Thursday, February 25

A Month of Purdah

I've spoken before about how the lack of any sisters or girl (first-)cousins may have affected how I view women generally, but one of the more obvious effects seems to be a slight preference to making as many girl mates as I can - a classic case of over-compensating perhaps. I've always seen this as a good and valuable thing though: not only are my girl mates good to go to for general girly opinion, I also figure that if I maintained mixed social groups then it would be easier for my eventual partner to join me when I'd want to see them. I don't really have groups of exclusively-guy friends; in fact I quietly shudder each time I'm invited to participate in a sausage-fest and I don't expect to want to go out partying or whatever without my other half in tow and so having girl mates around would've made the whole thing a bit easier.

But despite the place women have in my circles of friends, I've always been careful about compartmentalising these relationships. For example, I will very rarely talk to them on the phone for extended periods of time (I become uncomfortable with anything over five minutes and have been known to kill quite a few conversations that way). I also avoid going out with a girl mate on a one-on-one basis, a policy which I feel unreasonably surprises even those who have known me for years; but barring a few exceptions (if they're a potential rishta, if I have to for work or a worthy/religious reason, or that it'd be detrimental to both of us if we didn't) it's true. It's not that I feel I can't control myself emotionally or physically (I'm quite the tactile guy actually), I just don't feel that it's right.

So when a (guy) friend of mine challenged a few of us to stop socialising with our girl mates for three months, I didn't have to change much really. The theory goes something like this: by having so many girl mates, I may be unknowingly relying on them for the certain things I should be looking for in a potential partner. This is nothing seedy, but more the everyday things like conversation and companionship, and by taking this reliance away I'll start looking for it in potential partners instead (in short, desperation will open my eyes to new possibilities). As an aside this might also stop one of us from leading anyone on or sending the wrong signals (not that I'd ever presume I have any kind of effect on women other than one of disgust, but hey, it's a semi-worthy reason anyway).

On the basis of what I've written above I don't think that this is particularly true in my case, but I thought it was worth a shot anyway. After all, if a (not so) similar exercise in self restraint worked for Gandhi, then maybe it'll change me for the better too?

So what have I needed to change? Well I seem to go out less since most of the gatherings I'm invited to are with mixed groups; but to be honest I've not missed the socialising as much as I thought I would. On the few occasions when I have gone out for dinner or whatever it's been with just guys, and that hasn't been as difficult as I thought it'd be. And finally I'm spending more time both in and out of the house with family doing the things I would normally do with friends (like dinners or cinema).

With regards to other types of communication I've never really been a phone person anyway and emails, commenting on blogs, IM and social networking are all pretty easy to control; although I do always take the time to explain to those I usually communicate with (all of whom I still consider to be my friends) as to why I've stopped. I seem to have irritated a couple, a perfectly reasonable reaction which although flattering is unfortunate, but most seem to understand and support what I've been asked to do.

I've even started watching football (well fifteen minutes of one match) instead of romcoms (although I am considering going to watch Valentine's Day on my own if I can't find some guys to go with). I have slipped up a few times and fallen into prohibitive behaviour (again, nothing seedy, but just against the ethos of this particular task), but on the whole I'm keeping to what's been asked of me.

To be honest it's not yet changed how I approach rishtas, and I don't think it'll directly affect any chances of me getting married any time soon either. But that's not to say that there aren't any other, possibly unintended benefits of doing this. For example, it's a good demonstration to others (including potentials) that I'm willing, able and am even looking forward to changing quite big things in my life for the purposes of marriage, or that I'm not looking for someone with whom to share my existing life with but for someone with whom I can create a brand new one. Staying in more might also indicate the kind of life I want to live in the long term, instead of apparently misrepresenting myself as someone who is outgoing and will always want an active social life.

In this sense doing this could serve as a good sign to others of both what I'm looking for and what think is important - more than any conversation or blog post might do. I mean to put it bluntly, if I'm looking for a traditional wife then it makes sense that I start to live a more traditional lifestyle myself. I do think I could have waited till after marriage to make some of these changes, but there's no harm in starting now.

Anyway: one month down, two to go.


  1. Anonymous16:20

    >>The theory goes something like this: by having so many girl mates, I may be unknowingly relying on them for the certain things I should be looking for in a potential partner.

    This is a danger for many people (male and female) in current times.

    I think this purdah is a good trial, but if it's something you have to do as a "task", rather than something that comes to you naturally, is it really a lifestyle you could maintain in the long-term when there isn't a get out clause after 3 months?

  2. dude you seriously need to get laid.

  3. I have 3 sisters but I still have loads of female friends. sometimes it gets a bit too much.

  4. It's less about the numbers and more about how I perceive them. For some reason I seem to expect them to be the solution to any problem or have the answer to any question.

  5. Dude, what the hell you on about??you and i used to hang out one on one basis plenty of times.

    Hey rohit still posts!! hi rohit :-D

  6. Anonymous15:35