Most Indian men are handsome in a very Yin/Yang way; they are decidedly virile, yet gentle, sweet, and caring at the same time. Intelligent, skilled, and amazingly witty they make perfect companions until they want what they cannot afford. I’ve gone through a number of, at times ridicule, situations trying to keep married guys at bay or explaining seemingly underage fellows why they really don’t want to date a woman who could be their mom.
The attention a western woman gets in India can be enjoyable at the beginning, especially because, in my case, it allowed me to participate in a conversation without reticent-me having to initiate it. Forever a nerd, my curiosity knows no limits so the first contact with singles in India was delectable, rich, and sincere. But far too many of those guys were just looking for a free ride into the Wild West; as soon as they realise white women are not that wild and that the evening won’t have a happy ending, they lose grip and turn off, apparently. They only enter in a sort of twilight time-off zone and eventually return with the argument you’ve accumulated good points by avoiding their advances. “Good, whatever you say, but what part of no, did you not understand?” It’s like if to them, our western no was that peculiar Indian head wobble -source of much confusion and wonderment among us foreigners- but in reverse.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m by all means no spring chicken or a Hollywood kind of beauty or especially gifted, therefore I assume this conduct must be somehow indigenous. The stubbornness of their crush intrigues me, an incredibly long-lasting infatuation considering that Indian men usually don’t get attached to random women -let alone foreigners- since as many as 90% of all marriages in India are arranged. In fact, dating is a very unusual and controversial practice in India due to it.
And yet, as in the famed James Bond film saga, there was a spy who truly loved me. And as it happens in any good movie, this fierce emotional experience proved to be life changing. It was through the genuineness of his feelings and the intensity of his desire that I found the secret key to decode an ancient language; it allowed me to watch the gold of India from the inside.
Men in India usually hold back physical forms of affection in public as well as verbal confirmations of love. That doesn’t mean they are insensitive, it’s just that they are used to withhold these expressions out of respect. Point acknowledged, but difficult to bear. This, along with the pressure of his family and the media due to his public persona made life a living hell. Yes, the Indian traditional culture with the perceived higher sense of family values hits a western woman like a pile of bricks making cross-cultural affaires de coeur Utopia.
But he who loves never loses. If something, we both learned that compatibility is an achievement of love, not its precondition. And no, contrary to what Indian aunties believe, love does not only come after marriage, it happens in a second, any time and despite all odds.