I don't usually write about marriage/relationship and how it impacts the way individuals behave. There are more than enough research papers, news paper stories, magazine articles, self -help books, and most importantly, Whatsapp jokes around this. But I really need to relate this. Also, I'm sitting at an airport with a long waiting period for my flights boarding to be announced, and I've just discovered a blogger app that lets me post from my mobile phone, so you're stuck with reading this.
One of the ways that you can clearly discern the duration of the marriage/relationship is by seeing the guys behaviour when out clothes shopping. For the girl.
For the first six months there is a swoon. The guy doesn't care if he needs to carry her handbag, doling out "you look wonderfuls" as the girl changes through hundreds of dresses in the cramped trial rooms. For the next one year or so there is the beginning of an awareness that this is not his natural habitat. Hanging on to her handbags (or are they called totes now? Or are they called something else now? Frankly, I can't keep up). This is the period where you can see men cringing when their partner nonchalantly thrust their handbags at them and rush into the trial rooms. Various devices are, well, devised by the guys to prevent the ignominious position of roaming around with a pink handbag on their shoulders as various hues of women excitedly go through the racks of clothes. This is also the period when men try to avoid the eyes of other men in similar predicaments. A whole anthropological study can be conducted around the behaviour patterns of men in women's dress shops in this time period of their relationship. But more on that, and the associated funding request, later.
The next year is when men slowly get attuned to their place in the universe. There are more wry smiles than scowls when they receive the yellow oh-so-cute handbag from their ladies. This is also the period when they exchange commiserating nods with other men wearing other oh-so-cute bags. An anthropologist would probably call this period the "acceptance phase".
And then you come to my stage. I have christened it the "confident consultant" phase. I cannot describe it as this phase is more a state of mind than a set of characteristics. What I can do though, is to give you an example of why I started thinking on these lines. Imagine a rakishly handsome man enters a dress shop (this is not a multi-brand shop with both men an women's clothing. This is just women's clothing), looks around and identifies an empty chair, makes a beeline for it and before any woman could even look at it. He then settles in for the long haul - takes out a book and starts reading. The trial room is 10 yards from his vantage point and he looks up occasionally as his wife emerges once in a while for his comments about the dresses being tried. He bellows out his comments with nary a care in the world. To put it in perspective, the same person, a year ago, would have diffidently murmured his very politically correct comments while shuffling his feet, mortified if any of the other women in the store heard them. But now, not just "oh it looks wonderful" type comments, but harsh comments about the hideousness of the dress, the antecedents of the designer of the dress and what alternative career would suit him/her better are strewn around nonchalantly at the top of his voice.
When you reach that zen state where you feel at home in a women's store, that's when you know you're approaching year four!
I'll keep you updated on what happens next year.