Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pushpa Pandey of Pavit Pradesh would have termed it “haarmones.”* Well, it could well be the misequations and uncalibration among the supposedly defining factors called hormones that trigger off the inescapable swings between despondency and gay abandon in single women, who are on the other side of 30. On deeper speculation, is this a universal phenomenon like, er . . ., being menopausal?

On the surface Bridget Jones has everything going for her. A job (though with a pain-in-the-neck boss), a room of her own (which suffers an uncalled for bungling up), friends (as impervious to reason as herself) and parents (with their own set of problems). The only thing she lacks is a steady boyfriend, a relationship which would ultimately end in wedlock (but definitely not a Smug Married like her friend Magda).

In the two-book series Helen Fielding very effectively brings out the throes of a Single-in-the-City, who is buffeted by relationship issues. Even when she eventually hooks up with Mark Darcy, she is still not at ease, as now she has to deal with “commitment phobia” and, constant fears that a slimmer, prettier and longer Rebecca is out to steal Mark. When she has no men around she is depressed and ends up counting the minutes since she has had physical gratification !! It can’t be that bad, can it now?

Ironically, most of her problems are authored by Bridget herself. She is always late for work, which will blow the lid off of any boss. She is an utter failure in terms of diet regimens, as she is incapable of giving up alcohol, cigarettes and binge eating. So more than anything, what Bridget suffers from is want-to-keep-the-cake-and-eat-it-too syndrome!!

Bridget is a character at the beginning of the millennium. 11 years down the lane, things may or may not have changed in Britain and elsewhere. However, the pros and cons of singlehood remains a much-debated issue. Obviously women of today are more empowered and all that, but yeah, most of them still seem to hold matrimony as sacrosanct and as the ultimate end in life (pun unintended!). Self was shocked to read in newspaper about career-women giving up jobs and embracing motherhood with gusto. The recent Johnson Baby ad too seems to pitch "daily bonus” (motherhood) against “monthly salary.” To quote Bridget, Gaaaaaaaaah!!!!

Fine! Let it be; to each her own. But please don’t hegemonize it, and treat singles (read women) as weirdos and problematic! So what if a woman is not a wife and a mother? What happens then? The very fact that a there is no proper, polite, uninnuendoed term to refer to single women itself is proof that it is all a conspiracy. Coming to think of it, do “bachelors” have such issues? Because, in fiction as well as in factual life, men seem to have it easy; do they too keep tabs on age, biological clock, and blah? Whatever.

Virginia Woolf once famously said that all a woman needs is a steady income and a room of her own, to be independent and free to what she wants. It continues to be true even today, more than ever. Perhaps, a steady, respectable job, and a place to call one’s own, are stuff that really matter.

Not all women have hormone-driven men-obsession and sexless frustration, do they? There are so many things to do in life, so many places to see, so many books to read. So matrimony and motherhood can’t be the only and ultimate sources of bliss under the sun. Now, if this ever happens to be read as an outpouring of a stubborn, unnecessarily unconventional mind, so be it, bothered ha !!!!!!

* Courtesy: Battle for Bittora -- Anuja Chauhan