Thursday, December 15, 2011

Woo Your Husband

Watch this ad about wooing your husband.

Now, consider this scene I witnessed in a furnishings store. A woman in her fifties is shopping along with her son and daughter-in-law who are in their twenties. The DIL picked up a set of napkins and the MIL asked her if she really needed them. I was expecting the DIL to politely say that she liked it or that it matched the curtains etc. but she chose to meekly look at her husband and looked back at the napkins. She then unwillingly she put them back and then demurely looked at her husband. The husband then said to his mother “adhi emi chesukunte neeku emiti? Napkins theesuko”. Literally translated to “how does it matter to you what she is going to do with them. You can buy the napkins”. The husband paid for the stuff they bought and asked the women to fetch the stuff to the entrance while he would drive down from the parking. While the cashier was packing the purchases the DIL insisted that she needed a bigger carry bag. The MIL said that the bag was enough for their purchases. The daughter-in-law very assertively said that she wanted a bigger one.
I surprised that this same woman who was so helpless around her husband was very firm with her MIL and the cashier. I wondered if the husband knew that his wife was assertive.
Have you seen newly married couples in malls where the husband chooses dresses that are “modern” according to him? The wife tries them on clearly uncomfortable in the new set of clothes. A woman can look very trendy and smart in a nice pair of salwar-kameez or sari. The woman need not loose her personality to look “modern” in her husband’s eyes. After all one’s dressing style is a very important part of one’s personality. A woman should be allowed to explore and wear something that suits her personality and sense of style. But for many women their sense of dressing is dictated by their husbands. The woman’s choices are usually seen as too conservative/boring or too modern/slutty.
I don’t want to be too judgmental. I know marriages are not easy and all husbands/inlaws are not easy. My objection is to these compromises being seen as a smart choice. I have seen many movies specially made in the seventies or eighties, specially the ones where there is a lot chaos in the family and then a DIL enters to change everything, in which such messages where delivered. When a woman gives up her personality it is called adjustment and when she masks her personality she is called smart. I remember one Tamil serial in particular called Metti Oli in which the elder sister in the family is seen as a very samardhyam (capable) woman. She adjusts, changes, suffers, manipulates, and so on all for a worthless husband who never appreciates her and then when they are finally old acknowledges her, gives her control of the household and finances blah blah. Fruits of handwork are sweet kind of message. Yeah yeah I hated it but I still watched it because I didn’t have anything better to do :p.
I wonder if these are the different methods a woman must employ to have a successful marriage. If she really does, will she have an authentic relationship with her husband? Do we need to sugarcoat every word, mask our emotions, act dumb, act innocent and helpless and expect the MAN to do everything that poor me cannot do, manipulate, to have a picture perfect marriage/relationship? Why is the media conveying such messages?


  1. Hmm, I agree with you on some points, and I don't on some. It's true, one must not change so much that the personality is lost. Sooner or later it's bound to cause a lot of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

    But, not changing yourself at all, now that's also detrimental to a marriage. The smart woman would know how to behave where, without compromising on her own happiness. She would know what things are trivial and can be let go of, and what is important enough to stand up for.

    Grocery bags, napkins, I usually don't allow myself any preferences in such things. I try to put others before me, keep them happy, after all that's what being in a family is about. But yeah, things like career, having children, etc. I give my opinion as much importance as others.

    Whatchu think?

  2. yes I agree with you totally. Change is good. Apart from the companionship that marriage offers we also should be able to grow together as better human beings. I may do a lot of things out of love or to learn and explore things that my husband enjoys. For that matter, we do a lot of things we may not like for people around us. My objection is with the notion that we shld not be ourselves. I may not agree with everything my husband believes or does. But I shld hav the freedom to express my mind. I may still go along with it for various reasons but he shld know where i stand. In the western world, women of our mother's generation were told that for keeping your man you should never let him catch you without makeup. I may want to dress up for my man but "never let him catch me without makeup"?? These kinds of messages annoy me.

  3. Well point made. We could change, adjust, compromise or sacrifice to some extent, when is a whole-hearted reciprocation of all these from the partner. Afterall, thats the beauty of love, when a person transforms to be that someone whom 'her he' or 'his she' loves. Nevertheless, I strongly object against having to lose the personality, only to please the other half. Taking it to the next level, if only true love prevailed, I see a no need of masking since the acceptance overshadows any flaws..a rare scenario :P

  4. What a post Kalpana!!! I thouroughly enjoyed reading it and agree to each and every line here. Though not married i can still say, any relationship in the world needs adjustment to some extent. But not beyond a certain point where you tend to lose your identity as it not only leads to a dent in the relation ship but there are chances that we may hate ourselves at the end.

  5. @V and @Suneetha- two of my wisest frnds thank you. You guys said it all, I hav nothing more to say.

  6. I loved reading this post immensely. I have never minced my words and have never let my personality go. After receiving a lot of heated exchanges and bad temper, to top it off the killer looks, Ive realized (better late than never) that it is essential to be smart. And yes that's an art, which am still learning, unfortunately black or white didnt work with me :) But in an ideal world, it should! Babes I love the topics you choose to write and the way you write them. Touches my heart everytime :)

  7. I am learning too and thanks for your generous words of appreciation. Thank you :)