If it was today, my parents would be put behind bars for negligence and irresponsibility. Cut to today, I have two beautiful daughters 8 and 11, who are more guarded than the pope, more technologically savvy than I was in my 20’s, as eloquent as Mr. Tharoor and more argumentative than Mr Arnab.

The comparative of generations does not apply anymore because the eco system has changed. Now google and alexa are part of our extended family and have equal say in the matters of our lives. I have spent countless sleepless nights wondering the shape of future and I have to admit most of the versions are rather scary to a father. That said, there are certain things, if understood and applied, can have a positive impact on the next generation. Here are a few concepts, which all parents should consider under “parenting for 21st century” ;

  1. Comfort is the enemy

When my 8 year old daughter was asked by her teacher, why was she not taking down the notes, her reply was “she’s relaxing”. When her teacher recited that incident to us during one of the parent teacher meets, I was shocked! I didn’t even know that a word like “relaxing” even existed in her vocabulary. It hit me that the age where she should be exhausting herself to bed, somehow the concept of “relaxation” had seeped into her psyche. There is no one to be blamed here, as parents, making sure our kids are comfortable is our “default” mode, but we need to question, if that indeed, is the best thing for them. Needless to say that with every growing year they are going to be put to harder tasks and preparation for that needs to begin now, not later. We know firsthand that the world is all about “survival of the fittest”, in such a world how will over-comfortable, easily-exhausted generation fit in? Maybe we need to add a bit of discomfort in their lives. I am not suggesting we put them through agony, but next time when your little angel says “mom I am tired” instead of saying “Aww, take a break baby”, say “You can take a break once you have finished what you are doing”. That approach imbibes two things in kids, a. Your body and mind is capable of more than you know. b. You finish what you start. Obviously you aren’t putting them through anything physically traumatic, in most cases they are just trying to find an excuse to get back to their toys, and they know the “tired” card works best. Pushing them to be more than what they are today is our job and in my observation, a lot of us are failing miserably at that.

  1. Technology will win.

There is no denying, that, very soon our phones and gadgets will own us. It is a battle that is useless to even initiate because it is already lost. What lies ahead is trying to find a balance between life and technology. Googling indeed has taken fun away from discovering words in a dictionary and almost every task is monitored, guided and partly executed by technology. The dichotomy is that we as parents must expose our kids to technology to keep them relevant and yet safeguard them from the flood of useless information. I have been struggling with this subject for a while now and have successfully managed to keep my girls off gadgets, till the lockdown happened, and then all hell broke loose . According to my ex wife there was no way around it. I want to be the one to say it to all the parents, Yes, there is a way around! No kid deserves to be robbed off their childhood by getting sucked into the world of technology, not yet at least. The most valuable gift you can offer your child today is to delay the onset of technology. They won’t be left behind, our education system (at least in metro cities), is taking care of that. Unless your child is a tech genius and wants to code, don’t expose them to the epidemic of gadgets. Yes, they will crib and cry, yes there will be peer pressure, yes they will even hate you for it, but it’s a small price to pay to save the most precious thing of all, their childhood. Technology has already won, yes, but we can choose when to surrender, exercise that right consciously.

  1. The Dopamine Control

It can be considered as a subset of the technology curse. Dopamine is the reward chemical. Whenever we do something productive or useful or difficult, our brain rewards us with the release of dopamine. It is one chemical to be credited with every human achievement. All of marketing, social media, fast food is trying to hijack the control of release, of dopamine in our system. When you offer your child a candy for doing something as mundane as finishing half of their dinner, basically you are providing them with undeserved release of dopamine for doing half of what they were supposed to do. Now, you have set a very low bar for a reward. Almost all of social media is doing that, giving you likes for even the most ordinary acts is nothing but getting us addicted to dopamine release. What can we do as parents? Make them earn it. Instead of rewarding for just participating, reward for achieving. I am in no way implying that you should not applaud an effort, but reward only an accomplishment. Don’t be too easily satisfied with any effort that you kid puts, know that they are capable of more and they will not realize it untill you push them, realistically and consciously. 

  1. Watch what you watch.

I still hum Ghulam Ali songs in the shower and you can blame my dad for that. I was lucky there was no Big Boss or Comedy nights with so and so, while I was growing up, otherwise, I wonder what kind of sense of entertainment I would have had. A lot of our personality is what we gather from our surroundings. We are now surrounded by screens and people on these screens are going to define the personality of your kids. A lot has been said about censoring what kids watch and almost nothing about what parents do. You can almost define your kids religious beliefs, sense of humor, taste in music and even food, simply by choosing what to watch in their presence. So, next time when you have kids around, try to elevate your own taste in entertainment and help them grow up to be people with finer tastes in life. It is actually as simple as that.

Of course, its “None the wiser” situation when it comes to raising kids but there are certain common grounds on which we all can come together and try to give them a fighting chance to be what they can be.

Talk to me Baby

Do you think Adam and Eve (assuming they were the first romantically engaged humans) had their share of communication troubles? I bet they did. Ever since we have started interacting with each other, it has always been a tight rope walk between “what we say” and “what we mean”. Something which is supposed to be very simple and organic has become a bane in many a relationships. Women blame men for not understanding and Men blame women for being cryptic. Stakes are highest and we are clueless!

This is as good a time as any in history to sort this mess out, especially with multiple forms of communications going, we have never been more vulnerable in the art of expression. Although I have been a communication consultant all my professional life, I have been keeping a keen eye on the battle of sexes. Combined with my personal experiences and observations I have come up with a few important concepts/ideas which can take your communication game to a next level;

Active Vs Passive

All of social media has done exactly the opposite of what it had set out to do. It has made people distant yet intrusive. I think I know what’s going on in my friend’s life without speaking to them for years. Because I get to see what they are up to on social media, I don’t feel the need to reach out for a real connect, after all what can we really talk about? I already know everything that they are up to. Even if I do feel like reaching out, why go through the pain of talking when a chat can do.

It’s still somehow alright when it comes to regular friendships, but in a romantic relationships, passive form of communication like chats, instant messaging etc. can do more harm than one can imagine. Already both sexes are struggling to make sense of each other, add to that, words which lack emotion (no emojis are not emotions) and tone is a recipe for relationship sabotage. If there is one advice I will give to the modern day romantics, it would be “go back to basics”. Talk, meet, get real, get active. Don’t let technology widen the already existing communication gap.

Words Vs Actions

Both are forms of communication. While actions can do without words, words are no good without actions. Words are usually an expression of intent, agreement, disagreement or any other expression of emotion. If not backed by the right action, they tend to lose their value and impact on your partner. It is important to find the right balance in both. If you have to err I would say err on the side of action, because actions leave a much deeper impact. No matter how many times you express your love to someone, if you are not going to show up for your dates on time, all expression is wasted. Because words are easy and don’t cost anything at all, they are often used to accommodate lack of action in most cases. While being able to express yourself in words is certainly a gift, just make sure your actions cash the cheques your mouth writes.

Less is not More

Romanticism has screwed up our notion of love. We have been told time and again in all forms of literature that lovers can read each other’s minds, they complete each other’s sentences and thoughts, they just get you. To me that sounds like an utterly boring universe. It’s one thing to be feeling the same, but there has to be an individual expression of the same feeling. That’s what makes human equations so entertaining. Unless you are chronically and pathologically introverted, in which case I would highly recommend seeking help, don’t be stingy in expressing what you feel. Most of relationship fuck ups are because of the fact that you didn’t say or do what you wanted to at the right time. If ever in doubt, now is better than later.

Yes!Yes!Yes!

Someone famous once said, “women fall in love with what they hear and men fall in love with what they see”. What better place for both to come together than the bedroom. It is a great practice ground to hone the art of communication. When the clothes come off and you both are equally vulnerable, express yourself not just physically but verbally too. Be vocal about what you are feeling and all the amazing things that are going through your head in that space. If not to make your partner happy, do it to enhance your own sexual pleasure. It especially can work for the introverts who need a push to open up. Words can be a great add-on to your bedroom game, give it a go.

Fuck you too!

Enough of expressing love, let’s bring our focus to disagreement, anger, disappointment and all other negative emotions. It’s most difficult to express negative emotions in front of the loved ones and in time that lack of expression turns caustic and brings down the best of romances. If you think your partner can’t handle you or vice versa when it comes to expression of angst, then there is no chance for that relationship to survive the test of time. You have to be willing to take the risk of losing it all to win it all. It is not a game of averages. It is tough, very tough, to express your anger because most of the times we don’t even know if it is warranted, and risk of misunderstanding is indeed very high, but still if it is within you then it must be expressed. It doesn’t need to be as stark as the title of this paragraph, which is just for dramatic purposes. Inability to express discomfort/angst is also one of the causes of physical abuse in relationships. It’s when communication ends but anger doesn’t, the words turn into violence. Remember if it’s worth it, it’s worth it all or nothing.

How we communicate has a lot to do with the environments and conditioning we grew up in. If there was ever a time when you needed to reprogram yourself to be better at it, it is in the pursuit of love.

All rights reserved, Rajiev Lal 2020.