celibacy, holidays, life, miscellaneous, thoughts, women

Traveling alone in India

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIndia has been in the news lately for a tragic event. A 23-year old female student was assaulted by a group of men. She’s still in hospital right now.

Another young Indian woman published a testimony in a Wall Street Journal blog showing that India is still very far from an equality between the sexes.

But I’m not really surprised.

I went to India at the beginning of the year. Alone. My trip was organized. But I had to travel with a driver alone most of the time, even if he was following a group of other people who were never far from our car.

On the road, I met quite a few women traveling on their own. They were French or British. Traveling very low key. Most of the travel guides have various warnings for women traveling alone. And also, when I arrived in India, one guy at the hotel where I was staying handed me a leaflet for the tourists, mentioning about the proper clothes and attitudes we should adopt in the country.

The Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, located in the North of the country, are known for not being that tolerant with tourists, unlike in the South.

The woman conditions in those regions, particularly in the rural villages of Rajasthan, are still very dire.

Once, we stopped on our way to Bikaner to have a rest. And while we were chatting, I could see a man throwing stones on a woman in a field nearby. Around me, I could see men playing cards or discussing or sleeping, while their women were working hard in the field nearby.

In the city of Bikaner, it wasn’t better.

In Jodhpur, I met in the bazaar the only woman who holds a spice shop. She inherited it from her father who died of a heart attack. She told me it was really hard for her when she started to run the shop, because other men didn’t respect her.  But the tourists flock to her shop, where she is more than welcoming and kind to every of her visitors.

In Jaipur, I wanted to walk a bit on my own, much to my driver’s dismay. In the streets, I realized I was the only woman, but no one came bothering me. To be fair, I never left my sunglasses off. I felt much secure having it on my nose during my travel.

I didn’t have the time to visit Delhi before going back to my country. But I could see, near the gate of India, young Indian couples very modern compared to what I just saw in Rajasthan.

Yet, on my way back, I met a filmmaker who was traveling back to New York. She told me she went to see her mom in Delhi. I asked her if she considered living here in Delhi, but she replied she felt much better off in New York. Because of the culture. She was still young, and single. I guess it’s easier to be single in New York than in Delhi.

broken heart, celibacy, life, love, miscellaneous, relationships, thoughts, women

An independent mother’s day

With the oil prices about 96 dollars for the WTI and 113 dollars for the Brent, the cost of life has risen for everyone. But it hurts the most those who can’t stretch their earnings. Among those people, we found the single moms.

One of my friends divorced three years ago, and  recently went to court to raise her spousal support, because she found it hard to raise her kids financially. “I can’t tell them to cut back their activities because I can’t drive them and want to save on gasoline” she said. But luckily for my friend, who’s a social assistant, she doesn’t have to worry about her rent.

This isn’t the case of another friend of mine, who complains her rent keeps on increasing with the higher consumer price index. “If it continues to increase, I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent, or I would be forced to make some economies, but that will be difficult to explain to my children” she said.

One of my friends told me her mother struggled to raise him and his two sisters when they were younger. “My mom worked hard, but she was always depressed. Her only pleasure was to watch the sole TV show our TV, which had only two channels at the time, on sundays, eating a can of sausages. Apart from that, she saved on every penny she could. At school, of course, it was difficult, because we were the poor among the other children” he said. His father rejected his family when he was 9 because they weren’t “catholic” enough. He refused to pay any spousal support to his ex-wife.

It didn’t hinder my friend to become what he is right now. But I do believe we fight harder than the other who have a better luck in life at the start when we’re not necessarily financially gifted.

Times are tough for single moms right now. Is this the cost of independence?

celibacy, life, love, men, miscellaneous, relationships, thoughts, women

My sweet prince

According to this study,

women from countries with healthier populations prefer more feminine-looking men

In fact, it’s a question of fidelity. A man with masculine features is more likely to cheat than a man with feminine ones. I don’t know if it’s true. But the article also points this:

Women with the weakest masculinity preferences of all lived in Belgium, a country considered to have one of the best publicly funded health-care systems in Europe

So, in other words, the richer woman are, the weaker masculinity preferences they will have.  I was reading an article about bimboys, those men who behave exactly like a woman, a metrosexual connected to his emotions, in other words. Apparently, in the western civilization, these men are becoming more and more common. It’s an evolution linked to our ways of living.

I wanted to know if women around me would pick a feminine guy. And most of them replied that it depends on how feminine he is.

Personally, I wouldn’t want if he wears makeup and spends his time in the bathroom. But if he’ sensible and shows some understanding of your problems, like a woman would do, this is a plus” P., 34, said.

Sensible, yes, but not a sissy. I dated once a guy who was afraid of everything and would let me kill the spider, chase the mouse, open the door to strangers. Instead of defending me in a conversation with a bully man, he would just disappear ” K., 35, said.

“It depends. If he listens and try to understand me, that’s OK. But I don’t want him to react like a woman who changes her mind every hour  and would cry for any reason” O., 40, said.

I’m a bit skeptical though about how sustainable a relationship can be with a really sensible guy. Because if he becomes like your BFF, it can ruin the relationship.  Love and friendship are two different things. Do you agree?

broken heart, celibacy, life, love, men, miscellaneous, thoughts, women

Such a shame

When I was in highschool, one of my classmates was often picked up after school by his dad. His father was an undertaker, and used to fetch his son with his hearse. Of course, everyone at school made fun of him because of that. And I thought it was such a humiliation for him, because he had no choice and it wasn’t his fault at all. Life can be cruel.

In love too, we can endure some painful humiliations. If we believe Ian Harpeling, the journalist who wrote the controversial book about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston had it too. She had two miscarriages, and was left for Angelina Jolie who not only gave birth to three children, but also spread false rumors about her, saying Brad left her because she didn’t want kids. Plus, I can only imagine how painful it must be for her to see her ex parading with his children in magazines. And God knows how many pictures of them there are today. Like my former classmate, I can only think that it wasn’t Jennifer’s fault, and that she had no choice.

Humiliation is horrible. It takes years to forget about it, and sometimes, we also need professional help to get over it. I know my former classmate had to see a therapist. He had zero confidence in himself when he was young, because of his father.

I met once a woman who told me her worst humiliation was her wedding. The D-Day, she was walking down the aisle, but she didn’t see her future husband waiting for her. Everyone was looking for him, but he just vanished. She stayed in front of everyone for a moment, seeing all of the sorry eyes pointing at her, and couldn’t help crying. Her ex didn’t even bother to call her the days after. But she knew he wasn’t dead. One of her friends saw him hanging around with his mates three days later in a bar. She told me the worst thing was he completely ignored her, denying her any form of respect. “I felt like a piece of trash you just get rid of. Nothing is more humiliating. I would have accepted he told me he couldn’t marry me, rather than letting me down like that” she said.  She told me she had a hard time trusting people after this, but also felt she wasn’t worth it at all. This completely ruined her self-esteem. It took her years to get over it.

A break up is a painful experience in itself. If you add to that humiliation, it can really destroy you. Usually, years later, whenever you endure a painful experience, you can live again your past humiliation. When you feel fingers pointing at you, it’s just a reminder of a situation you’ve already experienced. The only way to get out of this cycle is to recognize your problem, hear the voice inside of you that tells you everything’s gonna be all right, and forgive. It’s the only way to move on. It can be difficult doing this on your own. Remember friends, family, therapists, are all there to help you, if you ask for their help.

So, what do you consider as humiliation?

life, love, men, miscellaneous, relationships, thoughts, women

Not like your dad

Every girl wants to marry her daddy when she’s little. It’s called the Oedipus syndrome. Passed a certain age (8), no little girl wants to do so. Because a) they have understood they could never have him b) boys are much more interesting.  Yet, years later, some of us get hooked with a guy who’s by pure coincidence our father’s replica. For example, one of my friends married an MD, and her dad was an MD. But she swears the comparison with her dad ends there. “They have opposite characters. It’s like day and night” she said.

According to psychiatrists, we always pick our partner according to our father, in a positive, or negative way. In my friend’s case, her husband is just the opposite charachter of her father, in other words, the negative image of her father.

I met once a woman who told me she realized she was repeating the same mistake than her mother with her father. “He was constantly bringing her down, criticizing everything she does in front of me. But he always told her how much he loved her. I swore I wouldn’t pick a partner like my father, but I fell in love with a guy who treated me the same way my father treated my mother. I didn’t realize it at first. I was so in love. But slowly, as passion faded, I could see he wasn’t different at all from my father” K., 34, said. She left him, and has tried ever since to react each time one of her loves shows to her little respect.

By searching our father through another man, we also take the risk to make this relationship unbearable for the one we pick. Psychologically, it’s hard to tell yourself you’re in competition with someone else. Someone you will never be. But some couples work on this principle. There are couple where the guy looks for his mother in every partner he chooses, and where the woman looks for her father in every man she chooses. It’s a comforting situation. But yet, I don’t know if it’s sustainable.

A friend told me that she doesn’t agree. She said people can adapt quickly to every role they’ve been asked. After all, she said, in this society, we keep on fulfilling the roles this society asks for. She doesn’t think we act differently with the one we love.

Yet, there’s a line between playing a role, and pretending to be someone else. It’s called lying.

Besides, we can fall in love with someone who share  the same  principal qualities we find in our father. “My father was someone who had strong principles, who had a huge heart and very giving. This is what I look in a man. I don’t see why it would be a problem”L.,40, said. “I fell in love with P. because I know I can count on him in every situation, just like I can count on my dad, who was always there for me  when I needed him. P. just took his role. Just like my dad, he takes a good care of his kids. He’s the rock of our couple, just like my dad was in my family. I know that when I have a problem, I can always share it with him, and he would help me to find the solution, just like my dad”M.,46, said.

And we, women, we have also the same tendencies to react exactly like our mother would do. How many times  haven’t I  heard my female friends saying they sounded exactly like their mom, especially when it comes to bring up their children? Maybe we validate our choice of partners because our mother would have picked them too.

So, do you look for your father/mother in your relationship(s)?

broken heart, celibacy, life, love, men, miscellaneous, relationships, thoughts, women

Money for nothing

When I was in College, one of my roommates dated a count who basically gave her everything she wanted, and even things she didn’t wish at first. She met him by accident. He left his wallet at the bar next to where she was sitting. And she ran after him in the street to give it back to him. He invited her to dinner to thank her, and  they started dating shortly after. From the beginning, he was very generous with her. The day he was picking her for the restaurant, he bought her red roses. On the third date they spent together, he offered her a bracelet. On the fifth, a necklace. Coordinated with her bracelet. And he wanted to introduce her to his parents very quickly. But my roommate called it quits. She became scared a little bit of all of those attentions. “It was way too much for me. I felt I didn’t fit in his world, because I don’t come from the same caste than him. And I didn’t feel anything for him. I didn’t love him as he wanted” she said.

Back then, my other roommates were appalled with her decision. They told her they would have swapped her place anytime and that she was an idiot to let such a charming guy go like she did. But her answer was a bit surprising. “I saw my mother dying of boredom in her marriage to my father who gave her everything she wanted. His fortune didn’t stop her to ask for a divorce. She said that wealth is a great thing, but if you feel imprisonated in your relationship by it, it’s not worth it. And I don’t want to repeat the mistake my mother made” she said. She also added that she didn’t need a man to make her fortune, she could make it on her own.

I remember asking her what she wanted from a man, and she replied that she only wants him to “give her butterflies in her stomach“. “It doesn’t take a lot of money to do so”  she added. When we finished College, she moved in with her man, a photographer, who didn’t earn a lot of money, but gave her plenty of butterflies in her stomach. I haven’t heard about her ever since.

Years later, when I was a banker, I could see that there’s no universal rule for love. Some of my clients were ruined by a husband who left them nothing but debts, because they were too in love to think about a prenup when they married. Some of my clients left their husband because they had enough. Some of them cheated on him.

So, I believe that butterflies in your stomach is a good thing, but some cautions are also worth once in a while.