I will never be able to pick up a girl in a bar. There I said it. Coming to terms with this truth may be a great deal for many guys, but I am positive I am not the only one that feels this way. I think I will never be able to ‘pick up’ a girl that I’ve just met in a chance encounter in a bar or a coffee shop. The reasons do not revolve around my personality, charm or my ability to impress the other sex. I am fairly extroverted, very comfortable with casual conversation and I make a decent first impression. The problem is with the system. The courtship ritual has become more complicated than some of the biochemical problems I do research on. And, it all stems from the fact that in India we are all a bunch of “in-betweeners”. Let me explain what that means.
Back in the 60s, we would typically declare a new cultural generation every 10 to 15 years. Which means, my friends, my siblings, cousins and I would be from one generation. My parents, uncles and teachers would be from a different generation. Clear as black and white. We would find the older generation too uptight and conservative, they would find us radical. And then there would be the “in-betweener”, the one awkward aunt or cousin wouldn’t fit in either generation. They would perhaps be the first person in the extended family to marry out of the caste. Their ideals would be a conflicting blend of mutant liberalism and in-bred conservatism. They would have to develop his own set of morals because the ones of either generation were either inconvenient or inadequate. These guys are what I call “in-betweeners”.
If you time it correctly, you could give birth to twins and manage to have a generation gap between them. Times are changing at a blinding speed.
Fast forward to today, we live in a society where a new generation is defined every time Apple releases a new iPhone. It is almost as if a bunch of in-betweeners got tired of being stuck in between generations and so they decided to form a new generation for themselves. It is ridiculous. If you time it correctly, you could give birth to twins and manage to have a generation gap between them. Times are changing at a blinding speed. What was fashionable for breakfast is already outdated by dinner time. Concepts such as “socially acceptable” no longer exist because the society as a whole does not concur on anything at all.
She may lie anywhere in a spectrum between “Your place or mine?” and “Chee rascal hit you with chappal” if I suggested a one-night stand.
The problem is that arranged marriages got outdated 12 generations ago. If you haven’t found your love in school, college or at work, your only alternative is to find someone in an open social setting, perhaps a bar. Now when I meet a girl in a bar, I have no way of estimating what sort of in-betweener she is. Every girl at some point will draw the line. I try to be very conscientious and I think the line is important and one should not cross it. The problem lies in identifying where this line is. For example, a randomly chosen girl may find it anything between absolutely adorable to downright disgusting if I made a racy joke. She may lie anywhere in a spectrum between “Your place or mine?” and “Chee rascal hit you with chappal” if I suggested a one-night stand. She may even be scandalized by the very fact that a stranger is hitting on her in a public place, and I feel that it is important to respect that. To be honest, I am probably not looking for “Netflix and chill” all the time. Maybe all I want to do is to find a nice girl and get to know her better. But there is no way to tell what to expect, and that is because we are all in-betweeners. Our clothes, habits and stand on social issues are no reflections of what we find acceptable in such a situation. There are ‘salwar kameez girls’ that are Sepultura fans, there are ‘smoking and drinking girls’ that observe religious fasts on Fridays. I can never guess what sort of person you are, I can’t even begin to predict if I will even find you interesting. Or in simpler terms, the Karl Pearson coefficient tends to zero. They say never judge a book by its cover, but I think it helps to know if I am reading a Calculus text book or Harry Potter before I get to the middle of chapter 4.
If you think this was complicated, we in India go one step further than that. We have made it impossible to not cross the line. First, there is the line the girl has drawn, which I believe is the only one that should really matter. Then her parents come and draw another line for her. Then she is with a bunch of friends all of whom are arguing over where her line should be. The watchman in her apartment and the taxi-driver who just drove her here also has a line for what it is worth. And before I can even speak a word with her, a bunch of people from a religious activist group come beat me up because I have already crossed their line by even trying to talk to a girl in a bar.
This is precisely why online dating is better. (They paid me a lot of money to include this last line.)
About Guest Author
Dr. G is a biochemist by day and a normal person by night. While he is still single, he has seen a lot of people fall in love and get into relationships. His spirit animal is Kurt Cobain.
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