By Sonya Rehman
It’s crazy how many beautiful, intelligent single girls/women I come across in Pakistan, particularly in Lahore. All of them have great jobs, maintain good figures, have this worldly way about them, are wholesome-sexy and fun to hang out with.
But they’re single. And a few minutes into lighthearted discourse about work and play, it almost always boils down too: “Yaar, I’m sick of being single,” or, “I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong – do you think there’s something wrong with me?” or “I don’t have the patience anymore! I just want babies.” Yeah, good luck with that sister.
But on a serious note, has the dating (mating) game changed in Pakistan? Why is the Sisterhood of single ladies growing on such a rapid basis? Are Pakistani women becoming too demanding? Too intolerant? Too indifferent? The more I think about it, the more I know and feel, personally, that there isn’t much of a difference between the sexes. Really. Infact, sometimes I think women are not only pickier (when it comes to choosing a mate), but also more open to relationships (both casual and long-term). But it’s taboo to talk about. So on the surface, the male/female roles remain as they always were: alpha men and damsel-y women, yet, things have changed at a very deep level. There has been a complete role reversal.
Women in Pakistan, for the most part, are done with taking sh*t. Bad in-laws, emotionally limp husbands, passion-less marriages, and so on. I don’t mean to state that our women are joining forces and initiating a subtle women’s movement of sorts in the country, however, I do think women have just become smarter, wiser and yes, certainly more unhappy as a result.
We have great jobs, steady incomes, we’re strong – stronger than we’ve ever been – ready to take on whatever challenge comes our way, ready to climb mountains, slay dragons (with our bare hands!) and are far more depended on by our family members. Welcome the alpha woman – the goddess, the warrior of light. But wait, whatever happened to intuition, maternal instincts, soft femininity? Is that what we miss so desperately? And desperation, yes, desperation: the horrid ‘D’ (pun intended) word. We’re desperate to be taken over by the alpha male, desperate to be directed, taught, desperate to re-learn the age-old roles, desperate for the masculine seal of approval, desperate and yet envious of; the MAN. Ironic, funny and almost melancholic, the thought. Rage against the pre-set roles: it’s a strong under-current – a crazy tug of war between dependence and independence.
Anais Nin summed it up perfectly: “I do not want to be the leader. I refuse to be the leader. I want to live darkly and richly in my femaleness. I want a man lying over me, always over me. His will, his pleasure, his desire, his life, his work, his sexuality the touchstone, the command, my pivot. I don’t mind working, holding my ground intellectually, artistically; but as a woman, oh, God, as a woman I want to be dominated.”
Paperazzi, Pakistan Today