Nari, quite contrary…

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By Indu Balachandran

What do women really want? So it’s Women’s Day again, and magazines are going into overdrive celebrating the wonder of womanhood. But there’s something we women have to admit about our glossy women’s magazines: They’re pretty schizophrenic.

If you look at the enticing covers of these magazines, there’ll be an insightful article telling you what low-ranking beasts some men are. Followed immediately by another that tells you how to attract men. Now this can be pretty foxing to gender experts, who have made an extensive study of women’s writings… trying to solve the eternal question: What do women want?

Ha ha! Keep figuring that one out, men!

Take my feisty friend Lily, who is anything but silly. While she was being wooed, she made things quite clear to her boyfriend Shanks. I always want to hear the truth about myself, Shanks, she said. No matter how unflattering it is. So he simply can’t understand why she is still so mad at him…All because he put down her true age in their Club’s notice board, when they asked for names and ages of those joining a trip to Ladakh.

So perplexed men try to cope by endlessly making up jokes about us multifaceted, multilayered beings called women (which are wonderful words that mean: We’ve got you stumped with our contradictions! Haven’t we, guys?!).

One reason why there is so much ribbing going on about the woman of the species is probably because she was created out of Adam’s rib. And men can’t help making wisecracks even when called to address a bunch of women on serious and prestigious occasions like Women’s Day. Here’s what happened when a much respected personality, a man, was invited to be a key-note speaker at a women’s organization’s celebration of March 8. The revered gentleman had promised to make it a short opening speech. So he went right up to the podium, cleared his throat, and started: “Women are, generally speaking…” And then sat down.

What about you all, when you are in the 278th cricket pre-World Cup special on TV this year, discussing whether India will repeat its 1983 World Cup win or not? You never ever stop speaking either…and all at the same time too). Meanwhile men, (secret readers of women’s magazines — perhaps even more than women themselves) continue to find insights into our real wants — so that they can figure out life’s most perplexing dilemma: Marry ’em or stay single? And no matter how much, like Mary, we are quite contrary; a recent survey I conducted reveals that men need us, more than we need them. Take my good friend Jojo. He is of the firm belief that every man should have a wife. Preferably his own.

My other pal Rana is even better. Every man actually needs two women, says he. A secretary to take things down. And a wife to pick things up.

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