In my life right now, as a (late) twenty-something-year-old-woman living in the city of Lahore, I see two very distinct “camps” of women emerging.
Camp 1: There are some of us who get “lucky” (as most of us would say) because they have somehow miraculously found themselves in relationships that worked out. Whether these relationships were arranged, or borne out of love (ahem), they have evaded the wrath of the dissenting parents, the frustrations of religious incongruities, the horrors of infidelity and the confusions of games often played by two people who identify as “funtime” friends.
Camp 2: Then there are those of us who have had super crappy love lives (I say “us” because, in case you haven’t guessed, I am so totally in this camp). Most of us have had our hearts broken, but we are empowered enough to carry a drink in public and we work hard to make our lives (and our careers) meaningful and interesting. We also tend to be mad good-looking (excuse the generalisation but, yeah, we do).
What if we made tons of money, wore sexy scents, bought homes, splurged on ourselves, became insanely charming and well read? Could we validate ourselves and finally be happy?
Personally, I’m happy to be in Camp 2. For some reason, a life of security looks appealing, but my Camp 1 friends always complain about not being able to have as much fun as I do, and they aren’t too fond of the lack of freedom either. Now, that’s not to say that I wouldn’t like to someday get married and have my own babies to spoil, but it would be nice to marry someone who won’t strip me of all my freedoms (like, it’s probably worth the wait). Also, the one thing that totally ticks me off about Camp 1 is how they always tend to bitch about the rambunctious actions of women in Camp 2. Women in Camp 2, on the other hand, seem to be more obsessed with their own failures, rather than those of other women (living on the edge of what is considered ‘decent’ in a small city will do that to you, and it’s great). So why then are women in Camp 2 internally sad? Straight up, it’s because we seek validation from men.
“What should I do, Murad? He’s being so shady”, Anam asked her gay friend at lunch that morning. She had found herself in the grips of a playboy of sorts, and she couldn’t decide how to deal with the idiot now that she had already confessed her feelings for him.
“Oh my god, Anam,” Murad replied, rolling his eyes. “Yaar, you should just breadcrumb him.”
“Yes, just send him random flirtatious texts occasionally to keep his interest but don’t make concrete plans and don’t say anything meaningful.”
“What kind of texts?”
“Oh yaar, memes and stuff na. It’s like a mellow form of ghosting. Instead of disappearing completely, you drop some breadcrumbs here and there to confuse the guy. Oh, and jaani, please always remember to keep your bitch mode on with men. He should know who you are at all times.”
“Uh, I hate playing games Murad!”
“Anam, you guys were stampless together. It was a game from the very beginning.”
Recently, I became obsessed with an Instagram account called Man Magazine (@man_magazine). The account is dedicated to chronicling the lives of men who would fall under the “gentlemen” category, which means that they are charming, ambitious, rich, and dedicated to their women in the best of ways. Everything on this Instagram account (from the interior of the homes to the cushion covers and the hints of nudity) exudes a life of charming relaxation. Heck, you can almost sense how good the men in the pictures smell simply by looking at them! Man Magazine is most def an illusion, and I hate to break it to you Camp 2, but none of us are going to find the man featured in it. But what if we spent our time and energies into becoming the gentlemen we so hope to find? What if we made tons of money, wore sexy scents, bought our own house, splurged on ourselves, and educated ourselves enough to be insanely charming and well read (both these things go hand in hand, trust me)? Could we then validate ourselves and finally be happy? I’m not too sure, to be honest, but there’s really only one way to find out. And frankly I’m psyched to have found my purpose in life.
“What is a gentleman, you ask?” Madam Faiza said, pulling a joint out of her bra. She lit it with the only match left in her matchbox and took a long deep drag. “A gentleman smells good – that’s very important. His clothes are crisp, he’s neat, and he is most definitely an intelligent human being.” Here, she paused to take a few more drags from her fat joint. “Most importantly, though, a gentleman treats his woman like a queen. He opens the door for her, takes her out in the evenings, and shows her off every chance he gets.”
“He offers her his socks when she’s tired of wearing heels…you know, like Ed Sheeran.”