Black Book Variety

In October last year, when the weather wasn’t trying to actively murder people by roasting them alive and boiling their bones in sweat, I was nudged towards an internet meme that had been doing the rounds of my friends’ Facebook pages. Called ‘Date a Girl Who Reads’, it was, and I quote myself with contemptuous glee, “a trite little piece of cheap intellectual narcissism, of which the ‘intellectual’ part is largely imaginary”.

This was followed by a response-post — clever and slightly better written, with touches of the poetic, but for all that, it was rather self-absorbed and silly — called ‘You Should Date an Illiterate Girl’. The crossing of swords is recorded here.

Both extremes thus covered, I thought, the matter will now be enthusiastically shared, decried, labelled with a few ‘ists’, defended, supported, and ‘<3-d’ on social media, and then be completely forgotten by the turn of the fortnight. This, after all, is how contemporary democratic discourse is born, grows old, and dies.  But then, to my considerable surprise, I was sent yet another response-note, from a very unlikely source. “This silliness is catching”, I thought, as I opened it. Halfway through it, I was biting my lips and holding back a grin. Although superficially similar, this third note was a delightful mockery of the ridiculously unrealistic binaries that held Notes 1 and 2 up: Date a girl who is a bookworm; date an illiterate girl. Date a girl who loves bunnies; date a high-powered female lawyer.  Because lawyers (cold, ‘sophisticated’, expensively groomed, sirenesque sexuality) can never be girls who love bunnies (long breeze-ruffled hair, warm, open-hearted, carefree spirit). The media constantly tells us so. All my favourite romance novels, too.

Sometimes, it’s good to have friends trained in picking the workings of our mind apart 🙂 Almost a year down, it’s just as evocative of the culture we live in, as it was when I first read it.

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who plays basketball. Date a girl who comes home with skinned knees. Date a girl who has long, perfect nails. Date a girl with glasses. Date a girl with great drowning eyes. Date a girl who cooks like Draupadi. Date a girl who weeps while chopping onions. Date a girl who will deconstruct every thing she reads. Date a girl who sobs while watching Kal Ho Na Ho. Date a girl with a guitar. Date a girl in a faded tee. Date a girl with more shoes than shelf space. Date a girl who paints her walls. Date a girl who shops for bargains. Date a girl who goes for walks. Date a girl who has Valerie’s Letter memorised. Date a girl who listens to Ke$ha. Date a girl who can sing Nojrulgeeti. Date a girl who has Kapalkundala hair. Date a girl who spends hours looking for the perfect nailpolish. Date a girl who has earrings for every outfit. Date a girl who loves her Daddy. Date a girl who knows every Led Zep song. Date a girl who scores more than you in every test. Date a girl who scores. Date a gir who can’t sing a note. Date a girl your friends love. Date a girl who likes the girls you like. Date a girl who can’t stand her family. Date a girl who speaks seven languages. Date a girl who can hardly read in her ‘mother tongue’. Date a girl who embroiders. Date a girl who tears her t-shirts to shreds. Date a girl who loves cameras. Date a girl who hates being photographed. Date a girl loaded down with jewellery. Date a girl in her mum’s saree. Date a girl who hates plastic. Date a girl with a running tab. Date a girl who knows everyone. Date a girl nobody likes. Date a girl who’s dating other boys. Date a girl you desperately want.

Never date a girl you’ll stereotype. Advance beyond the Renaissance.

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