ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2005:

do not mix drinks. if i can offer you one piece of advice for the future, not mixing drinks would be it.

seriously. last night, i had just three drinks: 1 frozen margharita, 1 double scotch on the rocks, and 1 heineken beer. i think it’s safe to say that, 24 hours later, i’m still drunk. not hungover, not feeling sick, none of that fun stuff – i’m just plain drunk still. i don’t know how it happened, or why my body is doing this, but i believe that it’s a direct result of drinking nothing but wine for the past month or so. ugh.

on a completely different note, i want to spend some talking about something that has been causing me some concern as of late: my chest. for 23 years, my chest decides to remain relatively hairless, but then suddenly, over the past two weeks, it decides to begin growing hair at a tremendous rate. whoever said chest hair only grew during puberty is sadly mistaken – my chest is testament to the fact that chest hair can spring up on you whenever it very well damn wants, and is likely to do so at any time. so be afraid…be very very afraid.

for many years, i was proud of my relatively hairless chest. while the rest of my body decided to break out in a massive forestation maneuver, leaving my legs and arms looking like the amazon forest, my chest obstinately refused to grow any foliage of any sort whatsoever. which was fine with me.

my primary fear is that hair is not the only thing that will be growing on my chest. my family is composed of men who generally tend to have bigger breasts than their wives. which makes it extremely awkward, because they always want to hug for the most inane reasons (more on this later). anyway, i am worried about the possibility of having breasts at some point in time. i wonder what that will be like, though. will i feel like an awkward twelve year old girl when my breasts start budding? or will they magically appear one morning, similar to breast implants? i find this to be of great concern.

but back to my family’s hugging capacity. my family has been staunchly conservative for the past eternity, where we all accept each other’s personal space without exception. not as of late, however. for some reason (i suspect it’s something in the water), my family members have decided to start hugging each other for no reason whatsoever. and it’s not a pretty sight. imagine throwing a person who’s never learnt to swim into a pool and watching him struggle. that’s exactly what this scene is like. there seems to be massive confusion with people as to whether to stand straight or sideways while engaging in this hugging venture, where to put your hands, and mostly, where to put your chin. one of my uncles has the extremely annoying habit of putting his chin on top of my head, and slowly rocking back and forth, which is a problem, because he is six inches shorter than i am. so our hugging adventure turns into some sort of complex dance, where i bend over slightly so that his chin can access my chin, and then we rock back and forth. frankly, i’m completely fine with going back to that non-hugging point in time, when things were so much better, and all displays of emotion could be accomplished through a simple handshake. i guess this is my family’s way of becoming more modern and keeping up with the times. however, they still will not let their daughters go anywhere by themselves in a car. huh. so much for modernization.

seriously, sometimes i wish i was born as a woman in this country. every single day of the week, i have to get to work using whichever mode of public transport is available, sweating my ass off, while equally sweaty strangers rub up against your body, making me feel like taking about 17 more showers once i get to the office just to disinfect, while the women in our family ride comfortably in an air-conditioned car. but not by themselves, of course. that would be a travesty. also, on the buses, the front seats are always reserved for women, even if there are none on the bus. so what ends up happening is i huddle standing with many sweaty men in a corner of the bus, while the front two rows of seats lie empty.

but the worst part is that men cannot enter the one lingerie store in dhaka. ever. if they do make their way in, say with their wives, they are exiled to the “men’s waiting room”, a concoction straight out of hell, because the walls are lined with pictures of women in lingerie staring down at you seductively. just for market research purposes, i decided to ask the salespeople: what happens if you want to buy some lingerie for your wife as a surprise? the salesgirls were shocked: they couldn’t understand why you would want to do something like that in the first place. then, when i explained that my motives were innocent, and my wife was running severely low on underwear, to the point where she needed an emergency infusion of underclothing, they told me that i would have to sit in the men’s waiting room – which, incidentally, is also filled with sweaty men – while they brought items by one by one for your approval.

now, i don’t know about you, but if i were married, although i would enjoy picturing my wife in various states of undress in different lingerie, i would definitely not enjoy it if a room of sweaty old men were doing the same. i was aghast, to the point of trying to make a break for the women’s section of the store, at which point security was called in and i was hauled out.

but then, i’m also very happy that i’m a man. especially because i have a penis. a penis is a wonderful thing when you have to pee really hard – you don’t want to waste too much time taking off different layers of clothes just to relieve yourself, after which you have to pull them on again. with a penis, all you have to do is stand straight, unzip and let fly. i feel that this works much better for me, especially with all this heat and needing to pee every fifteen minutes (see previous posts for details on the heat).

what amazes me, though, is that in this heat, people are still falling in love left and right. it shocks me to no end. i thought spring was the season for falling in love, and then summer was the season when you took all your clothes off, because of the heat, and had mad sex, because you were naked anyway (as opposed to winter, which is when you have mad sex, just to build up body heat). but no – every time i go jogging by the lake, i have to deal with almost tripping over sets of couples sitting on the sidewalk, talking away. now, if i were one of the members of these couples, i would drown my partner in the lake for dragging me outside in the heat when we could be sitting in a nice air-conditioned room. but no. everyone seems to be tremendously in love with each other, and happy to be at the lake, but aren’t too engrossed in each other to give me strange looks when i go jogging by.

speaking of young love, i saw this advertisement in the newspaper today:

“sohel and shanta: please come back home soon. your parents are sick with worry and bedridden. the only way to save them from their deaths is if you come back home soon. all of us are willing to accept your relationship. please come back soon.”

now, if this country were filled with people with overactive imaginations like me, they would never put an advertisement like that in the newspaper. being completely bored on a weekend, i had nothing better to do than to surmise about the potent scandal in this whole incident. the following is a summary of my thought processes:

a. wow. people are fucked up.

b. there’s a picture of them two together.

c. man, are they both really ugly.

d. wait a second. there’s a distinct family resemblance between them. could it be?

e. man, they both ARE really ugly.

f. well, if there’s a picture of them together in existence, they can’t be distant relatives, and they must be related, especially since if they weren’t and were having a relationship, the parents would not have had a picture of them together.

g. i wonder if by “parents” they mean one set of parents, or two.

h. ewwww. one set of parents. eloping with your sister?

i. wow. people are fucked up.

having derived enough scandal from this simple advertisement, i decided to poke my nephew in the stomach repeatedly.

but this is just a sign of how times have changed here in good old conservative-land. when i was in high school, we used to say that if two guys hold hands and walk down the road, it’s completely fine, but if a guy and a girl hold hands and go down a road, then all hell will break loose. indeed, this is the country where a couple were making out in a rickshaw in the dark, and were stopped by a gang of hoodlums, who proceeded to rape the girl and then, obviously unsatisfied, raped the guy too. but i guess those days are gone. now people are making out in rickshaws in the dark, with no threat to their virginity, except from each other perhaps. girls and boys are holding hands and going on dates all over the place. in fact, an entire service industry has sprung up to cater to these daters: restaurants with dark lighting and partitions for privacy.

i guess i’ve grown too old, because this crap really bothers me.

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