Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Games People Play

Games People Play

While enjoying a slow buffet breakfast at the hotel with today's edition of The Nation, I chanced upon an article by a columnist writing about men who choose to remain unmarried.

The columnist--a Gina, female I presume--has this theory that men who choose to remain uncommitted to marriage are actually doing that to increase their appeal to the opposite sex. She recounted how a friend of hers is suffering from a relationship with such a man and yet cannot seem be able to leave him. Being "unattainable" apparently has turned him into an attractive challenge for her.

She ended her article with a word of caution to such men: "...be careful. I believe many girls also know this trick".

Being one of those men who do not have any interest in marriage, I suppose I can speak with a little bit of "authority" on the subject.

Gina might be referring to men who are very young and have lots of time on their side or those who are already surrounded by hordes of lusty women waiting to tear their clothes off. But I'm not sure if those men consciously choose to be unattainable to increase their sex appeal; to me they are simply having too good time--there's no reason to commit to one person. At least not yet. It's as simple as that.

This is especially true for expatriate men in Bangkok and you don't even need to be young or good-looking to get your abundant share of female companionship. If Gina's theory is true, then married men must be even more attractive to women for they are the ultimate unattainables. No wonder my married expatriate friends are having such a good time here in Bangkok!

The fact is, there are more men who choose to get married than those who don't. Men--not unlike women--have a biological clock too. They are also susceptible to loneliness and the need to be loved; and at a certain point in their lives, they will feel that they need to settle down. The nesting instinct will definitely kick in.

Gina didn't mention about another category of men who also choose to remain unmarried--monks, priests and other types of spiritual celibates. This category is more difficult to understand: there must be something very appealing about the spiritual quest for them to be willing to forgo the pleasures of the flesh and the love and warmth of family life. It is an interesting subject worthy of another blog entry.

Yes, I do enjoy the freedom of my bachelorhood but I certainly don't belong to the category that Gina refers to: I don't have a harem filled with women who are mesmerized by the supposedly aphrodisiacal charms of my aloofness. (I must get her to introduce me to her friends :-))

Freedom is something that comes with a price and purpose. One must always be very careful not to abuse that freedom for it can easily veer into hedonistic selfishness and irresponsibility. Freedom is only meaningful if it is governed by self-discipline. Freedom must be used to pursue one's Personal Legend (to borrow Paulo Coelho's words).

It could well turn out one day that my Personal Legend is to be married to someone. Marriage can also be a spiritual practice to correct all the imperfections in one's soul. A tennis player cannot improve his game by only hitting balls at the wall--he needs a sparring partner. The problem begins when couples sometimes forget that they are both beginners and are supposed to be helping each other improve their game of tennis. (Even worse are those who can't even agree on what game they are actually playing!).

But one must not forget that there are also people who choose sports that do not necessarily require sparring partners--like high-jump, sprint, archery or bowling, to name a few. To improve in such sports, one must always have specific targets, or records that one needs to break. It is a more solitary task but it can be equally fun.

Whatever sport one chooses, the important thing is to continuously improve one's game. It is only through practice that we can we know our own imperfections and how much more we have to improve.

No comments: