"He has the best taste in clothes, and he is the only man I know who knows the difference between mauve, pink, purple, berry etc. I am so proud of how confident he is, and that he doesn't give a shit about gender norms" Stuti
While society does its best to mould gender norms, there are some people who define their own standards of what gender truly means to them. They come from an open-ended perspective of changing things that are too normative in nature, in order to derive a way of living most suited to them. And why not? Isn't that life's first rule? To live under no rules?
Meet Stuti and Arnav, a couple defying every stereotype in sight, living a happy and fulfilling long-term relationship. What makes their relationship an inspiration to the millennial generation? They're will to never succumb under textbook knowledge of how things are perceived by people but to create a tangible wavelength of what they feel is comfortable for them.
Stuti and Arnav met through common friends but they mostly chatted online till they decided to finally meet.
Our first date ever was at this fantastic little cafe called Le Bistro Du Parc, where it was all about steak, sangria and conversation. She looked stunning in a red dress. I was already a little tipsy on sangria, which in hindsight, was a good thing, considering I am usually a nervous wreck. We started talking even before she sat down, and it she made me feel extremely comfortable from the very first moment- Arnav
Stuti, a student of gender studies had her firm notions intact where feminism was concerned. She knew the black's from white and was an ideal yet staunch feminist. Well, before she met Arnav.
As someone who studied gender and feminism in college, I considered myself really woke about gender fluidity. I cut my own hair, wore pants, and did not shy away from owning the masculine side to my personality. I thought that was all I had to do to maintain my status quo as someone intellectual and liberal. But I was wrong, because I was given an actual chance to prove my beliefs - Stuti
The couple got along like a house on fire and by the second date, they'd already deliberated enough about how they felt for each other. But for Stuti, Arnav wasn't just another Delhi boy, who had an alpha male syndrome looming though his ego. He wasn't the heterosexual male, who would come out for a date dressed in black and shy away from the mention of pink. He was very aware of his likes from his dislikes and Stuti instantly realised she was dating the millennial 'metrosexual man'. A term born from heterosexual males, who actually love taking care of themselves, meticulously might I add.
(c)iDivaA Metrosexual Man In Love
The advent of the new technological era has brought a lot of significant changes into our lives. Our lifestyles have enhanced from simple caveman times to grooming every inch of ourselves just to look aptly presentable. So, when men took to doing that for themselves, a lot of questions were raised in society. Although it's an urban phenomena still, a man paying close attention to his looks and aesthetics, knowing how to dress well, performing beauty rituals on himself, isn't brandishing or tarnishing the 'manly' image. In fact, it's strengthening the unity that gender needs today.
Arnav, a man very comfortable in his skin, loves wearing all shades of pink, performing beauty routines on his skin and still being that 'emotionally available' guy every girl dreams of dating, is an unfortunate misunderstanding amongst the population today.
Here's the thing. Many don't realise that calling someone “gay” due to anything but their sexual orientation is very problematic. For instance, if my boyfriend knows the difference between mauve and pink, that means he has great vision and not that he likes men- Stuti
Even within the social constructs of such an unpleasant misunderstanding, Stuti and Arnav have the best relationship and they don't shy away from talking about it! Be it mutual skin care routine's or shopping trips, both enjoy each other's company because they bond with each other over mutual interests, that don't suffocate how one gender is suppose to be with the other.
I have never met a more loving and caring human being, and for that, I feel like the luckiest person alive. One of the most important, and least talked about aspects of a relationship is learning from each other, and I can very easily say that she's taught me so much about love -ArnavWhat She Fell In Love With The Most
Stuti took some time to get to know Arnav. That's a given. But when she did, she found peace and love in him. He helped her deal with mental health issues by always staying by her side, in her time of need and never giving her a reason to question her worth again. But besides that, Stuti fell in love with the fact that her man was so comfortable with his sexuality, that he was indeed confident about how he demonstrated his sexuality. Of how he was open to things that a lot of men usually shy away from and that made her faith in the relationship stronger.
He likes his clothes fitted. He wears pink much better than I do. The strong sweet floral scent of Daisy by Marc Jacobs smells better on him than it smells on me. Does this take away from the fact that he identifies as a man, and is very much straight? It doesn't -Stuti
But it took a while for Stuti to accept Arnav as who he was at first. The fact that his choices in life didn't eliminate the doubt that he might have 'gay' tendencies was something Stuti was struggling with initially. We're all moulded in a patriarchal structure. No matter how over-exposed we are to stimulus that redefines gender roles for us, we still go back to our conditioning every now and then and that's what Stuti did too.
I struggled to accept the fact that my boyfriend is indeed a straight man who identifies as male. I wore the pants, I used Axe deodorant, and I shouted about equality, yet I was hypocritical enough to not accept his individual take on gender several times. -Stuti
But in time, she realised that he was a man who loved taking care of himself and took a keen interest in his aesthetics. She didn't understand his love for lip balms, lotions, face masks or every shade of pink but she garnered an interest over her love for the fact that they both shared a similar interest.
Each man's process to survive is different. Some men like living a rugged and robust life, while some are keen on entertaining the way they look and appear and because we have such pronounced gender dynamics and roles, everything has to fall under a 'straight' line. But honestly, a 'metrosexual' man is as macho, as romantic, as arbit or as good in bed as any other man and we know that because we see Stuti' and Arnva's relationship blossom into something indestructible, everyday!
This relationship has shown love to me in a totally different light. It's taught me how easy life is when you have someone who is actually there by your side, through every move. It's taught me to truly appreciate things, it's taught me the meaning of empathy and understanding. It's taught me to explore, to experiment, that there's so much that the world has to offer, when you have someone by your side to experience it with - Arnav