Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pakistani Dating Etiquette: Desi Dating Pitfall Navigation

Because Happily Ever After Requires Some Trial & Error.
Dating in Pakistan is a complex game, full of intelligence, politics, lineage evaluation, secretive sub-plots, counter intelligence and a healthy dose of 'if my Daugther isn't back by Isha, God will rain Drone bombs down your backside', 

Pakistani Patriarchs Have the Arsenal to Prove It.
........with the added caveat that if God did rain hell fire, that the lady in question would be somehow not be incinerated..... but one can assume that Daddy believes that the drones are supernaturally accurate and doesn't expect the distance between the two to enroach ten solid halal shrapnel reaching feet.

See, He Likes Me! Look How Much Credit He Loaded on My Phone!

Phone Privileges: You are mandated by all desi dating laws to give your date loads of credit upon request; nothing says I'm not superficial or a gold digger than daily requests for more credit. The cellular industry is certainly a boon in this matter. Yay to cheap packages and multiple sims, It's certainly fun (and yet increasingly economical) to be young. On the bright side, a lad knows he's parlayed himself into a serious relationship when his lady tormentor asks for a new phone on which she will only talk to's certainly pesky sharing her phone with other guys. score.

Cheap Phone Calls just got Cheaper.
Tip: As soon as she calls, put the phone on loudspeader and occasionally say the words 'uhuh', 'wow', 'that's crazy' ever so often. 

Dude out on a Date with his Girlfriend, Her Bhaabi, Her Mother Etc
Getting used to chaperons. Many are under the ludicrous notion, that when they go on a date with  a Pakistani girl,  that it'll just be the two of them. Such hilarious concept could crack the scowl off a grinch. Girls typically shy away from solo dates, you'll often be enriched with ladies bringing their trusted sister, gaggle of shopping buddies and the occasional 'acha he's like my brother' dude who has secretly been pining for the lady in question and has a long term strategy that entails waiting for someone to break her heart so he can gallantly step in and play hero.  

Guess which Poor Schmuck is Sponsoring this 'Date'
Tip: Don't worry, eventually, in between picking and dropping the lady in question, you may be able to squeeze in a few intimate moments while she scans the neighboring cars for people who might have recognized her. If it makes you feel any better, it's not that she's ashamed of you, she's just petrified she might be seen with you.


Emotional nutcase: Women are emotionally imbalanced even in the best of circumstances, whilst men suffer from senstivity deficiencies (which we are rather proud off), a Pakistani girl by agreeing to go on a date with you, has essentially made you a sign a contract enumerating the ways she can drive you crazy with her mood swings, peculiarities, insecurities and general lack of sanity.

Everyone Thinks I look like a Model! What Do You Think?
Tips: Find a doctor willing to medicate you.

Only a Woman With Too Much Money Would Buy These Clothes
Shopping adventures. One woman's heaven is another man's hell. Particularly as the shop keeper decides to set prices according to the level of bulge in the lucky male escort's....pocket, you know, the one with his wallet.

If You Don't Buy It For Me, I'll CRY!!!!!!
Tips: Pretend to get ill and suffer through the experience. Pray repeatedly to the deity of choice for as low impact on your financial position as humanly possible. Avoid expensive places.  

We Talk All The Time, Mostly About How Great She Is
Conversation: Developing a strong verbal communication is extraordinarily the woman. For a guy, his duty is to act as Chief Listening Officer. If a boy is lucky enough to get a word in edgewise, it is always a good ploy to pay as many sincere (and insincere) compliments as possible without sounding flamboyantly gay and secondly . Etiquette dictates that it is always polite to let the lady in question speak, (preferably till she chokes from lack of breath). In the probable advent the blabbering puts you in a coma, it is useful skill to nod off to sleep whilst keeping your eyes open. Dark Shades indoors also prove to be effective.

A Girl's Best Friends: Also Known As Her Best Enemies
Tip: If you'd like to test whether or not she actually likes you, lean back. If she leans forward to reduce the gap, that would indicate that she likes you....that said, maybe she's thoughtful and doesn't want you to miss a single tantalizing word. If she decides to increase her decibel level, you can safely assume that you are being used.

The Parents: No Pakistani man would like anything better than to avoid meeting his dates parents. Even the 'liberal' variety would like nothing better to relieve the gentlemen callers head from the shoulders via a blunt spoon. However, if a man is placed in such hardship, he is advised to always be polite, act scared (which isn't likely to be difficult) and project ample amounts of 'I'm Still in the Closet'.

Female Terminator Style Body Guards
Tip: Avoid at all costs, but look very serious as the array of threats are being delivered. It doesn't hurt to scope the area for any items that may be classified as weapons. Yardstick: If Jason Bourne can kill you with it, then step away from it. Forget your fancy gelled up hair do, the leather pants, and super tight sequined shirt, wear the most boring respectable clothes you own. If you can pull off a tie with it, all the better. Mimic the mannerism of your date's father, it'll make him feel comfortable that you have so much in common.

If a Boy Walks into my House, I'll Kill Him.
The Outing: Odd's are that you'll be taking your date to a Dinner. It's practical, you get to talk (in the man's case listen) and you can reasonable assured that if you give the restauarant a french enough sounding name, your date (and her entourage) will dress up like they are appearing on the nearest catwalk. As you'll likely be catering a rather larger group than you expected, it's preferable to bring along your old posse Monsieurs 'Visa' and Master Card'. Trust me, their help will be needed.

Why You'll Need Friends Like Visa & Mastercard
Tip: Develop mysterious allergies during the appetizer phase of the meal, and relocate to a more economical option. You'll save on your dinning expenses and gain a sympathy vote from your lady friend.

You Look So Beautiful, I Wouldn't Want to Ruin that by Giving you  a Steak....
Dating in Pakistan is a minefield, however if you are one brave enough to navigate it, it's always best to be prepared and bring a minesweeper along.

Or Just Kill Yourself Right Now.....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shopping: One Woman's Pleasure Is Another Man's Hell

SHOP PHOBIA: All Men Have It!

I hate shopping. I hate the process. Electronics are cool, but when it comes to clothes and boring appliances, men and women have very different ideologies. The truth is that Men and women shop in very different manners. For starters women actually enjoy shopping, men on the other hand, find shopping to be enjoyable as a chain saw swinging dentist appointment...with the dentist in question being blind; Simply put, men will keep rescheduling for as long as feasibly possible.

For The Gals who Rather not go through Child Birth
Men require an iron clad reason to shop, usually when their female loved ones reallocate their wardrobe to the trash bin. Women shop on an impulse, albeit of the planned 'lets spend all day at the local stores just looking around' variety or the, I need new clothes because everyone has seen my wardrobe disorder, coupled with an infection of month old, twice worn clothes. Whenever possible, men are perfectly happy to let their female loved ones shop for them.We know you enjoy it, and you know we hate it.

Dunno what it is, but whats the harm in buying it? My Wallet Feels Heavy
Men, whose mothers and wives shy away from shopping for them, are drawn to one stop shopping solutions, if there was a mythical store where they could acquire a DVD player, Bare essential Clothes and a Bun Kebab, that would culminate in the perfect shopping experience. A Lassi would be nice too. Women have the tendency to work rather differently, preferring to visit as much shops as possible to evaluate the ware almost as if they fear the shops might suddenly close down.
Oh, yes, we love carrying your bags for you.
If a man skips a store on his shopping spree, he doesn't really care. On the other hand, a woman is devastated due to the minute possibility that the store may have re-stocked some new happening wardrobe since the last time she was in the store (in all likelihood the day before).

For women, shopping is an Olympic sport that combines finesse, debating, charm and the proverbial leave the store without buying anything. Men consider shopping a sport as well, however it's more akin to the 100 yard dash. The faster you get to the finishing line the better.

The Kind of Shopping Men are Happy to do with Women
Men will do all that is possible to prolong the use of their clothes to prevent future shopping. Whether it's keeping their clothes well, or simply being ambivalent to the presence of mildew and a healthy dose of patches (we were really excited when tatty clothing was 'in'). Women on the other hand, feel the necessity to discard their clothing with regularity. No self-respecting, straight man feels the urge to replenish his wardrobe on a seasonal basis. 

The Heavier the Bag the Tighter the Noose
When men are forced to shop, they tend to select items that will match their current wardrobe, women have the proclivity to buy items that require a whole new array of other items....the cycle is endless. Much to the joy of the consumer industry.

Haggling; Despite putting together complex mergers and acquisitions deals and negotiating multi-year contracts, very few men know how to haggle properly, one can attribute this to their general lack of experience and the general comatose state of mind Men are in while being dragged from store to store by their significant others. Men will very simple look at the price quoted, if it's considered fair they'll pay it.

An approximation of what a woman looks like when you deny her shopping rights
Across generations and hordes of crying shopkeepers lying in their wake, women have developed haggling into an art form worthy of Sadequain; Mind Boggling. Any layman lucky enough to properly observe a woman indulging in her dark art, the words 'Hostage Negotiator' come to mind.

Kim Kardashian Secretly Buying a Sweater for Gorilla Bananas
In addition women are hardly strangers to manipulation, my own little sister, in her early shopping days, once swooned when a jeweler quoted her a price for an item, proclaiming her poverty, once the gentle shop keeper pointed out that the substantial wad of rupees sticking out from her purse.

What do you $%&$ Mean Credit Limit!
She immediately switched tactics and questioned the man's honor for charging so much from a such a young girl. At which point, the jeweler realized that there was no winning the argument. He reluctantly brought the price down to more acceptable levels.....My sister was 9 years old at the time.

Haha, I'm pretty enough to make you go broke
A guy is far more likely to buy the cheapest possible clothing substitute and brag to his friends how little he paid for it (After adding a 20% discount on what he actually paid). A woman on the other hand, tends to shy away from such indecency but will, to her friends and husband aka financier, typically add 20% to her buying price, not to mention add a brand label.

The Good Kind of Shopping
Making Clothes: Men don't make clothes; they tend to have an affection with all things ready made. You give a man a chunk of cloth and he'll wonder if the shop keeper mistakenly thought that his customer either asked for new sheets or was preparing to go to hajj. Women on the other hand, like nothing better to get their hands on some kapra (cloth) and go to work on it; apparently 'fashion designer' is embedded in their genetic makeup.

Women, wherever possible will shop in packs, whenever a hostile negotiation over the price of tooth picks is ongoing, their team will either participate or look judgmentally at the said shopkeeper. It's a team effort. It's also a social factor and a way for womenfolk to bond. Men, shop alone, it's not an outing, it's a solo drive-by laden with as few receipts as humanly possible.

Getting Married for the Gifts
Shopping is a part of all of our lives, but for those who shop; Proceed with caution. Women Don't Mess Around....

A Typical Woman's Christmas List

A Version of this article appeared in the Printed Edition of the Dawn

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Farmers Against Agricultural Taxation Standing United (F.A.A.T.S.U)


To be a farmer in Pakistan is to reside in a financial paradise. You have government subsidized irrigation and electricity, your output has set government funded support prices ensuring healthy dependable profits (Thank you Pasco!)...particularly since the guys setting the prices are the farmers themselves.....and in a country of a 170 million hungry mouths, demand is never a problem. Career and profitability wise, life is good.

Because talking just got harder.....

Now, it has been well documented (by most of my professors and lady friends) that my mind tends to wander off (mind you, it rarely comes back in a sane state), and on such an occasion I contemplated a scenario where the noted hard hitting, hard talking, and soft drinking BBC show Hard Talk's Tim Sebastian ....would actually interview these esteemed group farmers, over their lack of taxable income. Farmers in Pakistan pay nil tax.

They call me Sebastian. Tim Sebastian. Like the Sex Symbol. Which also happens to be Me.

Note: Sorry Stephen Sackur, every time I see you, I think of much needed hair implants and Donald Trump's vagina. It's nothing personal. I just can't take your weirdly pitched voice seriously.

Stephen 'Everyone makes fun of my name' Sackur

The topic of discussion is a farm tax to help pay for the damages caused by the floods. Needless to say, the Farming community is not happy with such a scenario. Simply because once we start taxing agriculture even a little bit, they can tax it again later. Which is the real doomsday scenario. Hence, the creation of FAATSU! Farmers Against Agricultural Taxation Stand United! A league dedicated to the preservation of Farmers rights from breaking the law (that is not paying taxes) by simply not allowing agri-taxes to be put into play.

This is how my day dream went.

If we were rich, wouldn't we be using tractors?
Nice Glib talk on the state of the agricultural economy of Pakistan. Tenth Largest Output in the world, biggest source of employment blah blah, who cares. We get it. It's important, just like every other agricultural economy on the planet.

Tim Sebastian AKA Harder Talk: So Mr. Wack'em Vedera, It is FAATSU's position that this proposed farm tax is unfair, why do you feel that the farming community should continue to be exempt from paying taxes, as the government scrambles for sources of revenues? 

Wack'em Vedera: I am off the belief that our taxation system should not punish the poor. It may not seem it to you, but I am a poor man, even a 1% tax is too much of a hardship on me (he proclaims as he wipes the sweat off his forehead with his Solid Gold Rollex watch.)

I and the rest of the FAATSUs do much good for the country, we sow crops that people eat...well, we don't personally do it, but the guys that work for us do! Personally, I even collect Zakat from my employees, I am such an subservient muslim that I adjust and increase the amount every year for inflation, so by my last count I collect 68% of my workers salary and that goes straight to Charity.

Harder Talk with Classy British Cockney Accent: That's a rather tidy sum, How is that spent? Do you deposit it with the government or donate it to a foundation? Can you provide documentation to such effect?

Wack'em Vedera: No,no, those organizations are full of wasteful scoundrels, I take a trip every year with my family to perform Hajj (religious pilgrimage), and we stop by in Spain on the way, last year it was very tough, I had to sell some of my workers, their livers, kidney's and their first borns to raise funds for the Bentley I rented. RENTED. Naturally I can provide receipts for the hotels, flights, etc...the prostitutes might be tricky, those poor girls were Scottish after all, didn't understand a word of the Queens English.

Do you realize how mercilessly the Rich Zamindaars (Land Lords) mocked me when they realized I was renting as opposed to buying and then crashing it into a strip club like my family has done for generations? ooh, the shame. I was profoundly embarrassed, I shamed my village. Next year I'll have to buy two Bentley's and an F-16 just to get back on even footing. And my village will know pride again!

Harder Talk: You don't seem to be making any sacrifices, you took an opulent trip to Spain before going for an equally luxurious religious pilgrimage. What do you say to those, who contend that you are taking advantage of the sacrifices of your people and essentially manipulating them?

They called Regan the Great Communicator: They call us the Great Provider

Wack'em Vedera: Gora Saeeen (White Sir) That is completely ludicrious, I pride myself on the sacrifices I constantly make for my people, when my daughter got married the villagers from all over the region put a bit of money together, so naturally we didn't want to offend them and we ordered Mithai...from Switzerland, and ate the entire one sitting! We didn't share it with them or anything. It's been 6 months and I still have the taste of Swiss Chocolates out of my mouth. I don't even like sweets, I'm diabetic. but for the love of my people I gulped down every bar of brandy filled chocolate till I felt closer to God.

I don't slur, I slam down the beat yo!
Harder Talk: You mean drunk

We're Number One, We're Number One!
Wack'em Vedera: No, I mean closer to God, I couldn't even remember what happened the next morning. But I remember that through the haze I felt Almighty Allah's presence demanding that I take care of my people so I did!

Harder Talk:  What did you do?

Wack'em Vedera: Two things, firstly I gathered the closest several thousand people and had them build a sand castle city (Always wanted to be on Ripleys Believe it or Not) and secondly, in order to support the flood victims, I threw a flood relief party, it was a high class affair, the elite of elite were there. Almost 15 people showed up for a night of frivolity, Shakira performed, and I can tell you, her hips certainly don't lie.

We had Gordon Ramsay cook some Tikkas in a savory cockroach sauce, it was lovely. Inspirational even. Completely worth the very reasonable 1000 pounds a plate that it cost.

Harder Talk: How much money were you able to from this glorified party fundraiser?

Wack'em Vedera: Well, we actually ended up losing money, I never went to school, so my accounting skills were never good, I always believed that one ought to leave the Math to God. but I think it's important that we at least showed up and made our voices heard. Now all those rich people will feel shamed into doing their part, and it's all because of us! All hail FAATSUS!

Harder Talk: You must be joking.

Wack'em Vedera: I'm not, I even remember one of the guests telling the Playboy Bunny Models

Malnourished Women

how he had more than enough sugar to be all of her friends Sugar Daddy.

Harder Talk: How is that Charity?

Wack'em Vedera:
Have you seen how thin those poor girls are? They probably eat once a week. They are very needy. See he's going to give them free sugar, and we all know how expensive sugar has become, though that's because of the crazy Nauruans; Have you seen how fat they all are?  Besides, I think we've all agreed that our next benefit will be dedicated to those poor girls.

Nauru: Fattest People in the World. Respekt!
Harder Talk: I think I'm going to be sick. You're all unbelievably delusional not to mention insane.

Wack'em Vedera: Don't mention it, we're all just humble servants of our people. We strive to set an example for the coming generations on how survive in the midst of poverty. Would you like a crumpet, I just had it flown in from some quaint little island called Monaco, have you heard of it?

Shit, Now what? This takes forever to grow.

 The End.