The downside of being single and over thirty in Delhi is that friends and family and even strangers are continually astonished at your unhitched status in such a ‘happening’ city. Clearly I don’t behave like a deviant or look like a leprechaun, so what’s the problem? The problem is that a Delhi girl may indeed be spoilt for choice, it’s just that the choices are not exactly good. So who are the men most of us singletons end up meeting in Delhi — the men who are keeping, at least me, resolutely single.
The Stepford Man: Now this is the breed which all mothers love and can never understand why their daughters don’t. These are the chaps with that much-desired IIM MBA and a job with McKinsey or BCG. A deadly combination which basically translates into men with high IQs and almost negligible EQs. When you’re naïve and young — like I once was — these Stepford boys are indeed quite attractive the first time you meet them. Suave, well-spoken, chivalrous, with perfect table manners, and always dressed for the occasion. A Sunday brunch at Olive? They’ll be togged out in their Todds loafers, white Tommy Hilfiger bermudas, a Paul Smith short sleeved, checked buttoned shirt with just the top three buttons undone. Very charming until you look around and realise every other McKinsey-BCG boy is wearing the exact same thing.
The Stepford Man also tends to deal with his relationships as he handles his clients. It’s as if they’ve worked out the various graphs and excel sheets in their mind. As a result, no other type of man is as consistent. You know that every Tuesday you’ll get a surprise visit at work; Wednesday, you’ll meet up for coffee; Friday means dinner either at Olive or at Thai High; and Sunday will be brunch followed by a film. He will call you at 9 am to ask about your morning, and make follow-up calls every 4 hours on the dot. And if you’re upset about anything, expect a standard delivery chocolates and flowers.
These are the text-book boys and nothing upsets them more than spontaneity. So the easiest way to get rid of them is to keep scuppering their well-laid out plans. If Sunday is always brunch at Olive or ai, merely suggest heading to Pandara Road instead. Then just sit back and watch them short-circuit like Christopher Walken in Stepford Wives.
The blast from the past: The most persistent suitors are always your ex-loves. Tired of their wives after a few years of marriage, they’re looking to rekindle the passion — and who better than the single ex-girlfriend to reignite the flame. It all starts off quite innocently: here an sms, there a phone call, a little chat about the good times, another little chat about what a big mistake it was to marry the current wife, followed up by a request to meet for coffee. It’s almost like they have a “How to have an Affair” flowchart that they’re following to the tee. Now, we all want to play Katherine Hepburn to our very own Spencer Tracy, and the known devil is better than the unknown one. But then you remember that today’s love-lorn Lothario used to be yesterday’s heart-breaker.
Meet the MBA (Married But Available): The other day, I met someone who asked me if I was married, and when I said, “No,” he then asked: “Not at all?.” And that’s the perfect way to describe the MBA, the ‘slightly married’ but always available man. And they seem to be everywhere: the gym, work, a book reading, in the client’s office, at parties. And they’re not restricted to any one profession. MBAs can be actors, businessmen, authors, creative directors, or musicians.
They are also the most confident of the lot. They’ve been there, done that, and have nothing to lose. Even if you reject them, it matters not. Because they can just go back to the warm comfort of their wife’s arms. Mrs MBA — when they choose to acknowledge her existence — is invariably cast as either a harridan or the childhood sweetheart who they’re tied to for the sake of the children. That the poor wife is least aware of the sorrows of her seemingly happy husband as soon as he steps out of the house, is a different matter.
The perfect example of the MBA is a guy I met a while back. He was most charming and lovely company, and was eager to show me photos of his pet dog. Almost every other picture also included a woman cuddling the dog, who he described in passing as his relative. A “relative” who turned out to be his wife. The half-truth is after all, not a lie. A friend even met a chap who claimed to be a widower, only to run into him later with his very alive-and-kicking wife in tow.
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