Now I had a vague idea that a fixation is when you look up your calorie counter to find out how many calories you put on when you pass by a plate of French fries but to write this article, “vague” wasn’t good enough. So I whipped out my trusty encyclopedia, which told me that a fixation, apart from being a fad, fetish, compulsion, mania, hang-up or obsession, is also “a treatment to prevent something from fading or otherwise changing.” (Which means everything from facelifts to comeback films.) A fixation is also “a strong emotional attachment which results in a halt, at an early stage in the development, of sexual desire.” Now that explains why boys prefer Mama but would it explain why 70% of women prefer chocolates to sex? (At least they do in the US, according to the findings of a research done by the chaps who make Hersheys’ kisses – who should know a thing or two about both chocolates and sex….)
So, do women have fixations? Well, fixations are like chocolate truffle pastries. You first have to be rich enough to afford them and then be rich enough to go into therapy for having too many of them. Most women in our country barely manage drum up enough money to buy themselves a husband whose mother’s apron strings are longer than her tongue. And who (the husband, I mean) brings home a living wage and won’t beat the living daylights out of her because she didn’t bear him a hundred sons, because there’s too much salt in the dal and/or because there’s nothing on the telly tonight. But with the year so sweetly new, we must think cheerful thoughts and what could be more jolly than delving into this year’s Fall Collection of Female Fixations?
But before we do that, I must also say I think that fixations are a modern day malaise. Our mums had it so much better and simpler. Life is simpler when you don’t have choices. All they had to do was to get married. To a man they often never saw, forget chose. But since they weren’t marrying to have a meaningful relationship with great sex and sharing and all that new-fangled bakwas, it worked out just fine. They made babies and chappaties (in equal quantities) for which they got fed, watered and bedded down and were allowed to sag, droop, spread and wrinkle in the privacy of their very own six yards (nine in some cases). And since our dads never had secretaries whose thighs were thinner (not to mention firmer) than our moms and cellulite was as unheard of as divorce, everyone lived happily ever after.
Then some silly moo cow can up with female empowerment and equal opportunity which meant that we now had to make babies, chappaties and presentations. And open our own doors and buy our own diamonds and be mistress, not of some nice, generous ol’ sugar daddy but of our own destinies. And do all of that while we still had to find a man who is taller, richer, has a longer designation, who can make us laugh and a good crepes suzette. So, can you blame the modern woman for being a teeming cauldron of fixations?
What are we fixated about? Topping my list has to be the way they look. Show me a woman who feels likes what she sees in the mirror (Heidi Blum and Aishwarya Rai included) and I’ll show you a man who doesn’t spend once every 19 seconds wondering whether…….oh, never mind. Every woman, as far as she is concerned, is either too fat, too long, too big, too small, too short, too full, too flat, not to mention too oily or too dry. What adds to a woman’s misery are the whimsies of fashion. Just when she’s spent her Diwali bonus colouring her hair the latest shade of dog’s vomit, it goes out of fashion of make way for a shade of pigeon guano. So is there anything that never goes out of fashion? Three things, really. Like the Duchess of Windsor said, you can never be too thin or too rich. And in India, you can never be too fair.
Which naturally brings me to fixation number. Diets. For women, happiness is fairly simple arithmetic. You’re either fat and miserable or thin and happy. (Ally Macbeal is the only woman who is thin and miserable, which why she doesn’t exist.) So, when a woman is not on a diet, she’s on her weighing scale. A friend mine summed it up very nicely. “Life’s a bitch. You spend the first 20 years of your adult life eating through your nostrils (sniffing food instead of eating it) and then when you think you’ve finally mastered your thighs, it doesn’t matter any more because now you’re an old hag.”
Then there’s money. It isn’t as if men aren’t as fixated about money as women are. The only difference is that women want to have money without actually wearing their lil’ fingers to the bone making the filthy thing. Aristotle Onassis said, "If women didn't exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning." We look at things slightly differently. "If money didn’t exist, all the men would have no meaning.” Oh and one more thing. Men want money because they believe that money begets money. Women want money because they know that money begets shopping.
After women, shopping is perhaps the most misunderstood thing since the morning-after of time. People (read men) think that women shop because they have greedy acquisitive little hearts. Wrong. Women shop because it’s a cure for almost everything from PMS to pimples. When boring brown turns into Caramel Dreams, where things aren’t irreconcilably black or white but Ebony and Ivory, and where Heaven is a trial room in which you try on Happily Ever After for size (and Dear God, one day it may just fit!).
Which naturally brings us to men. (For how can Happily Ever Efter be if it’s not with a man?) Scratch a woman who says she’s happy being single and you’ll find a pile of lonely horse manure. I mean, who are we kidding here? Even Gloria Steniem got married, for crying out loud. It’s true men make us kiss them, promising to turn into princes and remain warty, croaky frogs, it’s true they drive us batty with their insensitiveness and talcum all over the bathroom floor. It’s even true that they make us we weep by forgetting our birthdays and leaving us for someone younger and prettier, but we’re still miserable without them. So am I saying that women can’t do without men? I dunno really, but if it’s really true that we’re from Venus and they from Mars, what on Earth are we doing spending so much time talking about them?
Then there’s aging. Men age like wine, women like yesterday’s news. Have you noticed how men always get to the top of the hill (and stay there till they sire their last offspring at age 76) but are never over it? Women on the other hand claw their way about halfway up, by which time they are old hags of 25 and after that it’s one slippery, slithery down hill slide. It’s enough to make a girl’s collagen sag. Which is why we still haven’t decided which is ruder – telling us we’re overweight or over the hill.
There. I think I’m about done. Which doesn’t mean that the list ends there. For the rest of it, switch on your telly and watch the ads. So let me see now, there’s diamonds, mother-in-laws, husbands, laundry, matching everything from your undies to the underside of your trash can (neither of which anyone sees, not at the same time at least), romance, being Superwoman, looking for Superman, gossip, wrinkles, maids, mother-in-laws, husbands, laundry…