In class tenth I bought a notebook. We all did. It was the ‘slam’ diary; blank pages meant to be filled by people who knew you or those whose opinion you cared about—mainly your crush.
This notebook of mine was passed around and almost everybody I knew wrote in it. If I did a word search, the most common would be ‘cool’ and ‘attitude’. Neither complements the other. They appear separately. The kind of thing you’d say as a euphemism for ‘I respect you but you’re a bit much.’
I did not mind it. I was the cool girl. I was the girl who knew more about cars but who also knew about fashion. I knew Eminem and Enrique. I had more friends buried in words than in real life. The only romance and love I got was from printed words. And that was okay. People who claimed to have crushes on me never confessed. “You’re intimidating,” they said. I have never had a man confess his undying love to me and I doubt I ever will.
I have been in relationships. I have been in love. I have performed romantic gestures that would make Karan Johar cry and Nicholas Sparks weep into his wife’s lace handkerchief. I have songs for all stages of love by bands as obscure as Neptune’s fifth moon. Never has any of that happened to me. I have given my all yet have never had a man sweep me off my feet. One explanation I got for this was, “you’re cool.” Thanks mate.
I am simply not that girl.
I get the respect. I get the admiration. I get to hear the bro talk. I get them laughing. I get the debates.
I am not the one the guy sings the cheesy songs for or the one which makes Archies and Hallmark a success. I do not get teddy bears. I am not the girl a man will stare at, his worries and time forgotten. I will not make him feel manly, the delicate woman in need of protection. I do not look delicate and I cannot make him feel like a man. I am not prone to hysterics, so I won’t need your rationality. I will ask you questions about yourself, your emotions, your thoughts; questions that will be uncomfortable because they will make you think. I will never make you feel needed because I simply do not need you. I’ll want you but you will have to too.
And this will make you leave. Because to love me, you’ll have to bend too. And it is so much easier finding a woman who is easier to love. Someone who will make you happy and that alone. No one falls in love with ‘Ms. Attitude’ or ‘Ms. Sarcasm.’
They have said it. Saying and staying-after-saying are two very different things. I am not the girl you’ll profess your love for at first sight or in the throes of infatuation.
But on most days it feels okay because someday someone – will not fall – but slowly walk towards loving me. You’ll say it with the earnestness of a child reciting the alphabet for the first time to a room full of elders. Measured and knowing. The words will be said confidently. They will be warm like the blanket you’ll let me hog on a cold winter night. We will appreciate what we have and recognise it to be the foundation on which lasting love is built on. I do not say this with pseudo stoicism.
I say this with dratted hope.