“Oh! Aunty, please help me,” wailed my niece who is on her way to becoming a psychologist. “I have to write this thesis on behavioral patterns of the male species and I don’t have the foggiest. You know so many men, why don’t you give me a few tips?
I don’t know how and why the young lady got this idea of my being an authority on men but there’s no accounting for nieces having such impressions of aunts. I had to help her out as I have strong family loyalties. Moreover with two brothers, 20 cousins, a husband and two sons, my assessment of the male psyche, is fairly reliable. Inviting my niece to a cozy lunch, I set about giving her the info…
The first kind is the Browning variety. This poet said men have two faces – one to show the world and one to show the wife. These are not exactly split personalities or Jekyll & Hydes. They are just two – dimensional. They are suave, well mannered and courteous, Opening doors for other women, charming them and being chivalrous is their image in the presence of the world. At home, they are totally different. The wife is treated to choice abuses and boorish behaviour. She has to fetch and carry for her overbearing lord who treats her like scum of the earth.
A little less obnoxious are the husbands who are ever so devoted to their wives and are at their discreet best when they are around. The minute they are out of the wife’s ear and eyeshot, they become like lions on a rampage. The wife in such cases is the lion tamer and keeps them suitably mellow. These men can come to you as a rude shock, if you happen to ride a lift alone with them to the 21st floor. They are however, the safest, when in the company of the tail twister – the wife.
The Flirtatious types are harmless but a nuisance. They seem to think that it is their bounden duty to cast their net every time they see a woman. Flattery comes easily to them and as long as you don’t take them seriously, they are good for your ego - especially if your own husband is busy casting his net in other lakes!
The Casanovas are a menace. They have this urge to combine business with pleasure, not realising that their ardour can be unwelcome. Their philosophy is of killing two birds with a stone – when you can ogle at your secretary’s physical assets while dictating, why not? The more letters you dictate, the better will be the girl’s speed and the company’s productivity. The girls don’t squeal because they need their jobs – so why not make passes when it pleases?
The strong silent types are safe but boring. They only grunt and nod their head when you talk to them and prefer sending up smoke signals which when deciphered could read “Scoot lady, I don’t’ want you around! Interested only in stocks and share figures, they think of women as necessary evils to be put up with only if they are boss’s wife or mistress.
The greatest guys are the men for all seasons. They can switch to various wavelengths – flirt with the coy; discuss Khalil Gibran with blue stockings; talk about babies to mothers and parapsychology with nerds. They are not exactly noble, but definitely ‘infinite in variety’!