Saturday, October 28, 2006

Episode 29: Boys don't cry

He says:

Why are women always the delicate darlings? The cry-babies.

Think about it, women display grief like it's a work of art.

Haven't you seen many an argument automatically swing in favour of the woman simply because the poor baby cried?

The audience vote always is in favour of the woman who is crying, irrespective of whether she's right or wrong.

Why does this happen? Because, men don't cry or break down. Instead, the more upset they are, the more they frown or the angrier they appear. Now, we all know women are more attractive than most men. And, nobody feels sorry for an angry man. In fact, the angrier he gets, the uglier he looks, the more despicable he appears. What choice does he have really? If he cries, they'll call him sissy. They'll say he's wuss. And it's not really macho. So he does what he has to. Pretend he's got buffalo-skin.

Women, aided with a few drops of tears, have no problems appearing convincingly victimised.

The way men and women handle grief is very different. Women think of grief management by getting it out of their system, indulging in self-pity and then rationalising that now that they have been victimised, they have to think of emerging out of the whole situation stronger.

Female bonding and such self-help groups help them achieve liberation.

Men, take the easiest way out. The 'escape' route. A boys night out.

They laugh out the blues over a couple of drinks by poking fun at the situation. Or just Movies. Games. Work. Or just other girls to take their mind of the current problem. They probably cry secretly in the privacy of their bedrooms if need be, but largely, they find ways to escape the situation. They let something else occupy their mind-space.

And before they know it, the tragedy of epic proportions is forgotten or looked at objectively, with a new perspective.

That's because Men don't take their lives as seriously as women do.

Which is why they travel light. They don't think 'Once bitten, twice shy'. In fact, they like the adventure, they don't hesitate to visit old ghosts. They face life with new confidence and optimism.

The scars remain as a mark of the courage they displayed under grave circumstances. The scars that remind him that he's a warrior in this world sympathetic to the female of the species. And he will survive.

She says:

Saying all women sniffle sadly into delicate lace handkerchiefs every time things go wrong, is like saying all men hate to ask for directions. (Oh. Wait a second. All men DO hate to ask for directions. So lets just say you can't generalise with women.)

Just because everyone knows a couple of wet mop women turn on the waterworks at the slightest provocation, that doesn't mean every woman you ever meet is going to be that soppy.

The truth is that most women are far tougher than men. Take their thresholds for pain, for example. Whether it's enduring a waxing session at the parlour, or having a baby, women just grit their teeth and get it done with without complaining.

On the other hand, have you ever seen a man with a cold? He'll bring the house down, shuffle around groaning mournfully and sniffle sadly over hot soup as he mentally draws out his last will and testament. For men are the ultimate Drama Queens. The whole 'I'm so macho I open beer bottles with my teeth' image is just a front.

In fact the last time I saw a man open a beer bottle with his teeth (to impress some young thing in too much lipstick of course), our hero bit through the bottle, cut his mouth and spend the rest of the evening holding a hanky over it and shrieking like a just-crowned Miss World.

And why do people always assume it's the women who cry at movies?

I'll never forget watching Titanic at a movie theatre in Mumbai. As the ship went down, its brave band began to play. But I was looking elsewhere. Because on either side of me there were men crying so hard they could have probably re launched the Titanic.

When a friend of mine got pinched at a mall, she turned around and walloped the guy who did it, though he was twice her size. Another petite friend charged at four whistling morons to shut them up, brandishing her helmet and scared them half to death. At a party, I heard a pretty young thing tell her friends how she ran after and kicked down the bicycle of a man who was kept following her.

None of them cried. It wasn't even an option.

For women realise that collapsing into a teary heap doesn't help anyone, least of all themselves. So they pull themselves together and work out ways to survive. Besides tears can really mess up your mascara!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Episode 28: Bad boys bad boys

She says:

He has a snarling tiger tattooed across his gasp-worthy biceps. His hair hasn't seen a shampoo bottle in weeks, and looks like its been chewed by his pet dog (who's probably called Tarantula). He wears a black leather jacket that's evidently seen happier times. And zooms about town on a wicked-looking bike.

Of course, he's irresistible.

What is it about 'bad boys' that makes women go weak in the knees?

Logically, why would anyone want to date a man who knocks out people's teeth as often as your friendly neighbourhood dentist? A man who gate crashes parties and then needs to be carried out horizontally – probably clutching a bottle of rum and singing all the way. A man who is probably as difficult to bring to heel as a puppy who's just found the cookie jar.

Why do all romantic books and movies feature men who are arrogant, head strong and difficult?
Because men like that are exactly what make romance so interesting.

Nice boys are boring. They get up at 5 a.m. and jog, for heavens sake! That should be enough to put you off them for life! They have important, responsible jobs, like banking. Yawn! And once they manage to tear themselves away from their computers, they probably spend the evenings doing exciting things like Sudoku. Or watching reruns of Desperate Housewives. Or making new friends though Stamp Collecting communities on the Internet.

Life with tattoo man, however, will never be boring. First of all there's the challenge of keeping him interested, which should apply to all women who 'like the chase better than the kill.' Good boys can be taken for granted, while bad boys keep you on your toes.

Then there's the fact that they surprise you with delightfully impractical ideas: organise a post-party basketball match at 1 a.m. on the way home, or book tickets to Alaska and take off for a month of madness. You don't always have to listen to them, but an impromptu bike ride at midnight can be unforgettable.

Besides, life with the Muscled One will always feel a safe, in a deliciously unsteady way. Because when one of those letches, who always seem to congregate at discos, tries his lousy lines on you, the Boy's not going to just frown dissuadingly and complain to the manager. He'll stand up and plaster the creep, and his friends.

And that's why biker boys will never be short of girls.

Of course, keeping up with them in the long run can be exhausting. But, for a while at least, go ahead and date that bad boy for a while.

After all, you know the old saying: Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere.

He says:

Now that it is official that bad boys are cool, I reproduce below the abridged confessions of the original bad boy (the actual ones had to be censored heavily for the sake of children who might come across this space).

Dear Shrink,

I know I've been visiting you more off late but the truth is your receptionist makes me go crazy every time I call her to fix up an appointment with you.

Yes, I've been seeing her for a while now. That's given me unlimited access to her diary that has the numbers of all the other flaky chicks who visit you.

Given my obsession with being bad, I've dated almost all your patients, within the last few months. To tell you the truth, it doesn't take much to get these women.

A daily trip to the gym has won me even women twice my age, so much that I completely enjoy the experience. Of gymming, of course.

The tattoo and the leather jacket I got in high school have always complemented each other. With bad girls showing great interest in tattoos, my jacket comes off too often these days.

Being a bad boy has given me the licence to drive miss Daisys, Roses, Jasmines and Lilys, all at the same time, simply because they like the challenge of keeping me interested in them.

While the first few dates used to cost me a beer to get an excuse to drop her home. These days, they invite me over for the free drink, dinner and dessert. Sometimes, it ends with breakfast on the house. Interestingly, I've learnt a lot about the kind of furniture they invest in, during these midnight surprise parties I gatecrash into. And my basket-ball games have never gone score-less.

It's not like I like the street-fights. That's pretty much for the same logic as why dogs guard their territories fiercely.

I live a dog's life. And my day comes very often. All a dog needs is a bone. And I don't mind making a few extra bucks doing Full Montys for the Hens having a night out.

Party animals live by the wild rules of the jungle.

I wouldn't say I cheat, I'm just commitment-phobic and high on life. I'm just there for the ride.

Besides, it's not like I promise them a happily-everafter ending. I've always been nice to her friends because I know that they are just waiting for the day I break up with her and soon enough, my web gets more Mary Janes than Spidey's ever found hanging upside down.

With all my lunches and dinners being taken care off, all I spend on is my bike and gym subscription. My roomie sorely misses me because I've not gone home in days. That's also the reason I don't get a chance to shampoo my hair.

Oh that reminds me, I got to get home to my roomie so that she can give me a Thai massage. But the real reason is I need to check if she's washed my clothes.

Like chick flicks have demonstrated, it pays to be a bad boy. By the way, change your receptionist dude. I'm getting bored of her. Or let me make this easier for you, I'll get myself a new shrink who lives next street.

Apparently, she's 24 and has a young clientele. Heard she likes cats and dogs. Time to get a new pet. Will call her Tarantula. If she's younger, I think even a simple Pussy-Cat would do.

After all, the new saying goes: When bad girls go through hell, bad boys find heaven.

Episode 27: Why men like chick flicks

He says:

It is a big myth that chick-flicks are for girls.

Men dig the genre too. But for different reasons.

But before we get into that, what is a chick-flick really about?

There's always this goofball, simple girl-next-door every girl can relate to. She's down on luck because the guy who holds the torch for her is the original fruitcake, and the guy she likes happens to be the wrong guy.

She, post makeover, transforms into the hottest thing on heels and before you know it, she nails her man and after some minor misunderstanding where she catches him with another girl and takes off sobbing, he pleads with her, goes down on his knees and locks lips for a `happily ever after' ending.

So why do the guys like these movies that show guys doing the most wuss things? Simply because, they watch these flicks for the chicks.

The girl always has a scene or two where she's at her hottest best. Watch The Sweetest Thing and you'll know what I mean. That one scene alone is more value for time than what they show after minutes of waiting patiently surfing FTV shows.

Besides, the things a girl wants from a guy and plausibility of the romance cracks him up.

Also, chick flicks are easy on the bad guy.

In a chick flick, you can be however bad you want, be with how-many-ever girls you want, be a total jerk too, and you can just say sorry with a long speech going down on your knees and be sure as hell that she'll forgive you.

With that sort of moral encouragement, sex appeal, and of course, the unintended comic relief generated out of the mush and corn soup, chick flicks make for great entertainment.

But the biggest reason men tolerate these films is because they are perfect for the date. What better time for romance than when she is, Ahem Ahem, in the mood for love?

After all, romance comes alive when it's dark.

Post Script: What do guys without dates do? They head out alone to the halls playing movies like Ek Se Mera Kya Hoga.

Psst: Do check the paper for exact show timings.

She says:

It's a big myth that chick flicks are for girls.

After all, who wants to identify with some loser babe who never seems to wash her hair and is perpetually slobbering over a jock with great abs and a rotten attitude.

If you believe these movies, all women can be neatly divided into two categories: geeks and bimbos. Because, if you're svelte and sassy, you can't possibly be capable of reading a book — unless it deals with the art of eye shadow — or even adding up your shoe shopping bill without help.

If you're a geek, you just have to display braces decorated with yesterday's lunch and be incapable of wearing a pair of high heels without tripping over your own feet and landing unglamorously on your dowdy behind.

For heaven's sake, they're just high heels, and walking a straight line is hardly brain surgery.

Chick flicks assume women have no powers of judgment whosoever. Show us a hunky man in a leather jacket, and even if he's a convicted mass murderer, we'll dissolve into wimpy, lace-handkerchief wielding Mills and Boon heroines, according to them. And when they cheat on us — and being hunky and leather jacket clad, they must cheat — all it takes is a sad song, or a bouquet of roses to have us jumping up and down like bunny rabbits spotting carrot cake.

Smart women realise that chick-flicks are ridiculous. They also realise that the original fruitcake in huge glasses is the same guy who'll probably pass out of MIT and run a fancy corporation.

Chick-flicks are really for guys, so I agree with him there. But it's not just for the scenes when the loser girl dramatically manages to shed pounds, her glasses and voluminous clothes to become her `hottest best.' (Let's not even go into how shallow these storylines are!) But also because they let all the dumb jocks believe their fondest dreams can come true.

That there'll come a time when all girls will look like Cameron Diaz. When mini-skirts will be the only way to dress. And all it will take to `get the girl' is a soppy love poem read with the expression of a puppy that has just misplaced its chewy bone.

Go ahead, fill up on your two hours of cotton candy and popcorn soaked euphoria. Just remember, real life is nothing like the movies. And Bridget Jones — far from being the role model for millions of single women world over — was just a girl who ate and smoked too much.

(A fortnightly column on the battle of the sexes)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Episode 26: Who wears the pants?

He says:

What makes for a healthy relationship?

Democracy or dictatorship?

And before you say democracy, you could consider that since there are only two people in a relationship, democracy means anarchy.

Yes, maybe anarchy isn't really a bad thing. For years, relationships have been run and governed by dictatorship. It's very unfortunate indeed.

It is very unfortunate that woman has been boss all these years and man was just relegated to the blue-collar jobs: hunting, running around, fetching food and being watch-dog protector of family.

The woman for years has pretended to be the slave when she has actually been running the show: she made sure men fought wars for her, she got the Taj Mahal built, she made sure many men died for the sake of love. And all the while she stayed indoors without any pressures of having to go and fetch bread, butter or newspaper.

Roles were well defined and divorce rates were almost non-existent. The phrase marital discord had not yet been invented.

Today, when man is trying to take control of relationships and the woman is all dressed up for the kill in the corporate world, the home territory is left unguarded, vulnerable to outside threats.

Modern day society has seen divorce rates go up. Suddenly, dysfunctional families find their way into the vocabulary of society and crisis management experts, like lawyers, relationship counsellors and psychiatrists, find that their workload is going along that one-way street called Up.

Clearly, the change in age-old household management conventions and practices has upset the balance between the sexes. In this age of coalition governments, man and woman must sit together and find that line that separates democracy from anarchy.

Duties and responsibilities must be worked out according to strengths and weaknesses of their personalities rather than gender. And, man should be given that opportunity to stay at home and run the show. The wretched women have been doing it too long.

She says:

Political jargon aside, this is about just one issue (and pardon me for using this deplorable phrase) — it's about who `wears the pants' in a relationship.

Now the mind of a man sees just black and white, so I suppose it's just natural for a man to presume that every relationship has one leader and one meek, subjugated dish-washing, dog-walking follower.

And, regardless of what He Says, it's an established fact that a `man is the master of his house.' And while the male of the species has always been loopy enough to get cross-eyed and silly with love — remember the morons who waged wars motivated by little besides a nice nose — when it came right down to it, even poor Helen of Troy probably had to keep house, and make sure her dozen maids kept everything tidy so the love of her life could trudge across the kitchen in dirty boots, probably making annoyingly long declarations of passion all the while.

Think buying butter is exhausting? Well, you're welcome to switch places with the woman who dusts, cooks, washes, cleans and raises your children while you sit in a plush office and ring for your secretary to bring you coffee.

But here's the catch, all you big-talking, muscle-flexing men. The truth is you're not really in charge, you never have been.

Because — luckily for us — women are masters of subtle power games. Games you don't even know you're involved in, you poor misguided puppet. For women realised long ago that all a man needs is the illusion that he's in charge.

And that's easy enough to pull off. A smart woman seats her man at the head of the table, and makes him a cup pf tea. Then, she makes all big decisions herself, and pretends it's his idea. He's too busy swaggering to contradict her anyway.

Cook a man a couple of meals, and you can twist them around your little finger. After all, as every intelligent woman knows, men are easier to train than puppies. It's not democracy. It's not anarchy. But it works just great. For us.

(A fortnightly column on the battle of the sexes)

Episode 25: Dance like a man

She says:

I'm so tempted to sharpen my stilettos.

I recently started learning the salsa. A breathtakingly beautiful dance form set to addictive Latin music, it is great fun to learn, once you get your mambo in place. Except for one thing. It's a man's dance.

My bright-eyed chirpy instructor — Salsa Boy — just loves the fact. Every ten minutes, he stops class to bellow, "Girls, follow your man, because... " And every single man in class (including the ones with two dangerously left feet) stop treading on our toes to proudly holler, "It's a man's dance." Sometimes, they thump their chests too. Which makes it kind of difficult to do the required high speed twirls. There are also exercises to keep us in place. One particularly unflattering one dictates that the women act like rag dolls, while their partners push and pull them across the floor. While, of course, Salsa Boy and co yell, "Because it's a man's dance."

Thump. Thump.

At which my bratty teenage partner smirks, "Follow me. Coz I'm the MAN."

I've tried pulling rank on him, telling him I'm older and thus wiser, but apparently belonging to the big-headed, big-footed gender makes him King.

Salsa Boy even walks around with a wooden ruler to make sure no woman sneakily tries to call the shots. Yes, I've been whacked across my knuckles, but what's a woman to do?

Sometimes, men just can't keep up. We've made it quite clear that we will not dance to a man's tunes in the outside world. Why do we still have to do so on the dance floor?

Some quick research reveals it's not just the Latin Americans who were all about `all hail the male.' Jive is a man's dance. So is ballroom dancing. And Wikipedia tells me there's something called the `Gourd Dance' performed by some Native American nations, which is "primarily a man's dance." (Sounds familiar?) Apparently "women participate by dancing in place behind their male counterparts"


Clearly, it's time we storm another bastion. After all, twirls aren't just for girls.

He says

To the best of my knowledge, barring Kathakali (where men play women too) and the traditional dead body dance (the dance the drunk do on the street during funeral processions in this part of the world, to the native beat of `dandanaka'), most of the other Indian dances have been the bastion of women from the days and nights of Umrao Jaan. I mean, who would today believe that Bharatanatyam was actually something born out of a holy old man called Bharata Muni inspired by Lord Brahma? And the Tandav was supposed to be Lord Shiva's stress buster. But that was so long ago.

Today, traditional Indian women have completely taken over most dance forms performed on stage. And the modern Indian women have taken over MTV and those Punjabi music videos on `Balle Balle'. One look at Yana Gupta in "Babuji Zara Dheere Chalo" or Aishwarya in "Kajra Re", and you know who calls the shots in the Indian form: the item girl, of course. Yet, she looks West as far as Latin America, and even pays to learn and follow a man's footsteps.

I bet she has not heard of techniques like hijacking and backleading that help show off dance skills and steal the lead from the man. (Chuckle, chuckle)

Dance is either ritualistic (social dance) or for concert (performance). Each dance form has an objective. While concert dances such as Kathakali and Yakshagana tell stories, Bharatanatyam interprets stories and presents them in a lucid form, the social dances like Kummi and Koothu are used to express joy or sorrow. Salsa is a social dance that involves one lifting the other. It showcases chemistry between man and woman.

Hence, if you notice most couples who do the salsa, you will find that men are usually heavier and taller than the women.

So it would be unfair to ask the lady to lift you, unless your partner is Karnam Malleswari.

Besides, how many women like someone who follows? Women find leaders attractive, they always go for someone they can look up to. And, as I read somewhere, it's not about command and obey. It's about a partnership between two people who are equal but different. Just like bad workers blame the tools, some dancers just blame the rules.

(A fortnightly column on the battle of the sexes)

Episode 24: Dating and your date of birth

He says:

Why do you think that it is almost a norm that men date women younger than them? Because unlike men, who mature if at all, do it slow and steady, women mature early and grow up. "The older they get, the more messed up they become," says a friend.

Most girls have their first relationship much earlier than boys have theirs (that's again because boys date girls younger than them). So while they start off believing in true love, they get jaded and turn cynical and disillusioned pretty soon, most of them finding it hard to let go of their excess baggage.

Boys learn the ropes; take their own time to figure out how relationships work. Every relationship gives them new strength and encouragement. At the end of the fifth one, they know what lines work and what don't. At the end of the tenth, they know how to make the girl pay on dates. At the end of the twentieth, they have mastered the art of making the girl dump them, so that they don't have to bear the burden of guilt and the mantle of being the "bad guy". Therefore, they travel light. The most they need is a hanky to pick up a wreck.

So women, after five relationships, are sick of mushy lines. After ten, they lose faith. After twenty... come on, how often do you hear girls have 20 relationships?

Due to their differing behaviour and attitudes towards relationships, older guys can only date a younger woman. Because what a guy needs is a believer and not a cynic. Which is why most men roam around with puppy dog looks and women have to contend with being labelled the female of the species.


She says:

As much as I hate to burst his bubble, I have simply got to point this out. Women don't date older men because they are "sick of mushy lines." When was the last time you saw a nubile 20 something being flaunted on the red carpet by a bespectacled, toothless eighty-year-old, and thought "Ah, she must be tired of mushy lines!"

It's not too difficult to figure out why he's going out with her. As an accessory, she makes a much better impact than his walking stick, for starters. And, I suppose — for a while at least — she'll make him feel young again. Until the punishing schedule of dragging his arthritic limbs onto the dance floor every other day begins to get to him. And his therapist.

On her part, it's probably interesting to date an older man.

He will take her to an exotic restaurant, and order champagne. While a boy her age will take her to greasy dive and order Coke, which he will probably try to spurt out of his nose for entertainment. An older man will impress her by talking about world politics, while the Boy will attempt to do the same by arm wrestling with the waiter. And, yes, the older will deal with excess baggage much more gracefully, making peace with ex-girl friends and wives. While the Boy will seriously consider throwing rotten eggs at an ex-girlfriend's car, to `get even'.

Maybe, one day, the older man will discover he can't keep up and needs to be tucked up with his hot water bottle around the same time she gets started clubbing. And she'll realise she can't be seen with a man who dances like the Bee Gees, and thinks the salsa is some kind of condiment.

Or maybe not.

Fortunately there are no absolutes in life. Younger women will date older men. Older women will date younger men. People who are exactly the same age will fall madly in love with each other.

In the end, after all, age is just a number.

(A fortnightly column on the battle of the sexes)

Episode 23: Where have all the cowboys gone?

She says:

Where have all the cowboys gone?

The `macho' man seems to be slowly becoming extinct, as cities get overrun with over-hyped, overdressed metrosexuals. (A clotheshorse wrapped around a dandy fused with a narcissist: Wordspy.) There's no point blaming David Beckham, the man with painted nails and ponytails. The fact is that it's becoming increasingly difficult to tell the men from the girls.

I was at a pub with a big gang of friends watching football recently and, in between goals, two guys intensely discussed hair straightening, swapping tips on techniques and stylists. Men strut in and out of beauty parlours, getting pedicures and facials done. They colour, perm, straighten, twist and tease their hair, probably pouting prettily in front of the mirror all the while. At gyms, they narcissistically work on every part of their body, toning here and shaping there. Muddy sports are out, unless they're being watched on a flat screen television, accompanied by butter-free popcorn and low fat white wine.

And don't even get me started on their diet. Chocolate chip cookies are a fate worse than cellulose. I actually know a man who called for the chef and made him list out ingredients in a low fat milkshake, adding up the calories till he went white and so weak that he had to be revived with a spray of Evian from his `man bag.'

I even have a friend who follows fashion with such a passion he actually made his cousin go back inside and get out of her platform sandals because he was horrified at the thought of being seen with a woman wearing last season's shoes.

And talking of fashion, what's with them masquerading about in all our colours? Pinks, bright greens and aquamarine. Whatever happened to the time when men didn't even know what `aquamarine' meant? What next? Pink lace-trimmed folders at the office? Leave granted by the office for bad hair days? Having to knock out women who whistle at your boyfriend?

From the looks of it, soon country crooner Paula Cole won't be the only one singing, "Where is my John Wayne? Where is my Marlboro man? Where is my lonely ranger? Where is my happy ending?"

He says:

Maybe women hang out with gay men because they feel safe. Maybe that's why they believe that cowboys do not exist. But wait, going by Brokeback Mountain, maybe even the cowboys were never straight.

Cowboy: A hired man, especially in the western United States, who tends cattle and performs many of his duties on horseback. (

Firstly, we do not live in the western United States. Our cowboys have always worn pink and yellow. Ask the cows about a certain Mr. Ramarajan.

The Marlboro man found himself dead and left behind a valuable lesson: Cigarette smoking is injurious to health. Man, being the more intelligent of the species, decided that smoking did not make him macho.

Macho: Used of men; markedly masculine in appearance or manner.


Men have not started getting silicon implants (transvestites excluded), but maybe they are grooming themselves a little more seriously. But then, so have women. Just because they did it first does not mean that they can patent the hairless body as `feminine.'

Because, going by the same logic, many women are tomboys. They wear shirts and pants, some of them smoke, drink beer and some, even womanise.

Yes, what is wrong with keeping track of fashion? Maybe once upon a time, denims, hats and biker beards used to be fashionable, now it's all about whatever makes you look good. Which also determines what men eat.

That's exactly what her problem is: Men look so good these days that she has too much competition to snag him over. Add jealousy to that insecurity and you find a woman wishing for a man who is his simple basic self. You get Paula Cole.

Besides, if hairy men in faded jeans and duller chappals are what you are looking for, maybe you should get out of the `effeminate' circuit and check out the boys at the bus stop. The good old macho man is still alive if you care to look beyond Page 3-types. He still burps, scratches, smells, smokes, drinks and does all those disgusting macho things you hate about him.

Think again. You're safer with wuss company. What are you complaining about?

(A fortnightly column on the battle of the sexes)

Episode 22: Why she won't introduce her friends

He says:

Noticed how women you date don't always introduce you to their friends? Certainly, not in the first few weeks. More so when the friends are pretty.

It's a strange divide-and-rule policy born out of insecurity. Having common friends means her friends will always get two versions of any incident — her version and the truth (Your version, dummy). So why would she want to put herself in a spot?

When she is still dating you, she will have to answer questions like: "What did you guys do?" "Can he drop me home?" "Why don't you bring him along to the party?" and of course, then they have to deal with comments about you: "Oh, he's so cute." "He does the sweetest things. Wish my boyfriend did that for me." "He smells so good."

The first thing you need to know about women is that they are jealous of each other. Haven't you seen how they check out what other women are wearing at the party or even if it's just the coffee shop. Though they might shower each other with compliments, both women know what the other is really thinking. If that applies for clothes, you could imagine how much more they would be jealous about boyfriends. They are paranoid about the friend stealing the boyfriend, a possibility born only by the death of trust in the relationship.

Besides, if at all she stops dating you, then she has to explain and blame it on you. It is rather difficult to paint you as the bad guy if the friend also knows you well.

And imagine the possibility of her friend continuing to be friends with you.

Given the already established premise that women are jealous creatures, it will cause her immense pain and heartburn if you start dating the friend.

Not only will that be her worst nightmare come true, it will also mean she loses her friend and that might endanger friendships within their circle.

Men have no such qualms. They know there are 1.3 trillion fish in the ocean. They are just looking for one. On their plate.

P.S: Sorry Nemo.

She says:

Sit down. Think carefully. Remember Standard II Geography? What did your textbooks say? Somewhere in the fog of French fries and football, this might emerge: `The earth revolves around the sun.' NOT you.

When will men realise that everything is not about them?

If a girlfriend doesn't introduce you to her friends it's not because she stares at the mirror in anguish every morning, wondering which one you'll pick over her. No woman's going to date a man with a mind like a fish, anyway. (Sorry Nemo.)

Because if you're going to change your mind every time you take a turn around the pond, you're better off dating your computer. Maybe you can find a virtual girl, who'll change her hair colour every week and introduce you to all her virtual friends.

Women don't skip introductions because they're insecure. Yes. Of course we check out other women in the room and their arm candy, but that's more out of curiosity than anything else. While stealing a friend's boyfriend might not be too difficult (following the `Men are like sheep' theory) it's really bad manners. And it also smacks of desperation. Besides, who wants to be seen as the wicked vamp (usually plagued with a bad stylist and hideously bright lipstick) anyway?

And trust me, women definitely don't keep their boyfriends hidden because they're afraid their friends will inflate their nostrils, sniff the air like Dobermans and collapse in a pool of mush cooing "Ooh. He smells so good!" After which, I suppose you men presume, they'll fall upon you with cries of joy like a pack of wolves.

The truth is, maybe you weren't introduced because she was too busy to get her friends together to meet you. Or maybe she's ashamed of you. (Still walking about with lunch on your tie?). Or maybe you're just the flavour of the month, and she doesn't want to bother with an introduction that'll be longer than your relationship.

But more likely than not, it's probably because she wants to get to know you better before she lets you into her circle of trust. And that's reasonable enough, isn't it?

(A fortnightly column on the battle of the sexes)

Episode 21: Looks like the topic wont go away

She says:

I was recently knocking back cappuccinos and biscotti with a couple of male friends when the subject of 'who's hot and who's not' came up — as it inevitably does in any male-dominated conversation lasting more than five minutes.

Why do men worry constantly about the number of 'good-looking' women they know, counting and recounting them on their fingers and toes, as if some woman-famine is on its way? And this is regardless of whether they are married, dating, single or desperate.

If you tell a guy that a female friend is coming to town, he will react like a puppy at mealtime: his eyes brighten, ears perk up and an idiotic dreamy expression takes over his face. "So, what does she look like? Pretty?"

That's always the first question. It's quite incredible actually, you could be talking to a Siberian Eskimo and telling him your new dog sled trainer is on her way, and he'd mutter through frostbitten lips, "Is she pretty?" Or maybe you tell your hippie friend that you found a new artists who paints scarves, and he'll say, "Dude, is she, like, a looker?"

Your friend could be a NASA scientist, or an uber-cool tribal artist. She could be a fascinating writer/ stand-up comedian/ hypnotist/ scuba diver, but if her braces aren't off, or her nose is one inch past regulation point, none of the guys really want to meet her. Because, let's face it, almost all men are 'looksist.' (i.e. A condition where you discriminate between people on the basis of how they look.)

They want to date conventionally beautiful women, so that other men envy them. They also want to hang out with good looking women, so — well — other men envy them.

So, when I ignored the question, and just said "she's really nice," both of them immediately guffawed, "so she looks like the backyard of a bus, huh?'' And that's another man thing. You either have to be pretty, or nice. You can never be both, if you're female.

Women, on the other hand, don't really look for good lookers. Yes, they're probably fussy about the men they date, but when it comes to male friends, women don't care how they look as long as they're fun to be with. In fact they prefer low-maintenance rugged men. After all, who wants to share their hair gel and lip salve all the time?

He says:

Right at the beginning of the series, in the second episode, I had said: "Would you like to be seen kissing someone toad ugly? Yes? My number is...."

It's been over 36 weeks, my phone hasn't rung yet.

I had also said that men find most women hot, whether they are dark (Halle Berry), not all that well-toned (Shakeela), not conventionally beautiful (Mallika Sherawat), short (Rani Mukherjee) and even if they are not skimpily clad (Nandita Das) and their definitions of what's hot are pretty broad and all-accommodating.

Now think about all the words women say while describing the prototypes they want to meet: "Perfect Gentleman," "Tall, Dark, Handsome," "Prince Charming," "Mr.Right".

Gentleman = Some guy who's nice to them, plays with pups, wears a Raymonds suit, picks them up, opens doors, takes them for expensive dinners, opens doors and even pays. Very simple needs.

Tall, Dark, Handsome = Women don't go for looks indeed. Tall, Dark, Handsome is the description of his inner beauty, Shallow Hal style, no?

Prince Charming = Yes, royalty is incidental. And charm too. That's why Snow White didn't pick one of the seven dwarfs to fall in love with and just waited for someone appropriate to show up to kiss her.

Mr.Right = Who could be some guy-next-door who's just flunked another paper and stalks the girl he loves, right? He's the guy who is always right when she's wrong, of course.

Yes, there are also those simple women who settle for the regular, intelligent, witty guy with a sense of humour. Such men are so common-place after all.

Now, if you are a woman, put yourself into his shoes.

Are you going to hope meeting someone new with a big shopping list and checkboxes that go: Pretty, Witty, Intelligent, Sense of Humour, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Princess Fiona?

No you don't.

You simply decide that most women are hot at some level or the other or at least assume so, because it makes you happy to believe you are going to meet someone pleasant, irrespective of whether you ever get to date them or not.

Men being the simple guys they are, just ask the same simple question before meeting any girl also because he wants to know what one girl thinks of the other.

Irrespective of her answer, he would anyway go ahead and make his moves if she gives him enough attention.

If she's not his types, he'll just wait for the next friend to arrive.

Men, live in hope, but on Planet Earth. Women live in Wonderland and in trashy romance novels.
Also, why invent a new word when you can simply say men are lookers? He he!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Episode 20: Who's more funny?

He says:

A friend had this theory. He said men are funnier than women. They have this knack of making people around them happy. And not in the gay sense of the word.

Yes, we are NOT talking about the four men in the car who were feeling Happy until Happy got up and ran away. He he!

See, see... you say He He, not She She!

What I'm trying to say here through these really sad jokes is that men don't mind playing the fool. They don't mind being called the clown.

So my friend said: "Think of one person who makes you laugh the most." I did. "Now, was that a girl?" he asked. And No, it wasn't. I must admit here that I do have a few women friends who make me laugh. But only because some of them, like 'She', often are victims of the practical jokes.

I play on them and some others, because they do not know they are funny in a bumbling-goofy sort of way. But no woman is as funny as any guy can be. Being funny is a guy thing. That's because men have a bolder sense of humour. They are more adventurous in going for the jokes. They can be quite irreverent.

Like Cyrus Broacha once said (like he would remember even if he did): The reason you find me funny is because I try hard. If I try 100 lines in an hour and you laugh at least 10 times, you find me funny. How will you be funny if you don't even try?

That's the problem with women. They like to play it safe. Yes, She would like to believe women are sophisticated and classy. But there is a difference between being witty and being funny. We're talking about the funny here. Let me now demonstrate that women cannot be funny and can make you laugh quite unwittingly.

Read the following.

She says:

And that's precisely the problem with men. Their dreadfully juvenile form of slapstick haw-haw humour. (No one says 'hee hee' unless they've just had all their teeth knocked out.)

Want a classic example of male humour? My 'funny' co-writer slunk off with my cell phone at a recent party, and text messaged a random collection of people, including official contacts, saying "I think I'm falling in love with you." Now, about one dozen men are convinced I secretly carry the torch for them, and I'm getting exceedingly strange looks wherever I go. The last time he hijacked my phone, he messaged 'Burp!' to half my contact list. Think that's funny? You must be male.

Hit yourself on top of your head with this newspaper for me, please.

Groan. Why must all men be boys?

The difference between men and women, when it comes to a sense of humour, is the fact that women are far more grown up. I know a number of really interesting women, who are simply hilarious when they start telling stories — a number of which, by the way, are centred around men and the ridiculous things they do.

Because, women are funny in an intelligent sort of way.

And it's not always bookish humour. I went to a girls' boarding school where an average prank took at least half an hour of careful planning, whether it was the creation of a bewildering 'apple pie bed', which included zanily folded sheets to confuse the victim, or midnight feast replete with talented mimicry. The equivalent at the boys' schools was grabbing a junior and flushing his head in the toilet.

And that's the difference between men and women, when it comes to humour: women are funny because you laugh with them.

Men are funny, because — well — just look at them.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Episode 19: Why are women so choosy about friends?

He says:
Ever noticed how women are choosy about friends?

Men just about bond with anybody and everybody. Men and women. Women are picky. Men do not stay away from women who aren't that attractive or smart. Women are snooty.

Men do not assume that every girl who talks to them is hitting on them. Women can be so vain.
Men don't see why they need a reason to be friends. Women need a reason.

They need to either find the guy intelligent or attractive or entertaining or helpful and caring and sensitive and all that you find the shopping for in matrimonial profiles and dating lists.

Isn't it rather strange that most women try to find reasons to be friends after you break up with them? Of course, it is difficult for two people who loved each other to be friends even if one of them still loves the other. But once they've broken up or decided against a relationship, it's probably because they don't really love each other any more, or, at least one of them doesn't love the other enough for the relationship to survive, and hence, it becomes a pointless one-sided exercise which one must get over before they can be friends.

But the point here is, once you are over it, it doesn't take much to be friends. Unlike a relationship which requires people to share lives, time and space, friendship comes with no strings attached.

A friend wouldn't even care if you don't call him for a week. He knows you care even if you call him after two months. Because, for a man, being a friend is as simple as simply being there. Unconditionally.

Men are willing to be friends all the time. With anyone and everyone.

Can a woman dare say the same?

She says:

Dare? We wouldn't dream of it. Of course we're snooty about our friends. We have every right to be.

Friendships between women are very different from friendships between men. The most intense conversation I've seen between two men involved a certain scene from Star Wars.
Most of the time male bonding involves the sports channel, chips and beer. Guys rarely have deep meaningful relationships with each other.

Heck. Guys barely have conversations with each other — unless you count grunts and glugs as conversation.

Which probably explains why men need a 'boys night out' only once a month or so. Why telephone conversations between men rarely last more than five minutes. And why men always, and I mean always, want female company — whether it's in the form of girlfriends or just girl buddies — no matter where they are.

Try looking for a straight man who will willingly go to an all male party and you'll be circling the globe forever.

Women, on the other hand, love Girls Nights. And this is regardless of whether they're pig-tailed horrors in flannel pyjamas encrusted with chocolate at a pyjama party; perfectly turned out, cocktail drinking hipsters at a nightclub, or dignified greying friends gathered around a card table sharing gossip and Darjeeling tea.

Because women truly enjoy each other's company.

We do things together, whether it's going for group beauty parlour binges or shoe shopping sprees. We make sincere efforts to keep in touch, even if it involves trans-Atlantic phone calls or taking a train, bus and autorickshaw to share a pot of tea. And we depend on each other, being supportive though break-ups and bad hair days.

Which is precisely why we're picky about who we count among our friends. Because we need to have people we can count on. Not just go fishing with.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Episode 18: Why would she want to be picked-up?

She says:

I clicked open my gmail inbox, and almost fell off my chair. There it was, boldly printed across the page. "If I were stranded on a desert island, I wouldn't need three things - I'd just take you," from some guy I didn't even know.

And I thought Austin Powers was the only person with enough chutzpah to use pickup lines in this day and age!

A pickup line (and this is to all you squares who've never feverishly browsed the net, or taken down lines from movies to impress a girl) is an outrageous icebreaker, used by some smooth operators. And many, many complete klutzes.

But, no matter how witty or pathetic they are, they always achieve one thing. They give women a really good laugh.

And sometimes, that's the best icebreaker you can possibly have.

After all, most of the best lines are the funny ones. Like the guy who beams, "You know, I'm not really this tall. I'm just sitting on my wallet." Or a simpler, "Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?" Besides, who can resist someone who saunters over and says, "You see my friend over there? (Pointing to friend who sheepishly waves from afar.) He wants to know if you think I'm cute."

Well, provided he's cute.

Because a pickup line is a conversation starter and is therefore only as useful as the conversation that follows it. So if you're going to be a duck anyway, don't bother swaggering about with just one line in your head.

Especially if it's the Dumb And Dumber variety: "So yr a girl, huh!" or, "I'm not trying to pick you up. You're like too heavy. Huh huh huh huh. Get it?"

If you think that's bad, try being on the receiving end of lines that make you wonder how he manages to walk without melting into a mess of gooey pink slop. Like "I didn't know angels could fly so low!" Or "Your beauty makes the morning sun look like the dull glimmer of the
moon." Ew!

But even they're better than the stock, "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" Or even more yawn-worthy, "What's your sign?"

They might trigger a response, but - trust me - she's far more likely to remember the chap who murmured, "Was your father a thief? Because he stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes." Even if it's only in a hysterical bout of laughter.

He Says:

Yeah, right.
If pick-up lines were the only things you needed to break ice, man would have bought real estate in Antartica. And built castles the size of skyscrapers.

It's no big deal really, after all, pick-up lines (all the good ones she listed) are just a website ( has 1200 such lines) or a Google search away. Why would a girl fall for a pick-up line? Unless she wants to be picked up.

Let's face it, if women went only for men who make them laugh, Senthil, Goundamani, Loose Mohan, Johnny Lever, Vadivelu, Vivek, Crazy Mohan and Cyrus Broacha would be grinning away on a water-bed in some beach-house in Ibiza with a hundred bikini babes around them doing the MTV Grind.

So what role to lines play anyway?

They work as a mere excuse, if she's waiting to be picked up. She would laugh even if you told her that she needed a dentist appointment, instead of saying "I need an dentist appointment. I just dropped my jaw and need to fix it."

(Psst: Now, if her theory is true, for that line above, I should be having more dates than the calendar. Instead, my life is the sort of desert where even dates of the edible variety refuse to grow.)

So are there better ways to make her remember you?

Yes, of course.

Sit next to her, make sure the bartender sees you talking to her (What do you talk? Ask her what time it is and leave saying: "See you soon" ) and when she's not looking, tell the bartender she's paying and walk away. She'll find you. If she doesn't, how does it matter? You just got yourself a free drink. *grin*

Episode 17: Do the Chance Pe Dance like a Man!

She says:

Macho men don't dance. But that's why they're so dumb. Because even as they skulk manfully beside the bar, looking snottily at the dance floor as they flex their muscles picking up ice cubes, some smooth operator with gel in his hair will oil in and impress all the women with his John Travolta moves.

Women adore men who dance. And who can blame them? It's a choice between standing like a wallflower besides Rambo all night, as he tries to make small talk over loud addictive music, or being swept onto the dance floor by a hunky Ricky Martin look alike, (and men with dance moves somehow always seem hunky) who then proceeds to teach you how to salsa like some groovy girl from the movies.

Yeah. You can blame it on the movies. Every girl who's ever been brought up on a balanced diet of dance movies, from John Travolta in Grease to Patrick Swayze in that all time favourite 'Dirty Dancing,' dreams of someday meeting The Man Who Dances.

However, he's as rare a species these days as The Man Who Opens Doors. And the whole problem is the fact that a large number of men think dancing is effeminate. Which, in other words means, they look like idiots on the dance floor.

Fortunately, help is at hand. Dance schools are opening up in ever city. And are they drawing people? Well, does Puff Daddy like jewellery?

Women flock to dance classes. And, as everyone knows, where women go men will follow. The smart men who learn how to dance have a never-fail opening line at parties, "Shall I teach you the Samba/Salsa/ Lambada/ to Jive?" I've seen parties where women queue up to dance with these man.

And for Rambo? Well, let's hope his ice keeps him warm.

He says:

Going by her account, there are only two kinds they notice in a disco: A Rambo or a Disco Dancer.

I won't bother taking Stallone's side because she's anyway explained why he's boring.
What I would talk about is the disco dancer: Yes, yes, the Mithun Da types. (Then what? You thought you ll find Patrick Swayze or Travolta on the dance floor? This is India, madam. Here only hero-tapori or dance master types do dance-wance on the floor.)

Actually, I CAN imagine her match step to step with the likes of Prabhu Deva, Raju Sundaram, Govinda, Mithun or Simbu, all reputed to be the best dancers around. Or occasionally, the Michael Jackson look-alikes doing the moonwalk after a couple of rounds.

Since these guys are obviously unattainable, the women settle for lesser dancers. Like that one guy on the floor who can dance, the smooth operator who has more dates than the calendar itself. What does this guy do? He entertains yet another woman who fancies her chance with him for a dance or more. Does the 'dance' when he gets a chance or more.

Before he can move over to the prettier, hotter, item number on the floor. Like she said, there's a queue to choose from.

Before he can arrive at the best of the lot, he has to be polite enough to entertain scores of other women with two left feet, bad breath, body odour, terrible sense of humour, alcoholics and the other single lonely Bridget Joness who fancy him.

While one out of these 100 get the man that evening, what happens to the other 99? They go hunting for others who can dance, wait for their turn or drink their blues away. Three drinks later, when they can't tell whether they are dancing or not, our man with the ice-cubes steps in. Now our Stallone has a choice: 99 desperate women!

Come on guys, who would you rather be? A guy with the arms to carry her home? Or the guy mobbed by women you don't want to dance with?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Episode 16: Can a guy and girl be just friends?

He says:

"No man can be friends with a woman whom he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her," said a wise man called Harry Burns when he met Sally Albright.

"Yes, that's right, they can't be friends. Unless both of them are involved with other people, then they can," Harry explained.

It's been 17 years since he said that and yet women don't seem to have really got the hang of what he means. They actually believe that the guy who calls every single day and goes out of his way to help her is "so sweet" and (wants to be) just friends.

Oh! Please! Men surely have better things to do than play guardian angel. Like it's their new full-time job or mission statement for life.

Now, let's consider for a minute the profile of these guys who do that.

a. He is single. Obviously, otherwise, he would be running around to get his own girl to like him.

b. He is not her type. Because, if he was, she would have seen through his desperate attempts to woo her.

c. He has friends who believe, or in some cases, KNOW that he likes her more than a friend.

d. He does not have another girl that he finds attractive as a friend. Because if he did, he would be doing that for her too.

e. He is the initiator... the guy who takes the effort to make conversation, at least most of the time.

Is that some sort of a co-incidence now that they somehow meet all those traits?

Fat chance. The truth is women like the attention they get, they don't want to say `No' to it or confront him because they don't want to lose the benefits. Besides, till the guy has said it, you can always just be "friends".

It is high time these do-gooder gentlemen woke up to see that if she hasn't seen his love in all that he has done for her, she's probably blind. Or plain dumb.

She says:

And men, of course, are assuming that women are really taken in by the `let's be friends' gag?

`Friendship,' my poor misguided young male puppets, is sometimes just a convenient way for women to make cow-eyes at you over canteen Cokes, or three course dinners. You might think you have the upper hand, but you're just being checked out to see if you are date worthy.

Because when a women is `just friends' with a guy, she gets a sneak peek at how he really thinks, behaves and relates to other people. (Pssst. A word of advice. Act snotty with the waiter and you're out in the cold.)

More important, being able to say, "we're just good friends, ya" lets you off the hook, when nosy friends start prodding you for details, and your mother begins to plan a June wedding in her head.

In fact, Indian ingenuity has come up with an even better way of concealing a relationship that's too young and unsteady to announce. The "He's like my brother," and `She's like my sister' story makes it so easy for all those totally unrelated siblings to watch sunsets hand-in-hand with nobody getting suspicious and tracing family trees. But, please remember, it doesn't work this way with everybody. Of course, men and women can be friends. Otherwise, imagine what a warped world this would be.

Men need their women friends. For one, men have terrible taste when it comes to picking out clothes or solitaires for their girlfriends, and can always do with some female guidance. Besides, female company keeps men civilised. Look at what happened in William Golding's "Lord Of the Flies", where a bunch of boys abandoned on an island began to eat each other!

And yes, women need their male friends too. They give us a man's perspective on life, making it easier to understand boyfriends. They are generally completely chilled out, which makes them easy to hang out with. And they're useful at times when you need someone to carry your shopping, help you move furniture into a new house, or get rid of an over zealous admirer.

Boyfriends are nice to have around, but guy friends are essential.

Episode 15: Who's more commitment-phobic?

He says:

Who's scared of commitment?

Women. At least, initially.

And, only after women get over that phobia do men catch it.

Because, being all heart, men like to dive head over heels into romance. They love the courting period. The honeymoon phase when she dresses up for him gives him his space and does not ask too many questions. In fact, she doesn't want to label it anything.

It can't get any rosier than this with an unlimited supply of love, no strings attached.

You ditch your buddies to spend time with the girl and suddenly, you're not one of the losers at the bar. The girl's friends want to get to know you too and before you know it, you're a stud. You like it when she actually blushes when her friends talk about you to her. You are always at your best because you're trying to make her fall in love with you everyday. It's easily the best phase of romance because it is unconditional love.

Fast forward: A few months later.

She stops dressing up, wants to know where you are every time she calls and why you didn't take her call in the middle of the night, while you were sleeping. She thinks getting a gift from you is too routine and soon enough, you realise the futility of pampering her. You are taken for granted.

Her life completely starts revolving around yours. She loses touch with her friends because they are busy trying to keep their respective boyfriends on a leash. So much so that now you have to ditch her if you want to spend an evening with friends and if you don't, you become a hen-pecked loser.

A serious relationship mostly spells the death of freedom for men. Maybe that's why they turn commitment-phobic.

For the same reasons no one wants to go to prison.

She says:

The thing is men are a little like cell phones.

As soon as you settle for the best looking model in the market, a nicer one comes along. It even has many more features than your old model. And before you know it, you're thinking of trading it/him in. Especially when the old one starts to malfunction (i.e. It stops bringing you flowers and starts walking around in sloppy old T-shirts).

No wonder commitment is so difficult. For women.

Which makes you wonder why every other man you know seems to be whining about how his girlfriend is getting obsessive.

Take a case study. An average man will walk around for weeks with a face as long as a horse, begging for an introduction to some girl he's probably just heard about.

Once he meets her, he goes overboard, gushing about how wonderful she is, sending her flowers, ringing her up twenty times a day, introducing her to all his friends and insisting on meeting all her pals.

If she stays cold and aloof, that's wonderful. He'll climb every mountain, search every stream, and follow every rainbow till she gives in. But, if she's stupid enough to admit she likes him, puts his number on speed dial and starts treating him like a boyfriend, that's the end of the relationship. (Ever wondered why `playing hard to get' is every woman's favourite game?)

But just as things start working out, he's walking around with that hangdog expression again, complaining about being "tied down" and calling himself a hen pecked loser.

A guy like that's a loser all right, but it has nothing to do with the `hen'.

And it's exactly at that point his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend starts her market research again.

Something every woman is forced to keep doing till she finds The One. And, the thing is, he may not really be the richest, or the smartest, or the funniest man she's ever met.

But if he's grown up enough to realise that freedom is just a state of mind, and that he's found a relationship he's happy enough to stay in, that makes him an irreplaceable model. One that never gets outdated.

And that's something even Nokia can't top.

Episode 14: Diamonds, girl's best friends?

He says:

Which girl will actually go on record and agree `Diamonds are a girl's best friend'? It's another thing that she will feel on top of the world when you get her that stone. And proverbs do not happen for no reason unless there's some universal truth attributed to it over the ages. Whether they agree or not, women do have sophisticated, exquisite (read expensive), classy taste. Some are good at concealing it, some aren't as smart.

But seriously, there is nothing wrong about it really. It's completely ok to admit you have classy, sophisticated, exquisite taste. After all, if they did not have a refined sensibility, why would they go out with men in the first place? A man, on the other hand, does not really need a diamond for a best friend. He will be equally happy if you buy him a beer or better still, if you just give it to him in any other kind. The kinder the better, actually (wink wink). Yes, it is much easier for a woman to please a man than it is for a man to please a woman. Men are happy with the simplest of things.

Whether it is a thoughtful SMS in the middle of the night or even when they are pulled up for coming late or returning her call late. They feel good to be wanted. To be loved. The smallest of gestures are enough to make him happy. The question, however, still remains as to why do men move heaven and earth to please the woman? Because, men remember that wonderful credit card campaign: One five-star dinner: 1,000 bucks. A diamond: 10,000 bucks. The smile on her face when you give that to her: Priceless.

She says:

That's a totally untrue — not to mention appalling — statement to make. Diamonds are certainly not a girl's best friend.

There's also platinum. And antique gold jewellery studded with rubies and emeralds. Oh, and we mustn't leave out designer crystal necklaces. Or... gasp... shoes. Stylish sneakers for the day. Strappy red stilettos for the night. Handbags for lunching. Evening bags for clubbing. That 12th pair of must-have pink Capris...

To reduce it to diamonds just seems so insincere.

Yeah. Yeah. I know that at this point I'm supposed to sigh endearingly and say the material world just doesn't matter. And a woman is only interested in the heart that beats under that Tommy Hilfiger shirt, not the wallet that accompanies it. Gag.

But honestly, a man who believes that probably reads Mills and Boon romances in his spare time, even as he waits patiently for a `demure rose' to flutter her eyelashes at him across a cappuccino bar someday.

The thing is every Rose, Renee and Reenaa sipping a low-fat caramel macchiato in a coffee shop is waiting too. But they're looking for the `complete man' and any old thing with a warm heart and last season's trousers just won't cut it.

That's what happens when you have sophisticated, exquisite (read expensive), classy taste. (By the way, the Bluebeards among us needn't start popping open their Moet Chandon just yet. A nice guy with a skinny bank account is still far more attractive than a shallow, mean or nasty man with a yacht.)

Sure, women are materialistic. And most men, I must admit, aren't. Give a guy a two-paragraph limerick for his birthday and he'll be thrilled to bits. Try passing that off on a woman and you won't remember what happened after her Prada handbag crashed through the roof of your skull.

The good news? Today's girls aren't really waiting for you to wrestle open your wallet and start buying solitaires. They buy their own diamonds. And platinum. And cars. (Mostly because they don't trust your taste).

You just need to stand around looking stylish and reasonably rich. Now that's not too much to ask, is it?

(A fortnightly column on the battle of the sexes.)