Charge of the Little Boy brigade, OR ‘Mommy take care of me’

September 6, 2008 at 5:43 pm 1 comment

Of late, I’ve noticed an alarming (?) trend. More and more young, nay, very young… errr, younger to me anyway, boys (because that is what they are; I absolutely refuse to refer to these video-game playing, skateboarding, mom’s-lap-seeking, late-night-beer-guzzling-yet-managing-to-reach-work-at-8:00 am, forces of nature, ‘men’.) have been expressing an interest in being more than just friends with me!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think boys of a certain age are a great people to spend time with. They make for fantastic friends. Unfortunately, it’s when they articulate their desire to be ‘more than friends’ that my antennae go up.

I also don’t want to leave the reader with the impression that all these guys are hound dogs (some are, but then so are some who’re my age or older.) There are many out there whose intentions are purer than the gold in Fort Knox and they jump straight to ‘Marriage’ (GULP!!!)

But, like the sophisticated, worldly-wise woman I am, instead of making them happy with a “Yes, of course, darling. I like you too! Let’s go steady”, I usually respond “Me? You know I’m 2/3/4/5 years older than you, right? Why me? Why not someone closer to your own age? Maybe your own generation?” Do you see these lines at the corners of my eyes? Do you even know what they’re called, you smooth-skinned, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, dream-castle-dwelling, pretty little boy? Crow’s feet! That’s what! [Ok, so, the latter part of that is either said in my mind or under my breath, so I’m a big, fat wuss, so what?]

When this started happening more and more, I got curious. Was my new anti-aging cream working so well that I had really started to lose years like the box promised, thanks to the resultant glowy, new, wrinkle-free skin?

So, obviously, like any other fan of Malcolm Gladwell, and ex-student of Mr. Shrikant Godbole (Professor, Applied Marketing Research, Symbiosis Institute of International Business) I decided to undertake a short but in-depth empirical study of the causes of this weird turn of events, which would turn out to be quite revealing.

First, I confided in some of my more discreet, non-judgmental girl friends. What they said surprised me more than anything else so far! Apparently, this syndrome is quite common these days; they were getting asked out by, propositioned and proposed to all the time, by little boys of their own!!! [That ruled out my anti-aging cream being miraculous- we all use different brands.]

Primary research out of the way, I turned to secondary research. Cosmo, iVillage, Yahoo, you name it. I also rented and watched ‘Prime.’ (starring Meryl Streep, Uma Thurman and the incredibly gorgeous Bryan Greenberg as Uma’s Little Boy)

What I found alternately warmed the cockles of my heart and set me hyperventilating! This is a phenomenon on the rise. Tired of men older than us who want us to fit into the mould of their mothers, a lot of Indian women my age are succumbing to the attentions of younger men, bucking the trend, contrary to the polite norms of traditional Indian society.

Alrighty then, I thought, how bad could it be? I could date a younger guy. It would be fun. We could have fun conversations about sports, current affairs, micro-brewing. No worrying about how we’re getting older by the minute and MUST get hitched by midnight on his 34th birthday! No thoughts about how his mom will/ won’t approve of my wearing shorts in my own house.

I was beginning to see the upshot of it all. But then, suddenly, unbidden came the creepy thoughts of men’s midlife crises. ‘If Christie Brinkley, an ex-supermodel for chrissakes, can’t keep her Little Boy on the straight and narrow, what chance have I??!!?” I thought. Then came the recollection of Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh and Justine Timberlake and Cameron Diaz and their ill-fated, short-lived marriage and romance respectively.

No amount of surfing the net for the happiness shared by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore or Abhishek-Aishwarya could stop the panic. After all, when men with younger wives and girlfriends stray all the time, why would I willingly put myself in a place where one fine day, 20 years hence, I would have to say to my younger significant other “It’s because I’m wrinkly like a prune, and remind you of your grandma, isn’t it, ISN’T IT?”

I realize that this line of thought says more about me, and my insecurities, than anything about this phantom younger man, but there you have it.

I also believe (especially post the secondary research on Cosmo) that little boys are attracted to older women for exactly those reasons that we should NOT be with them. Subconsciously, they’re looking for a mommy-substitute. And they, god bless them, don’t even know it!

But to me, a lot of them seem to have taken out classifieds that read something like this: “Little Boy seeks Sugar Mommy. Must love Wii (or at least not mind me playing it for days on end) and cleaning up after me.”
I think it should be listed under biological facts: men under a certain age are physically incapable of being neat, clean, organized, responsible. [Yes, yes, all of you who take severe objection to this sweeping generalization- your protests have been duly noted- even before you’ve made them. How cool am I?]

One would think that at least on shaadi.com I’d be spared the ‘charge of the little boy brigade’- but nooo. This trend is rearing its cute yet misguided head there as well!

Here is my all-time fave from a 26-year old in India- “Hi Mam (sic), your profile interests me. Age is not a bar for me, since I believe maturity of mind comes with age only.”

To borrow (and put a slight twist on) a line* by one of my favourite British authors, Gerald Durrell, “since this statement was as innocent as it was bewildering and fallacious….” I couldn’t resist writing back to the poor sap to say “Thanks for your interest, but apart from the age there are certain other factors that prevent me from accepting your interest. But I do appreciate your sentiments and wish you all the best.” To which this persistent young whippersnapper replied “Please let me know the things which you think could be the problem in order to proceed further. We can communicate and clear the doubts”!!!

As my best friend Priya would say- “Oof!”

But through all this, I really appreciate all the little boys who’ve hit on me. It’s made my day (sometimes week) knowing that when the men are letting me down left right and center, the little boys can be counted on to at least, if nothing else, lift my spirits and give my ego a little boost. Long live the Little Boys!

*From a sentence uttered by Margo, the author’s sister, in one of his best-loved books- ‘My family and other animals’

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One tight one Euphemistically speaking

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