There are four men in my life. There, I said it. At 40 years, it's no mean achievement for any woman I assure you. Not one, but four. But as a consequence, I have to contend with considerable amount of male wiles. And you thought wiles were an exclusively feminine domain?
I am smug in the knowledge that the objects of my affection return the emotion wholeheartedly, but men being men, each does so in his inimitable style. The trick lies in deciphering the various forms they encrypt their affection in and identifying the ends they are after.
The oldest of the lot is the most experienced by far and therefore most adroit. An ever-loving gaze, an occasional large chocolate, frequent boasts about me to friends are but some of his tools. While discussing current affairs, theology and philosophy, he considers me his equal. A sweet smile while tickling my double chin yet carefully skirting the issue of my growing girth, this male in my life is a soothing shade. I am the apple of his eye; the daughter who can do no wrong! And he… he gets away with more sugar than advised, lesser walk than advocated and taller career tales than can credibly be listened to.
The middle-aged one has learnt by now to chuckle along with the older one at my 'sweet foibles'. Temper tantrums, outrageous demands, foot stamping, wild accusations and such like ridiculous behavior is all smiled at. Almost Buddha-like in his calm stance, he stoically roots for me. This male has learnt in a hurry that hell hath no fury like a woman frowned at! His publicly declared policy of knowing second best never fails to work. I am the super wife who is wise and right. He employs love offerings of comfort food and long drives to keep his peace…and also his golf time, his occasional drink and the long lounge on the Lazyboy.
Ah! The two young and handsome ones with fresh down on their upper lips, their affection comes more trickily. They open the car door for me, graciously take my arm and escort me. They fawn at me while I melt and agree to their simple (read expensive, fantastic and frequent) wants. Though they snap at each other in vicious sibling rivalry, the charming silver-tongued rogues remain unruffled by my ranting. Mother you are up to no good, sending us on a guilt trip, don't we love your little devil-trickeries, they declare smilingly when I arm twist them into taking a bath, tidying up their room, behaving themselves, finishing their projects, switching off the play station etc. To restore my humour, the younger one invariably mimics me, "Oh! These uncouth, uncivilised men. How I live with them, I wonder!'
But I don't wonder at all. I know. I as well as every woman in my stead knows. We, the women, have since long unravelled the male modus operandi and tweaked it around to our advantage. We also know because we love our men unconditionally, indefatigably; because quite simply it is they who make the sun shine for us. Also because it is they and they alone who put up with all our devil-trickeries!