One of the side effects of being 28 and single is that every once in a while, your parents foist someone on to you and then sit back and hope you will get married to the person. This happens to me at regular intervals (And I must say the advantage about growing older is that the intervals become less and less frequent). Anyway, after a fairly longish period of not going through any lectures on having to settle down, my parents seemed up to something. I can usually see the signals of such things coming up. Hushed whispers when I am not around hinting at due diligence being done. This particular time, since the prospective groom’s parents belonged to a different community, a little more than usual due diligence was done. All I can is that whether I meet my soul mate or not through this route, my dad’s acquaintance circle is certainly expanding.
So there it was. One fine evening I checked my inbox and saw a mail from my mom saying that XXX is interested in getting to know me better and I can mail him. We have a quaint system in our house. Dad actually does the due diligence etc, mom is in charge of passing on the message to me – always over mail. And I need to do the part of getting in touch with the guy. This is convenient to everyone since it prevents embarrassing discussions on how a 28 year old has to depend on her parents to be set up with someone.
XXX had a pretty ordinary profile that mentioned the usual things – “I like music, I like traveling and I like sports”. There are very few profiles I read where someone says I like reading and by that means something more than Sidney Sheldon. The picture that went with the profile showed a tall young man in a sleeveless t-shirt. Pictures of men in sleeveless T-Shirts always put me off for some reason. Nevertheless, with no strong reasons for objecting, we started mailing each other.
The first mail is usually easy. By now I know how to write a mail that is short enough to provide some interesting details without being garrulous, but not too short to show a lack of interest, a mail that gives some idea of myself without revealing too much in case the guy turns out to be a stalker and finally a mail that asks some questions to get the guy going. XXX sent a reply. I replied again.
I opened my inbox to check my mail, and there it was. A mail that went ‘I will write to you later. I am getting into a conference call’. Whoa. The deal on such mail communications with a perfect stranger is you don’t expect them to write every hour or even every day. They can write whenever they have the time and the inclination. Which means a mail every third day is also fine as long as it shows a tread of continuity. Not something that is completely unconnected with the topic of discussion, especially with a meaningless piece of info.
Since I could not comprehend a single sensible reason for this mail, I was not too keen on writing to this guy any more. But for some reason I persisted. Perhaps, at the back of my mind was this slight feeling of guilt that I had to spend at least as much time on this guy as my dad spent with his dad. So I wrote back a light funny mail asking him why he told me about the conference call. I did not get a funny and light reply but a rather embarrassed one liner mumbling some inane reason. Good enough. We kept at it.
However, after nearly a month of mailing, the only thing I knew about him were (a) he attended conference calls (b) he was excellent at writing one-line pointless mails that kept a contact alive (c) his parents had been to Bhutan. The last one because I had told him I was going to Bhutan.
Anyway, it was time to test the strength of our ‘relationship’ and see if it would withstand moving to the next level. I wrote a polite mail saying it has been fun writing to him but we were obviously not getting to know each other better and perhaps it would be a good idea to meet up.
Man. I have heard that men are afraid of commitment. Surely, that does not mean meeting someone. All I have heard so far is silence. All of those twice-a-day one-liners came to an abrupt halt. I am trying to see what I said that could have scared him away. He could have surely not expected me to spend the rest of my life conceiving light and funny replies to mails that went ‘I am on a conference call’.
This does however prove my theory that men who wear sleeveless shirts should be ignored.