Friday, May 06, 2005

The One With A Hole In It

My "phoren" aura is wearing thin. Last night I was invited to two ghastly official dinners. The things I have to do to keep my job going. The second one was particularly nasty. It was hosted at the residence (they don't call em houses) of an Ambassador. Two particular facets stand out: the architecture and some of the female guests. The men were inconsequential (as are most Pak men) and don't merit further reference.
First the architecture. The reception room was round and had a round atrium dead centre. You got it. It was a giant polo mint. So rather than walk from one end of the room to the other, you went round and round in circles -literally. Strangely, the flow was anti clockwise. Nobody dared to switch directions. I tried once, but the host positively glared at me from the outer circumference. The Hole (so to speak) was an empty black void. I think it aptly summed up the sheer horror and nothingness of the evening.
Second, the women. In his brilliant Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe describes an entire subset of Manhattan women as the Lemon Tarts. These are the bleached blondes, pushing (heaving ?) fifty who are stretched taut like dry canvas across a frame. My candidates are also blonde, but of the bottle variety. Don't get me wrong. They are incredibly beautiful women. Its just that they have a blonde thing going. In deference to Tom I shall call them Gulabi Barfees. They are all twenty somethings, recently married to bankers and brimming with exuberance. The dress code is highly inflammable. To wit, the Barfee on my right wore thaans of shocking pink polyester with twinkly spangly things all over. Each time she lifted a wrist to cut into her roast beef, a million sparkling reflections lit the room. Multiply that by the twenty other Barfees present and you have the disco scenes in Saturday Night Fever to a T. Alas my sunglasses were miles away or I could have done a fairly convincing Ray Charles impersonation.
And then there's the Hair. Great hair actually. But all of it golden yellow. Yards of tresses cascading around the table like a glittering daisy chain. More blonde than on a Californian beach. We are talking industrial quantities here. I recall the one time I was foolishly persuaded into dyeing my tresses. It took ages, cost a fortune, stank forever and black puddles formed at my feet during each shampoo session. Worse still, the white shone through with a stubborn persistence. Never again. Jamais. So I happen to personally know that it must take some doing for these glistening beauties to hit the peroxide so regularly. Why do they do it ? Do their Gentlemen prefer Blondes? Hardly. They'd have to be hit on the head with a blunt object to vaguely emote anything. Or does every erection have an equal and opposite erection ? I don't know. I'm still trying to figure it all out. I think I'm ready for another phoren trip soon or else I may lose even more of the plot.


Blogger Pink Wench said...

"Gulabi Barfees" - I love it! I laughed so hard when I read that. Pakistani socialites are a rare combination of generic, plastic beauty, vacuous personalities that are as exciting as a martini minus the vodka and sheer idiocy. I am somewhat perturbed by the idea of them procreating ... midget socialites? Oh - I think the blonde thing is a remnant of colonialism, Gori-Memsahiba- Emulation syndrome, maybe? Weel, aside from my inane rambling, fabulous post all the same. You're very witty...

7:48 pm  
Blogger Sin said...

Oh that's so completely excellent. Of course, what doesn't help matters any either is the deplorable tendency of the aunty crowd to insist on tanning themselves on a painfully regular basis. Whether or not orange is the new pink, it remains unarguable that it most certainly isn't a natural skin tone.

8:39 pm  
Blogger Uber Homme said...

pink: thank you (yet again!). Aren't all socialites the same the world over ??
sin: you're right (as always). I forgot to mention the auntie D and I met in Karachi, tanned Dark with acid peroxide hair. "That's not Destiny's Child. That's Destiny's Mother" he exclaimed.

12:42 pm  
Blogger Pink Wench said...

Uber: Valid point. I guess all socialites are the same but is it wrong that Pakistani ones get on my nerves more than any others? Perhaps it's the blatant hypocrisy and judgmental-ness of Pakistanis...

12:21 am  
Blogger Uber Homme said...

pink: birds of a feather. this season's delhi blouse, next season's karachi blouse. and the other way round. mindlessness has no boundaries. on the other hand so does mindfulness. the porousness of borders should be blessed despite everything!

4:26 am  
Blogger s said...


i always get a complex when i go to karachi, because the women are so well turned out - everything from their hair, hands, feet, clothing, make-up is absolutely perfect! i usually get over my insecurities the moment i overhear their conversation which revolves around a whole lot of nothing (or their quest for the perfect, rich husband, fashion, make-up, and other women).

what makes me laugh now is how 'tan' is in - i remember growing up in pakistan and feeling small and shitty since i was 'kaali' - i often overheard the 'budhees' in my family talking about tall, gori brides - it appeared that one HAD to be fair to get hitched. consequently, my elder sis spent most of her adolescence applying various weird mixtures to her face to become fairer (which actually worked) - while i continued to play in the sun and get more 'kaala' (oh, the horror!).

and NOW, the poor thing keeps trying to get my tan look, by sun bathing and applying a foundation that's ten shades darker while i gloat, thanks to my natural kaaliness.

it appears to truly be 'the age of kali':)! (that, by the way, is an excellent book by william dalrymple).

oh and the destiny's mother remark was hilarious! i'm going to watch them this weekend (ONLY because paki boy is obsessed with beyonce the cow and her ass-ets!).

no, i am NOT jealous.

3:24 pm  
Blogger Uber Homme said...

Sarah: Yes. There's a whole bunch of people going for Destiny's Child. I love the "Age of Kali." I shall tell WD about it the next time he's in isb.

11:25 pm  

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