I read somewhere recently that a good cause of obesity in women over 35 could be career-obsessed husbands who stop paying attention to their wives. Which in turn allows the women to lose interest in maintaining themselves in slim-svelte-type conditions and results in over eating and indulgence and lack of motivation for exercise and yada-yada two years later whale alert in the home.
It reminded me, rather perversely, about a certain something a friend of mine yelled at me several several years ago. The year was 1998. To be precise, it was April 1998. Now don't ask me for the date. I would make it up of course. You would have no way of checking up on it. Anyhow, it was April, and spring had sprung on us with a vengeance. Amherst, Massachusetts, in the spring, is lovely. Flowers and trees and the right amount of warmth and all the undergrads in colourful skirts and tees and strappy sandals and shorts. I was basking in the sudden sun and on a whim decided to go for a run. I anyway wanted to check out what happened beyond that traffic light at the corner where we always turned left. So off I went, jog-jog-jogging along. A little short of breath thanks to the winter blubber and the fact that the air was still a trifle cold for my tropical lungs. I was returning home, having checked out luscious trees and a real quaint old bridge and nice American homes which were not overflowing with desi graduate students cooking chole and rajma on alternate nights.
I had just almost reached our smelly complex with its beer-stained carpeting and creaky staircases when this dear friend of mine saw me. He was heading off to the lab, for another crack at that experiment that failed in the morning or some such. KENNY he yelled. YEAH I yelled back from across the street. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? he says. UHH RUNNING. WHY? I retort, a bit upset now since I had to stop and had a good rhythm going, but in some ways relieved to have an excuse to catch my breath. BUT WHY? YOU ARE MARRIED!! he screams at me. Over the years I have never let him forget this remark that spontaneously slipped out of his mouth that day back in 1998 in a sun-filled yet cool Massachusetts college town.
I did not stop to explain that day, I just yelled SO? back at him and continued on. But over the years I have told him soberly and drunkenly about what I think is the meaning of being married. I wonder if he ever got it though. You know, the stuff about not losing your individuality and identity just because you happened to change that thing in your Facebook profile from Single to Married. I like running. I generally like to be fit, but more importantly I like to exercise and feel one with nature (or even the treadmill, if required) even if I don't lose much weight. My husband likes it too (I mean he likes exercising), but his interest is more in muscle and iron and protein supplementation. Which has nothing to do with me or what I think or what I like his body to be like.
Even though I am very nearly 35 now. And we have been married for some 11 years now. And the husband is increasingly and frustratingly busy with his career compulsions and associated travel and commuting. In fact when I mentioned it to him last night when he called me all frazzledly from Delhi, he was sure that it made a lot of sense. As in, women want to look good for their husbands, and if he is not paying particular attention, they lose interest in it and so on.
Oh! but I personally SO disagree! I hope I don't live to bite these words back. Rap me on the knuckle if I do. If I became obscenely fat, not in a healthy plump way because that is what my body is like but in a unhealthy way that smacks of too much indulgence and too little exercise, it would be pretty much nothing to do with any man, frankly. It would be something I would blame on myself, my stress levels, my loss of interest in life. But that is just me. Just like I don't use nail-polish and lip-stick or straighten my hair although my husband may like stuff like that, simply because I find it all a major pain in the neck and am not even really sure I know how to carry things like that off.
But still, I do make (and have even begun to like) the foods that he likes. Pongal and Aviyal to mention a couple of things I hated as a child and now will happily pour my heart into to make, just to watch him eat with relish. And heck! I like them too now. Anyway in general I respect him in a lot of ways and vice versa too but when it comes to how much we eat or exercise (or read! how can I forget that!) and our ideal about our bodies, well, we are really on our own there! But thats us. I cannot speak for the others, though I would think that getting your exercise and not over-doing the chips and coke is something you do for yourself. That is clear to me though I have other lessons to learn, even after these 11 years, like lowering expectations and not nagging and not micromanaging, and especially, not getting stressed out about inane things.