The following is a man’s perspective after moving from India to New York City:
At first, it all seems like a dream. The very first day you're there, you look at the skyscrapers every now and then with a silly delight and then remind yourself, with a glee at once innocent and self-important that you're now a part of this world, this swanky, rich, confident world.
You are aware at some level in the back of your mind that there are insanely many people back home who would rather be you. You are aware that your cousin, who assumes a moral high-ground every time he talks to you because you left India and he didn't, would be here in jiffy if he ever got the chance to. But he didn't, and you did, and for this you're vaguely grateful, but more than that you're pleased with yourself, aware that it didn't come easy.
This is at first.
Then you start to explore the city. If you're lucky, you know a few friends in the city, and if you're very lucky, you know someone in the city who is actually a friend. Initially, you will spend a lot of time with this circle and if they are also relatively new to the city, you will do a lot of exploring together.
You will be astounded to see the proportion of women that are hot, women that if they lived in any other town they would have been the most sought-after ones, the ones everybody knew and talked about, you will notice that they roam these streets aplenty, often with an expression that betrays a deep awareness of their own beauty, but also a tired exasperation at not being recognized, sufficiently, for how hot they really are.
Then you look at yourself. I should have mentioned - you look at others often, and you look at yourself even more often. Much more than you used to in India.
On the subway you can observe that most everyone is living out an image of themselves, protagonists in a literary novel playing inside their heads. The hairstyles, the stern expressions, the maverick shoes, the folds of the shirts and the pattern on the socks, each of those things have been exquisitely thought through. Nothing is an accident, except the homeless drugged-out person occupying both the seats next to the door, some un-nameable semi-liquid filth scattered below him.
You look better than someone, you think. As some weeks pass, you start to look better anyway. Maybe not to your mother who you video chat with at nights, who thinks you're just getting skinnier. But you notice that you have better fashion sense than you ever had before, and you also notice that you're willing to spend a greater proportion of your income on enhancing how you look than you ever thought sane before.
On some days, now, you even think you look attractive. The couple of times you danced in clubs in the East Village bolstered your confidence a little bit - the girls let you touch them way more than you had ever thought possible. It's either you're looking better nowadays, or, they couldn't in the dark see nor care how you look.
For now, you go with the former hypothesis, even though you're aware it's the latter. And, so you go a dancing a couple more times until you realize the beginner's luck you had at the same clubs is gone. This then leaves you feeling very sure you'll never step foot into an East
Village club again. There's no point to this argument. You will, because what else will you do? Move to Jersey?