Apples or Oranges

​Are good guys mistaken? Do the “bad guy” strategy work? On the dynamics of the good guy and the bad and changing feminine attitudes to the same… 

(as observed by one fem.)

So this was spurred on by a little incident less than few hours ago (in particular) and my extended (love?!) life of little or no consequence other than inappropriate “crush-spells” (in general). You see throughout my life I’ve had a rather bland romantic existence in my otherwise non-happening life: I’ve had no out of the world chemistries, no dream dates, one failed relationship as an adolescent and interspersed periods of being that girl some new guy “has the hots for”, as a college freshman, fading into sophomore life. When you are single and have been hit on by prospective males in your region (campus) the effects are predictably (boring?!) obvious. What happens soon afterwards, is your friends start relating you to this guy, you’re at the centre of all jokes concerning him, you’re expected to act a certain way knowing that he likes you and in turn play along or approve of the fact that this person has feelings for you…as the rest of them keep bugging him with banal jokes or implied teasings. Poor chap! Whats even worse is before you know it, there comes a day when people stop asking you how YOU are after the usual ‘Hi’ but actually go so far as to ask you how “that-person-they-tag-you-to” is or “how” its supposedly “going with them?” EVEN THOUGH THEY KNOW YOU DON’T DATE !?!  Insane. 

What is immediately strange and hypocritical about this is how society expects you to ultimately belong to someone even if in a ‘pre-dating’, ‘you’re-being-wooed’, ‘you’re-going-to-be-his-girlfriend’ kind of way. If you’re not seeing someone and there’s a good guy who has been consistent in his feelings towards you, how is it that you still do not conform? How is it that his consistency of more than one whole year, his relentless efforts, his social media posts, his countless love notes and sonnets, his general good nature and genuine goodwill fails to move in you even the slightest passion? Are you a human or an ice berg?

 (-Ice berg!) 



Because I chose not to. But even though I owe not one, I’ll also shortly justify my stance.

But talking of ice bergs, it gets  these days towards the evening and though there’s not a biting cold outside, I’m happy to announce that winter is finally on its way to Kolkata. There’s a drop in the air and a slightly cold wind blows around twilight. It was the first day after the fall vacations as college started from today. So, the particular happening which spurred my writing of this was when a rather engaging discussion on Tennyson’s Ulysses in the course of the class, that began with the legendary figure of Ulysses, (his many exploits, his extraordinariness compared to the apparently mundane existence of his people and his family living in the island of Ithaca, the unchallenging, unambitious, domestic life on the land, devoid of thrills and adventures of the sea- the rather ordinary, mediocre life led by his very son Telemachus in his “discerning to fulfill” (his) “labours”, his attending to ” common duties” and his “slow prudence” were rather unheroic and ordinary as compared to the extraordinariness of his legendary father). What prompted me at this point, in Telemachus’s interest, was to ask the professor if “Telemachus’s being mirror opposite to his father- in his choice to rule over his kingdom than lead a vagabond life of adventures, to attend to his domestic and kingly duties, in making “a rugged people” useful and civil, not a change in itself? And if so, how was it – for a boy who had never had a father to guide him along for the first twenty years of his life- not extraordinary in its own right?! This was followed by my professor (and I will brag! :∆) commending me for asking the question and a consequent delve into the crux of the lives of geniuses, the essence of “the extraordinary”.{{This is not a literary piece.^ My brother calls me a ‘literary snob’ (aanteel! xD) and I have no intention of unnecessarily extending it with reference to Ulysess, but the extension is necessary for what happens next. It’s all related. Trust me! Read on.}}

So, as I was saying, we were in the midst of a class debate on Ulysess. Ulysses had been absent for the major part of his domestic life on the island of Ithaca, abandoned his wife and son for twenty years in pursuit of glory in the battlefield and braving the odds in the seas, failed in all his personal obligations and ruled carelessly according to his whims even when he reigned. “Does that mean that geniuses or extraordinary people are allowed to be insincere to their domestic and private obligations?”, I asked. At this the professor explained how Ulysses’s being a typical epic hero ” supposedly” negates his other personal concerns. Indeed he wasn’t the hero at all as long as his own life was concerned, cause for the make part of his family life, he was simply absent. But in the Homeric society, he was the sword flashing hero, winning glory in battle and braving demons at sea. In the Homeric sense, he was truly heroic. And here our professor to make things simpler, introduced the trope of a typical Bollywood romance with its good guy (attending to duties, being loyal and responsible, being the constant well wisher of the heroine for twenty long years) being inevitably run down by the “bad guy” with his obvious charm. Why would the heroine choose the one over the other? What is it about the good guys that’s unheroic..that drives off women?  Are good guys really good? Do the “bad guy” strategy work?  Why do women always say no to the one? 

As this argument went on for the next few minutes, a most amusing thing happened. My best friend semi-turned towards me and smiled. The class started buzzing and giggling at inside jokes and every time our professor mentioned any of the positive characteristics of a typically good guy, a “bhalo chele” and his failure at romantic accomplishments, the class started eyeing a certain someone until one of them outright pointed at the said person sitting in the class and everyone giggled.

 (For years to come, I’ll ponder on how we had not grown up past the high-school phase and how we were all, really silly even back in our sophomore days!)  So he who must not be named for non-disclosure causes was smiling helplessly as he was used to do because fighting these jackasses, he had obviously learnt by now, was more like cutting his own grave. So Maam came to his rescue as she silenced the class with “Don’t worry, *person-who-must-not-be-named*, you’ll end up having a brighter future and career than the bad boy on his Mercedes”

 And the compulsive over thinker that I am, I went back home thinking if it was wrong to not accept a good guy? If it meant something that most of the guys I ever had the misfortune to say no to, were really good guys (and missed opportunities at making excellent friends if feelings had not taken over the front gear and spoiled that far more amazing part in both of our lives) and that, if that in effect meant, I’d fall for a clichéd bad one?  

 Did the bad guy mechanism work on me? Was I then attracted to potentially harmful guys as opposed to genuine good ones? Why else did I keep turning down proposals from the good ones? To this I have no answer but a rhetoric: ‘Why? Because I choose not to!’ Because no matter what might be at work in Ulysses’s times or even in modern Bollywood romances, a good guy is a go to and a bad guy no matter for his Mercedes Benz or his level of swag, is a turn off. An average female with any amount brain cells will choose the one over the other (because that’s the most obvious choice to make) and no it doesn’t happen like in the movies. What I have never ventured to said out loud before but what needs saying is that a rejecting someone doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something wrong with them. Sometimes, good guys get rejected just because they are not “the one”. Because somewhere out there the right one is waiting for them too and they need to move on to let that most amazing thing called true love (yes, clichéd, yes exists!) happen to them. As for the rest of us, we’re not even in our twenties and in no hurry to make serious life choices. Because sometimes you don’t want to label relationships. Because sometimes you don’t need to belong to someone. Because sometimes you’re absolutely content to belong to yourself!


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