Wednesday, 20 June, 2007

Showing The Finger To Relationships

We use our fingers not just to manipulate things with dexterity, but also to indicate things: Point. Display our mood. Affirm love. Encourage. Rebel. Indicate our destination. And so on and so forth

Almost everyone understands what we want to convey. Across genders, cultures and communities. Not to mention SEC strata (since we are so habituated by demographic divides)

We deal with people all the time in our day-to-day lives. We have relationships with them. Our relationships – with parents, spouse, girl friends, guy friends, boss, subordinates, kids, the help – are invariably very clearly defined. And often enough fall broadly under the 5 roles.

This role playing is so part of every day life that we hardly give it a thought. There are about 5 relationships that you can be in. And on either side. In a power / being led relationship. In an encourager / discourager relationship. In an abused / being abused relationship. In a love / love relationship. In an arm-twisting / faithful-dog relationship.

And these relationships can be broadly distributed on the five fingers on a hand.

Think about all the people who you deal with every day. And each relationship can be assigned to each of the five fingers.

- Thumb (encouragement/discouragement)

- Forefinger (power)

- Middle finger (abuse)

- Ring finger (love)

- Little finger (arm twisting)

An interesting way to look at them is in a purely man-woman relationship. And the fingers can be symbolic to the state they are in.


The ‘Twist-around-the-little-finger’ relationships happen here. A twist, under the right conditions or with the right person, often enough takes place quite willingly, akin to sweet torture. The subconscious is always aware that one is getting twisted into the act, but there is very little resistance to it.


Then there’s the ‘He/She is the One’ relationship where you are thinking of long term commitment, love and therefore symbolized by the ring finger. These are the relationships where you know that you can take him/her home to meet your mom.


The middle finger relationships are your one-night-stands and relationships that never move beyond the physical plane, because the only thing that attracts and keeps you together (often for a very short while) are just the baser instincts. These relationships are what are called the 8-minute craving and driven by sheer lust.


The forefinger relationships are the beckoning, come hither, power relationships where there is one dominating person and other necessarily suppressed. (Unlike the twist around the little finger relationships, where the person follows willingly and voluntarily with complete awareness and even enjoyment, the forefinger relationships can go either way. The domination could be voluntary or involuntary.) On this finger, it is good to note that most relationships are fore finger relationships. And necessarily so at times. Because someone has to take the lead. And it may not be possible to take a consensus in everyday life.

So what is the perfect relationship? One which uses all the finger-states subconsciously at various stages, for various situations and decisions. By either of the two people.

And not just the four fingers, but also the vital fifth: the thumb.


The thumb symbolizes encouragement. And discouragement. Just like the thumb is isolated yet part of the hand, relationships need isolation once in a while. A thumb relationship provides space, space enough for the two people to grow as individuals. Independently and together. And yet hold the relationship firmly.

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