Taller Stronger Sharper

“Taller, stronger, sharper”, No, this is not a Horlicks promotion. These are the three qualities a guy doesn’t want his girlfriend or future wife to have. And there is “older” too. But guys, you are not at fault for this, the society is; and evolution as well, to some extent. Look around, you will find plenty of examples. When it comes to marriage, everybody is looking for a ‘match’. It is generally understood that a ‘good match’ results in a ‘good marriage’. And the following belief is, a ‘good marriage’ results in a ‘happy life’. I believe the latter is a myth, no offense.

Love is visually challenged. Not blind, because that is harsh. And love does not deserve harsh. Because of this fact (yes, fact!) whatever I am going to present will be in context of marriage not love, although love and marriage are not always mutually exclusive. So, let’s get back to a ‘good match’. Safe to say, the stereotype of a good match fulfills the criteria of, what we can call a patriarchal setup. A good match should place the man above the woman in every way that counts. Some of them would be: height, strength, intellect and age.

Guys were talking in the college canteen and the topic was, quite naturally, girls. I study in an engineering college. That was my ‘joke of the day’. If it was not for engineering colleges and their students’ sex ratio, the jokes on social media platforms would get halved at least. So, one of my friends was evaluating different parameters for preparing a shortlist of his future probable partners. A girl was mentioned, to which everybody agreed in unison! There was one problem however. She was too tall, or at least taller than my ‘shortlister’ friend. There it was, one inch and game over. Ever heard the joke, in which a person shorter than his wife is addressed as her son by her friends? Think for a moment, why it was funny. There is no logic behind it, because logic is a luxury that stereotypes do not have.

In nature, some species have larger males, like lions, whereas some others have larger females, like most reptiles. And the stronger sex dominates. In humans, the very idea of strength should become so diverse that, it should be difficult to choose the strength defining criteria. So, neither of the sexes could be called stronger, especially if we consider ourselves superior to rest of the species. Sadly that has not been the case. And that is why I believe we are not fully human, not yet. Physically, nature has made men stronger than women. It has played its part in shaping this male dominant society. However, holding nature responsible would be a pointless act. The civilizations should have made the efforts to balance what nature could not. But strength triumphed here too. Men wrote the rules- “Of the men, by the men, for the men”, welcome to ‘men-o-cracy’.

In the pre-civilization times, men usually did two things: Find food and fight for women. Not as fighting for women’s rights, that was yet to come, rather to have them as mates. Stronger men would win and were also preferred by women because they guaranteed survival. We live in the most luxurious times in human history. Men don’t have to hunt for every meal, but they still fight for women, “old habits die hard”. As we advance towards a more sophisticated age, the world is becoming more dependent on the human intellect, rather than on the physical effort. And when it comes to intellect, Mother Nature has been kind enough to bless both sexes, with no discrimination. However, the way they use it, depends entirely upon them.

Marriage, being an old institution, hardly cares what has changed in the ways of the world. And as it is with all old things, marriage and our concepts regarding it refuse to change. So, for a ‘good match’, the man should be stronger than the woman, physically at least, since their minds cannot be seen. Either do this and join the herd, or be ready to watch yourself being made into a joke, like the one you laughed at earlier. But this time it will be on you. And everybody loves a joke until it is on them.

Another criterion to be checked is that, the man should be more intelligent and talented than the woman. This not only boosts his man pride, but makes her a permanent victim of his frustrations. Because he can tell her how awesome he is, and how insignificant her achievements are compared to his. Have you watched ‘Sultan’ starring Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma? It can be easily explained through this movie. I went to watch it with an impression that it was a love story. What I got was a story of a worthless guy who fell for an established wrestler, and faced rejection, which hurt his man-pride. He then broke all limits of sanity to achieve great things, not because they were important to him but ‘to show her’. The happy ending to the movie was followed by claps all around, while I searched for the exit. I was disappointed not just with the film, but with how the happy ending curtained the sad reality. That was not a love story, rather just a man-pride in action. And coming from Salman Khan, I wonder how many people it inspired. I hope the number is not too high.

Sachin Tendulkar is one of the best batsmen ever, but one of the most popular facts about him is, his wife is 5 years older than him. Recently, Emmanuel Macron was elected the French president. And the first article about him that I came across was on his “abnormal love story” with his wife Brigitte Macron, who is 24 years older than him. Absolutely right, in a world where all the judgments are based on patriarchal parameters, this is abnormal. Not so long ago Donald Trump was elected the American president, and interestingly his current wife, Melania Trump is about 24 years younger than him. But I did not find a single article on their “abnormal love story”. I thought of two possible reasons: One, Mr. Trump did not love Mrs. Trump. Another, world is definitely judged on patriarchal parameters. I settled with the latter.

You will rarely find marriages that violate these established norms. Mostly because the majority of the marriages are arranged, and such marriages are based more on bodily requirements than love. People defending arranged marriages say that love eventually grows. It might, on rare occasions, the rest of the time it is just adjustments misunderstood as love. In the end, I just have a few free pieces of advice to give, not only to you but to myself as well. Yes, and that is what bothers me the most. I hope I will be freed from these teachings as I try to explain them to you. I hate giving sermons, but I think I will have to do it this time, even though I have no authority. For guys: It doesn’t matter if your girlfriend/wife over performs in any of the aforementioned criteria. But don’t trust me, think about it yourself, don’t just follow social guidelines. For girls: It is okay to date/marry a guy whom you overshadow in any/all four departments. I know it sounds obvious, but it is not so obvious if you look around. You can challenge the world to make it more equal. I don’t say doing this will achieve it, but it will be a step, a notable one at that. Or else, you can ignore all of this and go with the flow. Keep one thing in mind though: Don’t drink too much Horlicks!

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