Saturday, August 8, 2009

'Wrong guy' again?

This appeared in The South Asian Times on August 8th.

The last movie I saw, the last book I read, the last hour long international phone call I was on, all marked one distinct trend: girls falling for the proverbial 'wrong guy' a lot more often than they'd like to believe. It's probably true vice-versa as well but girls tend to analyze and recognize these patterns a lot more, turning it into somewhat of a crisis.

Who is this 'wrong guy' and how what charming quality does he possess to draw a girl who will eventually shower him with the infamous ‘wrong guy’ epithet but not without going through heartache? The range is far and wide and includes but isn't limited to age, attitude, an annoying habit or two, too much or too little gray matter, too much or too little westernized outlook, too much or too little de-Indianized outlook or vice-versa, flakiness and a whole lot more. There always seems to be a deal breaker with a giant red flag that is too hard to ignore. Why is it so hard to notice this red flag from a distance then? Perhaps because people always put their best foot forward while scouting out and meeting a prospective bride or groom. Whether it's their profile on or a referral from a friend or an enterprising relative, you always see/hear compelling things at first. It's the classic case 'right on paper but wrong in person'.

Ladies, repeat after me – I will not pick him just because he looks great on paper. Expected level of appearance, education, profession and family background alone does not suffice. These things do not come in handy when you want to plan your summer vacation doing something adventurous while he wants to stay home and read books on Alzheimer's or when you are dying to go to Disneyland but he thinks it’s juvenile.

Girls aren’t likely to spend even a quarter of the time evaluating his personality as they spend looking for that splendid pair of strappy sandals for a friend’s party. And there is a perfectly valid reason – personality traits are intangible attributes, something that requires time and careful consideration. Who’s got the time for that right? Personality should not be an inconsequential factor when it comes to decision making so let’s quickly categorize these personality types for you.

First up is the serious and quiet guy. He’s intelligent, independent and interested in security and peaceful living. Someone like Ajay Devgan. He might be stubborn and far from being tame-able. There will be nothing you can say or do to change his mindset, beliefs or behavior. But he will responsible, dependable and caring. So think before you leap if you are that girl who needs a little spice in life.

Next up is the rarest breed – that super intellectual guy who has a ton of charisma. His range of interests will vary from working at an NGOs to doing a photo shoot for a new designer to being a connoisseur of wine. Someone like Rahul Bose. His inherent charm can be his USP, just as much as any of his other qualities. But he won’t be easy to attract or to hold on to. So unless you are a rare breed too, let’s move on.

This one is a favorite. He’s traditional, conventional and a family man. He will be well-read and well-informed and good at a broad range of things. He would never be afraid to try anything but don’t expect him to succumb under peer pressure. His ways will be original, his personality individualistic and he will be far from being impressionable. Someone like Abhishek Bachchan. But he will look for values, morals, and a grounded person. So unless you are ms-goodie-two-shoes, he will not settle.

Let’s move onto the instantly likeable guy. He’s the quintessential fun, flirty and eternally romantic man. Someone like Shahrukh Khan. He will have a heart, like you, that beats loud, now and again. He is guaranteed to be warm-hearted, popular, friendly and adaptable. He’ll be a hit with all your friends and family. But if you are that girl that needs to be alone from time to time to think alone or just be yourself, his enthusiasm might be a little too much to handle.

Don’t get confused between the romantic guy and the playboy. This one will be a charmer at first but soon you’ll see past his exterior and realize that he has a big ego and is quite unreliable. Someone like Salman Khan. So if he starts hitting on you before you could even ask him his last name, forget the goose bumps he gives you and switch your brain on. He might have outstanding people skills and might get too popular too soon with your friends, but take a moment to analyze the compliments he gives you and the very sweet gestures he shows. Too cliché and not genuine? Back off.

This one is a little hard to come across. The strong and protective guy. Someone like Sanjay Dutt. It’s not easy to strike up a conversation with him. He is not too fond of social situations. He will usually prefer hanging out with his buddies and talk about manly affairs. He’ll ensure you are safe and have everything you need except for his company. So if you need a part time husband that leaves you with plenty of time for your career/friends/family/whatever, you got it.

I guess in the end, ‘wrong’ isn’t wrong on an absolute scale, but just something that isn’t right for you.

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