Tuesday, April 10, 2007

War of the Sexes, is it?

Can a man and woman be friends? The war of the sexes, the whole “Men are from Mars and Women Are from Venus” syndrome came to me as if I had belly flopped into a pool. Oh God! In these times of brittle internet relationships, I had forgotten to insulate myself, to “harden my heart and swallow my tears,” as an English song goes.

Well, it happened thusly. I have, or, rather, had this beautiful friendship with a much younger woman on the net, so warm in fact that I could joke, tease, and even say risqué things. “Sorry, no names” as another friend and confidante says. We even promised to meet each other if we were in each other’s cities. No, nothing romantic, but this feeling of kinship, the expectation of each other’s messages in the guest book and in the email. Yes, she is beautiful in a grudgingly acknowledgable way, which, I know is beyond the reach of less endowed guys like me. But I liked her in a brotherly sort of way.

And, last week the relationship went “pop.” The internet is playing a role in understanding life, the primal human need to share and empathize that must have driven men like me into the attic to write masterpieces on platonic love. Also called the novel, that very chronicle of life that fills the need to share in another’s life, the feeling “this is the way I felt,” that we feel often, also, the thing that elevates man’s need to express through pen, brush, or, for the computer savvy, keyboard. It seems literature has been replaced by chatrooms and message board which is where the current crop of best writing can be found floating. Our friendship had grown in such a message board through mutual back pattings for good writing and such like. I was sort of mentor and familial brother combined.

However, last week I had made a careless remark, and she wrote me a nasty email and blocked me from ever writing to her again. Well, I was “ignored” in short. I deserve to be, I never knew women can be so touchy, that among men we can take a few liberties, but the same liberties may not apply among women. Mea culpa. I had only remarked that a friend to whom she is attracted may not be interested in her because he is very much in love with his wife of twenty five years. This is the way we men usually tease each other, and she found this very offensive.

What I had meant in jest she found offensive, and hurtful, indeed, the reason for my royal “ignore.” I wrote back stating how sorry I am and how I am a nervous bundle of contrition, alas, to no avail. I now dread what has gone wrong and how much I should curb my speech with my other women friends.

Do women perceive men differently, or, are men and their crude familiarity incorrigible? I know I don’t deliberately do things that women may find offensive, such as dig my nose, scratch my backside, adjust my crotch, the sort of things that turn men into the abominable cave-dwelling type. But what made me forget my manners in that instant that I wrote the message that offended her? What made her so hurt that she cut off all relationship with me? Is it my age, of which I made no distinction while we were friends?

There is more to this than seems. She is happily married, in fact, she got married only recently. I am completely lost. What error in judgement made her so mad with me? Sure every woman wants to be a princess, at least, be treated like one. But what exactly went wrong? I don’t know. I am dazed. I shouldn’t be so sensitive. Accept it as the truth, and move on back to my own life.

Meanwhile, the song that has been going through my head the past few days is, “Hum se kya bhool huyee.” Meaning, “What could I have forgotten?”


Batul said...

It's always confusing when friendships go bust, you keep agonizing why, how, what? The confusion increases when it's between mars and venus. My sympathies. By the way, "humse kya bhool hui" would mean "what did I do wrong?".

John said...

Hi Batul,

Thanks for correcting me.

Yes, you are right, I am confused and dazed and don't know what hit me.

Thanks for your sympathies, friend.

Best wishes