It’s official now, women choose male partners who most closely resemble their fathers. Culinary goddess Nigella Lawson’s spouse is a dead ringer for her famous father as are the spouses of many other celebrities. Of course, selecting a man who looks like the pater familias is conditional on one’s father having invested in you in your formative years. So the busy executive who hardly ever sees his daughter is not likely to figure too high on her wishlist, she’d probably go in for a grungy no-hoper who would be barred from most clubs and establishments.
Closer home, it is the mama’s boy phenomenon which rules. The average Bengali male for instance will leave his ma’s apron strings only with the greatest reluctance. From this comes that famous joke of why a Bengali man is like Jesus Christ — both stayed with mummy well into their thirties and both thought mummy was a virgin. And can any wife ever match ma’s shorsheybata illish mach? Not in a month of Mondays. Here it is the hapless wife who ends up looking like a poor imitation of ma but she’ll never be considered the real McCoy. Nowhere is the mother-son relationship so glorified as in Hindi cinema, remember the confectionary-complexioned Shashi Kapoor’s cringeworthy lines ‘mere paas ma hain’ in Deewar? Or that scene which defies all medical science in Amar, Akbar Anthony in which all three sons of different faiths donate blood simultaneously to their wounded mother who had suddenly regained her sight after… oh, never mind.
It’s all very well to want a replica of daddy but imagine if your dad was, say, George Bush or even Casanova Clinton — both doting fathers, we understand. Can’t quite see mixed metaphors or a congenital roving eye being the stuff that happy matrimony is made of. But then again, dad’s the way the cookie crumbles.