1. Correct him. This method is particularly expedient when tried in public. You may believe that you’re doing him a disservice by allowing him to embarrass himself by holding forth on, for example, HG Wells’ confident direction of his magnum opus Citizen Kane. Let me assure you, he feels differently. Any attempts to impart information will be perceived as a slight on his manhood and his character — all in all an unforgivable violation of the sacrosanct relationship between Man and Cheerleader. Expunge your mind of everything your partner may not know. This may require a frontal lobotomy, but who amongst us is above a little nipping and tucking to keep a good man happy?
2. Float the suggestion that you may sing Lesley Gore’s ‘You Don’t Own Me’ at your wedding.
3. Ask him how his father, on a relatively modest governmental stipend, managed to send all his children abroad to complete their higher education and still had enough left over to buy a villa on the Amalfi Coast. You could also loudly attract attention to the fact that an object on dad’s mantelpiece looks suspiciously like one that went missing from the excavation site at Mohenjo-Daro. Best not to mention though how his father’s main political rival was accidentally shot during a bungled robbery. You may lose more than just the man.
4. Maintain a healthy friendship with your ex.
5. Vocalise your opinions without running them past him first. To really twist the knife, be the life of the party. Then point out the fact that he seemed to like you for your personality to begin with and as such you were thereby lulled into believing that you could still have one. Be difficult and staunchly deny the allegation that you’re chatty and animated with the sole purpose of stealing his thunder.
6. Express the urgent need to discuss your relationship during an Indo-Pak cricket match and then airily say the following, “May the best man win”.
7. Address the fact that he may have a drinking problem. I admit this can sometimes be hard to tell, given our Eastern sense of hospitality which involves regularly plying visitors with food and beverages. One is led to believe that it’s common courtesy to drink a great deal and he may well protest that he’s simply a ‘social drinker’. Tell him that if he’s social every single night then it might require professional help. You may be able to get away with this if you address it as a health issue, as that, as a woman, is the only concern that it is appropriate for you to have. However, if you want to get shot of him, drop broad hints about how you find his slurring, drunken friends dull and pointless. Tell him at the tail end of an evening that you’ve heard that anecdote before and only laughed at it the first time out of politeness. To speed up the process go on and throw in the word, ‘pathetic’, men are oddly touchy about that one.
8. Just be yourself.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 30th, 2010.