“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. For some reason, almost all of us have heard of the book, not necessarily about its author, John Gray who, it turns out, owns the Mars and Venus franchise with 6 other titles involving the two celebrity planets. This made redundant any quips about other suggested titles like “Why boredom Mars Venus shopping trips”, “When Mars checks out Mercury’s moons”, “Why Mars and Venus feel lost at the planetarium”,”What to do when Venus catches Mars checking out Mercury’s moons”. Talk about a goldmine.
No, this is not a book review. The title covers all that I know about the book. This, strangely, seems true of everyone alive. No one seems to have read it. In spite of its assertions of “offering many suggestions for improving men-women relationships in couples by understanding the communication style and emotional needs of the opposite gender” as explained by wikipedia. I would like to think that I might have, by my own mental functions, managed to add a few fitting paragraphs in the book, heck, maybe even rate a mention!
The backstory to this, as expected, revolves around the specific venusian in my life, and more specifically, dates, the calendar kind. For some innate reason, this Venusian, like many others of her kind, likes them. Am not just talking about the ones that are backed by official documentation like anniversaries of weddings and births. The purview of ‘significant’ dates includes, anniversaries of first-dates, first kisses, first scrap/poke/nudge/push on miscellaneous social networking sites, first (almost) death-match over the remote, first black-eye and so on. Some of those might or might not have been invented for effect. Match this trait with the shadow of a sliver of a failing in my constitution where keeping track of dates (and their significance) comes about as naturally to me as underwater coral reef night-photography skills to a camel. You guessed it, wholesome entertainment for imaginary observers.
Over the years, this slight misalignment in temperaments has been the cause of a few words, mostly from her, a few roundhouse punches, again her and copious sobbing, all me. Suffice to say that my track record has been spotty, at best. That changed in the December of 2009. To be honest, I celebrated almost prematurely. I thought the battle had been won when, I set a recurring google reminder titled “Start thinking, you have x days!”. It wasn’t for nought though. I had managed to reduce the possibility of gruffly telling her to quit listening to her ringtone so I could sleep as the calls poured in at the stroke of midnight on her birthday.
Whoever said “well begun is half done” obviously had never done anything, or begun much. Going through the mental list of potentials, I unsatisfactorily went through the usual…chocolates, jewellery, gift coupons to hardware stores, gift subscriptions of Sports Illustrated (swimsuit edition), none of them quite hit the spot. I sifted through stored fragments of conversation to check for lines that went something like “There can’t be a better birthday gift than the <indistinct mumble>” or even “If I only had the so-and-so, the cheaper version of course, I’d be eternally happy”. And that’s how it came to me. That plus an online banner.
The result was a departure from the usual reaction of a puzzled look, a muted “Oh”, followed immediately by “It’s perfect!”. So, while the title of the post exaggerates, for a brief moment, I did manage to get a glimpse of the gates of Venus by smuggling myself into the back of the gardener’s van that transports the fertiliser used to landscape the outer perimeter.