Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Size matters

Men measure their virility by the size of their television screens. Okay, this is not ‘that kind of blog’ but you know what I mean. Given a choice, men would buy an extra-large of everything, from cars to refrigerators to tooth-pastes to mobile-phones (bigger has become better in that arena too). Shrinking the size of any of the above makes them feel... well, sort of emasculated.

What is this size fixation? I think it comes from a place of conquest (“Owning bigger things makes me more powerful”). Or competitiveness (“How can my car/television/whatever be smaller than his?”) Or a place of smugness (“Owning bigger things means I have to talk less”). Or even a place of self-compensation (“Since I am not big, let me at least own big things”).

I think the feeling is perhaps more exaggerated in cities like Bombay when space is at a premium, so men seldom have a cabin/desk as big as they want it to be, or a parking space that they can engage into without wreaking havoc with the ecosystem around. So what do they do? They have small flats, but large dogs, small bathrooms, but large showers, small parking spaces, but large cars.

The husband for one has been so obsessed with the size of the dream TV screen that it even shows up in his status message. If he could, he would even wear it on his unnecessarily extra-large T-shirt (he is a medium but would like to believe otherwise). So we have this negotiation every other day:

“50.”

“No, 32.”

“Okay, 42.”

“No, 32.”

“42.”

“No, 32, and this discussion is over.”

“42.”

“Okay, but when we have a 20 ftX20 ft room.”

Silence.

When he and I were dating, he had an extra-large fridge with nothing in it except beers, a television that took up a fourth of his room, a microwave with functions that are yet to be unravelled, a coffee maker for a battalion, no gas and several menus.

He now has an extra-large fridge reasonably justified for the five occupants of the house (us, the infant and two cats), and since modern kitchens more or less pre-slot the fridge, which means it can’t get any bigger, his attention has shifted elsewhere.

Recently, when a single friend of mine moved to Bombay and rented an apartment, he did three things. Bought an extra-large TV, an extra-large fridge and an extra-large couch. I guess this just absolved him of having to go anywhere, do anything, meet anyone.

I think the words ‘extra’, ‘mega’, ‘super’, ‘jumbo’, ‘giant’, ‘power-packed’ were invented for men. Take alcohol for example. I don’t even want to get started on the man who claims he can stand still after having downed 24 tequila shots or some such absurdity. I think TGIF really got their audience right when they introduced their ‘Ultimates’. They must have figured, the men are making morons of themselves by out-drinking one another anyway, so why not raise the bar?

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