Indhuja Pillai (IP) is internet's newest viral darling. The Bengaluru techie's become a poster girl for hundreds of Indian women who yearn to rebel against (arranged) marriage.
She posted a matrimonial ad-- which has gone viral and raked in almost 2 lakh views since Valentine's Day -- where she described herself as a tomboy, who wore glasses (and looked dorky in them), sought a man (a bearded macho, to be precise), who hated children and was not close to his family. Obviously, a far cry from the dutiful Indian bride in flowy sari with long hair, expected to live with her husband’s family, bear him sons, frame family photos, arrange them on the walls, pick out furniture, make a nest.
Indeed, the too laid back, too independent and too fussy IP is not quite a 'marriage material' or 'wife material' -- a phrase guaranteed to make female hackles rise. But, in this supposedly egalitarian age, is there really such a thing as 'wife material'?
Well, yes, according to the little asking around we did. In our quest to discover exactly why men pop the question to some women (the marriage-worthy kinds) and not others, we found there are definite types of women that men marry -- and, equally definitely, women they do not.
The One. The perfect woman. The perfect relationship. The perfect marriage. It’s something that is on most single men's minds. They want to be married someday -- to a great woman. When we asked them to describe the woman they would want as their wife, most eschewed sexiness in favour of other qualities. Hot, sweet and sexy alone isn’t going to cut it in a decades-long marriage, seemed to be the clear consensus.
MBA student, Raghav Singh, 27, summed up his future bride as "the kind of woman you can take anywhere and be proud of" -- a sentiment echoed by many other men in the course of our survey.
This rings true for painter and independent filmmaker Abhimanyu, 30 . He says his family’s positive opinion of his future bride will matter most when deciding if the woman in question is 'the one' — and most parents aren’t looking for an incredibly sexy or very attention-seeking spouse for their son. We know that.
* There is no such thing as perfect
Although the idea of spending "forever" with someone is almost impossible to wrap our heads around, for most of us, lawyer M Abhi, 31, knew his girlfriend of seven-years was the one, when "she laughed at a fart joke."
"Every girl I’ve ever dated hated that I played video games. When I brought my now-wife to my apartment for the first time, she saw my gaming set-up and asked to play. I knew she was special. She's a working woman and doesn't do household chores or cooks, but she's just too much fun. We love spending weekends together, travelling," he says.
On a similar note, an expert in human behaviour and relationships, Dr Rumi Mukherjee says not every woman men date... hell, not even every woman they fall in love with is someone they want to have for a wife, even if she's drop-dead gorgeous.? She argues that there is no such thing as perfect. ?
"I think that men searching for Ms Right should reconsider. Wouldn't finding Ms 'Almost Right' be better than a single life?" she asks.
* Wanted: Women who are sexy and fit, but not too sexy and fit
Mukherjee says men don’t look for very sexy wives, because -- at a very basic level -- they want someone who is likable, can cook and let's you be.
"Men are attracted to qualities such as loyalty, discretion and kindness when they look for a wife. Sexy and flirty is fine for a girlfriend. It’s just not what men want in life partners," she says.
Just look at feisty, flirty and gorgeous women like Jennifer Lopez and Madonna. Men fall for them in their droves, yet they always end up single again. If we believe Mukerjee, Lopez and Madonna are just too sexy -- on some deep, evolutionary level, the men she dates don’t believe she’ll stick around.
But while men apparently don’t want sexy wives, they do want women who take care of themselves. We found women who are slim and well-groomed with nice hair and nails are prized, although those who wear revealing, attention-grabbing clothes are not.
It all sounds a bit schizophrenic, don't you think? Men want to marry women who are sexy and fit, but not too sexy and fit.
"I want to marry someone who's adventurous and outgoing, but sometimes you want everyday, mundane life. You want to be able to spend a boring Saturday together making breakfast, doing errands together, and then just watching TV," Raghav says.
* What makes us 'marriage material', according to science
A 2014 study shed light on what men and women perceive as marriage traits -- and it seems they have very different views. So what makes us marriage material? Trust if you're a man, sex appeal if you're a woman. The survey, which asked respondents what the top five 'marriage material' characteristics were, showed the differing views between the sexes.
While women need to be able to fully trust their partner in order to consider them to be marriage material, men consider sexually compatibility the most important factor. Women cite 'romantic' and 'career driven' as positive traits when it comes to choosing the perfect husband.
Men, on the other hand, say willingness to look after them and allowing them to watch sports are more important. "It’s no surprise that the perceptions of what makes a partner marriage material between men and women is vastly different," says Mukherjee.
"Women look for a much deeper connection from their partner than men do. Realistically, men seem to want someone who is sexually compatible, but who will also wait on them hand and foot like their mothers would," she says.
So, there, let's rest our case: Men want wives to like sports, be attractive and cook for them.
(Gifs source: Tumblr)