Slim, fair and “homely”

Ever gone through matrimonial ads in the newspapers? All of them ask for brides who are slim, fair and “homely”. Mommy dearest, in her quest for the perfect son-in-law (another post for another time) decided to put in a description of her darling daughter (read ME) the other day over phone to someone. “My daughter is tall, slim and fair”, she proclaimed. Sitting at my computer, engrossed in finishing my reading list on Google Reader, I was barely paying attention to what she was saying until that minute. However, I did a minor double take when I heard her description of me.

Wait a minute. Just when did I become slim? Or fair for that matter? At five feet and nine inches of height, I surely tower over most Indian women, and even some men. But slim? I don’t think I’ve ever written about it, but my desperate attempts at going to the gym, salsa classes and even aerobics met with dismal failure barely one month after the start. I wouldn’t call myself overweight or fat, but I certainly can’t be classified as slim. As in, I do not resemble a lizard, an escape from Somali famines or Kareena Kapoor at size zero. Sorry. Nor is this my idea of beauty. I turned and looked at my mother, with an expression of disbelief. She ignored it. Over the phone, she continued eulogizing her daughter’s perfect proportions.

As if that were not enough, she called me “fair”. Not wheatish, not brown…fair!! Yikes! Me? Fair? Since when is brown skin considered “fair”? Dusky at best, would aptly describe my complexion. But no, mom refused to be convinced. According to her, her daughter is still slim, tall and fair. My arguments failed. Sigh! For the first time, I found myself giving up without a fight. All because of one sentence. She turned around, exasperated at my pointless protests and said, “Kaakkaikku than kunju pon kunju.” Now, who can argue with that?

PS: At least she didn’t call me homely. That would have been the ultimate sacrilege! 😛

4 thoughts on “Slim, fair and “homely”

  1. Ana G says:

    My friend, I couldn’t help but laugh truly out loud at the office whilst reading this note. Back in november, I remember reading out those ads with friends and “re-interpreting” them according to the “key” words that kept popping up.

    If I had to describe an ad for you how would this sound:
    “Tall, healthy and dusky as the sweetest hour in the sky. Well-read, polyglote with a love for culture. Poetic and intelligent yet as warm homelly and sweet as her amazing Gulab jamuns*.”

    ==> Honest and interesting ad 😉

    Wonder what my ad would be like! lol

    *PS: Please replace with any other warm sweet you like, though these are a no-brainer… How could anybody not like feminine rosy gulab jamuns???

    Oh hell! Now, I am feeling all shy…blushing to top it all…And I rather like Gulab Jamuns. Will keep that!

  2. Ana G says:

    Oh! And btw, I do think you can be homely… in a modern “I know how to take care of things and my cooking is AMAZING” kinda way… Nothing wrong with that! ;P

    You remember! Yes, I agree. I do cook well. But still….calling me homely is a bit much.

  3. selvan says:

    I vaguely remember having read somewhere that homely means previously wild and subsequently tamed.Therefore homely itself is an offensive adjective to describe a woman/lady/girl. The obsession with fair skin is common to all classes of males in our society.Perhaps women also consider it an asset.All mothers would like their daughters to possess all the desirable assets which would help them get a groom of their dreams.Just as in the case of Indian males I feel Indian women would also like to display their possession much to the envy of other females.Kakkaikum than kunju ponkunju is understandable.One must have the ability to see the self in a positive way without being affected by the perceptions or opinions of others.
    In a class room somebody told that God created mother because he could not be everywhere.In all species but for one or two exceptions it is the mother who takes care of the offspring and ensures the survival of the species.That way a mother’s concern for the daughter’s well being/future prospects can be understood.All mothers would like to see their daughters married and well settled with children.As far as I know this how things work in all classes.
    bye
    selvan.

  4. aargee says:

    Hey! You got a nice, interesting blog. I also like your french blog. But seems you have stopped writing there.
    I am going through you archives now 🙂 I am adding you to my Google reader 🙂

    Welcome! Sorry, been away and so was unable to approve comments… Am trying to revive my French blog…let’s see when that happens…

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