Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Is monogamy a myth?

Is monogamy a socially conditioned phenomenon and a myth generated by societies and religious groups? It's hard to come up with a single sentence answer to this question because one can understand this question only in multi-layers. Societal dictates have played a role in perpetuating monogamy but this hasn't always been the case. Polygamy has been part of many cultures and social groups, and some religions have also accepted it but with conditions attached. And even those societies where cultural and religious edicts prohibit polygamy, these, too, have a rich history of men having mistresses and concubines and the like.

So in this case, monogamy is not, necessarily, socially conditioned because societies seem to have a very well developed instinct to 'have their cake and eat it too'. Men (funny, it has always been men) have always found a way to sidestep social, cultural, religious edicts to pander to their libido. Of course, convenient explanations are offered but like everything else, they are quite convenient.

Coming back to the question: is monogamy is a myth? Going by what has been the social norm so far, it would appear to be so; and some would say, it has been artificially grafted into our present societies. However, I have my doubts. If monogamy has been 'artificial' and a 'myth' perpetuated by the powers-that-be, then, where on earth did people learn the concept of jealousy and insecurity in relationships? If polygamy was our natural state of mind, then, jealousy would be a foreign body. I believe we are jealous because we are naturally monogamous and this makes us uncomfortable when we see (or think we see) our loved one with someone else. The insecurity happens because it upsets our known paradigm, that is, being with someone we love on an exclusive basis.

I support monogamy not because of religious reasons alone but, I feel, it make sense. Relationships/ marriages are a partnership between two people who have chosen to live as a team with shared objectives and shared lives. Sex is only one component in a marriage, and cannot be its sole defining characteristic. It only enhances what already exists between the couple and serves as a valuable source of expression of love.

But if the need to have the best orgasm supersedes everything else, then, it's obvious the person is not thinking of the relationship as a 'team'. He or she has objectified his or her partner and is thinking only in terms of 'what can I get from this relationship' instead of 'what can I give to this relationship".

Commitment is central to any relationship. If there is no commitment, then, it's a waste of time. Commitment basically means that two people have decided to willingly stick it out no matter what the obstacles are and stay on course. Temptations to stray will be there and the person will refuse the temptation not because society will disapprove but because he or she does not want his or her partner to get hurt and disappointed. It's as simple as that.

And if someone feels that they are incapable of staying committed in a relationship and the need for an orgasm supersedes everything else, it's best to avoid having any relationship and, unnecessarily, hurting someone else and spoiling their lives.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I love you

“I love you.”

Darn!

He inserted the coin into the Automatic Compliments Dispenser once again and waited. The machine made a gurgling sound and after a few seconds, a small card appeared on the tray. He picked it up and his face turned crimson with rage.

It was pink with an embroidered lace around the edges and the words were, “I love you, my sweet valentine”.

He kicked the machine hard this time and let out a piercing scream. It felt like he had sprained his foot in the process but was relieved to find out that that wasn’t the case.

He inserted another coin and hoped for some better words this time. The card was on the tray and he looked at it warily. He was speechless. This time he wanted to scream some colourful adjectives but words just wouldn’t come. He just stood there staring at the yellow card with a pink lace and the words this time were, “I love you, my darling daffodil.”

The whole of last week there was no problem. The machine had behaved according to its specifications and gave him the words he wanted to hear. It had even commented on his voice and its impact on women. And a fortnight ago, it had declared he was a gift to the planet earth.

But today, it was behaving strangely different and he was wondering what might have gone wrong for this to happen.

His psychiatrist told him that one of the best ways to get rid of stress was to go to this machine during lunch-break and read some compliments. It was the doc’s pet phrase: “a compliment a day keeps the worry beads away.”

The doctor loved saying that over and over again in a sing-song voice that grated on the nerves. Hence, the machine was a godsend as one could avoid meeting the doctor and listen to his pathetic attempts at singing.

But this time, the machine did not seem to be of any help. He began hitting the machine with his fists and hoped it would work, After all, he had been a faithful customer for the past three and half months and there was no reason why it should behave like this with him. How on earth could it treat him like a … sissy!

He banged the machine with his hands again and screamed at it, “Can you, at least, tell me what’s wrong with you?”

The machine made a gurgling sound all by itself. He was taken aback. He didn’t expect the machine to respond so quickly and spontaneously to his ranting. But most of all, he was surprised that the machine actually responded.

He didn’t know what to do with the two cards that he saw on the tray. He stared at them for a long time and after a gap that seemed to last for hours, he picked them up. They were plain and simple and without any pink or yellow laces around it. But the words froze him to the spot as he read what the machine spoke.

“I’m disappointed in you for breaking my heart.”

“I hate you.”