Sunday, August 10, 2008

Siks Are Rad (or Ten Reasons I Would Marry a Pujabi Man in a Heartbeat)

Warning: The following post is politically incorrect and contains descriptions and opinions that objectify men in the worst possibly way. Unless you are in a good mood, fellas, you might want to skip over this particular entry.

Tall men? Awesome shoes? A temple covered in gold? Welcome to the Punjab girls. Hold on to your religious beliefs, it's gonna be a wild ride. I've had my fair share of come-ons and creepy encounters with Indian men while on this journey, enough to make me loath the idea of having to have a solo conversation with a man while here. But then I got to the Punjab.

  1. Until you've been here and seen it, you probably won't understand it. But trust me girls, there is nothing sexier than a man in a turban. Except, maybe, a man with a turban and a sword. Dead sexy girls. No joke. Why? I have no idea. Even when the turban is bright pink and three times the size of his head, a Sikh man manages to make that thing look manlier than chain mail in the middle ages. You think I'm joking but no, I'm totally serious. Punjabi + Turban = Dead Frigging Sexy.
  2. Altitude. True, I have spent the last few months in Tamil Nadu where the average height is around the level of my waist. But even in the states I find it very difficult to find men who are significantly taller than me. Not here though. Here, walking through the temple complex, I pass more men who are taller than me than men who are shorter by far and away. The other day I met a charming Sikh man with a black turban and a height of no less than seven feet in the temple. I usually say I'm married whenever I feel the situation is leaning toward awkward hit-on moment. But this time it was really, really, really hard to say yes when he asked me if I was married. Really hard. So hard that I'm pretty sure he saw through the lie the second it left my lips. He still asked for my number. Did I give it to him? No. But only because I drew upon superhuman amounts of self restraint.
  3. Devotion. Amritsar is home to the Golden Temple where the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh's holy book of scripture) is housed, and this means that most of the Sikh men I meet here are devout worshipers, trying to live a good life. They wear the five symbols of Sikh devotion: the metal bracelet that symbolizes the eternal cycle of rebirths from which we all seek release, the long hair and uncut beard (wrapped in those fabulous turbans, see point one again just for the fun of it) which symbolize a harmony with the laws of nature and help with meditation, the small dagger at their side which, though dull, is meant to represent willingness to fight for the truth, the comb (hidden in the fantastic turban, repeat step #1 one more time, you know you want to) which is a symbol of cleanliness in all aspects of life, and the unseen but very interesting holy undergarments (sound familiar anyone?) which remind one to remain pure in life (again, ringing any bells?). No liquor, no meat. Living a pure religious life is a tough road for a Sikh. Is it any wonder that I find a man who tries to live up to those high standards devastatingly attractive????
  4. Interactions with families. I spent most of my time here people watching in the temple complex and have loved seeing more men carrying children than women carrying children. This is partially a reaction to the strict divide between men and women in Hinduism which has played such a role in my experience here. That divide does not exist for Sikhs. Men and women circumambulate the temple together, side by side. She doesn't walk one step behind him and he doesn't ignore the fact that she is struggling with three children. They walk together, and he carries his daughter or son. He is proud of his family, he loves them, he is a part of them. I took a photo of a large older man with an even larger white turban, bending down slightly as he walked so he could hold his granddaughter's hand and hear her speak while they walked together. You don't see that everywhere in India, but you see it here. Men who love their families. Again, dead sexy.
  5. The Dancing. You know in those Bollywood movies when, suddenly and completely without context, all the men start dancing together with these really fantastic athletic moves? Well, imagine you're just sitting at Pizza Hut with a few of your girlfriends, you know, a girls' night out. And you're half way through the second pizza when your waiter (who, by the way, is about 6'6” and absolutely gorgeous with an apron on his hips that proclaims “Full Punjabi”, which could refer to the Pizza but more likely to him) turns off the corny American music and announces that for your viewing pleasure he and all the other fantastic “Full Punjabi” waiters are going to dance for you. Suddenly the room is filled with the heavy beat of a Punjabi mix and a line of six men in Pizza Hut uniforms is performing those same fabulous Bollywood moves right there in the restaurant. Oh yes, that really happened to us. Don't you worry; we got a video of it.
  6. Weaponry. As previously mentioned, carrying a dagger is a part of everyday Sikh life. Now, that's pretty rad and, all don't get me wrong. What is even more rad, though, is the fact that even today an integral part of a Sikh wedding is when the groom arrives...on a horse...with a sword. Don't lie girls. You know deep down a part of you is still hoping for that “knight in shining armor” to show up. Well, maybe if you moved to the Punjab he would. Only he'd ditch the armor and get an even more attractive turban to go with his curving, beautiful, and very masculine sword. (Don't worry, mom. I am coming home anyway...I think.)
  7. Mostly, though, I think the real reason I find Sikh men so attractive is that they are secure in their masculinity. They know they are men. They don't need to be reassured of it everyday; they know it. And they don't need to make women feel like cheap trash in order to prove it to themselves. So, basically, if you marry a Sikh man you can guarantee that you won't have to spend your entire married life reassuring him that he is a man. He knows it, and you can therefore feel free to be a woman without fear that your femininity will threaten his masculine insecurities. Or, in other words, sorry LDS RMs. You've been upstaged. By a long shot. I hope we can still be friends. (Yes, I just broke up with the entire single, post mission, male LDS community. It's not you, it's me.)
  8. The shoes. No, not the ones the men wear. The ones that I wear. You know how Princess Jasmine has those lovely shoes with the curly toes? Well, add a little glitter and a lot more pizzazz and you have Punjabi shoes. Or rather, I have Punjabi shoes. Seven pairs of them. And if I opted to settle down here my love affair with north Indian footwear wouldn't have to end there, would it? So basically, I'm also breaking up with Payless.
  9. The pants. Along with her excellent taste in shoes, haven't you also envied Princess Jasmine her ability to wear huge puffy pants and get away with it? Yeah, me too. They are all the rage in women's fashion here, though. Various styles: smaller up on top and poofy at the bottom, flowing all the way down with a sort of layered look on the back side, smaller poof at the bottom with a fantastic matching shawl. They work with almost any figure, including the invert-o-bum I inherited from my grandfather. One more reason to marry a man who can keep me close to the shopping scene in Amritsar.
  10. This one would take a lot longer to fully describe than I can do justice to here, so if you really want to know you'll have to ask me about it when (if??) I go home. Punjabi man+turban+soldier's uniform+7'2” tall+Pakistani border closing ceremony= me coming as close as I ever will come to jumping a man.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.


Brea said...

So where can I find my own Pujabi man? I don't really need a 7 footer as I am only 5 4', but a turbin and an awesome sword sound good to me. Jen, after reading your entry, I fully support your decision to marry a Pujabi man (we'll work on the converting thing!)

Jill, Ty & Megan Campbell said...

I know this is a year late, but after just updating our blog (with our first real entry in a year), we clicked the link to yours and read this post. Thanks for the laughs and the memories!