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In today’s times, one observes the male species a bit troubled to commit, specifically to marriage. Not that in the past they felt any different, it is just that today we live in rather fluid times, and there are abundant reasons that gravitate towards men not committing. Loneliness, or confusion about one’s sexual preference is certainly not one of them. What else then, you might ask? Cautious and careful are the two watchwords that withhold men from commitment with the opposite sex, and nearly most of their life sciences seem somehow to revolve around those two factors.

Examined most pragmatically, the roles of men and women have been etched rather befittingly from the inception of mankind: men have been the bread earners, and women, the homemakers. One leading factor to have drilled a hole in the happiness was the woman’s liberation movement, followed by the financial independence that women have obtained in the last couple of decades. This has ruined the pattern that had been followed since centuries. Then again, it is not the fault of women alone. They have been repressed from eons, and it was but natural that they sought respect, and respect, they knew, could be earned if they stood on their own feet, and that would happen if they qualified and educated themselves, and that is what they went about doing. However, somewhere, in the pursuit of practising such unparalleled power, most women have found themselves confused – they have no clue whether they belong to an office, or to their homes, and this has lead to dissatisfaction, conflict, and a crack in something that would have been wonderful had this whole ‘I want equality’ not interfered with the equilibrium chartered out from time immemorial.

I read articles every now and then of people theorising about why something is this or that. I also hear discourses on self-help that say if you do this, this will happen, and if you do that, that will happen. Truth is nothing will happen unless you want it to happen, and you cannot make anything happen until it is the time for it to happen. The rest is nothing but a marketing and money laundering drama.

If I were to cite my own example, I would say that I am now a bit old to get married by conventional Indian standards, and it has nothing to do with my sexual preference – I am perfectly and clearly heterosexual, but what had kept me from letting a woman into my comfort zone for a long time could be attributed perhaps to two possible reasons. My father, besides being born into great wealth, inherited a great fortune as well, and did not consider keeping himself occupied with a day job as it was below the dignity of aristocrats to be caught up in the nitty-gritty of life. If that was not enough of a mental adjustment, my mother, from an equally illustrious ancestry, was unable to handle my father’s indifferent nature, and had to give up her medical profession, which she loved, and dress herself up in the role of the proxy man in order to keep the semblance of the family intact, whilst he sailed, rode horses, barbequed at the exotic farmlands he bought in affluent cities and regularly burnt rubber of his luxurious four wheels. This image had established such asymmetry in me as a child that I found it incredibly tough to cope with changed gender roles, and as a consequence I escaped into a world of my own – my mind palace, as I would term it. In my palace I was free of conflict, and this is the crux of male mentality – they loathe conflict. I did not permit the domestic imbalance distress me and with time the fact was firmly established that it was not my father and mother who were responsible for me in not plunging into matrimonial bliss, (as it was presumed more so by anyone else but them) but it was the grasp of the reality, the truth, the scruples, and art that prevented me from being coerced into anything that my soul did not find relief in. Parents being parents, it was indeed difficult for them to comprehend that as their children we saw life far more clearly than them. 

Next, I asked myself whether I was threatened by commitment? Or whether I was caught between the devil and the deep sea, that to find a woman who would appreciate that I believed in the traditional role play of man the earner, and woman the homemaker, was something that was a bit too far fetched in the twenty first century? My inner voice provided me a negative for both, and I came to realise that when I found the right fit, and my heart and mind said yes, and the similar bells tolled in her heart and mind too, then it were to be a connection built to last.

A friend said that by not having a wife in my life I was missing out on life. Do I ‘really’ think that life would have been any different had there been a woman in my life? Possibly, but, until the one who mattered had put in an appearance, there was no reason to stress myself with what had not happened. “Are you always this pedantic?” she further asked. I didn’t know what to tell her, I mean we have no control over what we are doing this very instant, so how can we know what fate we would meet with in the future. As shrewd as we think we are, and plan for posterity, at least until we live, we should not fool ourselves into believing that the future can hold something glorious because it simply cannot. One must organise one’s life, but one must not go blindly with the flow, since it is only the dead fish that go with the flow. The ones that are alive make their own path.

I don’t think that men in general are frightened of commitment. The smartest of the lot have schooled themselves sufficient enough to safeguard themselves from rushing into things. They have become cautious for they do not have the tolerance to deal with the strain of expectations that loving a woman, in particular a wrong one, would demand of them, and thus, they prefer to be safe than sorry. Also, one must be warned that this notion of negotiating with caution merely because one has been hurt once seems nonsensical. Each situation is different, just as each person is different, so we ought to get rid of comparisons by attempting to emboss one experience over the other. Who knows, in the fuss of letting hurt overpower us, we might just about fail to recognise the one who is meant to be the one for us. Core of the matter is that one must be mindful, but not rigid. One must be sensitive, but not over sensitive. One must be cautious, but certainly not excessively cautious.

I was reading an article that states that the more intelligent the man, the more investigative he is, and the more investigative he is, the more complex he is to get along with. While the people who have arrived at such conclusions would have their points to prove, I find such blanket statements a bit juvenile to digest. I do concur that intelligence confines us from intermingling freely with the multitudes for lack of wavelength, but it is not entirely true that clever people are problematic. Possibly, they are difficult in case they find themselves adjoined in the arms of those who do not stem from their own sensibilities, but otherwise I think it is just their own farsightedness that comes to their rescue. Prudence allows a certain luxury of seeing beyond the obvious, and when those principles are employed with respect to our partners, then the true nature of each other’s interest in one another is revealed most plainly, which indirectly helps in navigating through a relationship with caution. As a result what wisdom does is trigger the conscience to retain an upper hand than mere superficiality, and that is where the notion of ‘intelligent men’ are not prone to being fooled in a relationship has taken birth, when it is nothing but experience and arithmetic at work.

Before I go, I would like to reiterate that it is not sexual confusion as I abovementioned, or the fear of commitment that keeps men from committing. It is just the methodical reasoning that they are gifted with which allows them to remain single until they find somebody of their own liking. They know that a wrong turn could cost them their peace, and this wrong turn seldom happens considering the points discussed above. So the smart ones are single by well-thought-out choice, and certainly not the victims of circumstance.