A few years back, a book called “Why men Love Bitches” became a best-seller. It was a smart read. I suspect the smart title was one reason why it was such a big hit.
But the biggest reason was this: Every woman wants to be loved. She wants to progress from being a doormat to a dream girl. And she wants to be loved in a way that she has some autonomy or control over her life, if not his. And what the heck, she deserves it, if she is sincere and devoted. In short, she wants to know how she can win men, control them (without them knowing it, if she is smart) and keep them.
Is this a woman who is assertive and aggressive? One who openly questions patriarchy? One who threatens men? One who may be seen as a belligerent?
Or is this a woman who intuitively just knows what to do to achieve this objective?
Who is a woman who can successfully control and keep her man?
And if she does want to win, control and keep her man, what is her best bet? How can she do this?
Dale Carnegie was too general for women’s taste buds. She needs to know specifics when it comes to being the boss with men.
This is what this blog is about.
But to get to the gist, read it till the end. Otherwise you might be pelting stones at me for causing rifts between families or spreading hate-speech.
What is your image of a sharp, in-control woman?
We love stereo-typing. And so when presented with this question, we have a certain image in mind. Outspoken. In your face. Telling off everyone. Brash confidence. Yelling on top of her voice….a voice that turns a man into a timid mouse.
Of course, the answers depended on where the person being questioned is coming from. Simple theory of relativity. So the people from a more traditional background think this woman is almost always dressed in without-sleeves, is an economically empowered woman who does not cook, probably smokes and has more male friends than female.
But if the person asked came from a modern set-up and is anything like the above described person, she will think that this is a woman who is smart in a subtle conniving way. She knows how to manipulate her man through her cooking and silaai karhaai (sewing) skills. She has an M Phil in family politics and is a Ph D candidate in “Mard ko qaabu karnay kay chaaless tareeqay” (40 ways to control and subdue a man). She has grown up in a joint family system and is really chalaak (shrewd) behind the miss goody two shoes demeanour.
I am not big on stereo-typing. So to me, this woman can be from any back ground. If we are looking for the word “controlling”, basically it is the same techniques. Just the way it’s done will change according to the context.
Tried and Tested Techniques to Control Your Man – Are These Myths?
It could be a seedhi saadhi in a lawn ka 3 piece shalwaar kameez who just put the biryani on dum or a woman in a palazzo and a tee stepping out of a coffee meet. End of the day, the same predictable techniques are used. And men fall for them every time. Even those men who have seen the evil Parveen Mumaani adopting the same techniques and have sworn to themselves they will never be manipulated. Men will be men. And in certain instances, one has to say “thank God for that”!
Go Passive Aggressive. If anything he does or doesn’t do upsets you or you find it irritating, go a little quiet. The desi aurat is usually very good at this stuff. But even the modern women can master the skill. In such a situation, a woman can do any or all of the following: She can bang utensils in the kitchen. She can cook and clean as usual but not sit with him during meals. She can (and this is the ultimate) stop talking to him – the tried and tested “chup kee maar”. He usually may not be interested in or listen to a word of what you rant about on a daily basis, but when you are upset his radars will pop up and he will either ask “kya hua” (what’s wrong) or go out of his way with a guilty look on his face as if he is responsible for destroying world peace.
The important thing here is never, I repeat, NEVER tell him what actually is wrong. Just keep saying “nothing’s wrong” which basically means “everything you ever did is wrong, dude”. The thrill will stay alive. He will rack his brain over what is actually wrong and in the process may actually redeem himself by fixing not one but many of his faults.
Withhold Affection. Don’t be as lovey dovey as normal. Men don’t notice when it’s all ok, but they are quick to notice when it’s not. So you could eat your meal before him and not wait for him, pretend to be either disinterested or asleep when he attempts to make conversation, or pretend to be busy. Do not ask him “kaisee lag rahee hoon mein” (how do I look?) when you doll up and don’t cook his fav food. And refuse to go to that daawat with him.
In course of talk, ill-talk about other women and re-iterate how you are the best thing that ever happened to him. And the other women could be celebrities, his exes, his sisters, cousins, friends or even your saasu maa. Start a sentence with “I don’t know how women can do this” and very subtly praise yourself. Or more loudly if he can take it. Brain-wash!!!! Make him feel you are innocent, naïve and kindness personified.
Always Have a Trump Card Ready. In more olden or desi contexts, the fear of her brothers or the fear that she will go to her mom’s house (or maika as we call it) can be a good threat. You can also bring up your son to be your knight in shining armour, make the dad a bad guy, and make him the “abba agar aap ne ammi ko kuch kaha to….” type son. He will come in handy.
If you are an educated, defiant, emancipated and self-reliant woman, once in a while you should give him the dose of “I can leave you” or start spending more time at work jub tak seedha na ho jaye.
But What Do You Actually Want? To Win and Keep him? Or to Control him?
The above techniques are, sadly, used in societies across the globe in different ways. And if the purpose for these is the almost evil manipulation of the men in our lives, something is wrong with us…..and the us could be the men or the women. Seriously.
Women – If he gives you respect, space and love, why would you want to control him in the first place? Winning his heart, yes, is a good goal, but one should not have to try too hard for it and resort to insidious ways. Otherwise is it really worth it? And keeping him – well, for that you need faith in yourself. And if you have given a 100 % to your relationship and he still decides to walk away or walk apart, maybe you should rethink whether he is that important or not.
And Men – After you have had your last laugh at the above evil techniques or rediscovered that your woman has used some of them on you, think carefully. If she is passive aggressive, may be you don’t allow her to communicate enough. May be you are not open to working out issues. May be she is afraid of your anger and hence has no option but to go passive aggressive or to use the trump cards. May be she praises herself and demeans other women indirectly because she wants appreciation she doesn’t get from you. Maybe withholding affection is her way of making you realize what that feels like when you are cold.
But if either of us attempt to control in the sense of bullying, something is wrong somewhere.
The winning of hearts is an entirely different story. It may require a separate blog altogether.
What ACTUALLY Works
What actually works is an attitude of mutual respect. Of equality. Of understanding. Of compromise. No one should be the controller, neither the controlled. And for that, no one has to walk ahead. You have to walk hand in hand. Side by side.
For that, honesty works. It does not mean saying any and everything that runs through your mind. It does not mean you don’t use wiser and more intelligent responses. But it does mean that you are inherently sincere to the man or woman in your life. You are not consciously out to control them or to change them or to rob them of a sense of self. You both are there to bring out the best in each other. Complement. Complete. And love each other. In more ways than one.
Would it not be great that instead of controlling him, you could be his wings to fly with? But so beautiful is what you have together that after every flight, he comes back to his nest, which is you?
Of course by flights I do not mean infidelities. And letting each other be does not mean everything is allowed because you are not “controlling”. There are always some basic values in a relationship. And there are adjustments to be made. And those should not be seen as curtailment of freedom.
But if we are having to resort to the Star Plus methods of dominance, something is wrong somewhere. Unconsciously sometimes we may go a little quiet. We may have to make our voice heard through firm behaviour. We may have to make our “person” understand certain things. But the purpose is to win and keep. Not control.