x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Desi girl: We'd love our friends more – if we didn't hate them so much

Women in relationships are fraught with ambiguity. Feelings of possessiveness and jealousy sit in the laps of love and friendship. Why are things so much simpler for men?

You know those electronic postcards with scathingly profound quotes? I got one the other day that hit a little too close to home. It showed a well-dressed lady examining her manicure and wondering out loud how she would love her friends much more if she didn’t hate them quite as much.

The e-card was like a divine confirmation of a deduction I was forming based on data drawn from an adjacent browser window (but more on that later).

Women in relationships are fraught with ambiguity. Feelings of possessiveness and jealousy sit in the laps of love and friendship. Why are things so much simpler for men? Imagine two male friends, where one of them has done something not to the liking of the other. This is how things would most likely go:

Friend 1: Dude, that was not cool!

Friend 2: Dude, I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.

Friend 1: No problem, dude. It’s cool.

OK, maybe with a little less usage of the word “dude”, but you get my point. Now imagine a woman in the same scenario. Regardless of which friend you substitute her for, what are the chances of the conversation going the same way? As slim as Keira Knightley. There would, instead, be accusations, allegations of ulterior motives and a whole lot of sulking.

“Why can’t you girls just be happy?” my husband sighed the other day.

What started it all was a Facebook post. I had been to a costume party and was shortlisted for a prize, with the winner selected based on number of “likes” on the relevant Facebook picture. So I shared it on my wall, asking my 575 FB friends to like it. I ended up getting about 400 votes and won second place. You’d think that’s a decent number, but you’d be wrong.

I actually scrolled through the list of people who liked my photo and here’s what I discovered: about a quarter of the votes came from friends of my husband, most of the rest came – miraculously – from the friends of the sister of a friend of my husband (long story), and only a measly five per cent came from my own friends.

Of course, I went back to my last costume win: the Monster Halloween Party at Nasimi Beach, Atlantis The Palm, where I won Scariest Female Costume – again driven on the number of “likes”. A little scrolling revealed that about two-thirds of the votes came from my husband’s friends, a quarter from friends of his best friend and, again, about five per cent from my own so-called friends.

“Time to make some new friends?” my husband suggested.

And then someone sent me the serendipitous e-card. I immediately updated my FB status: “Pleased to announce that I won second place at the costume competition. A huge thanks to all my friends and family who voted for me. You guys rock! As for the rest of you ... you suck. If you’re not going to ‘like’ a post that means something, then I really have no need for you to ever like or comment on anything on my wall, or for that matter ... to even be on my FB list. Please excuse yourself now if you find the last sentence reflects upon you.”

This goes without saying: what followed was a lot of FB “unfriend-ing”, a barrage of emotional, hurt-puppy emails and the sad realisation that, yes, I really would love my friends a whole lot more if I didn’t hate them quite so much.

The writer is an honest-to-goodness desi girl living in Dubai