A spinoff of the movie, How to Lose a Man in Ten Days (2003).
PREFACE: This post was written from a heterosexual perspective on relationships and may not apply to LGBTTIQ2SA+ communities. I acknowledge and respect the cultural nuances and gender identities in communities that experience relationships differently.
Politics is a dirty game of sex, drugs, money and love. After all, everyone loves a good scandal, needs some form of drugs in their life, wants more money, and thinks with their heart. Almost every decision an individual makes is done emotionally (from the heart) and later backfilled with logic. No matter how much you try to convince yourself that you make decisions objectively, objectivity and subjectivity are much more alike than you think. So, if you’re thinking about what scaring a man in ten days has to do with my Sunday Preach, I’m here to tell you that politics of the heart are just as important as politics of the world. So let’s talk about the problems of the heart and backfill them with some logic, shall we?
There are two kinds of politics in the world: the politics of love and the politics of fear.Doris Haddock
Finding a life partner to walk through the world’s turmoils is the oldest goal in the book. If you follow an Abrahamic religion, you can say that Noah went on to reaffirm God’s message that all creatures come in pairs. People have been finding creative ways to pair themselves with their other – sometimes better – half. In some countries, the practice of arranged and blind marriages is still common, “Surprise! He’s twice your age but has a lot of money and can take care of you!” OK, haha, it’s not always that bad. Sometimes, I wish I had let my parents take that burden off my shoulders and let them surprise me with a wealthy doctor, engineer, or something. I probably would have grown to love him, maybe, like all the other women worldwide who accepted an arranged marriage with a dowry… right? In contrast, countries, like those with an individualistic mindset, believe that you could choose your lifelong, til-death-do-you-part partner on your own. The process is called dating; today, it can suck just as much as arranged marriages and vice-versa.
Dating is like watching a trailer before a movie airs in theatres; you get a preview of what’s coming. However, sometimes trailers are deceiving, and that’s what makes dating painfully tedious. The hunt for the perfect union becomes more complicated when families, politics and religion are involved. Let me tell you, for an independent, self-made, successful Arab Muslim woman living in the West, always too-White-to-Arab-and-too-Arab-to-White, arranged marriages and dating sometimes both seem more like a curse than a blessing. Want me to tell you how I really feel?
Eat shit and shut up
There’s a saying in the Arab world that married women tell each other when complaining about their husband’s abuse, be it verbal, emotional, or sometimes physical: “keli khara w sketi,” which translates to eat shit and shut up. The underlying meaning of this imperative phrase is that a woman should be grateful that she was chosen by a man who could have selected any woman he pleases. Her choice doesn’t matter if he’s the one providing her with a home, security, food, money, and a house blessed with children. The least she could do to show her thanks is cater to his every need without complaint, even if he projects his (violent) emotions onto her. She’s the wife, the mother, the lover, and the punching bag.
This concept of eating shit and shutting up isn’t exclusively practised among Arabs. Many cultures still believe that a woman’s place is behind her husband instead of by his side and that she must depend on him as he’s the one who provides for the family. At least, this has been the way of thinking until the turn of the 21st century, as more women today have discovered that they can survive without a man’s fruits of labour. It is a cruel irony for the men of the 20th century who objectified their wives yet empowered their daughters because they knew otherwise the outcome of their future. They encouraged them to study and work so they’d be more desirable for marriage and be the top contender for any bachelor looking to settle down. Unfortunately, this backfired as women today can do anything a man does and more, rendering a man nothing more than a seed donor. I mean, if you think about it, what does a man contribute to a woman’s life if she’s educated, employed, has her own home, and is self-sufficient? It’s his responsibility to reflect on a deeper level on what he can offer in a relationship now that materialism is no longer enough.
Is this the part where I have to add the disclosure, “NOT ALL MEN,” so the sensitive ones don’t get their feelings hurt? However, if the shoe fits, mon ami (picture me shrugging)… Besides, this post isn’t about men and their behaviour towards women; it’s about how women have evolved today, where equality and equity are at the forefront of every political and social conversation. Women today can go to school, vote and climb up the corporate ladder to leadership roles. Heck, they’re even able to run a country, and I would argue better than the average man! Women have always achieved what a man could and could not; the difference between yesterday and today is that they’re allowed to now. That’s right! No more shit for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Bring out the hundred-dollar steak with a touch of caviar! Mind you, there are still many limitations and inequality in the world to go around. But let’s refocus our energy on how this has impacted the search for our one true love.
Men are from Mars… and so are women
As a modern woman, I’ve had my fair share of disappointments regarding finding love. The one love I can always count on, though, is the one I have for myself. After my divorce, I promised myself I wouldn’t fool myself into thinking that I deserved anything less than exceptional, even if it meant cutting ties with a nice guy. Nice guys aren’t as lovely as you think when they have no emotional intelligence and baggage full of insecurities. Bad guys are terrible, but nice guys aren’t good enough. Does this make me a pompous person, arrogant and stuck up? No. It means I know my worth and won’t settle for less. It means that the man with whom I choose to spend the rest of my life values me and puts in the effort the same way I would for him. And many women think the way I do. Many women today look for more than just a nice guy with mediocre-to-no emotional intelligence and no understanding of what an equal partnership entails. The million-dollar question, however, is where the hell are they? Honestly, they probably aren’t born yet or are being raised as men as I type this because while women have been quietly waking up and evolving behind the scenes, (most) men have remained the same. Dare I blame their parents?
Again, not all men, don't make me type this again, jeez.
I mentioned earlier that modern fathers had worked hard to empower their daughters and encourage them to bring out their full potential; go to school, get good grades, and be a doctor (this one’s for my dad, haha). However, not all fathers are model parents to their daughters. Some are abusive as a way to push their daughters’ boundaries, while others are more nurturing. Whether a girl-turned-woman was motivated to better herself to get away from her father’s abuse or to make him proud, the bottom line is she eventually discovered her bright future had opportunities. In contrast, how boys-turned-men are raised hasn’t changed much. They’re still told that they will one day get married and have a family of their own and a wife who takes care of their every need the same way mommy has and continues to do so. And so, as they age, they simultaneously develop a sense of entitlement to a woman’s love and affection, and some hero complex. This makes them feel that the only way they could love is by feeling like their counterpart needs them (hero complex) and cares for them as their mothers do (feeling loved). This is where men and women reach an impasse.
Neither “wanting to be the hero” nor “needing to feel love and affection” is wrong. It’s a reasonable ask from men. I would be thrilled to show the man I choose all the love and affection his heart desires and let him be the hero to my first-world problems now and then. However, the difference between yesterday’s woman and today’s woman is that today’s woman knows that men are NOT entitled to either. My love and affection are not a right, but a privilege I choose to give to the man who’s earned said love and affection. My willingness to let a man do things for me is founded on the fact that I trust him unconditionally and not to stroke his massive made-up ego. Men haven’t realized that the basic minimum standards have risen for women. They’re confused because they were taught to believe they were the ones choosing to be with a woman instead of it being a mutual choice between the two. The truth is a woman in search of a man with whom to spend her life means that she not only wants a man in her life but also needs one. However, a woman’s needs have changed, shifting from material dependency to a deeper connection. Unfortunately, men haven’t noticed women’s hardware updates. We need a man with emotional intelligence and self-awareness who shows us the dignity and respect we deserve by acknowledging us as partners and not an object they can take for granted.
I like my women to be independent
Lately, every loser and their mother will caption their dating profile with the phrase, “Looking for a strong, independent, intelligent, confident woman who can hold a conversation.” Ugh, someone get me a bucket so I can puke this cliché out of my gut. Let’s psychoanalyse men who say this, shall we?
- First, your loser-ass can’t hold a conversation longer than I can hold my breath.
- Second, what does that even mean?! This is a trap full of bait. Congratulations! You know how to string adjectives together, but do you know what you’re saying? Do you understand yourself enough to see that you want a strong, independent, opinionated woman? Wanting a woman with these qualities means your ego and masculinity are secure enough to handle the heat when she challenges you or when she experiences more success than you. If you were that secure guy, you wouldn’t feel the need to say you were looking for a strong, independent, blah-blah-f*ckity-blah-blah kind of woman.
- Third, using abstract and subjective words to describe the woman of your dreams is vague and dishonest to your prospect and yourself because, news flash, every woman can be all of these qualities depending on who you ask. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. So if you’re lucky enough to match with a woman even with this sorry excuse of a click-bait catchphrase, be prepared to show her your definition of a strong, independent, intelligent, blah-blah-f*ckity-blah-blah woman. I guarantee you she’ll be unimpressed.
A woman who is strong, independent, intelligent, opinionated, self-made, self-sufficient, and appears to have it put together is undoubtedly sexy and desirable. After all, women want the same qualities in a man as men do in a woman. Yet sexy and desirable are intimidating to insecure men who rely on their hero complex to impress a woman. That said, with high risk comes great rewards if you have what it takes to pursue such a person.
D is for dignity, not divorce.
One sure way to scare a man in ten days is by telling them you’re divorced, har, har, har. Trust me, I would know. There’s nothing like telling a man you’re divorced and watching their head spiral as they create a story in their mind about how you ate up your ex-husband’s fortune and screwed him over, which makes you an evil woman. If you counter that story and tell them that you were the one who got screwed over, that makes you intimidating and unapproachable. Either way, you’re the loser in this scenario. On second thought, you’re likely the winner because you dodged a bullet by not tying yourself down to a man who’s insecure with his masculinity. A man who rejects you for your past is not worth it, girl! His issue isn’t about your history so much as his insecurities. At that moment, you may have convinced yourself that you found the one, that he checks all the boxes, and that your parents will be happy for you. But later, you’ll remember that cowards and fragile men have no place in your heart or your life.
Thank you, next
Women worldwide are waking up to a world of opportunities that yesterday’s women only saw in their dreams. Women choose to be mothers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, politicians and much more. They’re holding their head high and learning that the most incredible and purest love is the one they have for themselves. They see their worth and know their love is not a right but a privilege. That’s not to say there aren’t evil women, just like how not all men (dammit, I wrote it again) are bad. Arranged marriages and dating have evolved because women are etching closer to equality. Technology has opened doors to more options for both men and women, which overwhelms the whole experience of finding a life partner. Sooner or later, men will face their insecurities and see that they have to offer a woman more than just materialistic affection. Women need men to provide emotional intelligence, stability, and respect, and view them as equals. Until then, as our dear friend Ariana Grande says, “Thank you, next.”