Mathew is a thoughtful, talented, sexy, funny individual with a big golden heart. Add to that a skill with music and he really had me at hello.We both belong to the same zodiac, we both love chocolate, wine and women (what?!) and our offspring. We both also refuse to let things be ordinary for too long. If you are thinking I have the perfect life, you’re right.
Except, we live, for the moment I hope, in two different countries.
Except he hates Bombay and I hate Bangalore.
Except these days we don’t agree on anything.
So if we ever do grown up things like buy a house, it’ll have to be in Madras. I insist I live and grow our children in a city that is close to the sea. Unless we manage to get to Ireland — which has the sea and cold weather so we can wear pretty, warm clothes.
Mathew and I met at what was then my fiance’s and is now my ex-husband’s parents’ place. For me, it was love at first sight. He’s built with a whipcord-like sleekness that I adore (I hate beefy physiques). He didn’t quite touch 6 feet but his smile and the way he slunk low in his chair in his super-used, worn jeans and scruffy sneakers, completely relaxed, had my heart doing double time and my tummy skipping to my liver, from there to my kidneys and back. His smile is horribly disarming and at 43 he still looks 25. No, I don’t say this only because he is my husband. He is like that.
For him, however, it was forehead at first sight.
I have a high forehead, as you would have guessed and he says that’s the impression of me he took home. (I’d rather he had taken me home but anyway…) My quickly brushed long hair, my dimpled smile, my bright eyes and very charming personality went completely unnoticed.
But this post is not about How We Met. It’s about one of my life’s unsolved mysteries. Why does Mathew never cook for me? Sorry, not that mystery, the other one. Why do people invariably fall in love with those very like themselves?
I totally believe opposites attract. But what I believe more is after two years of marriage opposites murder. That old song… “You like tomaytoes, I like tomahtoes… Let’s call the whole thing off.“? George and Ira Gershwin so hit the nail on its head. People who are in no way alike should NEVER marry each other. Oh I am sure the arguments make for hot make-up sex but with someone just like you, you both can indulge in foot-fetish, body food fantasies that may or may not include a name, place, animal or thing without worrying about shocking the skin off the other person.
And for that reason, I found someone who was a lot like me and yet had very different ideas on what fun was, how to go about things in general, and prettiness. (He finds Katrina Kaif pretty. Just FYI) But, hey, long as we both think I am pretty, we are good.
Time and again I’ve met women and men with personalities that positively sparkle and pop; and then I’ve met the other half of the equation and seen them together. More often than not I’ve been left wondering what on earth they were thinking. It’s sad when two really great people are in a marriage that’s totally crap.
I know a woman who lived for attention, was outgoing, chatty and funny who suddenly turned and became a loner the minute she got married. She then proceeded to hide herself in lonely a apartment in some cold corner of Bangalore only to emerge months later calling herself part of the literati, a freelance playwright (I kid you not) and writer. She also disowned almost ALL her male friends (she had quite a few of those) and a couple of female ones too. While she insists it’s a life choice she made, I honestly think it was her husband who persuaded her, however subtly, to do what she did. Today she has safe, non-threatening (myspeak for absolutely no fun) friends who barely scratch the surface (but who went to her wedding, I suppose). And her husband has the upper hand.
Someone very close to me is today a shell of who he was before who he got married. He: Outgoing, confident, funny to the point of being illegal, intelligent driven, constantly wanting to break the mould and do something different. She: Silent, stubborn, driven, tightfisted, wearing a string of complexes. A few years into marriage saw him being aloof, quiet, distant and completely cold with those he loved best. It broke my heart and I wish them well if whatever they have is working for them.
I’ve said this in an earlier post and as time goes by I am more convinced than ever that the best way to make a marriage work is to get married at least twice. The first time around you make your mistakes (and learn from them, I hope) so the second time around you know who to look for, what to think and what to cut out from your actually completely psychotic personality. It’s truly one of the reasons my marriage is successful.
Or if you honestly don’t like being labelled as divorced, at least do yourself a favour and move away from the city your parents live in and move in with a boyfriend. A live-in relationship is a pretty good marriage, except that there’s no alimony on parting. But unless he’s Tiger Woods, who wants a piddly alimony, right? Living with a man or woman (that you are also sleeping with, not just random asexual roommates) gives you priceless experience and insight, if you are open to it, which later helps you enormously when you find your Mathew.
So Mathew shook hands with me a few seconds longer than necessary when we parted after the first time we met (a sure sign of interest, that) but that was enough for me to know I’d found the person I actually wanted to live with for the rest of my life. It took me a marriage and two years to actually do something about it.