What month are you born in?” January. “Ah, you’re horny!” What ... I fume inwardly. Horny! The basest male element. No, I protest. What I said is that I don’t miss a man as much as I miss being held. That doesn't quite add up to my being a sex seeker? He holds my gaze and almost coos — gently breaking the news — “a woman’s need to be held is no different than a man’s need for sex.” Much made sense in that one profound instant… That when I say, hold me, what he hears is: do me? Hmm. Silly, horny me.
That he is gay, and that we have this conversation at a gay party where the gathered have absolutely no interest in me, or my curve-flaunting tangerine dress, lends a certain gravitas to what would otherwise be easy to dismiss. He’d walked up to me asking, innocuously, what it took to look stunning… standing cross-legged in stilettoes, amidst an assortment of men seeking men. It got us to banter, and for me to articulate my current detached state where hallelujah was a mere embrace. A momentary nestling — nothing deeper.
You’ll get there. Having accepted it’s over. Mastered that clipped one-liner together with that straight look to tell them it’s over, and it’s okay. You start stepping out. Of course, it feels strange to be single again. After years of living in matrimonied plurality the uncoupling is singular and stark. But even as there is pronounced pain it comes with sufficient doses of deliverance. And buoyancy. And flight. There is an uncontained feeling of nonconformity that cannot be explained — only experienced.
Blind date, my first ever. A close friend sets it up. Only, it isn’t a date, she insists, but an introduction to a close friend. Who happens to be divorced, and is in the market for lady friends similarly matrimonied — ha! But am I looking for friends, esp. male? No. Am I on Tinder? Hell, no! Did I take Hari’s advice and sign up with the dating community for the divorced? “My sister managed to get married again.”
Marriage, even after choosing to unsubscribe, remains the ultimate aspiration. Why are we so petrified of being by ourselves? And rarely when not, those around, terrified of our illusory aloneness, race to unburden us onto another. And yet I say yes to his asking me out that very evening. And yet, its inconsequentiality is unmistakable.
Never having been set up before has me standoffish. And that he doesn’t pass muster has me bored. Mine have always been athletic. Tall. Striking. Distinguished… And so I merely look into my Merlot, which is a modest Sula Satori, and let him hold centrestage. The common thread is our failed marriages. He calls it inheritance of loss. I say nothing. Of which I do a lot that evening. But, hold on, what’s that he’s saying — instant connect. Really? I merely smile and leave him be. Resist nothing, a wise friend proffered. And I am letting life live through me. Never mind that the profundity is reduced to suffering insipid company.
Mr Blind Date is a partner at a wealth advisory. Drives a Beamer. Has a second home. Vacations in Bali … Yes, he ticks all the boxes. He’s tubby all right. But that wasn’t the impediment. What then do I seek? No one. Nobody. Not now. Not for a while. Just undone there’s no rush to domesticity. And then there’s that inexplicable nonconformity. You’re good to take a stab at just about anything … A new job. A new address. A new best friend. A new hairdo. Amateur riding. Blind date. Gay soiree.
The dichotomy is delicious. You seek nothing yet have the appetite for it all… But it’s a brief season. Rather like green asparagus. For, would I do it again? The men-for-men evening. That unrestrained conversation with a complete stranger. Of wanting to be held. The blind date with Tubby on a few hours notice? Moving bag and baggage to New York, New Delhi and back to Bombay in eight months. Perhaps not.
Our prejudices are us. As normalcy creeps back that blasé fearlessness departs. You begin to conform; to blend in - and it’s a sign of recovery. And yet… Hold on to a spot of that nonconformity. The sparkle. The delight. The pluck. Make it yours beyond the just-divorced phase. And that newfound repose in aloneness? Lose it to your own end.
Nupur Mahajan is a sum of many parts. Ideas are her business even as her creative streak sees her straddle television, advertising, publishing, radio and brands. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.