Oh her belt does not go with those jeans at all

One way of looking at marriage is to think that you are moving in with a room-mate of the opposite sex. The way we speak, the content, the choice of words, the topics - all of them are novel and unique and are fascinating to understand and observe. "Understand" may be an overstatement here, though. We mortals merely seek to understand the quirks of the opposite sexes' mind. In corporate lingo, "strategic alignment of priorities and cohesive engagement in synergy of visions" needs to happen. To paraphrase, the two must see things in the same light.

Take, for example, the concept of a dress. Or rather, what to wear. In spite of all the evidence you may cite, as a general rule, guys don't care about what they wear as much as women do. Yes there are carefully careless girls out there and so are smart and well-groomed men, but we are talking averages here. More importantly, guys do not notice what other guys are wearing. Actually it is more like something not even worth looking into for guys. Who cares what she was wearing? Was it a bikini - no. Well then, I don't remember the colour of her salwar. Girls on the other hand do actively notice what others are wearing, though. In a way, I think they are able to appreciate the effort that other girls have put into getting "ready" with all the make-up and all. Guys suffer from no such compunction. That is why we are perfectly happy with living through the entire semester or year with just three T-shirts and a pair of jeans. Case in point: look at this cartoon of unspoken communication.

This post is not to rehash this stereotype, though. It is to complain about the fact that my wife's thoughts are now getting into my own head. We discuss people, their dresses, their cars, their food orders at the restaurant, etc. It is actually fun to make up reasons behind why that kid is wailing or who said what at Rachel and Ross' wedding. :) There are certain things I generally don't think about and get around such questions with politically correct answers. Unfortunately, enough conversation on a topic makes you think about it anyway. I bet now you are wondering why the school history syllabus had so much detail about the Communist Party of India. Given enough time, then, enough information can even be gathered by an Englishman at a Chinese help desk booth, let alone I who is of far greater intellect.

Unfortunately, the "training" doesn't stop when I am alone and not with my wife. At random moments, I have found myself analyzing others' dresses at a shopping mall or a grocery store. "Hm - those shoes aren't really that nice with that dress". "Oh wow, that green outfit with the green matching ear-rings". And the moment of self-realization is really a moment of a virtual newspaper rolled up in my hand and going "thwack" on my own head... "Dude!! What are you thinking?!!".

It is bewildering, really - why, what, how, why... why am I thinking about this? What will I do with this information? And why do I even stand here to judge this person who I don't even know? Hm that guy's red shirt with white trousers is an eye-catcher... oh wait.... darn-it! Thwack!

Comments

  1. I often do this, but I have not asked myself why. Maybe it's some default setting in us to appear balanced, as in symmetry in colour. For example, a lot of people won't like a combo of yellow shoes, pink pants and purple t-shirt :-)

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  2. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/sebastian_seung.html

    She's changing your connectome and vice-versa :) It is a matter of who has a more dominant effect and we know who that usually is ;)

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  3. haan haan.. Guys indeed have a count of how many times this gal has worn this t-shirt or salwar kameez. :P

    Usual comments-her heels too high, how does she even manage to walk. Her jeans is too tight n so on which I can't write here :P

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  4. You are going through a phase called "metamorphosis of the aesthetic being":) Each of us have this being in us,it just is dormant in some( read as "average men" in your words). It is not wrong to be aesthetically conscious. You don't have to be fashion savvy to see that a combo of yellow pants, red shirts and purple shoes are stark to the eyes. It is all about manifestations of co-ordination and balance be it physical health, be it mental health or be it Corporate health.

    I would beg to differ with a previous sexist comment linking it to dominant effect. It is just how or who adopts it. You adopt some of what you think is right from your partner and your partner adopts some traits from you. I can vouch for it:)
    And by the way - good that you are going through this " metamorphosis " stage.You should not be complaining. You should be happy:) This is called becoming "Co-ordination conscious"- being in harmony with your self and your aura:)

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  5. Shrinidhi, hehe... gossipy, eh? :)

    Debby, hey, welcome to the blog! (Umm... have I welcomed you before? In that case, double welcome). There are some combinations that I agree are weird, but not necessarily bad. How many people do you know walk about with yellow shoes, pink pants and purple t-shirts? You will find a lot many people with a faded blue/red/grey t-shirt and jeans which have gone through innumerable cycles of washes. To them it doesn't matter: to others (and in this case a majority of girls) it does. The inherent need to have a harmony in color of what you wear is there, but some of us want to analyze the harmony a little too much :)

    Elegantstroke, welcome to the blog! :) Hmm... missed this TED talk somehow I think. That "vice-versa" part I whole-heartedly agree with. :) Dominance of one person in a relationship is not the driver here, I would say. The osmosis of a thought process is bound to happen. Just that some things come innately with some of us - others don't.

    Manasa, maybe your friends' circle does. Mine doesn't. And I certainly don't, or at least till now haven't. BTW, what kind of guys have you been hanging out with?! :P

    Mita, welcome to the blog, madam! :) I do not claim that it is wrong, but it is useless information to me. The phrase "metamorphosis of the aesthetic being" conveys a subtle sense of transformation for the better, which is debatable. I am wasting important CPU and memory cycles of my brain (please pardon the tech lingo) pondering about things I don't consciously want to think about. The co-ordination and balance of mental, physical and corporate health that you allude to can be counter-argued by saying that someone wearing "yellow pants, red shirts and purple shoes" is confident enough to rebel against society's norms of proper dressing: at an art conference you might actually admire the guy. My aura is very happy without being conscious of certain things, I assure you :) See, that is why marriage is good. This task of being conscious can be outsourced to your partner in whatever area they are good at. At least the scope of my "active wardrobe" has expanded due to this, I admit.

    About the sexist comment you point out: I am sure it was in good humour and not any ill-meaning. :)

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  6. I'm really awestruck by the aptness of Manasa's examples and the accuracy of Mita's analysis in the comment section! Its a humorous post and indeed an excellent read. But this well-written post is based on the false axiom - guys don't care about the so-called 'trivial' things in life as much as women do. It is presumably understandable that by saying 'guys don't care about what they wear as much as women do', not only did you mean 'what they wear' but also implied the minute details of daily life, paying heed to which for a guy might look 'gay' to you (read the sexist 'man'). Although you say, kind of like a self-explanatory soliloquy, 'this post is not to rehash this stereotype', trust me the post speaks volumes for itself!! I believe fashion-consciousness or aesthetic sense may vary from one individual to another, not based on their sex but rather a number of socio-cultural influences. Such influences may also include social conditioning, general human tendency to conform to gender stereotypes, along with other things like economic strata, descent, peer group, upbringing and so on!

    If your false axiom was formed on the basis of your experience of men around (and including) you, I can wholeheartedly sympathize but also request you not to generalize things so easily! My experience has been completely different! What I observed in my family and a lot of male friends is that men are much more fashion-conscious than hundreds of my girl friends. Many of them never fail to notice if the other person (guy or girl) is wearing a Nike in gym, a John Lobb or Prada in office, a Satya Paul necktie, Armani suits, Omega watch or carries a Hugo Boss wallet. Men (that I have come across) are often freakishly brand savvy! Trust me, none of them are 'gay' or even hyper-sensitive (black sheep of 'men')! But true as it may be, few of these men sport a carefully careless attitude in public! Now, you and other men on whose example you formed the false axiom, may fall into this (self-denial) category or might really be catastrophe in fashion!! About the gossip part now, do read this line from an article in UK Telegraph: A study "...found that men felt better about themselves when they criticized another person's behavior. It gave them a sense of moral superiority and showed others that they knew the difference between right and wrong." Instead of calling it gossiping, "they call it networking instead".
    The fun of marriage is, when you start living with your female roomie namely your wife, you both discover new facets of life! While she might feel compelled to watch action thrillers (even if she's not too fond of it) just to accompany you at times, you might also be expected to chose (tastefully please) her pair of goggles! I cannot agree more with the above commentator that instead of complaining you should rather be grateful to your wife for this 'metamorphosis of the aesthetic being'!!

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1311999/Men-gossip-more-than-women-to-boost-their-egos.html

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  7. I'm a man and I don't give a crap what other people wear, so long as it's decent.

    As for me, I don't spend ages in the shop choosing a pair of trousers or a T-shirt. If something catches my fancy I make up my mind almost immediately.

    On the other hand, while buying electronics, I spend ages researching online to choose the right device for my needs and the best value for money.

    Different individuals, different priorities.

    So instead of all this (with all due respect) pyscho-babble by some of the other commenters here which boils down to the basic "each individual is different, don't generalize" I just want to appreciate your blog post for what it is! :-)

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  8. Suvagata, first of all, thank you for prefacing your comment with "Its a humorous post and indeed an excellent read". :) Your sympathies with any perceived "pathos" I might be suffering from are wholeheartedly welcome, but I speak my mind on my blog, and my mind is definitely socially conditioned, adheres to my own version of gender stereotypes, etc. I pride myself about having a keen observation, and although the sample set might be biased for either you or me, we both draw conclusions based on our own experiences. I don't rehash this particular stereotype, I reaffirm it. And I want to point out the last two paragraphs of this post to you: that in fact I too am getting influenced by the wife and (hopefully) it does not make me a lesser (sexist) 'man'. This "aesthetic analysis of random person" is something I want to un-learn, since like I pointed out to Mita above, it wastes my mental energy. And as for your argument that men also gossip, the important word here is 'also'. Perhaps we do, perhaps we do more or much less, but that isn't the point of the post here. I don't remember any guy I know ever actively comparing another girl's shoe's colour with that of her earrings aloud with another guy, although apparently you and Manasa above do. And as for the research article you point out, I want to read that paper myself (I did some googling - don't seem to find it). The media has a terribly poor reputation of proving every other day that chocolate is good for health. Here is a link for you: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1175 :)

    Hari, I could not agree and identify more with each paragraph of your comment! Thank you!

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  9. Mita: As Sudipta points out correctly, the comment was meant in a light-hearted manner and the sexist tone that you seem to get did not even cross my mind.

    Sudipta: I'm not referring to dominance of one person or the other in a relationship. All I was referring to was the "effect" that one would have on the other. I could have a powerful effect without being a dominant personality :)

    Hari: word :)

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  10. Elegantstroke, ah yes... I'd vote for reverse osmosis then :)

    And yes, Hari, word! :)

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  11. ....even though my bf calls me a gypsy girl with a mop of thick curly hair through which my fingers run more than my comb...if i dress up i do feel the urge to ask him a thousand times....''baby, am i looking fat?''...''is the t shirt too tight?''...''my boobs look shapely?''...''do u think i look pretty and feminine?''..''will this neckpiece go wid the skirt?''..............and while i am very particular about colour texture size and shape....my boyfriend has a fixation for brands...he would think its crazy to buy dress from a roadside flea market...cheaper the worser...while i believe in having colourful stuff no matter if they are cheap in my closet. so who is conscious in pocket destructive way?

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