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     Volume 4 Issue 18 | October 22, 2004 |

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Slice of Life

The Man-Eaters of Today

Richa Jha

The Hubby Speaks:
That day she turned around and said, "What do you know about what women think of you men? That you are Gods?" I nodded with all the innocence and earnestness of a four-year old. Don't know why, but The Wifey exploded. So I decided to find out. I had to find out. After all, women know what we may think of them, they all do. Just sneak in on their conversations on the walking tracks or at get-togethers and you'll know they have a good idea. It is but fair that we too should know where we stand in their scheme of things.

She wouldn't have liked my calling up her friends for my answer, so I settled for the second best substitute: the magazines lying on her bedside table. The best substitute would have been surfing the web for the key to the mystery, but she wouldn't have approved of it. I wonder why women always think that men log in with only one purpose in mind. But at least there is a sense of purpose in whatever we do.

I flicked through some of them. I say flicked, because I didn't want her alleging I was staring at pairs of you-know-what; is it our fault that the magazines offer precious else these days (and it's not even that these magazines have male editors. Imagine.). But wives don't get it.

And guess what I found out? That, whether we bathe regularly or we don't, we are all that creature that shouldn't even be mentioned in the Holy Month; that we men are the most dispensable objects in their lives; that we are rogues; that we are more undesirable than their monthly agony; and here's more: in their list of disposable items, we come after tissues, diapers, toilet papers, plastic glasses, and you will not believe this- disposable underwears! I swear, they exist; I just read about them in one of her magazines. One woman wrote about her husband wearing his disposable undies for a few days in succession, then wearing them inside out, and then putting them in the washing machine with the rest of the washing. Of course, she filed for a divorce, and won.

From what I gathered from the features, in their urge to flush objects down the toilets, we figure somewhere near the top of the list. If women had their way, they would banish us from this world of theirs; only we are far too many around to be ignored. But there are exceptions: Porters, and pin-up boys are spared such loathing. But again, there is a thin line dividing what's hot and what's not. Biceps like Hritik's are slurped over; those like Arnie's are straightaway rejected. Then again, Tom Cruise's no-show muscles are equally in demand, but men like us are not. Women are a complex lot, and it is not always hormones.

You may think I'm making it all up. Go ahead, go through their magazines (if you haven't already been doing it on the sly), and you'll know. There are tips on how to dump your fifth boyfriend; there's an expert panel of counsellors who advise women to treat their men like they would treat their pets- it is cathartic for both the women and the pets, they insist; there is some serious Feng Shui advice on where to place the husband's pillow at night so that the positive energies make him the most servile husband this world has ever seen; someone prescribes stones to make husbands more house-friendly; astrologers predict whether this coming month is a good enough time for husbands to make better lawn-tenders, or better grocery shoppers. And then there is this whole new buzz about the sperm banks. Feel redundant, right? There's a limit to how much you can take it friends.

But I am not the one to get conned by the written word. I know how these articles get written for such magazines. For a piece she did on nagging husbands (and this was even before she'd branded me a nag, even before the world had awakened to the implausible paradox of men nags), The Wifey interviewed all (and only) her man-hating friends. The solitary husband-adoring friend of hers was given a calculated miss. But there were few others I knew of, so I offered, "Why don't you talk to her, her, and so-and-so? I've seen them; they love their husbands, they worship them; talk to them to get the other picture", but No, she and her friends (and the editor, I'm certain) were determined to show us men as creatures to be avoided like all Mithun Chakrovarty and Jim Carrey movies, so she didn't listen. One of her banker friends posed as a psychologist and answered the most thought provoking questions on women's rights and the like. Talk of responsible journalism!

The only positive fall-out of this entire exercise (of having skimmed through these pages): From now on, I am determined not to spend a fortune on perfumes and colognes. These magazines carry sample-strips of all imaginable variants with advertisements that leave little to your imagination. But just figure out a way of using them. Rubbing yourself against the pages (or vice versa) will not be such a decent thing to do before your wife. They usually take offence to such acts. Don't ask why.

As someone said, common-sense is the rarest sense. And most women don't have it at all.


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