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Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

When was the first time I thought about love? I would have been twelve years old. At that age, despite having most of my peers resort to varied methods of hair removal, I turned to nature conservation: I maintained a mini Amazon on my legs as razors were locked away; even masking tape at times.

At twelve, I could barely contain my enthusiasm to leave school to have a boyfriend. Back then, having a “boy” or “friend”; or a combination was a carnal sin; everyone knows that. So, the agreed “age” according to ‘The Mother’ was nineteen, which was a constant moving target.

Right. Enough with the nostalgia. The real reason I decided to delve in to relationships is because of the horror stories I hear from the people around me.

When did relationships turn out to be the Steven Spielberg movie it is today? If you do not already know what I am talking about, please, no, really, stop and smack yourself with a hard/sharp object. Relationships, for some have turned in to a tumult that
deals with cheating, lying, and antipathetic partners. My faith in relationships are fast-dwindling, to say the least.

In my opinion, relationships can end because of multiple reasons: he/she could lose interest in you; is no longer the reason you smile; decide your annual income could afford a small island; decide your enveloping abdominal area could double as a burrow that can hide a small rabbit family; end because you cannot iron a shirt (hand raised); decide than one’s undiluted love no longer suffices. Whatever the reason may be, I lay it down to him/her cheating on their partner. It does not necessary have to be about a sleazy, drunken one-night-stand that you remember nothing of, but that very reason that your partner uses calls the quits means they have cheated on your love, cheated you with their love, cheated your dreams and cheated you on all the promises that formed the basis of your relationship.

Do I make sense? Have I raise the bar too high?

Cheating – I keep saying this word as I write; the more I say it, the more meaning it adds. Remember the first few days when he promises that he can never love anyone the way he loves her now; and how she would reply, starry-eyed that she will not have a reason to live without him? It sounds vaguely familiar doesn’t it? This was the time you ordered only greens off a menu to impress him, and he bothered with designer underwear.

Now, months or years later, does saving his number on your mobile go from ‘My Life’, ‘My Love’, or let’s get creative, ‘Baby Love’,(I actually cringe; guilt, I suppose?) to his name being typed in lowercase? Do you decide to ‘silence’ an incoming call from her, dismissing it as may be a frivolous call to say she has missed her appointment at Ramani Fernando’s and what should she do. There was a time you would lie to the boss and say it was your sick mother calling to answer a call during a meeting, or say you were inputting information from the presentation to your mobile to reply her SMS.

Remember the time you spoke an alien language? I am embarrassed as hell to admit it, but I adopted linguistic abilities of a toddler to communicate with my former boyfriend. I wished I had done sexy dominatrix than talk ‘baby’. Remember calling her even when you needed to pee, just because you could not wait five minutes without cooing to each other? Now, texting her with three or more words is a chore. It is limited to ‘In mtng. Cl u bk’ – the woe of abbreviation.

There could have been times florists experienced economic boom because of relationships. There were flowers, to celebrate your firsts – first week, first month or first kiss. (I’m going to stop there) I actually know of women who beg, demand, and request flowers from their spouses for a birthday or anniversary just so she could stop her friends from discussing her plummeting relationship.

Remember picking her up from home to go out somewhere? She could have kept him waiting for half an hour, never would it matter; she would be greeted with "Oh, babe, it was only a few minutes, besides you look hot". A few months in to the relationship, he would call when he is fifteen minutes away to ask her to be at the gate. If she is late, he will sulk the whole evening. When was the last time you made an effort to look good for him? Right, you have bagged him but when did you slither in to a comfort zone that your eyebrows resemble ropes that a child could play ‘Tarzan’. A little effort in the dress department could remind him that not only has he has himself a beautiful lady, but it does a world of good to your self-esteem and confidence.

My friend, let’s call her Tina – has been married to her first boyfriend for ten years; over the last few Tina’s happiness has depleted; her confidence lost and self-esteem is almost non-existent. She is by far one of the most capable women I know – it did not make sense as to why she was trapped in a cage of misery. One day Tina appeared in office, eyes puffed and red obviously from hours of crying hard in to a pillow. On being asked why, she shared a story of how she had bought a gift for her husband’s birthday yesterday. His response to a shirt and tie were “Do you call these gifts? Please don’t buy me clothes based on how you select table linen” to make matters worse, a few months before, she was looking for something in a wardrobe they shared and stashed away carefully were gifts she had bought him over the years, unopened and still in their wrapping. She was visibly crushed; there was nothing I could say or do to make her feel better.

There could be times you do not enthuse over the gifts your partner has given you. Maybe you felt it was too cheap or you expected differently – would it kill you to wear it or say something appreciative? Tina was in so much pain; she made an effort, waiting year after year for a ‘thank you’ only to be scorned at. Tina’s husband is to emotions what Bruce Lee is to bad guys; this story is one of the least degrading ones she has shared with me; he, in my opinion has cheated her of the promise to cherish her and put her above everything else.

I am going to step on a few toes now; I have heard/overheard so many conversations of how ‘inadequate’ some husbands are: the grounds for this accusations are bizarre. How many times have we thought to ourselves ‘I wish earned as much as so we can go away for the holidays’; ‘I wish we had a better car; I’m almost embarrassed to be in this’, ‘He is showing signs of balding – and his pot belly shows more than . Is this why you leave him wondering what was SO wrong about where he kept his shirt? It is these little voices in your head that make you so angry that the smallest error is opportune for you to vent your frustration. I am probably not supposed to let men on these secrets but aren’t you cheating him? What happened to loving him, for better or worse; despite the bank balance and automobile avarice?

I was talking to a male friend, Paul a few months ago. (I am terrible with the pseudo names, aren’t I?) Paul’s philandering is justifiable because no matter what he ‘does’, he always goes home to his wife and that, my dear, is supposed to make everything alright. The fact that he still shared his marital bed with his wife provides for her and his children, his other women are justifiable. Somehow, I thought of Will Smith’s memory eraser. He says that after six years of marriage, engaging in coitus does not ‘excite’ him; we all know that it is her fault that she is bone-tired after tending to two children under five, cooking for their family of six, ensuring the laundry is done, and working full-time. She is at fault for coming to bed hours after him after completing house woke, looks bleary-eyed when is woken up several times by their children after a nightmare, and gets up at four a.m to prepare the meals for the day that she no longer cares for physical pleasure. My pineapple nearly went to waste when I almost choked on it when he said that his ‘other women’ keep his marriage alive because his un-addressed physical needs met.

Do men imagine that their wives’ looks remain permanent despite her age? Is your face, waist size remain a constant after child birth? Do they think that a mother would rather do her nails or the fitness regimen that promises firm buns in ten minutes a day when they have their children to feed, read bed-time stories to read? That rare moment you catch them off guard when they are sipping their morning tea is not them planning a trip to the salon – they are probably pondering about what you would like cooked for dinner.

Relationships are fast becoming a cheap commodity. As a single person, I long for a time where I can bask in my partner’s love to know that delicious joy of referring to your plans as ‘our’ plans. You have the power to make single people all over the world aspire, dream and desire to be you. So, it boils down to my question – Are you a pumpkin eater?

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