Nothing has a greater hold on human mind, than nonsense fortified by technicalities.
Of all the quotes one may comes across, the above, by the well known Pakistani cricket commentator Omar Kureishi has always captured my imagination (for those of you who do not live in England, cricket is a popular British game similar to the American baseball that is played throughout the commonwealth countries). It has done so I believe, because it summarises the nature of so much of our intellectual activities; for large parts, most of us tend to engage in nonsensical yet elaborate discourse in an effort to explain and perhaps resolve our intra and inter-personal dilemmas.
Now, it is said that we as humans are social animals and thus it would seem natural that a large part of our mental exertions is into issues related to relationship and partnership, two important concepts I will come back to later on. However, these are also contexts within which our inadequacies to categorise and understand our experiences are most vividly highlighted. See for example the two articles, “Guys are stupid” and “Use your brain” for a couple of prototypical representations of how self-unacquaintedness and social naiveté can adversely influence one's global outlook.
The articles are rich in bona fide technical nonsense and give us a glimpse of how we all, at times, try to make sense of our relationships in a fraudulent and fundamentally flawed manner. The author struggles to convey a very simple personal point of view; her ideas can easily be put into a short monologue: “Hey, look at me everyone, a Persian girl, or am I Iranian? No, Persian sounds cooler, yes … anyways, a Persian girl and a feminist… oh what's that? I don't know! Four decades of women's complex literary and intellectual movement, and what the hell, let me call myself a feminist too. And you know how I like my man don't you; he is from those Walt Disney stories, tall, handsome, sexy, masculine, but at the same time soft, kind hearted and noble spirited. I don't like those nasty bunch of no good loosers who think about sex all the time… oh nooo, I like my men to respect women, but you know what, I am going to suggest that no woman should ever respect men, yeeeh… let's all go out and fuck as many as we can, 'verbally and physically', and then dump the lot of them, because after all we are waiting for that one ideal hero to come and swipe us off our feet, aren't we sisters? Ou-ha… long live girl power!”
Well, allow me to give you my male perspective cyber-pals; even if such a man exists, and I seriously doubt that he does, you are going to scare him away thinking in those tired and dated clichés. You know, relationships and partnerships are exactly that. Consensual agreements between individuals to share activities and interests.
It does not matter what the contents of those activities are — sex, intellectual debate, work or a walk in the park. None is neither superior nor inferior to the other. It is darn arrogance to implicate that because some men or women lack a post-modern sophistication in approaching their object of attraction, they should be considered sub-specious and sent to cerebral gas chambers, or worse, stereotyped and stigmatised; guys are stupid, guys don't use their brain, women are tarts, blah, blah, blah.
Furthermore, it also does not matter if our relationships are not perfect. Perfection is a subjective and abstract construct whose meaning appears to be heterogeneous. What is more important in my opinion is how we deal with imperfections in life. How we negotiate personal needs within the often contradictory social milieus.
It is this mindset, which I think ultimately determines the quality of our lives, not the one that bitterly awaits the arrival of the “right man or woman”, and then starts shouting abuse at the world, when he or she, naturally, does not turn up.
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Afshin Tirabady is a TV programme editor who lives and works in London.