By Unsanskari Stree
The only singles meet-up I attended after my divorce, somewhere in the pristine halls of an apartment in Magnolias, Gurgaon – where they charged us money and served us warm wine in plastic glasses – had a ratio of 10 women to one man.
It was supposed to be a group of older singles with more men than women in the members’ list. But the men did not show up. The few who did made no effort to look good. And why would they? Just being male assured a conversation hit rate of at least five to six women per guy.
So why do the men disappear or not make an effort at all? What is wrong with them?
Most of the older single women I meet these days are so fabulous, fun and gorgeous that, had I any inclination, I would date them yesterday. In fact, I would have had a hard time choosing from the list because they are all so lovely.
Then seriously, what is wrong with the men?
The men I have met up for dates from various dating sites remind me of scared turtles. Many of them carry a hard shell on their backs, afraid of the battle scars from previous relationships, unable to move on legally, financially, socially or even emotionally because they cannot believe what has happened to them.
My most horrifying date yet was with a rather morose gentleman in his late forties, who spent the better part of an hour discussing the most distressing tale of his divorce with me, including cases filed by his children against him. Every moment spent steering the conversation away from his distress was ignored as I struggled through insipid sushi and fish and made polite noises as he went on with his rant. A complete first-date no-no and disaster of epic proportions.
In fact, there are a lot of older single men out there, but they’re invisible. No one wants to talk about them or meet them.
Why? Because most of them are uni-dimensional and boring.
The men I’ve dated follow a pattern: “I don’t like to socialize! I don’t have friends! I don’t like going out!” Well, that’s probably the reason the wife ran away, but I never have the heart to tell them that.
I recall another gentleman who used to only travel by metro, and I had to drop him back to the metro station after each date. Invariably dependent on public transport, he also managed to be 1.5 hours late for the first date itself, leaving me quietly stewing away. Another quirk was explaining to me in great detail how my dependence on my own car – and therefore not taking a metro, or not eating all meals in the state bhawans – was flippant and wasteful. He was soon discarded for someone whom I could meet at a regular bar.
I think one thing most men who are now divorced, separated or single in their 40s, especially in their 40s, need to learn is that the relationship economy has changed. When they got married in their 20s or 30s, their main role was that of a provider. Which meant that they didn’t have to develop personalities, focus on their looks, or attempt to be fun and engaging.
All they had to do was bring in the moolah.
When the divorce happened, they were suddenly left to negotiate with an increasingly smart and evolved bunch of newly single women, revelling in their freedom, better looking than them, and definitely not ready to do all the emotional labour in the relationship.
Unfortunately, the men have not sussed this out. They are still lost in their earlier role as providers, where flaunting a big car or paying for a fancy dinner would earn them brownie points or a roll in the hay.
There was the cheesy moment when some dude kept inviting me for a drive, which I found a maniacal thing to do in Delhi traffic. Finally, I realized that the 46-year-old little boy wanted to drive me around in his Mercedes! I didn’t know whether to be offended or amused.
What do women really want? Conversation, fit bodies and smart minds.
Seriously, a middle-aged man, not in the best of shape, offering sex as the first thing in a relationship should be seen as the joke it is.
Biological advantages give women a greater right to choose, and if they only had to choose sex, they could find fitter and younger men to sleep with, for the simple reason that there are always going to be more single men than women.
Sex then becomes the lowest common denominator in the relationship.
The question in the new relationship economy is: what do you bring to the table? Emotional fluency? Commitment? Care? Companionship? Fun and engagement? If you aren’t already, I suggest you get off that butt, get on the Stairmaster, go for a run, watch movies, read a book and, voila, watch the women come around as well.
Unsanskari Stree is in her early forties, will only mingle with the right sorts, and regards her dating life with some amusement.