Archive for May, 2002

Sigmund’s Momma

Monday, May 6th, 2002

May 06, 2002

“What about sex?” I asked. “Yeah, what about it?” she asked.

Many moons ago, when I was a teenager, I read the captivating Arthur Rex by Thomas Berger. One of the stories that enthralled me was about a Mysterious Knight who appeared one day at Camelot and challenged King Arthur. The MK would ask Arthur a question and Arthur would have to meet him a year later with the answer. If the answer was wrong, MK would chop Arthur’s head off and vice versa. The question was: “What do women want?”

The year passed. Arthur asked everyone he knew, from Merlin to the lowliest slave girl, but no clear answer emerged. On the 365th day, a glum Arthur set off to meet his doom. On the way to MK’s castle, of course, he found the answer and his head was saved. So, excited by my newly-earned knowledge of what women want, I told my parents the story and asked them what they thought the right answer was. My father, poor soul, was all at sea. My mother waited through his pitiful mumblings and then said: “It’s simple. Women want to control men.” Which was the answer in the story. My father gaped at his wife with new respect and suspicion in his eyes.

When my Earnest Friend heard that Outlook was planning an issue on the Indian male, he was apprehensive. “Will there be any positive stories on us?” he asked. “Because from what these intellectual types have to say, we seem to have no redeeming features.” “That’s right,” said my Sociologist Friend, “It’s because of our child-rearing practices. In the case of Indian men, ID doesn’t stand for Identity, it stands for Immature Dependency. Indian men aren’t deemed to have grown up till they are middle-aged and their parents are dead. Till then, they are mother-fixated morons blundering around and being a threat to civil society.” “Listen, you oedipally-wrecksed fool,” sneered my Anarchist Friend, “it’s not my fault that just because your mom wasn’t as beautiful as mine, you spend your whole life all grown up and grim. My ID is the Id. You can have my superego as an Outlook subscription gift.”

I told them Arthur’s story. “Food for thought,” mused Earnest, anxiously eyeing his wife who was coaxing morsels into their nine-year-old son’s mouth. “The trouble with legends is that most of them were created by phallocentric, castration-complexed males,” opined the Sociologist. “Pleathe pleathe conthrol me, momma,” pleaded the Anarchist, crawling, his tongue hanging, at his wife. “I have better fish to fry,” snorted she, unimpressed. “And anyway, I have a headache.”

What do Indian men want, I asked my wife, after they had left, the Anarchist having to be carried off by the other two, trying valiantly to suck his toes. “Oh, that’s easy,” said Ms Anthropologist. “They want to live in five-star hostels all their lives, with food, housekeeping and laundry services on call, a large TV that shows cricket throughout the day, a comfortable bed with lots of pillows on which he can prop himself while watching TV, a powerful net connection so they can surf porn, and a microprocessor-powered, ergonomically-designed remote control testicle scratcher.” “What about sex?” I asked. “Yeah, what about it?” she asked.

“Hey, hang on,” I said. “What about our hunter-gatherer role? Like, you know, after all, I kill the beast and drag it back to the cave so you can cook it and feed my child!” “Do you have any idea about what you’re talking about when you say ‘my child’?” said Ms Evolutionary Biologist. “I am 100 per cent certain it’s my child. My mother is 100 per cent certain the kid carries her genes. You are 50 per cent certain. So is your mother. And your father, who is 50 per cent certain that you are his child, is merely 25 per cent certain that my kid carries his genes. Brush up on some probability theory, buster.”

“But tell me truthfully, if you left the house to me for a fortnight, and came back and found everything spic-and-span, wouldn’t you be disappointed and insecure?” I asked, fixing her with a gimlet gaze.”Disappointed, of course,” she said, upending my ashtray into the dustbin. “Insecure, no. I would just think that your mother taught you nothing about how to deal with women.”