Wednesday, October 29, 2008

FAT women 'more sexually active'

Those who think women scoring more on the weighing scale do not score much when it comes to sexual behaviour, certainly need a reality check, for a new study has revealed that fat ladies have more sex than females with "normal weight".

Oregon and Hawaiian researchers have found that a woman's weight does not seem to affect sexual behaviour.

Led by Dr Bliss Kaneshiro, an assistant professor at the School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii, and Oregon State University professor Marie Harvey, the study was based on data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth that looked at sexual behaviour of more than 7,000 women. In earlier studies it was Kaneshiro observed that obese and overweight women have a higher risk of unintended pregnancy than do normal weight women.

Thus, Kaneshiro studied the relationship between body mass index and sexual behaviour, including sexual orientation, age at first intercourse, number of partners, and frequency of intercourse.

"Our analysis demonstrated that obese and overweight women do not differ significantly in some of the objective measures of sexual behaviour compared to women of normal weight. This study indicates that all women deserve diligence in counselling on unintended pregnancy and STD prevention, regardless of body mass index," said Kaneshiro.

The study ruled out the widely held stereotypes that overweight and obese women are not as sexually active as other women, as the researchers concluded that it's the opposite that is true.

"I was glad to see that the stereotype that you have to be slender to have sex is just that, a stereotype," said Harvey.

The data revealed that overweight women were more likely to report having sexual intercourse with a man, even when she controlled for age, race and type of residence.

In fact, 92% of overweight women reported having a history of sexual intercourse with a man, as compared to 87% of women with a normal body mass index.

"These results were unexpected and we don't really know why this is the case," said Kaneshiro.

Kaneshiro's study was awarded first prize at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' annual meeting this year. The study was published in the September issue of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

Courtesy: Agencies 

WHY BOYS ALWAYS FALL FOR 'A LADY IN RED'?

DRESSED TO IMPRESS: Why the boys always fall for 'a lady in red'?

Forget that little black dress. Gentlemen really prefer a lady in red. As actress Kelly Brook knows only too well.
Blushing in shades of crimson, scarlet or deep rose, a girl is regarded as prettier and more desirable, research shows.

She is also more likely to be asked out on a date - and have more money lavished on her during the outing.

What is more, men seem completely oblivious to the effect that a glimpse of red can have on their emotions.

The researchers said it appeared they were driven by primal instincts that associate the colour with sex.

The study, carried out at the University of Rochester in the U.S., involved a series of experiments in which men were shown a photo of a 'moderately attractive' young woman.

In some cases, the colour of the border framing the picture was changed, in other cases the colour of the woman's blouse varied. Red, blue, green, grey and white were tested. In all cases, red was judged the most attractive.
The men were much more likely to ask out a woman wearing red. And they estimated they would spend almost twice as much on her as one in blue.
Despite the clear effect, the men insisted colour played little role in their choices, suggesting they were oblivious to the power of red.

The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, claims to provide the first hard evidence of 'society's enduring love affair with red'.

From the red body paints used in ancient fertility rituals, to the phrase 'red light district' and the red hearts of Valentine's Day, the colour has long been associated with romance.
In the animal world, red often signals a female is at her most fertile, with female baboons and chimps blushing conspicuously at this time.
Men are not alone in being attracted to red. The research suggests a man in scarlet is just as irresistible to women.
Allow me to hum one of my favourite romantic golden song of olden days by Chris DeBurgh …

I’ve never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight
I’ve never seen you shine so bright
I’ve never seen so many men ask you, if you wanted to dance
They’re looking for a little romance
Given half a chance
And I’ve never seen that dress you’re wearing
Or that highlights in your hair
That catch your eyes
I have been blind
The lady in red is dancing with me
Cheek to cheek
There’s nobody here
It’s just you and me
It’s where I wanna be
But I hardly know this beauty by my side
I’ll never forget the way you look tonight
I’ve never seen you looking so gorgeous as you did tonight
I’ve never seen you shine so bright, you were amazing
I’ve never seen so many people want to be there by your side
And when you turned to me and smiled, it took my breath away
And I have never had such a feeling such a feeling
Of complete and utter love, as I do tonight
I never will forget the way you look tonight
The lady in red
My lady in red……
Muhammad Mahtab Bashir
Islamabad
Voice: 0300 52 56 875

SAYING 'I LOVE YOU'

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
~Diane Loomans, from "If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again"

"I love you". Can any words possibly sound sweeter or offer greater comfort? Is any statement more natural – or necessary – between a parent and child? In many families, these words come easily. But if you grew up never hearing them, saying "I love you" may feel somewhat unnatural to you. Or if members of your family used loving statements to control or manipulate, you may be very uncomfortable using them with your own children.

Many families either don't communicate loving feelings very often or they communicate them in destructive ways. A counselor friend once told me she was appalled to discover that some of her clients had never heard the words, "I love you" from their parents: "I couldn't imagine parents who couldn't say 'I love you' to their children, probably because I grew up hearing it all the time. But in the middle of my shock and self-righteousness, I realized that in my family, that statement was always loaded with expectations for me to do something. Most of the time when my parents said 'I love you' they would stand there and wait for us to say 'I love you, too'. So that statement always came off as a solicitation, rather than an expression of how they really felt about us."

If either of these extremes describe your upbringing, chances are, you aren't using loving statements as often – or as "cleanly" – as you might. A few simple guidelines can help.

Let's hear it! We all need to hear loving statements from people w
e care about. It may be easy to assume that your kids know you love them. After all, you do love them and you probably do a lot of loving things for them. That's important.

But feeling love for someone is not the same as expressing it. Nor is doing loving things. Loving feelings and loving behaviors are not loving words – and those are important, too.

If you find it hard to get the words out of your mouth, either from lack of familiarity or fear of rejection, start slowly. A parent in one of my workshops confessed to practicing on the dog for a few days before she could get up the nerve to try it out on her kids! Another started by writing love notes to her children, sneaking them into their lunch bags or under their pillows. Both reported such a strong, positive response from their children, that saying "I love you" came much more easily after that.

Let's hear it some more. None of this "I-told-you-I-love-you-in-1985" stuff, OK? This isn't like going to the dentist twice a year. So maybe it's still not easy to say, even with the practice and little successes. Maybe hearing "I love you" even gives your kids the creeps (this is more age specific than anything else and less likely to happen if you don't say it in front of his entire 5th grade class). Say it anyhow. As a gift to yourself, communicate your love daily. At least.

Keep it simple! "I love you" is a complete sentence. We don't need to tie our feelings for a person to the person's behavior. In fact, whenever we connect it to something the other person has done, "I love you" becomes a statement of
conditional caring.

"I love you when you make your bed", or "I love you when you make the honor roll", suggest that you love your child because of his behavior or accomplishment. It also suggests that the love wouldn't be there – or be quite the same – if the child hadn't made the bed or the grades. (Don't you love your kid in either case?) You can still be excited and happy about the behavior, but avoid communicating that your loving feelings for your child exist because he's doing what pleases you.

"I love you". Period:No "buts" about it! By the same token, watch the tendency to use "I love you" as a lead-in to a confrontation about something your child has done that you find disturbing. If you need to address the child's behavior or set a boundary, by all means do so. But deal with the behavior – not the worth of the child, or your feelings for him or her.

If the child needs to clean her room or miss the movie because her chores were not done, deal with the situation, not your feelings. You don't need to say, "I love you but..." to soften the blow. Your feelings are not an issue here.

Bes
ides, because of the way the brain processes the words we hear, whatever you say before the word "but” automatically gets canceled out anyhow. (In other words, if you say, "I love you, but your room is a mess," all the child ends up hearing is, "Your room is a mess.")

Using "but" in the same sentence as "I love you" is confusing and manipulative. As in the previous example, this type of statement suggests that the child is only lovable conditionally. Cut to the chase. Avoid tying the feelings you express to the way the child is acting – good or bad.

No expectations. Say "I love you" because you want to say "I love you." Say it because you feel love toward the person you're talking to. Say it because it feels good to say it.

"I love you" is a powerful statement and lots of times it will evoke a loving response from the recipient. But attaching an expectation for a response to the statement is a set-up – both for you and the other person. If the expectation is there, your child will know it. If he does respond, it will probably be to avoid guilt or conflict rather than genuine, spontaneous caring. Is that what you really want?

If your children haven't learned how to say "I love you" yet, it's OK to tell them that you need to hear those three little words sometimes, too. Then give them some space to risk, practice and learn. By far their best lessons will come from your own unconditional modeling.

Turn the love inward. Next to unconditional love, the best gift you can give another person is the love you give yourself! In fact
the ability to love, appreciate and care for yourself is essential to healthy, loving relationships with others.

So, look in the mirror. Look into your eyes. Say "I love you." No "buts." No qualifiers. Say it out loud. Say it often. Mean it. What better way to affirm how worthwhile and lovable you are. And what better way to practice one of the most basic, most precious and important parenting skills there is.

When your children aren't very loving...
"I HATE YOU, MOMMY!"OK. You're really working hard on your boundaries and recognize that sometimes responsible parenting means saying "no" to your child's request for Milk Duds for dinner or a plea for a 4 a.m. curfew. If your child is doing her job, you can count on her to occasionally resist you efforts at setting even reasonable limits. And sometimes that means she is going to fight dirty, especially if it's worked in the past.
"I HATE YOU, MOMMY!"

Nothing will trigger anger, shame, shock and a sense of inadequacy faster than this statement. It's hard to hear someone you love tell you that he hates you and not take it rather personally. Children know this. They figure out, often at a very early age, that this is a short-cut to a lot of attention (negative attention though it may be) and often to getting their own way.
So, how do you respond?

It's actually pretty simple – at least on paper. First of all, resist the temptation to talk about how this statement "really hurts me and brings up all my abandonment and inadequacy issues." Sure, tell your therapist or your sponsor, but don't dump on your 4-year-old. (Even if your children happen to have degrees in psychiatry, do you really want to make them responsible for your feelings? They're not, you know, and the burden can be overwhelming even for healthy, well-adjusted adults with excellent personal boundaries!)

Instead, acknowledge the feelings behind the statement: "You sound pretty angry," "You're u
pset about that'" or even "I understand."

Disengage – especially if you find yourself getting upset. Watch out for the temptation to hurt back. Saying "I hate you too, sometimes!" may be exactly what you are feeling at the moment, but it won't help you, your child or your relationship for you to become a 4-year-old who is acting out. If you need some support, encouragement, reassurance or understanding, call on your adult resources.

And leave the door open for further discussions with your child at a later, and calmer, time: "Let's talk about this in a little bit."

If you are able to stay "unhooked" and refuse to change your mind because your child has said that she hates you, she's far less likely to continue using this statement to manipulate your feelings and behaviors. Plus, you'll be able to hang onto the idea that you're still a wonderful and lovable person – no matter what your kids say!

Yes this works on Daddies, too.
Muhammad Mahtab Bashir
Islamabad
cell: 0300 52 56 875

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SAIDPUR VILLAGE: a jewel in the crown of Islamabad

* Around 500-year-old village has myths and folklore * CDA developing Saidpur into tourist attraction * Emperor Jahangir’s memoir, Tuzke Jahangiri mentions that he stopped in Saidpur

People often describe Islamabad as a city “without a soul”. Actually, Islamabad’s soul is not to be found in the city itself but on the fringes of the city in the little hamlets and hills.

One such place is Saidpur, a village situated in the footsteps of Margalla Hills hardly at five minutes drive from the upscale neighbourhoods of the capital.

Fauzia Minallah, an Islamabad-based artist, has written a delightful book titled ‘Glimpses into Islamabad’s Soul’. Fauzia has described many such places in and around Islamabad including fascinating Saidpur Village with long history and heritage, myths and folklore.

Recently a lot of development activity in the area has taken place. The road to the village was being carpeted, forest areas were being cleaned of undergrowth, a rustic fence was erected along the road leading to the village, and haystacks suddenly sprouted along the road to give a rural look to the area.

Development: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is developing Saidpur into a tourist attraction, and is spending around Rs 400 million on resurrecting the old village and giving it a quaint look.

A newly built adobe gate welcomes you to the village. Built somewhat in Pueblo style, the gate seems to have been virtually lifted from Santa Fe, New Mexico and planted in Saidpur.

While CDA’s plans and efforts to revamp Saidpur are commendable, there is this danger that they might end up reinventing it.

Saidpur is a very old village – four or five hundred years old - with a history and heritage and, of course, its own myths and folklore. It is nestled in the Margallah Hills overlooking Islamabad. Built along the slope of the hills, and gradually creeping upwards, the village presents a picturesque view, particularly in the soft light of morning or afternoon sun.

Saidpur is named after Said Khan, the son of Sultan Sarang Khan, the Gakhar chief of the Potohar region during Emperor Babur’s time.

Emperor Jehangir: Emperor Jahangir’s memoir, Tuzke Jahangiri, mentions Jahangir halting at a place “beyond Rawalpindi”, on his way to Kabul. From his description it seems the place was Saidpur.

The Persian book `Kaigor Namah’ beautifully describes the place [Saidpur] during the visit of the Mughal commander Raja Man Singh in about 1580. It was a garden resort with a number of natural streams supplying water for drinking and irrigation.

Raja Man Singh was so enamored by the village that he turned it into a place of religious worship. He constructed raised platforms, walled enclosures and a number of kunds (ponds) called Rama kunda, Sita kunda, Lakshaman kunda and Hanuman kunda named after the characters of the Hindu epic Ramayana. Saidpur was declared a pilgrim centre and Rama kunda was preserved right up to 1947.

The first thing one notices on entering the village (and that is a big surprise), past a green domed mosque, is a Hindu temple, prominently situated and newly restored and painted.

A little removed from the temple, to the left, is a small building with two orange coloured domes. A plaque on this building, written in what appears to be Gurmukhi, suggests it might have been a Gurdwara or a Sikh shrine.

Between the temple and the `gurdwara’ is a neat, two-storey building that was an orphanage (Dharamsala) at one time. The temple is mentioned in the Punjab Gazetteer of Rawalpindi district of 1893-94, which suggests it is over a hundred years old. It’s amazing that a temple and gurdwara survived in a village that had no Hindu or Sikh population since 1947. Saidpur is also known for making unglazed pottery. The distinct cultural identity of Saidpur has always been its pottery and it has always been known as the potters’ village.

Old potters of the village, Niaz Muhammad and Rahim Dad, still run their workshops in the village. The shrine of Zinda Pir or the Living Saint is located just a couple of hundred feet above the temple on the hill slope under a pair of old banyan trees.

Muhammad Mahtab Bashir
Islamabad
mahtabbashir@yahoo.com
voice: 0300 52 56 875

Monday, October 27, 2008

SARAH PALIN'S WORDSWORTH

Sarah Palin is known for many things- her hairstyle, her family, her glasses, her fashion statement and her glamour quotient. But what adds ‘real spice’ to her campaign trail are her comments which never fail to tickle our funny bone. Here are few of them:

* "I'm the mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can't.'" - as quoted by former City Council Member Nick Carney, after he raised objections about the $50,000 she spent renovating the mayor's office without approval of the city council

* "They are also building schools for the Afghan children so that there is hope and opportunity in our neighboring country of Afghanistan." - speaking at a fundraiser in San Francisco, October 5, 2008

* "As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border." - explaining why Alaska's proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy experience, interview with CBS's Katie Couric, September 24, 2008

* "They're in charge of the US Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom." - Getting the vice president's constitutional role wrong after being asked by a third grader what the vice president does, interview with NBC affiliate KUSA in Colorado, October 21, 2008

* "We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, DC. ... We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation." - Sarah Palin, speaking at a fundraiser in Greensoboro, NC, October 16, 2008

* "Well, let's see. There's - of course - in the great history of America rulings there have been rulings." - unable to name a Supreme Court decision she disagreed with other than Roe vs Wade, interview with Katie Couric, CBS News, October 1, 2008

* "Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending soldiers out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan." - speaking to students at the Wasilla Assembly of God, June 2008

* "As for that VP talk all the time, I'll tell you, I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day?" - interview with CNBC's "Kudlow & Co," July 31, 2008

* "I told the Congress, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' on that Bridge to Nowhere." - She was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it* "All of 'em, any of 'em that have been in front of me over all these years." - unable to name a single newspaper or magazine she reads, interview with Katie Couric, CBS News, October 1, 2008

Muhammad Mahtab Bashir
Islamabad
mahtabbashir@gmail.com
Cell: 0300 52 56 875

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A STORM IN A T-CUP:

Drinking three cups of coffee a day 'shrinks women's breasts': Scientists say

Scientists have discovered that drinking just three cups of coffee a day can make women's breasts shrink.

Nearly 300 women were surveyed about their bust measurements and how many cups of coffee they drank in an average day.

According to researchers, three cups a day was enough to start making breasts shrink, with the effects increasing for every cup drunk.

They said there was a clear link between drinking coffee and smaller breasts as around half of all women possess a gene that has been shown to link breast size to coffee intake.
'Drinking coffee can have a major effect on breast size,' said Helena Jernstroem, a lecturer in experimental oncology at Lund University in Sweden.

'Coffee-drinking women do not have to worry their breasts will shrink to nothing overnight.
They will get smaller, but the breasts aren't just going to disappear.'


'However, anyone who thinks they can tell which women are coffee drinkers just from their bra measurements will be disappointed.'

'The problem is that there are two measures for a bra, the cup size and the girth, so you wouldn't be able to tell.'

It's not all bad news for women however as the researchers also found that regular hits of caffeine can help to cut the risk of developing breast cancer.

Scientists said that the effect of coffee is related to its impact on estrogens - the female sex hormones.

Some substances in coffee can change a woman's metabolism so she acquires a better configuration of various estrogens, therefore lowering the potential risk.

But women with bigger breasts that contain more mammary glands are at a higher risk, the scientists added.


Muhammad Mahtab Bashir
mahtabbashir@yahoo.com
Islamabad
Voice: 0300 52 56 875

SEIGE MENTALITY - ISLAMABAD FACING CHANGE

Where people once roamed free, the markets were crowded, businesses thrived and life seemed untroubled – Islamabad may never be the same again, so believe the residents. Such are the security concerns that police, paramilitary Rangers, guns and pickets are now the significant features of a town that was known for its peace and quiet.

Gone are the days when people said ‘cheese’ and had their photos taken in front of the landmark buildings along the Constitution Avenue. Gone too are the pleasure drives on the wide and inviting roads and so have the evening strolls at the Parade Square.


Police pickets today dot the down and concrete barricades and steel barriers are up virtually everywhere. Traffic has to weave past these obstacles as the cops look for a prize cache, without much luck though.There is a sense of fear among the residents who have had an overdose of bomb blasts and suicide attacks for more than a year now. The assault on Marriott Hotel last month was the bloodiest of them all.

No wonder this has prompted the town’s fortification with the owner of the battered hotel announcing only this week that he had plans to have a security wall built to protect his facility.

In the wake of security threats the talk seems to be about walls, big and small. Already some of the United Nations offices have fortified their offices by erecting such walls. The government too has plans of walling the entire Red Zone.

How extensive such precautionary measures need to be ring on everyone’s mind but residents think that the government needs to go for enhancing the capabilities of its intelligence agencies to thwart terror.

“Putting the town under siege is not the answer – do not alienate the people,” stressed Tahir Mahmood pointing out that more money should be spent on intelligence gathering.

Agreeing to his suggestion, Kashif Pervaiz said that shutting off roads and streets only means inconveniencing the public. “Please do not trouble the locals while trying to catch terrorists,” he pleaded. The residents recall with fondness the free movement in places like the Diplomatic Enclave, the lovely drives on the road leading to the Quaid-e-Azam University and a string of other spots that are now under siege.

Hamtaya Aftab, who has seen Islamabad in its infancy, remembers the days when as a youngster he used to cycle through the areas that are today completely fenced. “Islamabad is being turned into a civil cantonment and it appears that in the days ahead, the movement of residents would be restricted to the very sectors where they live,” he said.

Hamtaya thought that all the barricades and police pickets had been set up only to harass the people. “These posts are manned by burly security personnel who have no concept of security,” he claimed.

Ahad Ahmed, an Islooite for three decades said this town wouldn’t be the same again. “Because of flawed government policies, we are being made to pay the price,” he said.

Although security in the Capital was first enhanced during the Lal Masjid operation, it has continued to be more or less intense due to events that followed. Among them were the emergency rule, the lawyers’ movement, the general elections and a spate of suicide bomb attacks.Largely the people are unhappy with the state of siege and feel that security does not mean cordoning off roads and building walls all around. Rather, they stress that it is all about intelligence.

Muhammad Mahtab Bashir
Islamabad.
mahtabbashir@yahoo.com
Voice: 0300 52 56 875

Monday, October 20, 2008

MEET BRITAIN’S OLDEST VIRGIN

“Sex is just like a baloon, all it takes a little prick & its gone ...”

No sex is secret to long life, says 105-year-old Clara, Britain's oldest virgin
Over the years many a centenarian has delivered their secret for a long life.

Not smoking, daily exercise, moderate drinking, being married (and sometimes not being married) have all had their champions.

But, at the ripe old age of 105, Clara Meadmore could trump the lot: a life of celibacy.
Miss Meadmore says she has always been too busy for relationships and thought of physical intimacy as a 'hassle'.

The former secretary said she had no regrets about remaining a virgin and had turned down several marriage proposals.

Miss Meadmore said: 'People have asked whether I am a homosexual and the answer is no. I have just never been interested in or fancied having sex.

'I imagine there is a lot of hassle involved and I have always been busy doing other things. I've never had a boyfriend - I've never been bothered about relationships.'

She added: 'When I was a girl you only had sex with your husband - and I never married.

'I've always had lots of platonic friendships with men but never felt the need to go further than that or marry.

'Everything seems so fast these days. I don't know a lot about young people or the way they do things. I'm sure it's very different. I made my mind up at the age of 12 never to marry and I've not gone back on that.'

Miss Meadmore was born in Glasgow in 1903, two years after the death of Queen Victoria. She remembers hearing about the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and the outbreak of the First World War. Her family emigrated when she was seven, first to Egypt, then Canada and later New Zealand. But Miss Meadmore returned to Britain alone in her twenties and worked as a secretary and housekeeper.

She said: 'I grew up in an era where little girls were to be seen and not heard so I had to learn to stand up for myself and earn my own living.

'Some men don't like that in a woman and before long I was too old to marry anyway.'
Instead of boyfriends, Miss Meadmore filled her time with reading, gardening, cooking and listening to the radio.

Yesterday her friend and former neighbour Josie Harvey, 72, said: 'When she was a little girl she told her mother that she would never marry and for Clara no marriage meant no sex. She is fiercely independent.

'Maybe never having a man to get under her feet has kept her young all these years. She has her hobbies and her friends and that is all she needs.

'She has always believed in doing things her own way and that has allowed her to live a long life. Clara listens to Radio 4 all day long and knows what is going on in the world better than most people in their 30s.'

Miss Meadmore trained as a secretary and served in the Army, undertaking administrative duties in Egypt during the Second World War. She was one of the first members of the Youth Hostel Association and a keen member of the Women's Institute.

Her only surviving family are two nieces in New Zealand who keep in touch by post.
Miss Meadmore will celebrate reaching 105 with a card from the Queen and a glass of wine with her friends at the Perran Bay nursing home in Perranporth, Cornwall.

But she is determined not to let things get out of hand. 'I'm hardly likely to get drunk and do something silly at my age,' she said.

-Muhammad Mahtab Bashir
Islamabad-
mahtabbashir@yahoo.com
Cell: 0300 52 56 875

WE MAKE OUR FORTUNES & WE CALL THEM FATE

BY MAHTAB BASHIR
ISLAMABAD
mahtabbashir@gmail.com

How many apples were eaten at the Garden of Eden? ‘Eleven’ came the reply with this breakdown: Eve ATE and Adam TOO, and Satan WON.

Adam ate the fruit of the forbidden tree and was taken to task by Allah, the Almighty. He excused himself by shifting the blame from his own shoulder to that of Eve. When Eve in return was rebuked and said, “Satan beguiled me and I did eat.” But the serpent never cared to shift the blame to anyone else. Nothing is more characteristic of man than this answer.

It is a nature of man to saddle others with his own responsibility. When all excuses fail, he has recourse to this doubtful sort of justification. It proceeds from a kind of delusion that what is guilt when committed by one is not so when done by many. But nothing can be further from truth.

Gham ki barish nay bhi teray naqsh ko dhoya nahi
Tu nay mujh ko kho diya, mein nay tujhay khoya nahi

Jurm Adam nay kia aor nasl-e-Adam ko saza
Kat-ta hoon zindagi bhar, mein nay jo boya nahi

Janta hoon aik aisay shakhs ko mein bhi Munir
Gham say pathar ho gia hay laikin kabhi roya nahi.


This habit of blaming others for our own folly is frequently seen in man. Down the memory lane, I remember my school days when I failed to get handsome marks in examinations, and I put all the blames over ‘the incapacity of teachers’ and ‘the whimsicalities of examiners’. Similarly, w
hen we get late, the clock and the weather are held responsible. When we can not dance, our failure is attributed to the uneven floor. “A bad workman quarrels with his tools” is a proverb very true of human nature.

However, the moral faculty in man is a stern judge. It tells him frankly when he is wrong. But the innate self-love of man does not want to confess that he is wrong neither can it deny that he has not done any wrong. So he has recourse to a shift. He confesses the guilt but tries to weaken its enormity by citing extenuating circumstances. And he holds others responsible for his own misdeeds. Not content with blaming fellowmen, he sometimes goes to lay it on the shoulders of inanimate things, as the word scapegoat suggests. Why did you steal your friend’s watch? “I am sorry, but my cousin tempted me to do it, he is the arch-tempter,” is my answer. Why did you feel? “I saw an empty pitcher just the time of my entrance in examination room, also a black cat crossed over when I was going there and that accounted for my failure.” I feel myself thus relieved as I bind my time to chastise.

But when no man or inanimate object is near enough to bear the burden of our follies and failures, we relieve ourselves by holding responsible not any tangible or visible person, but an unseen, invisible power which we choose to call fate. Fate is supposed to be an unseen, inscrutable power that imposes its capricious out iron-will on man. None of us has control over it. Pious hopes are belied, honest intentions are frustrated, earnest efforts are baffled, and good actions are made to bear
evil fruit. Why? Because that inexorable, mysterious force called Fate, Destiny, Evil Star, Black Angel and you name it. The existence of such a power is fond hypothesis among all nations, developed or under-developed. The Greeks called it Nemesis, the Hindus termed it Adrista, and the English speak of it as Fate or Destiny. It appears in two forms. When it is propitious, we call it Luck or Fortune and when it is adverse, we label it the name of Fate. The two are but the same power seen from different perspective. Fortunate men are supposed to bask in its favour, while unfortunate people are regarded as warring or struggling with it. In fact, whenever the ordinary logic of understanding fails to account for a happening, we fall back on an invisible agent and ascribe it to the impenetrable, incontrovertible will of an unknown but awful power­­- Fate.

Taqdeer kay paband nabataat-o-jamadaat
Momin faqat ahqaam-e-Elahi ka hay paband


History is replete with
instances in which the best of men have failed inscrutably in spite of their ability, piety and courage. Man, in fact is the architect of his own fortune. He is sent here with freedom of will to choose his way. The broad and the narrow ways are ahead of him. If he chooses the wrong path and suffers consequently, he alone is to be blamed. He has no right to hold others responsible. A brave man would never do it, it is only the timid and the weakling that that refuses to face facts and take shelter under Fate. If there is anything like Fate, it is man who has made it, and by his own actions. He has raised this terrible specter and he has no right to complain of its tyranny so late in the day. We should clearly know that man alone is responsible for his actions and these are the causes of his sorrow and sufferings. The conception of an irresponsible, unknown, tragic force unreasonably punishing man seems inconsistent with the conception of an all-merciful benign God and with man’s freedom of will.

It is neither God nor Fate that brings us suffering; we alone ar
e responsible of it. In fact if there anything which a man may call his own creation, it is his misery. The all-merciful Being does not want to inflict misery on him, he brings it himself. We make our own fortunes and we call them Fate. If he prospers he gets the credit, if he suffers he is to be blamed. A strong man will acknowledge his responsibility in all his works; it is only the feeble that shift the burden.

Luck is what you have left over, after putting in your 100%.

The writer is a budding intellectual, or so he thinks

Monday, October 13, 2008

WHAT MAKES WOMAN ATTRACTIVE

Sex, science and the art of seduction:
What really makes woman attractive to the opposite sex

Humans have long been baffled by just what shapes sexual attraction. Why do we find some people beautiful and others not? And is there anything we can do to make ourselves more attractive?

In her fascinating new book, Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?, American science journalist Jena Pincott collates scores of academic studies to reveal what really makes woman attractive to the opposite sex.

What makes a face beautiful? What magic do the beautiful have that most of us lack? Neuroscientists, psychologists and anthropologists have all taken a stab at deconstructing facial beauty. Overall, they’ve focused on three measures: averageness (how closely the size and shape of facial features match the average), symmetry (how closely the two sides of the face match) and sexual dimorphism (how feminine or masculine the face appears).

We’re talking about only facial shape and features here, not age, expression or complexion.
You might think the first one, averageness, seems odd. By definition, isn’t average just average? But most of us don’t have average features. When compared to the average, your eyes may be too wide or close-set, your eyebrows uneven or your nose too sharp.

When a computer-generated composite is created by merging a whole series of faces together, it’s possible to see a single face which could be described as the average of all the other faces (with the average-sized nose and the average-sized jaw and so on).

In academic tests, judges rate that average face as more attractive than any one of the faces that constitute it. The more faces that are blended in the composite, the more attractive the result.

So what draws us all to the middle? Researchers have several theories. For one, familiarity breeds attraction: we learn to identify patterns in the faces we see around us, and that means that medium - or average - proportions would be more familiar to us than distinctive features such as potato noses, wide-set eyes, underbites and chipmunk cheeks. That, in turn, makes them more attractive.

Conversely, distinctive and unattractive features may subconsciously warn us of the presence of undesirable, recessive genes.

Looking at portraits of the inbred Habsburgs, you can see how members of one of the ruling houses of Europe shared the same DNA to the extent that their looks and health suffered - it shows up in their protruding lower lips and misshapen noses.

Aside from these inbuilt adult reactions to beauty, studies with babies also suggest that ‘beauty detectors’ are hard-wired in our brains from birth.

Infants as young as one day old, when exposed simultaneously to beautiful and unattractive faces, consistently gaze longer at the attractive faces.

The neural mechanism that enables babies to distinguish beautiful from plain is unknown, but it is widely agreed that it exists. People from different cultures also generally agree on what faces are attractive or not.

Symmetry, the second measure of beauty, can make or break the beauty equation. Look at actress Gwyneth Paltrow for an example of a beautiful but slightly atypical face. Her mouth is wider than average, and so is the space between her eyes. On another person these distinctive features might not be so stunning, but Gwyneth’s face happens to be perfectly symmetrical.
This is also true of supermodels Kate Moss, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford (minus the mole). Not all beautiful faces are symmetrical, and not all symmetrical faces are beautiful, but symmetry often plays a role in attraction.

Like averageness, symmetry suggests a certain physical robustness. If you grow up with symmetrical features - despite risk of disease, genetic mutations, starvation, pollution and parasites - there’s a better chance you’re fit and healthy and your body can ward off infection.
Researchers at the University of New Mexico measured the chin length, jaws, lip width, eye width and height of more than 400 men and women to determine their facial symmetry.

Comparing the results against each participant’s health records, they found that people with the most symmetrical features were healthier (i.e. had shorter and fewer respiratory infections and took fewer antibiotics).

Masculinity or femininity (sexual dimorphism) is the third measure of attractiveness. In men, the hormone testosterone is behind prominent jawlines and cheekbones, thicker brow ridges, larger noses, smaller eyes, thinner lips, facial hair and a relatively long lower half of the face.
Women are attracted to rugged, masculine faces because they signal strong immune systems and, potentially, high fertility.


Oestrogen is behind the ‘beauty’ that men perceive in female faces. It plumps out women’s lips and skin and produces smaller and pointier chins, smaller noses, rounder cheekbones, eyebrows high above the eyes and a bottom of the face that is narrower than the top half.

Why big breasts ARE best: Nobody has a definitive answer as to why women’s breasts are so sexy and get so big, but all theories have something to do with fertility.

Evolutionary psychologists suggest that cleavage serves as a sort of proxy for the swollen rumps that other female primates get in heat.

Freudian psychologists offer theories about men’s Oedipus complex: they’re always looking for a mother figure (literally). Anthropologists believe that women developed larger, permanent breasts as our species adapted to a harsher environment and became bigger-brained and bipedal.

By storing fat reserves in their chests (and thighs and bottoms) year-round, even when not nursing, our foremothers survived the elements and the rigours of pregnancy, birth and child-rearing.

Large breasts may be a sign of increased fertility, which could help explain why so many men think bigger busts are better: the fat that accumulates in your chest (as well as your bottom, thighs and hips) does so under the influence of the hormone oestrogen, which also affects your ability to conceive.

A study by Harvard epidemiologist Grazyna Jasienska found that full-figured women are roughly three times as likely to get pregnant as women with other body types. (To qualify in the study, the circumference of your torso around your breasts would have to be at least 20 per cent larger than it is under your breasts.)

Breasts are an advertisement of age, health and good genes, which is why anthropologists think they’re crucial to sexual selection even in cultures that don’t eroticise the chest any more than the face.

Wrinkles? Don't despair: Think those fine lines and wrinkles make you less attractive to the opposite sex? Not necessarily.

In scientific tests, men gave low attractiveness ratings to older-looking faces when asked who they saw as a potential partner for a short-term relationship.

No surprise here - men are biased towards youthful-looking women with childbearing years ahead, and they generally marry women who are younger. However, intriguingly, if a man’s mother was over 30 when he was born, he was likely to be more tolerant of ageing in women’s faces in the context of a long-term relationship.

Only the mother’s age at his birth, not the father’s, influenced a man’s acceptance of older looking women’s faces. This may have to do with sexual inprinting, the tendency for a person to seek a mate who resembles his or her opposite-sex parent. (This means if you’re trying to gauge a man’s tolerance to ageing faces, it doesn’t hurt to ask him how old Mum was when he was born.)

Further research will reveal whether men with older mums more often marry older women. There’s evidence that women with older dads more often marry older men.

Sorry girls, but gentlemen DO prefer blondes: It's a cliche - but research shows that yes, in most of Europe and America, there does seem to be a male preference for blonde women. According to Canadian anthropologist Peter Frost, this was true during the Ice Age when, because of the extreme dangers associated with hunting for food, there were far fewer men than women.

Although there was a surfeit of females, the men who were around were unable to take on more than one ‘wife’ because of the daily challenges of supporting a family, and they often chose a blonde.

Fair hair then was very rare and stood out in a sea of brunettes. And as we know from walking into any shop, visual merchandising is the key to success. For ancestral Europeans, blonde hair was the equivalent of brilliant, shiny packaging. Modern men are attracted to blonde hair for the same reason: it’s eye-catching.

The human eye is attracted to light, bright colours, so blondes stand out more than brunettes and even redheads. Blonde hair is also associated with youth and fertility, as hair colour naturally darkens with age.

According to a study by Polish psychologists, men clearly prefer blondes when judging the appearance of women older than 25. Hair colours are more desirable when they’re uncommon, too. In most countries, blonde is usually the unique and the most eye-catching - but not everywhere. In Scandinavia, where blondes are commonplace, men often say they prefer brunettes.

Likewise, when researchers at the University of Washington asked male subjects to choose which woman they’d desire as a partner among selections of brunettes and blondes, the preference for a brunette increased in proportion to the rarity of brunettes in the selection. (However, if a shade is so rare that it’s virtually nonexistent, such as blonde in Africa and Asia, men may not necessarily prefer it.)

Another factor that can play a part in a man’s hair colour preference is sexual imprinting - which means that a man has a bias towards a mate who resembles his parents.
A man with a dark-haired mother might be more likely to choose a brunette for a long-term relationship.

Secrets of the perfect body: From a hundred feet away, a man can’t see your beautiful eyes or your luscious lips. He can’t hear your witty jokes or touch your dewy skin.

However, by merely glancing at your figure he’ll glean a lot about your age, health and reproductive potential. That’s because he can instantly assess your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR).

A woman’s waist-to-hip ratio is one of the most important cues in sexual attraction. The smaller your waist is in proportion to your hips, the curvier you appear.

The ‘golden ratio’ is said to be around 0.7 - that is, a waist that is seven-tenths the width of the hips, regardless of weight.

Muhammad Mahtab Bashir
Islamabad-