In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"

"Hold on a minute", Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."
"Triple filter?"

"That's right", Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. 

That's why I call it the triple filter test. 

The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"No,",the man said, "Actually I just heard about it and ..."

"All right", said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?"

"No, on the contrary."

"So", Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true.

 You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really."

"Well", concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"




I was in grade 10, a girl tied a rakhi on my hand.

[For the context: Rakhi is a cotton bracelet tied by a girl or a woman on a man’s hand, signifying the brotherly love she has for him. It is an Indian thing, mostly]

Honestly, when she tied it on me, I was not aware of what that was. I learned it from a friend a while later.

I was okay with that.

But her approach was not quite sister-like. Sneaky glances, mild nudges, subtle hints of you know, romance.

One day, she proposed her love for me. I didn’t quite understand anything. I turned it down.

I was confused more than anything.

Later, after I graduated, I learned from a mutual friend that she used Rakhi as an opportunity to get closer to me and then propose her love for me.

I felt a bit used. Or insulted. “How low could a girl be,” I told myself.

During my second year of Uni, she got in touch with me through a mutual friend.

The first thing she told me was this: “Ben. Before you say anything,I am sorry. I was stupid. I am not talking to you to ask you if you love me. I just want to say that I love you.”

I accepted her apology. I thanked her for reaching out to me. I told her that it was okay. I also told her that I was not hurt by that but just confused.

I turned down her proposal.

Many years later while I was working in Madras, she got in touch with me again.

She was about to leave to the U.K for work.

She spoke about random things and finally about what happened years ago.

“I am not sorry for what happened last time. It was heartfelt. At the moment, I am dating my best friend from Uni. He is in the U.K now. ……” She spoke about her man for a while.

Then she concluded: “I still love you, Ben.”

Truth be told, nothing was wrong with her. I just never felt the bond with her.

I never wanted to call her name. Or smile like an idiot. Or just be stupid around her.

I had no love for her.

No matter who you are or what personality you sport, there will always be a woman or a girl who likes you.

She will see the flaws in you. The stupidity. The inaccuracies. Insecurities. And failings.

And she will cut right through the noise and scoop you off. She is the one.

You don’t really have to respond to her love. You don’t have to accept or refuse. She will love.

Don’t become. Just be. Be amazing like you.



John: “Hey, can I borrow some paper?”

Mark: “Sure man, no problem. Have at it”

John: “Thanks”

A few days later

Mark: “Hey, can I borrow some paper?”

John: “Uh, no. Get your own.”

Mark: “…”

Suzy: “Hey, have you seen my makeup? I can’t find it anywhere.”

Lucy: “Yeah, I used it earlier. I hope you don’t mind.”

Suzy: “Uh, that’s fine. Just ask me next time, okay?”

Lucy: “Okay.”

A few days later

Suzy: “Hey, did you take my makeup? It’s missing again.”

Lucy: “Yeah, my bad. I only needed it for a second though.”

Suzy: “That’s okay. Just please ask me next time okay?”

Lucy: “Sure.”

A few days later

Suzy: “Hey, did you use my makeup?”

Lucy: “Yeah.”

Suzy: “I thought I told you to ask?”

Lucy: “Why are you being such a b**** about it? It’s no big deal.”

Suzy: “…”

Tom: “I’m running a little late. Be there in about 30 minutes.”

Jake: “No problem, No problem. Take your time, and see you soon.”

A few days later

Jake: “Hey, I’m running a little late. I’ll be there in about 15 minutes.”

Tom: “Seriously? Just don’t come then. You’re wasting my time.”

Jake: “…”

These are all real experiences that I’ve seen and heard.

People you should avoid?

Liars, hypocrites, and those with double-standards.



You see this little cutie? She is watching a 5k from the top of a pool side patio in downtown Dallas. We were staying there last year sometimes while we were traveling.

If you back up to 2009, I went on a few dates with a lady and moved to Houston, shortly to find out she was pregnant. She told me it wasn't a trap, and I did not have to be a father if I didn't want to or wasn't ready. I considered it, believe me. But then, I moved back to Dallas.

About 3 months from my daughter being born, I suddenly became crazy about the thought of holding my little girl. You would often find me looking at baby clothes, stock piling diapers, building a crib, or prepping her room. When she was born, I was hooked on that baby. Unfortunately, her mother wasn't faithful, so we didn't end up being together. I wasn't sad about not being with her mom, I was sad I wouldn't be in the same home with my daughter.

Emma, my daughter was so young and couldn't speak intelligently. We are nearing 1 and a half, and now, when I would go to pick her up from her mom's house, she would reek of cigarette smoke, she was crazy dirty.. And always covered in scratches and the occasional bruises. Her mom would talk about how it was all just from playing outside, but seeing as Emma would go into a screaming rage on her way back to her mom's and claw at the car seats to not get out, I knew there was something wrong. My mom did, too.

This behavior reminded me of, well, me… I was abused when I was a child. I exhibited extreme anxiety at such a young age and my first memories of anything were of my father beating me and being afraid to go home. Emma was being abused…so, I started building a case, and Emma started staying with me most of the time and occasionally going to her mom's.

Now Emma is about 3… I go to pick her up from her mom's one day and the driveway is covered in broken glass from a broken side patio door, and their minivan is sitting sideways in the driveway. Something is wrong. I feel it in my heart and no one has answered the phone all day. I call the house phone and hear the phone ringing through the door. When the answering machine came on, I said “if no one picks up, I am breaking the door down.”

Her step dad answered… “Hey buddy. They went to my mom's down the street while I clean up this mess, we had an accident.”

I drove to his mom's house, knocked, and Emma's mom answered the door. I had never seen a person beat so bad. She was still covered in dry blood and her face and body were bruised. Emma came running out to me saying she didn't want to go back to the “bloody house.”

I told her mom to get her shit and they were both coming with me. I had been building a case but I never took it to court because to me, it was all over. I got them out of the monster's house.

Well, now we are months into her mom staying with Emma and me when I start noticing a lot of things. Emma's mom is abusive. She would get drunk to the point of falling down every night. Literally unable to stand on her own feet, she would drag Emma out to the patio to smoke her cigarettes, and she argued incessantly with her husband through phone and text. She would cuss at me and try to provoke me into fighting. This, of course, is when I noticed her mom was an abuser too. I thought I was rescuing someone when in reality, I invited an abuser, another monster into my home. I don't fight. I just observed. I later found out they were both beating each other up. Right in front of Emma. They were locking her outside to fight, and she was spending most of her time locked in her room and hiding under her bed.

For many reasons, I eventually kicked her out and my mom took her in. For disgusting reasons, my mom kicked her out and she disappeared. We took care of this lady for the better part of a year when she just abandoned Emma. She then called me out of the blue after months of no contact and said she wanted Emma to “come home.”

She moved back in with and remarried the same man. When I mentioned her months of promises to never letting Emma back into that home or environment, she said “Emma can get over it.”

I pulled out my case file and filed a restraining order. Over the next year, I fought and won custody of my daughter. Her mother abandoned all of her visitation, and has officially been completely gone for over half of Emma's life. The only memories Emma has of her mom are abuse, but she has been gone so long that she is never spoken of.

I get tickled when Emma and I go out on the weekends, because people will literally make multiple derivatives of the same comment about me being a weekend father. Like — “Ooh, Saturday night date with daddy?”

No, it is just us. It always has been. I have her the other nights as well. All of the week days, all of the holidays, and I wouldn't change a thing.

Emma is a healthy, happy, ambitious, and extremely intelligent child. Because she didn't have to endure a life of abuse. I didn't become a man until she was born, and it took me until my mid twenties to finally get over my abusive childhood. If it weren't for my mom saving us from my dad, I wouldn't be the man I am today, and I doubt I would be a responsible father. If it were not for my dad abusing me, I would not have picked up early on the signs that I needed to save my daughter, so I thank them both. I am strong enough to have lived through being beaten… strong enough to never let my child live through it.

Some people have made some good comments about what makes a manly man. But I will stick to this one:

Everyone has a neighborhood grocery store where they often see the same customers… or maybe you have a job where you have regulars visit often. If you see a man holding the hands of his kids, and it isn't the weekend - he is a real father. If you see a guy like me, with pink and glitter french-tipped painted finger nails, and bows and ribbons stuck in my hair and beard, it is because I am a masculine man… mature enough to show my child how she should be treated and respected on this little fucked up planet we live on.

Here is my little girl scout, at the top right making the goofy face. Yes, even though I am not pictured, I am wearing my shirt that says “Real fathers are girl scouts, too.”

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