The Capital Vulture: The merits of being out of love in Islamabad

A deluge of reasons, my friends, for why you should stay unattached and out of love in the federal capital.

Rayan Khan July 01, 2011
When it happens, when it’s the real deal, life morphs into a crooning Ella Fitzgerald tune- walk my way and a thousand violins begin to play. Everything is mysterious and new; Islamabad, reborn, feels less confining and the colours and foliage transport the love onto some Dionysian fantasy- all perfection and pleasure’s fair game. This, the good love everyone’s mad for that makes you feel safe and unbelievably attractive (it’s all those rushing endorphins pinching the cheeks).

But I’m here to tell you it’s not worth it. Keep the lovers in different cities or countries, ideally, or just stay single. A deluge of reasons, my friends, for why you should stay unattached and out of love in the federal capital.

Having to see your ex-flame’s face more than you would in a big city

Rarely considered is the fact that Islamabad is possibly the worst place to fall in love: if it’s not marriage material then there’s an expiry date, no matter how Herculean the union. And when the big bad cometh, that tragic end, there’s no fleeing because, well, it’s Isloo we’re living in. This means that if the breakup was exceptionally painful, ugly and closure-less (say, punches were thrown and massive lies exposed), the city makes it impossible for you to move on because it’s so damn small. The dreaded face of your ex-flame makes a comeback at parties, drugstores, and Gloria Jeans.

The problem of close friends and acquaintances

The social groups here are insular; chances are people will find out one way or another. Word of the break-up spreads faster than news of the relationship flourishing. Isn’t it better to altogether avoid having to deal with those sickening looks of pity and sympathy from people? This is a real killer, especially if you’re the injured party. People won’t let slide how pathetic you once were. Haye, you poor thing. Are you ok? Someone please hand me a klashnikoff.

Single, you also won’t have to deal with your lover’s tedious friends; in the aftermath, you won’t have to put up a cool and indifferent front when you meet them in public so they can report that you’re totally over it.

No need to spend time on hygiene or looking good

My personal favourite. Uninvolved, you can let your junk hang loose; there’s no reason to spend hours on some impossible beauty regimen or perfect hair. Woman/man-scaping becomes unnecessary: the hair can grow freely wherever it’s naturally supposed to. You will understand the value of looking normal and precious dime won’t get spent on anti-inflammatory creams, moisturizers, and aloe-vera to balsam those waxing/shaving burns and rashes.

Free flirting and time to improve self

You’re free to flirt and tease and hookup to your heart’s content; you can string people along if you want; use them for what they’re worth and move on; batteries recharged so as to focus on career, an independent life, and goals.

The age of Romanticism has passed

In 2011 when the world, especially Pakistan, sits on the brink of disaster and apocalypse, it’s so much better to get ahead and be fulfilled than dumbed down by love, at least until you’re out of a city that abides to a sexless and un-evolved notion of romance (fight me on this, I dare you). More often than not, our lovers are moderated by Victorian insecurities, useless conventions, ammi and abba, and a Freudian terror of sensuality. A pity- there’s some decent looking people here.

Thanks but no thanks. The vulture has no time for second-rate, conservative loving.

Published in The Express Tribune.
Rayan Khan A reporter for the Life and Style and City pages of The Express Tribune in Islamabad. He contributes to a column "Culture Vulture".
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Ali | 12 years ago | Reply If only I had read this sooner. Wise words from a wise man. Mr. Shuja, either you are not from Islamabad or you have kept to the safer path propounded by Mr. Khan and stayed single by choice (though probably otherwise). I see no other way that you cannot relate to this. Keep it up Rayan!
Anas chaudry | 12 years ago | Reply So true! You really manage to capture the truth in your columns! Excellent article and not pathetic at all
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