Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 37, Tuesday April 25, 2006



Beauty Talk

Dear Sadia,
I'm a 26 year old woman and I want to remove my face hair and acne by laser treatment, do you think it's good or will it hamper my skin later on? Please give me a solution. Thanks.

Yes Samira, its always good to address any type of skin issues. Give the laser treatment a try but go to a reputed dermatologist. Do remember that several sessions will be required over a period of weeks.

Dear Sadia,
First let me thank you for providing such valuable information on your column, which is extremely helpful for many Lifestyle readers like me. Here is my problem: it's regarding my hair. By the way, I'm a 17 year old male. My hair used to be silky and smooth even 5 years ago, but then it grew a bit rough. The worst problem is that it fluffs up and remains wavy. Even after I shampoo it and use a conditioner, it remains the same, which looks disgusting and it absolutely refuses to become straight. Conditioners, shampoos, oil - all have failed. Any suggestions, please? Also could you suggest a suitable shampoo and conditioner?

Glad to know that my column is appreciated- thanks!
You have a couple of options you can try (1) use a leave-in conditioner after shampooing or
(2) Try gelling back your hair or
(3) if you're desperate try permanent straightening at a salon.

Interpreter of maladies

Dr. Nighat Ara, Psychiatrist, Counsellor and Therapist

Q. I think I have serious fear of commitment. If I have to promise something to someone I get scared. And I hate to see myself being dominated by others. People tell me that committing is not always about domination. I am a 30-year-old single female. You know how it is like for women my age. I face a lot of questions. But I can't seem to find anyone. Can you help me sort this out? And help me be more confident in committing? Thank you.

Ans : You have identified “fear of commitment” as your main problem that makes you apprehensive about being dominated by others once you promise something to someone. However, you have not made it clear whether you are referring this fear regarding establishing relationship only or more in general term. Psychotherapy or counselling sessions can address this fear after exploring its full nature, severity, specificity and life damaging consequences. Strong drive and motivation (created from personal need) usually leads someone to the level of commitment. Commitment also means taking responsibility or complying with certain rules and regulations attributed to that particular role (e.g: fiancé, wife, member of a committee, director of a board etc.). Fear of commitment may develop from lack of confidence in carrying out that responsibility.

People with low self-esteem often underestimate their potential (e.g. “no matter how hard I try I can never win” or “I don't deserve this”) and sometimes other associated fears (e.g. fear of failure, fear of abandonment) also produce a snow ball effect. Commitment also follows easily if one deeply believes in something or trusts someone.

Your doubts around commitment and feeling dominated by others need to be further explored to see how they are connected to each other. Feeling dominated by another person also means feeling very powerless in that situation, feeling insignificant or unimportant. Counselling sessions can help to understand the root of these feelings and their rationality.

Sometimes, a particular face, personality or situation can trigger a very painful memory of powerlessness (e.g; incidences of physical, emotional or sexual abuse) in the past and cause a “run away” response (“conditioned reflex” of brain). We live in a male dominated, violent society where as women we grow up observing, witnessing and hearing lots of horror stories of violence against women. No wonder trusting men is a hard job! Our society teaches us that as a woman, we have to sacrifice our identity, lifestyle and personal choices to make the dominating partner happy and to make the relationship work. Today many women are rebelling against this social norm, are you one of them? More and more women are choosing to be single in their thirties and want to celebrate this freedom.

Every individual differ in their basic need for personal space (mental, physical, intellectual, and spiritual in every sense) and in their need for bonding with another person (humans are social and sexual being too!).

A prolong and serious psychological conflict between these needs for isolation and intimacy (push and pull force leading to “go away” and then “come back” messages) might interfere in one's capability of establishing long term committed relationship.

You are a single woman of age 30. What are your favourite activities, dreams of life, how would you like to see yourself if you were living in an ideal world (where dreams come true!) etc. are important clues to understand

“Who you are”. Activities that are intrinsically rewarding to a person (e.g. pursuing a particular career) refer to the person's identity as a unique individual. Vested identity on the other hand refers to activities and behaviours for which the person receives extrinsic reward (e.g: “pay cheque” which is a reward from the agency you work for, society rewards you if you are “married”). Women also face a conflict in balancing between personal and vested identity. In a marriage-oriented society, most of the social structure for adults involves couple's activities and the single person is often excluded. Single women tend to value achievement and personal growth whereas married women tend to value relationships.

As a person gets older, they tend to be more selective in choosing friends as their personal taste in people gets stronger and are less easily impressed by others (like a teen age girl!). This is definitely a big loss for a lover who wants to be in the “fantasy land of love” as reality of life brings him/her back from the trip too quickly. Reality of life is mostly about taking responsibility and dealing with stress.

To be confident in committing, I believe you have to explore all these issues and so forth. Regardless of all these analyses, if you meet the right person at the right time, don't worry - nature will work to blow away all those fears and commitment will eventually follow (tell me then!).

By the way

Increase your intake of protein. Perspiration causes a loss of nitrogen from the body, and protein is needed to balance the metabolism. Doctors suggest cheese, pulses, meat, fish and cold hard-boiled eggs to be the best protein sources.

Under a different sky

By Iffat Nawaz

The Stares

Do you remember that first year when the opposite sex started paying attention to you? The year that it all started when your existence was more than being your father's daughter's or your mother's son? You were a man or a woman. Even if your body didn't show all the adult signs of such yet, you still felt it, the indirect and direct stares from the opposite sex validating your existence, making sure the M on your male and the F on your female is capitalized, in their mind and in yours.

Well that attention is quite addictive I must say. I definitely got hooked on it as a youngster, too young to act on this attention and too old to ignore it, and like me most of you did too…no no don't deny it, you did, and it is okay even if your parents told you it wasn't.

Some time from that first year of attention/attraction we reach a point a few years later when that attention becomes a part of our daily lives. We learn to live with it. It's not as special as it once was perhaps; it becomes a given fact of life, and we can not imagine life without. We don't exactly need it to be on our face but it's a big part of our existence, the opposite's recognition.

Imagine being a country when that attention is times one and half. In America being the colour we are, a lot of us get a special stare. No it's not negative, not at all; it's quite positive actually, giving you an identity that might not be totally yours but someone else's perception of an exotic somebody from a far away land, and those few moments in some random eyes is never that bad. So we are spoiled here, us brown girls, the token few which were here.

I say were because that stare is slowly going away. That's right, what I took for granted, what became necessary is now disappearing with the South East Asian population's bloom in America. And I can't even imagine what's next, a life without special stares? How can I?

Yesterday I got on the metro only to find a whole metro car full of Desi men and women. You would think we were back home. We looked at each other inevitably, didn't know if we should be happier about becoming less of a minority, or sadder about losing our uniqueness to the eyes of the westerners because of each other. Now how can we remain so “exotic” and “authentic” when the positive superficial racial attention is taken away and we are just left with the ordinary everyday looks?

To make it worse, the “Mississippi Masala” days are also over. For a while, people who are not in touch with the Eastern world would label most South East Asian girls looking like Sarita Chowdhury, no matter how different we looked from her; to those dark or light eyes we were very similar to her. Well now, we have got Ashwariya Ray in Revlon advertisements, Monsoon Wedding brought a new set of faces, and so did Bend it like Beckham, not to mention the many independent South East Asian films that are available in local movie rental places. So we are nothing but commoners these days, just another brown face amidst the Caucasians and African Americans, no big deal, no special stare.

So as I climb my way down from the temporary pedestal and become just another female in this dog-eat-dog world, my black eyes and black hair shed a few strands, leaving a tear mark for the not so special tomorrow.


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