GIRLFRIEND – Moving Beyond Devi/Dasi/Devdasi

At last, I know what the term GIRLFRIEND means. Before my version, let’s see what are the various meaning attached to this term. I am not including the term boyfriend because I don’t have any clue about what girls think and mean by the term boyfriend.

Many variations are found for the term girlfriend. The girlfriend generally means someone who is more than a friend (???), whom one would generally be ready to marry when the need arises, with whom one would be maintaining a regular sexual relationship, many a times one would also be living in with her.

Now, various questions arise. How a girlfriend is different from any other friend? Is it necessary to have sexual relationship with a girlfriend? Can there be more than one girlfriend? Can there be a girlfriend without any marriage commitment? And, when you are living in, how different is it from marriage?

To find answers to these questions, I need to define a friend and a girl (when looked from the perspective of a boy). Defining a friend is easy, but a girl, difficult.

Friendship, as we instinctively understand, is a relationship which is the most sustainable one because it has no formal tethers. We can walk out of friendship whenever we want, wherever we want, and for whatever reasons we want, though we seldom do it unreasonably. The most important thing in friendship is the existing trust; the trust which has been checked in a variety of situations, and, depending upon the past experiences in various situations, we define the level of friendship. A best friend is the one who has withstood the test of time. Depending upon the compatibility, the individual personalities, the situations, etc., the trust may develop very fast, or it may not develop at all.

Girl, for a Boy, is, first and foremost, a person of opposite SEX, who is capable of satisfying one of his most basic needs. And, actually, that’s the only true difference between a boy and a girl, which is that they are beings of opposite sexes. Rest, I think, are behavioral differences. Given that, women have been looked upon as objects of deriving sexual satisfaction by men: the prostitution is the most prominent manifestation and the marriage is a subtler variant. Since men have been dominant, the two roles of women are weaker roles as compared to the more dominant societal roles of men. I am not saying here that these are the only roles of women in the society, but these, along with that of a mother, are the prominent ones (i.e., Devi – the mother, Dasi – the Wife and Devdasi – the prostitute). Out of these, the role of a prostitute has inherent defects and need to disappear. And, with great responsibility, I say that the role of a girlfriend can fill this vacuum. The process has already started in the West, and therefore, it seems, that, over there, only “losers” go to a prostitute.

So, let me now define what a girlfriend is by answering the questions posed above.

How a girlfriend is different from any other friend?
A girlfriend is different from any other friend because of the use of the word “girl” and the sexual connotations attached to it. First and foremost, she is a friend; whom one may want to call a friend depends upon an individual’s definition of a friend and is personal. Secondly, she is the girl who satisfies a particular role. Pretty often, we have one or two girlfriends but many more friends who are girls, but not girlfriends. The most reasonable explanation for this could be the non-consideration of the other girls as such friends who are available for satisfying such needs for whatever reasons, or it could be one’s own non-availability to such girls for satisfaction of such needs for whatever reasons. Whether combination of two roles of a girl and a friend in a single person creates a new role is difficult to define and understand. The answers can be derived from the role of a wife. But, then, I am not married, so I don’t have answers, though I can see that any new role, which may arise in a marriage, would only be because of living and sharing together. Last but not the least, a girlfriend is different from a regular sexual partner who is not a friend. For example, one may visit the same prostitute regularly but fails to establish the bond which is required in a friendship, so such a relationship with a prostitute can’t be called that of a girlfriend

Is it necessary to have a sexual relationship with a girlfriend?
Yes, it is, and the answer follows from above. Also, when we talk of gay relationships between men, we use the term boyfriend. That should provide some answers.

Can there be more than one girlfriend?
Yes and no, and the answer depends upon a person’s sexual preferences. Certainly, there can be more than one friends who are girls. Given that, if a person can manage more than one sexual relationships, and the partners are fine with it, then why not? But, the riders are first it is not healthy, and secondly it can lead to distrust and betrayal in any of the other relationships because sexual intercourse can lead to false development of trust at the cost of trust in other relationships.

Can there be a girlfriend without any marriage commitment?
Yes and only yes: the very identity of a girlfriend is through non-association with marriage. If one has to necessarily marry a girlfriend, the term fiancee should suffice. However, if a girlfriend becomes a very good friend, satisfies the other requirements of a marriage, and, most importantly, is ready to get married, she is definitely the most suitable person to migrate into the role of a wife as and when the need arises. Moreover, the term girlfriend comes without the weaker role connotations of a Dasi attached to that of a wife.

And, when you are living in, how different is it from marriage?
I think living-in is the most confused relationship. The only benefit it offers over marriage is that one can enjoy the ultimate sharing experience without any tethers. But, then it offers many disadvantages too, the most important amongst which is that it doesn’t provide proper nurturing ground for the children. A girlfriend, in this kind of a relationship, takes up almost all the roles of a wife, and, practically speaking, it is as difficult to leave this relationship as it is to leave marriage. I fail to understand what could be the benefit of live-in over marriage. I think the widespread use of this relationship in the West is more because of their inability to understand marriage and/or paranoia towards the state and the law and/or a generally irresponsible attitude.

So, the recognition of the role of a woman as a girlfriend is a movement beyond Devi, Dasi and Devdasi. I wish I were also able to define the term BOYFRIEND from the perspective of a girl.

©2008 Ankur Mutreja

About the Author

Ankur Mutreja
Ankur Mutreja is an advocate-cum-writer, and his blogs are amongst his modes of expression. He has also authored six books: "Kerala Hugged"; "Light: Philosophy"; "Flare: Opinions"; "Sparks: Satire and Reviews"; "Writings @ Ankur Mutreja"; and "Nine Poems"; which can be downloaded free from the links on the top menu.

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