(The last post was officially the most commented one on this blog. It beat the previous comment total of 50, set by a controversial post condemning the newly set Training and Placement Department in IIT Delhi, back in 2005 by a whole 3 comments. This last post, on the other hand, condemned nothing. Except for the small matter of the presence of God. So the lesson is learned. Controversy does not always sell. Thanks everyone :D. I had prepared a speech to thank everyone for crossing the 50 comment mark barrier for the first time in the blog, but I have lost it somewhere during my many bus trips to Dharamshala, Shimla and Chandigarh. So well. A simple thank you will have to suffice for now.)
Which brings me to the main point of this particular post. The filter theory of relationships. (Suggested previous reading: The 2-d ZSV Matrix). Now, just about an year ago - in December last year in fact - I had written about the XYZ theory of love, relationship and commitment/ here.. Using this argument, I had proposed that arranged marriages are actually unnatural and hence more liable to fail, especially in today's modern world. A consultant, or an ex-consultant, must however challenge his own thoughts. Ten months older, and wiser, I challenge the widely appreciated theory - and present the filter theory to prove why arranged marriages are the way forward.
The filter theory is simple, and while it uses basic mathematics, the nitty gritty details are not too tough to understand. Moreover, the filter theory is also pretty consistent with my seminal work - the 2-d ZSV theory. Infact, the filter theory is like a prequel to the ZSV theory. The theory explains why there is attraction among guys and girls and how do the relations x=0, y=0 change ("Nahin doongi aur nahin loonga") to x=1, y=1 state. ("Degi to Le loonga").
You know, there are different filters which a guy is looking to meet in a prospective partner. And a gal too. These filters include (among others) external attributes like height, beauty, weight, figure, dressing style, dental hygiene, overall hotness and others. (For example, a guy might say my prospective partner should be 5'4" to 5'6" tall, should be good looking, be thin, not very hot, and is equally comfortable in Western and Oriental outfits.) Moreover, there are certain basic filters - which may or may not hold - like country, state, religion, caste etc. (Is she Punjabi?) Similarly, there are professional filters, like educational qualifications, comfort in languages etc, knowledge about the world etc. (Can she speak enough English to interact with my fairly numerous South Indian friends?) Then there is the important cultural capital filter, about book choices, movies, music etc. (Does she like Star Wars?) There might be individual filters like interests in sports and travel. (Does she play and watch sports?)There are filters of social behavior, like smoking/drinking, behavior with friends and family, sense of humor, piety and stuff. (Is she too religious?) Then there are internal characteristics, your character, thoughts on various things and general "compatibility". (Will she take good care of my parents?)
Now well, when you meet a girl, you see of her as a prospective partner if she passes your external attributes parameter - which is the first point of attraction. Over time, as she reveals more of herself to you (stop thinking dirty, you losers!), you pass her through your filters, and see if she matches on those levels. Ofcourse, you are always ready to make allowances in some minor filters = for example, the Star Wars might not be a big deal for some, and for others being Punjabi is not a criteria. But the girl must pass through the other important filters, such as the compatibility filter.
However, while you are judging the girl on these parameters, you yourself are being judged. The girl is also judging you on various parameters, such as smartness, hotness, intelligence, knowledge, money and blah blah blah. Am not really sure what all filters girls use, but the thing is they also use filters to evaluate you, which you might pass, but more often than not, you will fail.
This theory, then gives rise to two distinct problems. According to the filter theory, to choose a perspective partner, you need to meet girls, find out about them, and see if they pass the filter. The first problem, then, is meeting girls and having a suitable sample set to choose girls. Having studied in places of academic excellence (and consequently a low girls:boys ratio), and being pretty much a geek in school (which had some very hot girls, I will admit), the only place where people like you and I can meet girls now is at various parties. But most girls you meet at parties are committed, and even if they are single, it just does not come naturally to us. The talking to them part, and taking their phone number and going ahead on a date, thing, that is. It is tough. Really tough. Even after reading the Game, and watching all the televised episodes of HIMYM, I am sorry to say it, Barney, but I suck at it. And I am sure so do most of you. And this is just the smaller problem.
The second, and the major problem, then is for girls who pass your matrix, you should also pass their matrix for a relationship to start. For her to go from x=0 to x=1 ("Nahin doongi se doongi), you need to pass her filter. That, dear friends, in today's times and age, is not easy. Girls who are most likely to pass your filter require you to be smart, intelligent, rich, handsome, neat and tidy, socially acceptable, humorous, sporty and what not. Which, as my single status testifies, I am unable to match.
So, you have these two seemingly unsolvable problems and are confined to a lifelong single status, right? Thankfully the answer is no. Like Aishwarya Rai in the shampoo commercial, its one solution to two (oops: the Ash ad had five problems, but I will keep the line anyway) problems. And the solution is: arranged marriage.
Imagine meeting a good looking girl in a party/bar, who passes your external attributes filter. Now, the problem no.1 manifests itself. How do you approach her? The question is so difficult, that by the time you come up with an answer, either she has left, or you are drunk beyond any level of comprehensible conversation. Hence, most often than not you just wonder what if, and that is that. However, in arranged marriages, you can approach any number of girls through the right appropriate route. Arranged marriage then helps you increase your sample size. Problem No. 1 solved.
The other advantage of an arranged marriage is that because it is a traditional way, the male half still dominates. In an arranged marriage arrangement then, the girl's filter is superimposed by her parents'. The parents filter is simple, well educated, rich and socially adequate, and potential to earn money. Smartness, cleanliness, and external attributes are not something they pay much attention to. And voila! that is something you and I are easily able to clear - the parent's filter that is. You have finally been able to crack the filter, and are ready to be in a relationship. Problem No. 2 solved.
However, some ignorant people, like this friend I was chatting to last night, believes that there are no girls who can crack the filter available in arranged marriage - His belief is all good girls are taken. I strongly disagree. I have seen my friends get into both love marriage and arranged marriage, and by that sample space, and using only the external attributes filter, I will say arranged marriages rock!!
Epilogue: As always, the filter theory is a work in progress. I am working on a mathematical model to explain this as well for better quantification. Please leave your comments and counter-arguments.