'Why is it that society always talks of bachelors as cool fashion icons while spinsters are always spoken of as nuts?'
This profound viewpoint was put forth by a member of my class during one of our weekly discussions in school that covered universal topics ranging from Ekta Kapoor's crappy serials to the Gujarat riots. These informal debates served two main purposes'they informed the girls who picked up the newspaper only to see which film was being shown in which cinema hall about the latest happenings in the country, but mostly, these 40-minute discussions meant one less physics lesson to us.
Pragya's question left our teacher, and most of us, stumped. It was quickly side-tracked, and we moved on to 'more relevant topics', like how many of us could cook (barely 10%) or why we thought India was justified in being secular.
Nevertheless, her observation opened up a new line of thought for me. She was right, of course. The word that goes hand in hand with 'bachelor' is 'eligible'. Try compounding that with 'spinster' and you'll have a stand-up comedy joke of your own.
Unfortunately, our creative spin-a-yarn machines (also called 'writers') haven't helped the case at all. Bachelors in stories are usually fat and cheerful, jolly and rich. But they're still eligible. Spinsters, on the other hand, are usually characterized as being grouchy and ugly, with quick tempers and quicker tongues. In books, a girl is always terrified at the prospect of dying 'an old maid', but which boy ever had nightmares about remaining a bachelor all his life?
Closer home, you can't help thinking of Akshay Khanna dancing to the tune of 'I am a bachelor'. Next, think of all the unmarried middle aged aunty-like women trotting around in Yash Chopra's films. No prizes for guessing who you would like to hang out with. Also, Bachelor parties are the coolest bashes under the sun after Siberian polar bears' rendezvous , but who ever heard of 'spinster parties'? (not to be confused with 'ladies' night', which is something entirely different).
In recent years, the so-called 'singletons' have apparently invaded lifestyles all over ' they shun rules, do not believe in the institution of marriage, work, drink, smoke, and run faster than P.T. Usha when they hear the word 'responsibility' ' so, basically, they're teenagers masquerading as grown-ups. Anyway, getting back to the subject, this broad category of singletons comprises members thirty-five years of age or younger, after which, there is a parting of ways yet again, into (what else?) bachelors and spinsters.
Older (and wiser, they claim - haha) friends of mine tell me that the difference in men and women's reproductive abilities is responsible for this discrimination. All I have to say to that is, the next time you look at a bachelor, picture the green-slimy thing that H.G. Wells once described in his book titled 'The War of the Worlds', which will soon be coming on the big screen as well.
Men are from Mars, after all. Remember?