These days, occasionally S and I have to go to these ‘couply’ dinners – not too often (Thank God) since most of S’s friends are single and confused ( but in Pune) whereas mine are married and confused ( but not in Pune).
Why ’Thank God’ you ask? They remind me of the gatherings my folks used to have – fancy dinners and parties (with fragile dining sets and aperitifs and shining cutlery and other stressful paraphernalia) – too stiff and serious to be enjoyable.
I am slightly more casual. Okay that’s an understatement as friend fishcalledgoonda might point out- I once disgustedly told her to eat like a human being when she was trying to be ladylike.
When I invite friends over, there is a very high likelihood that I will make them run and get things from the fridge (if not the grocer).
Not of the sophisticated school of diners, in other words.
But coming back to what I was saying; - occasionally some odd acquaintance or colleague traipses into town and then we (S&I) have these outings.
After about a year of this, I have come to the conclusion that couples vary widely in their behaviour at gatherings such as this. I have made a study and figured out six typologies of dinner-couples.
The Lovey, Dovey and Whyee(!) Dinner Couple
There will be the coy nok-jhoks, the private jokes, the holding hands under the table, the holding hands over the table, the brushing of hair away from the way, the gentle kisses, and other private, intimate moments, which would have perhaps been rather sweet in a movie, but are exceedingly excruciating if you are the accidental voyeur sitting across the dining table.
The Participative School Of Marriage Dinner Couple
This is a variant Lovey-Dovey , minus the mushy bit. These couples in a magnanimous gesture invite one to be a part of the minutiae of their marriage. There will be chatty conversations about Kavita aunty from Kothrud and Satish Mama from Sadashivpet and how the former spoils her children and how its such a drag to go all the way to the latter’s house, and how the prices of onions are rising and how the husband forgot his dental appointment and much else in the same vein. And for the other pair of dinner guests – well, it’s just like watching a Reality show sans the television screen.
The Therapy Session Dinner Couple
A less happy variant of the participative school, ( maybe a older marriage) whereby the dinner becomes a forum to air grievances about how husband dumps his wet towels on the floor in the bedroom and wife HAS to clean up after him. Or alternatively how wife has no financial sense and will spend her money buying stuff from Good Home rather than invest in paying off the loan for the Good Home. The other dinner guests will be willy-nilly forced to support one parti and usually annoy the other spouse.
The Uska-Pati-Mere-Pati-Se-Safed-Kaise Couple
This is the dinner where one couple is trying to prove conclusively without reasonable doubt that they are
a) more in love ( “Oh you know he got me five diamond rings for my birthday – it was such a surprise *bats eyelashes- what did he get for your birthday?” )
b) more suited ( “We have EXACTLY the same taste in music and in books and in movies and in everything – we never disagree about these things")
c) marriage is made more in more refined and higher level of heaven than the other couple. (“She knows exactly what I am thinking, even before I have the time to think it. In fact half the times, she is the only one thinking for the both of us”)
The We-Are-Not-Married-Married Dinner Couple
Here, the couple apparently call a temporary truce and pretend to each other that they are not spouses, just casual acquaintances sitting at the same dinner table. The Husband will use this as an opportunity to ogle at people at other tables (and occasionally provide an extremely graphic commentary on the clothes or lack of them) while the wife will try and flirt with the guests at the dinner table (in this case, a usually bemused and embarrassed S. I don’t mind these so much, I am completely redundant- so can shamelessly sit back and enjoy myself)
The Mardana-Zanana Dinner Couple
Males and males and femmes are femmes and the twain shall never talk – you might be forgiven for thinking you have traipsed inadvertently into another century (well, okay, another decade). There is this invisible line which segregates the conversational ambit of the genders; the men SHALT talk about work and sports and the females SHALT talk about shopping and children. Now if you are one of those confused WORKING, fairly sports-mad, shopophobic, not-grown-up-enough-to-have-kids-female, then well, you will end up with a bit of an identity problem.
After penning these typologies down, I spent all of ten minutes trying to figure out which type do we belong to. Have regretfully come to the conclusion that my ma is probably right when she says “You two, bah, don’t behave like you are married only – squabbling all the time like children!”