“Common sense solutions are not always politically correct”
By Vishnu Makhijani
New Delhi, July 19 (IANS): About thirty years ago, the American author and relationship advisor John Gray caused a sensation with his groundbreaking book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. Positioned as a practical guide to improving communication and getting what you want in your relationships, its premise was that the root cause of relationship problems between men and women was a result of their psychological differences – that they belonged to planets. different and that each genre was dependent on the society and customs of its planet and not those of others.
But that was three decades ago and mainly concerned a Western setting. Obviously, one size doesn’t fit all. What about a world in 2021 in which a woman has no plan and a man has no idea?
“Sometimes common sense solutions are not politically correct,” says Bevinda Collaco of her book, “I’m Old, I’m Wise, & I Know My Sh * t” (Amaryllis), the latest I of the title being replaced by a bottle of champagne! It originated from an Agony Aunt column that she ran for seven years and is an outspoken book about dating, first-time sex, abusive relationships, pregnancy, parenting, and dodging sons of old age – midlife crisis, empty nest, menopause and invisibility.
“We were getting about 30 letters a week. Most of them were stained with tears. The writers were only 12 years old, blackmailed into having sex with neighbors or relatives. people in difficulty included teens, workers, spouses, parents and the elderly who wrote to ask for help, ”Collaco told IANS in an interview.
“The cases were so disturbing that I corded psychiatrists, counselors and the police as well. A DGP, a charming Sikh gentleman, asked me to print his number directly on the page so that people ignored by the cops locals can speak to him directly.
“These issues presented to this column formed the bones of this book. It has been spinning in me for 20 years. Because the same issues still destroy the lives of so many people,” Collaco explained.
Politically incorrect and funny, Collaco arms you with a “Bullshit Radar” and “Compatibility Questionnaire” to recognize and prevent pain in relationships. She helps you turn life’s shit into rich manure for your personal growth and have fun while doing it. She even gives you ideas to make your funeral fun!
It is a plan for the unconscious woman and the distraught man, a book that must be read and disseminated. It’s the perfect gift for that close friend or her or your daughter who sometimes struggles to see her own worth.
The writing of the book has been the subject of considerable research.
“I have scoured the internet and read international research articles on some of the more serious issues like negative peer pressure, dating, first time sex, mental violence, domestic violence, abandonment due to dumping. , divorce or death.
“TED talks by international experts shed much more light on these topics. While this is open source, it’s always nice to tell people you’re going to quote them in your book. I went to their websites, YouTube channels, Twitter feeds and got their written permission to use their quotes. I sent them the chapters on which their words were honored and they were all very kind about it. Full of cheerleaders. They sent me their mailing addresses for the paperback, ”Collaco explained.
How has the pandemic affected gender relations; has permanent damage been caused; what will the equations look like in the “new normal”?
“I wouldn’t venture to make a flat generalization about the pandemic impacting gender relations. As in my world, my people have adapted quite well to this new claustrophobic reality.
“People, partners, spouses, siblings in already strained relationships before the pandemic, need to give each other a physical space. Maybe each marks a personal space to spend most of the day. Who knows, living in. closeness might force them to each work on the relationship and step up their game.
“Those in abusive relationships must go through hell. For the rest, most stay away from each other,” Collaco said.
At the same time, new and old hobbies give respite to gender relations.
“The women I know started baking. Many have rediscovered the love for art. There is a rash of gardeners growing like weed everywhere. Self-publishing is huge today. Throw a stone in the air and you “are bound to strike a baker, artist, gardener or author wrought by a pandemic. Social media is teeming with successes and failures.
“My heart is working with home professionals. Especially young parents struggling to keep their double income and survive the daily buggy of online lessons from different children in the family. It is these young couples who will face the greatest pressure.
“They are learning to delegate and lower high expectations. Grandparents’ value has hit the ceiling when they are roped to help run the house and chase after grandchildren,” she said. .
Deploring that the pandemic has been “the most devastating” for children. Collaco said: “It’s a year and a half of childhood that has just been erased. I have three five year old grandchildren and it hurts to see how well they have adjusted. They think the Online classes are the new normal and they are Of course they will never go back to school to meet friends and classmates again, they instead turn to videos and that can’t be a good thing. “
Adolescence, Collaco writes, “is a horrible time in life, oscillating between the awe-inspiring confidence of childhood and the extreme self-doubt of entering the world of adults. Adolescents feel the need to fit in. , just like adults. Nothing wrong with that except when the urge to fit in becomes desperate, you make bad decisions, and then there are the lies. “
But, basically, “one thing that doesn’t change is the quality of a relationship between two individuals” or the “solid core of loving and respecting each other first, regardless of sex or gender. ‘orientation”.
“I am not a judgmental person, but there may be statements that seem judgmental. It happens when you are almost as old as the hills and know your shit. Yet if you find such preaching, I ask you Sorry, don’t hesitate, ignore it: focus on the message instead, “says Collaco.