A “Clean” Marriage

THE “CLEAN” MARRIAGE

Fiction Short Story By Vikram Karve

Café Samovar Mumbai (circa 2004)

“I want a “clean” marriage…” she says.

“Clean Marriage…?” he asks her, confused.

“A marriage without an “intimate” relationship…” the woman says.

“You want to have a marriage without sex…?” the man asks the woman.

“Yes. A “chaste” relationship – just companionship – no physical relationship…” the woman says.

“Just “platonic” love – no “sexual” love…?” the man says.

“Love…? Well – you can say – a pure and clean “platonic nonsexual relationship”…” the woman says.

The man is puzzled by the woman’s proposal.

Seeing the expression of uncertainty on the man’s face – the woman says to him:

“You think about it. If you think that a “clean marriage” is feasible – and – if you are agreeable for a “clean marriage” – then – please come here tomorrow evening – same time – and we can take it further. I will be waiting for you. But – if you don’t like the idea – please don’t come – I will understand…”

After saying this – the woman smiles at the man – she gets up from her seat – she turns around – and – she walks out of Samovar Café.

Next Evening – Café Samovar Mumbai

When the man enters Café Samovar next evening – he sees the woman sitting on the same table.

He smiles at her – and – he walks towards her.

She smiles back at him.

The woman says to the man: “I knew you would come…”

The man sits down in front of the woman.

They ordered Snacks and Tea – the Samovar Special Pakoda Platter and Pudina Chai (Tea).

The woman speaks first.

“I know there are many questions in your mind. Please speak freely and ask whatever you want. After all – we are thinking of getting married – so – there should be no doubts or confusion at all…” she says to the man.

“You want a completely “sexless” and “sex-free” marriage…?” the man asks the woman.

“Yes…” she says.

“If you are not interested in sex – why get married at all…?

“Is “sex” the only reason why people get married…?”

“No. But it is one of the reasons…”

“But – I don’t want “sex” in my marriage…”

“But why…?”

“I am afraid of having sex…”

“Oh. So – you are not “asexual” – you have “genophobia”…”

“Genophobia…?”

“Yes – genophobia – fear of sex – you are afraid of sexual intimacy…”

“Yes. I have fear of sex. I am afraid of sexual intimacy…”

“May I ask why you are afraid of sexual intimacy..?” the man says.

Seeing the expression of discomfort on the woman’s face – the man feels contrite – and he says to the woman: “I am very sorry…”

“No. No. I will tell you. After all – you are the first man who has shown interest in marrying me despite my precondition for a “clean marriage”. You can ask me whatever you want to ask…” the woman says.

“Your fear of sexual intimacy – is it due to some traumatic incident…?” the man asks the woman.

“Yes. It happened 20 years ago. My uncle tried to brutally rape me. I was only 12 years old. It was a terrifying experience – gruesome and horrific – excruciatingly painful – I suffered unimaginable agony. I was totally shattered…”

“I’m so sorry…”

“And – after that traumatic incident – I haven’t had any form of sexual contact with anyone – I feel terrified by the very thought of sex – I feel frightened if any man comes near me – or touches me….”

“And women…?”

“What do you mean…?”

“Have you been intimate with women…?”

“What are you saying…?” the woman says, looking uncomfortable.

“It’s okay – it’s okay – let’s talk something else…” the man says, trying to comfort the woman.

The woman remains silent for some time.

Then – the woman says:

“Let me make it clear. I am not a lesbian. I like men. I like being friends with of men. I want the companionship of a man. That is why I want to get married. But – I am afraid of having sex with a man. That’s why I want a “clean” marriage…”

“A “clean” marriage…!!!” the man says, “I really wonder…?”

“I am sure we will be able to make it work…” the woman says, “you and me – can’t we have a “pure” and “chaste” relationship – can’t we enjoy each other’s company and live together as best friends…?”

“We can have a “trial marriage” – we can live together…”

“No. No. I want a proper marriage – a commitment – we will have everything that is there is a proper marriage – except sex…”

“Oh. So – no “Ludus”…!”

“Ludus…? What’s “Ludus”…? It sounds obscene…!”

“No. No. Nothing obscene about it…! “Ludus” is playful and uncommitted love – like they have in casual relationships…”

“Oh…! Yes – no “Ludus”…!”

“Well – you want “Philia” – friendship, goodwill, companionship, dependability, trust…”

“Yes. Yes. That is what I want…”

“And maybe – a bit of “Pragma” – and of course – “Storge” – a sort of “familial” love – a long-term relationship where sex may not be that important…”

“I don’t want sex at all…”

“Of course – you made that quite clear right from the beginning – absolutely no “Eros” – no sexual passionate love…”

“I am getting confused by your jargon…”

“It’s not “jargon” – there are seven types of love – Eros, Philia, Storge, Agape, Ludus, Pragma, Philautia – if you’re interested – I’ll tell you more…”

“Of course I’m interested – tell me…”

And so – the man tells the woman all about love.

She listens intently to the man.

And – when he finishes – she says to him:

“You know so much. You are very interesting man. I’d love to get married to you. I think we can have a great “clean” marriage. Let’s get married…”

“I think we should meet one more time…” the man says.

“Okay. Tomorrow evening – over here – same time…?”

“Let’s meet at my place. Unless…”

“Yes. Let’s meet at your place. I’d love to see your house…” the woman says, enthusiastically.

“Okay. I’ll message you my address and exact location…” the man says to the woman.

“That’s great. I’ll come after work in the evening…”

“I’ll wait for you. We can talk – and cook some dinner together…”

“Wow. I’d love that. But tomorrow – we will talk about you. I have told you about myself – my expectations. Now – you have to tell me why you are interested in a “clean” marriage…” the woman says to the man.

“Okay…” the man says.

They – the man and the woman – they get up from their seats – walk out of Samovar Café – into the foyer of Jehangir Art Gallery – they wish each other “Good Bye” – and walk away towards their destinations.

Next Evening – The Man’s Apartment on Marine Drive, Mumbai

The next evening – at 7 PM – the woman rings the doorbell of the man’s sea-facing 3rd floor flat on Marine Drive.

The man opens the door – he smiles at the woman – and he says to the woman:

“Welcome to my home. You found the place easily…?”

“Yes. I walked down from my office…” the woman says.

The woman walks around the spacious living room and goes into the airy balcony with a beautiful view of the Arabian Sea – the sun has just set a few moments ago – it’s twilight – and the spectacle of the grey sky over the tranquil sea is soothing to the soul.

“You have a lovely house…” the woman says.

“Thank you…” the man says – and he asks the woman, “would you like a drink…?”

“I’d love a chilled beer…” she says.

The man pours a glass of beer for her – and – a stiff whisky-soda for himself.

“Let’s sit in the balcony…” the woman says, “the view is lovely and the breeze is cool…”

They sit in the balcony – sip their drinks.

The woman looks at the man – and she says to him:

“Tell me – why do you want a “clean” marriage…?”

“I feel that sex is dirty…” the man says.

“Dirty…? You feel that sex is dirty…? But – I once heard someone say that good sex is supposed to be “dirty”…” the woman says.

“Not that type of “dirty”…” the man says, “I feel that the act of sex is disgusting – repulsive…”

“Oh – so you hate sexual intimacy – you find it dirty and repulsive…”

“Yes…”

“And – may I ask why…?”

“Well. I don’t wish to go into details. So – let’s leave it at that…”

“See. We have to be totally frank with each other. I told you everything yesterday – why I want a “clean” marriage – I told you that I am afraid of sex – I told you the reason why I am afraid of sex – due to that traumatic experience where my uncle tried to brutally rape me. What about you…? Were you sexually abused when you were small…? Is that why you find sex so disgusting and repulsive…?”

“No. No. I was not sexually abused. It is something else…”

“Something else…? Come on – tell me everything – I am going to be your wife…”

“Well – long ago – around 20 years ago – when we were deck cadets – we used to visit lots of ports all over the world – and once – out of curiosity – and – more out of peer pressure – we visited a brothel – a whorehouse…”

“Oh – so you have been to prostitutes…?” the woman asks.

“Only once – and – after that disgusting experience – never afterwards…” the man says.

“What happened…?”

“It was a sleazy place – filthy, smelly and squalid – and the hideous woman – she was so coarse and distasteful – the experience was so repulsive – that I just couldn’t perform…”

“Couldn’t perform…?”

“Yes – I was only 18 – it was my first time – and – I had this horrid experience – and after that – I started feeling that sex is dirty, disgusting and unclean…”

“You never had sex after that…?”

“No…”

“You don’t find women attractive…?”

“Of course, I do – I am not “gay” – I find women attractive – but – when it comes to sex…”

“So – you never tried to have sex with a woman after that tragic first experience…?”

“I tried – a few times – but – let’s not talk about it…” the man says.

“Okay. Just one last thing…” the woman says.

“One last thing…?”

“Don’t you get the “urge” sometimes…?”

“Why are you asking all this..?”

“I am worried that if you suddenly get the “urge” – you may do something to me…”

“Why will I do something to you…? I told you that I find the very idea of sexual intercourse dirty…”

“So – what do you do when you get the “urge”…?”

“You are going into great detail – aren’t you…?”

“Come on – we are going to be husband and wife – no secrets between us. Tell me – what do you do when get the “urge”…”

“I satisfy myself…”

“Me too…” the woman says to the man, “We are in “sync” – aren’t we…? We both hate sex – you find sex “dirty” – and – I am “scared” of sex. We are quite “compatible” – aren’t we – at least as far as sex is concerned…?”

“Yes…” the man says, “I think a “clean” marriage will suit us – no sex – just companionship and love…”

“Love…?”

“Yes – I think I have fallen in love with you…” the man says to the woman.

“Me too…” the woman says, “you were the first one who responded to my “clean marriage” matrimonial ad – and we met the same day – I liked you so much – and I could see that you liked me too – I knew that things would work out – so – I deleted my matrimonial profile from the site that very evening…”

“So – should we go ahead…?”

“Of course – let’s get married…”

“I will be so happy to be married – when I return from sea – I wouldn’t have to come to an empty house – I know you will be waiting for me…” the man says, “and maybe – if things work out – I will take up the Superintendent’s job they are offering me – then my office will be near yours too…”

“Yes. It will be good for me too – to have a friend and companion like you. And – all those lecherous men who prey on single women – they will stop pestering me – once they know I am married…” the woman says.

“Yes. Let’s get married …” they say together.

They clink their glasses and raise a toast:

“Let’s wish ourselves a successful “clean” marriage…

And so – the man and the woman – they got married.

Their “clean” marriage was a great success.

Dear Reader:

You may be wondering:

How do I know that their marriage was a success…?

Well – around 10 years after they got married – I met the couple in Café Samovar at the Jehangir Art Gallery.

They looked so happy – the man – the woman – and their two children – a boy and a girl – “byproducts” of their “clean” marriage.

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:

  1. This blog post is a fictional spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my original blog post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2019/02/an-unfinished-love-story-clean-marriage.html

Story continued from my blog post UNFINISHED STORY url: https://karve.wordpress.com/2019/02/13/inchoate-love-story-a-clean-marriage/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/unfinished-story-the-clean-marriage/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2019/06/12/an-unfinished-story-the-clean-marriage/and http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2019/01/unfinished-story-clean-marriage.html

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