Love vs lingerie: Vanity at play?

Author Bishwanath Ghosh wonders why we spend so much on lingerie if love is supposed to be blind

Bishwanath Ghosh | Posted on 19 Apr 2016
On Love, Lust, Lingerie & Long-Term Relationships | Bonobology

The Google-talk status message of a colleague wonders, "If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?"

I don't know if that line is borrowed or fresh off his head, but watching it for the last few days has set me wondering. Actually, there is nothing to wonder here. Love may be blind, but sex definitely isn't. For the fire to be kindled, you need to see and be seen. Many men go wild seeing their women in sexy lingerie - at least many women believe so.

Though, personally speaking, I don't see why so much of thought and money should be spent on something that is meant to be taken off anyway! It can, in fact, irritate the hell out of you if the lingerie doesn't come off on time. That way, the lingerie is the least significant part of a man-woman relationship. And that is a fact.

If lingerie matters so much, that's because the woman wants to look good to herself and feel good about herself. It's one of those moments when she dresses, rather undresses, for herself. She knows very well that this fine art of self-indulgence is lost on the lecherous man, who is dying for the underwear to come off. Love is not at all in the picture here. Not even lust, because when you are overpowered by lust, it does not matter whether the lingerie is bought from the pavement in Ranganathan Street or from Marks & Spencer. It's just vanity at play.

As for love being blind, there can't be anything more laughable than that. A man notices a woman at a wedding. He likes her eyes, he likes her hair, he likes her smile, he likes her innocent face. He notices her the whole evening, even though she might be oblivious of his stare, and by midnight he is in love. Ditto for a woman. She has this male colleague who is a great worker and has a great sense of humour and a cute smile and a cute butt. And he is single - or maybe not. Even before she realises, she is madly in love with him.

In each case, a strong eyesight has been the primary requirement for falling in love. And to call love blind?

But the truest kind of love, however, is blind. That's the love you have for yourself. Self-love. You can go to any extent to make yourself feel loved. You go to any extent to get the woman you desire, only because you love yourself. You go to any extent to get the man you desire because you love yourself so much that you hate the idea of another woman having him. If you love someone, you wouldn't want them for yourself - you would just let them be. But then, we want to own them - as if they were a car or an expensive fountain pen or a diamond pendant. What happens to the blindness theory? If anything, it’s lust that is blind.

Come to think of it, in most love marriages, it's only narcissism at play. Both, the man and the woman, bask in the fact that they have been found desirable or acceptable to each other. It's only a matter of time before the narcissist in the man as well as in the woman are challenged, and then the marriage settles into a routine or, in worst cases, breaks up.

As far as arranged marriages go, you have no choice but to 'love' your spouse, do you? 'Loving' your spouse, in such cases, is like making a refreshing cup of coffee for your soul and dignity. Doesn't matter if you are at times tempted by the paani-puri being sold next door. But then, paani-puri is bad for health, it might cause cholera. So stick to the steaming cup of coffee.

Yet, there can be love between a man and a woman. Such love, for which you willingly make sacrifices and forget your own self, happens over a period of time. A time comes when she is blind to his generous paunch, and he finds her sagging breasts just as sexy. And they walk together every morning in the park, incomplete without each other. That's when love becomes truly blind.

In other words, what you think is love, is usually not love. It's most often a cocktail of lust and self-love, with a dash of sympathy and kindness. Blind love is something that is earned, over the years. Even then, every time you go out for a walk, lust and self-love chase you like hawkers determined to sell their wares. Unless you are so old that you know there's no hope. Unless, of course, you are a Sean Connery or an Elizabeth Taylor.


Bishwanath Ghosh

Bishwanath Ghosh is the author of Chai, Chai: Travels in Places Where You Stop but Never Get Off; Tamarind City: Where Modern India Began; and most recently, of Longing, Belonging: An Outsider at Home in Calcutta.

Comments : 7

aarkp: Insightful! Except for your take on pani-puri.

Team Bonobology: Glad that you liked the piece, aarkp. Do read the other pieces of Bishwanath Ghosh too. We are sure you will like them :)

Mira: It is lovely to read how love, lust and sex all are put together and how each one of it comes some how from self-love

Team Bonobology: Glad that you liked the piece Mira. Please feel free to share the pieces you like, with other like-minded people.

I am Krishna: The funny thing about us Indians is that we feel the pressure to mask lust as love....always!

Team Bonobology: Additionally, having strong feelings for someone can make you think you're in love when you're actually in lust or just simply infatuated.


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