Monthly Archives: January 2008
I’m practically de-sensitized to the trash overload from the television set. After all..
But every now and then there comes along something that makes me sit up and take notice.
It would have been a normal, frenzied rush-hour day just like another. And a TV schedule of saans-bahu soaps jostling with fudge-eality shows, squeezed in between commercials for insurance policies, shampoos and perfume-smelling detergents. And then it happened.
60% of women call in sick from work on a bad hair day!
…the colourful screen proudly proclaimed to me. Followed by a flood of digi-enhanced, branded-director-signature-style glossy images before you could say SEXIST!!
And the commercial signed off with a serene-faced, funky hair-styled Habib telling you not to worry about your hair anymore.
I don’t. After all I’m apparantly so stupid that I fall for that and pay for it as well. So now you can come and insult me on my face.
What, me worry? I just think, chronically.
60%…that’s nearly two-thirds of all the working women I know – friends, colleagues, bosses, peers, clients, teachers, doctors, air-hostesses, news readers, nurses, shop assistants, call center workers, hotel staff, salesgirls, women security guards, policewomen….shall I go on? So Habib tells us that more than half of this lot calls in sick when they don’t think their hair looks right.
Well never mind. I’ll just end with asking if a man thinks you are so frivolous, would you let him touch your hair?
Note: I’ve seen this ad aired just once. It would be good to know if anyone else caught it as well.
A good conversation is one that leads to several more. And I had the benefit of one such conversation with the queen of desi blogdom. Do check out her starting post on what we were talking about, ending with a promise to take it furthur. I’ll put up my thoughts on this as well, shortly.
Planning a rendezvous with a girlfriend. She is at the parlour and I have to wait till she gets done. I sit tight elsewhere and am most amused to hear her say,
I think it will be an hour before I’m released!!!
And if that sounds like parole from jail or release from the hospital, the real picture is somewhere between the two. Now I’m one of those rare specimens. Yes, there are a few others like me, such as my fellow-sufferer from the conversation above. The ones that do not enjoy a visit to the beauty parlour.
For starters, it is just soooo boring!! Why would one willingly throw away a couple of hours from a precious weekend to be waxed, threaded, tweezed and snipped into loveliness? Ah, well. Okay. But fine, why would one enjoy it?
I don’t get this thing about ‘being pampered’. Give me a good book and a steaming hot mug of hot chocolate any day. That’s pampering. But we girls must be masochists. Why else would we willingly have hot wax poured on our bodies and then ripped off? And our eyebrows plucked out, hair by agonizing hair? And what’s worse – pay for it??!!!!!
You can then imagine my utter horror of men who frequent these places! *Shudder shudder* At least it doesn’t appear to be as painful for them. I mean, how dare any man crib about the woes of shaving every day when it can’t be even a fraction as painful as hair-removal for women? I propose a face-wax for men every fortnight (or more or less depending on relationship to Werewolf). That would be far more time-efficient and for a change, they’d have something real to complain about. And what of the ‘in-between’ stubble days? Well, do what women do all the time. Wear long sleeves or in this case…a face mask!
But why am I talking about men in a post about women? Let’s come back. After the physical pain, there’s the sheer mortification of knowing that one is actively aiding the movement of artificial beauty, the one spearheaded by the cosmetics industry that believes in making women feel bad about their bodies so they will pay to then be made to feel better. Every time I visit my beautician, I hope to goodness I won’t bump into anyone I know.
*Surreptitious look around*
Coast looks clear. Off with sunglasses and scarf and trench-coat.
What will it be today, ma’am?
*Trying to whisper* Umm…a haircut please.
Certainly, come this way please.
Nooo….I think I know the back of that head!!! That’s the female dragon from next door. So she comes here too? Aha…*smirk smirk*
So we struggle. Can we let the world discover that…*gasp*…we’re human after all and actually need some effort to look the way we do? How mortifying to be discovered while beautifying yourself!!! Speaking of which, I am not sure I like this new trend of the UNISEX. It is a little disconcerting to have your roots touched up while in the plush seat next to yours, Mr.Podgy gets his face massaged and a free lecture on the woes of cellulite.
What, men have cellulite too? Where? I don’t see any on his face! Oh….
My hairdresser shush-es me and warns me that he might chop my ear off if I shake too much. Which causes Mr.Hidden Cellulite to look at me in wonder and suppressed amusement. Ah, brethren, we know how you feel!
But I must end this post now and go see…errm, my friend. We like to meet on lazy weekends when there aren’t too many people around. Grab my trench-coat, sunglasses and head-scarf and there I go!
(Click to see full comic)
When I first chanced upon the Agony Aunt section in HT Cafe, I had to smile when I saw who was solving problems for the lovelorn. Kim Sharma!! Kim Sharma?? What sort of advice could she possibly give anyone?
Then today I read an interview with her.
You seem to have a mind of your own, so why do you have this image of a bimbette?
You tell me! I’m sufficiently well read, I can conduct an intelligent conversation whenever I get an opportunity to discuss things beyond Bollywood.
Maybe it’s because of the way I look, my voice, the pout I was born with..
I was pleasantly surprised to find that her answers sounded plausible, coherent…and intelligent. And unpleasantly surprised to discover my own stereotyping habit.
My best friend, the last of the campus stunners has had her share of admiring hordes all through college and thereafter. A conversation that came to mind after I read the above interview,
So he asks me which college I went to and I tell him. And then he goes
You’re an engineer????!!!!
I mean why should it be so surprising?I suppose I’ve got ‘DUMB’ written all over my face?!
And I chuckled and told her that,
It isn’t that. Beauty equals stupidity for most people.
To be quite sure, I am one of those people. I’ve been around enough of bimbettes and ‘Him-bo’s to loathe the presence of anyone who spends too much time before a mirror. People who get a lot of attention in childhood and their teens on account of their looks don’t seem to find the need to grow a brain or even *shudder shudder*…a personality. The rest of us find ways to compete in the attention stakes with grades, a sense of humour, whackiness, style et cetera…
But I wonder if that’s entirely correct now. Especially with women. I’ve always thought that women were far more practical and ruthless than men. And a pretty woman is perfectly capable of utilizing her looks to get her way (oh, don’t we loathe that sort!!!).
On the other hand, what of the few that don’t exactly like it? I can’t imagine that it is very flattering to be thought of as dumb, even if half the world’s population lusts for you. I wonder how many people would associate Madhuri Dixit with microbiology (after a brief flirtation with the medical sciences)? And who cares or even knows about Aishwarya Rai Bachchan‘s architecture degree (These get only cursory mentions on Wikipedia. I remember them as random trivia from the Ms.World pageant and filmi-gupshup days).
I suppose if they are really, really, really smart, they’ll let the world get away with underestimating them and not need validation. Barbie with a brain is probably too radical a concept for the world, after all.
I had a pseudo-date, recently. What’s a pseudo-date? Oh, that’s something that looks like a date but isn’t. Why? Because I bought him an ice-cream cone (and was ordered and reminded to blog about it, so here you are, Mr.Pseudo-Date). And yeah, because a conversation such as this was possible…
That girl is hot!
No, she is not.
And you would know, would you? You don’t check out women.
Says who? I check out women all the time. I checked this one out even before you did and found that she isn’t the kind of woman I call hot.
So what kind of women do you find hot?
Crap. You’re just describing yourself.
So? I find myself hot!
But the thought struck home. What if it is true?
My vision of women is limited by my own body! I have no concept of how to be attracted to a woman. Now at long last, after the trauma of the teens, having learnt to love myself, I don’t know how to go beyond that. I like me, I love me and it stops right there. It isn’t rocket science, being attracted to your complement, a human being who looks and feels different from you. The opposite sex is easily attractive because they are so different from us. But how about the same sex? I have tremendous admiration now for gays and lesbians because it seems like they’ve gone past their own bodies and see beauty in their own sex.
How exactly does one expand one’s horizons beyond self and the obvious? I’m stuck with my own reflection and pretty as it is, it still is just a play of light in a bowl of water.
A version is posted to Yahoo! Real Beauty.
While my pessimism as regards men, may know no bounds, she reminds me that some markets are always booming! Viva manhood and the spirit of madness, then!
(Click on pic to see full comic on a new page)
I ushered in the New Year at a hip party in a swank hotel. Multiple dance-floors, buffet dinner and unlimited alcohol. Most of the guests took the last part of that invitation seriously. Real serious. By 11pm, the open-air lawn bar was clean out of vodka, wine and Breezers. A few miserable looking beers lay around.
Cut to the dance floors. Plastic cups and glass bottles lay around in shards and shrapnels while busy, manic feet fueled by the former contents of those victuals kicked them about. Yes, alchohol can make Fred and Ginger Astairs out of anybody.
The mandatory visit to the washroom was an eye-opener or shall I say…breath-taking? It quite literally took my breath away. Now this is going to be disgusting but it must be said. Every alternate basin in the black-marble topped siding was swimming with the purged contents of people’s stomachs. The place was packed with the guests of Bacchus’s orgies. Svelte stick-model types swaying against wobbly tummies, heaving busts and straining tyres. Every one of them drunk, dead drunk.
A LBN-clad PYT (okay, okay that’s fashionasta-ese for “little black number-clad pretty young thing) tottered about on precarious wedge heels and laid a heavy hand on my shoulder to steady herself. Breathy voiced she mouthed…
Go, go, I told her and gave her my place in the line, all the while silently saying…
Anything, just so long as you don’t throw up on me!
And behind me, one hungover head was vomitting into the waste-basket, propped up by the trembly hands of another who’d had her puke-turn already. I have no doubt that the the men’s washroom was an equally sorry sight.
Outside however, I saw a girl being carried out by five people. In corners, heads were slumped, their re-bonded hair strands whipped across their boyfriends’ chests. On the dance floor, I was knocked over and stepped on by the high heels of more than one drunk diva. The last one on the floor at 4a.m. was a wild banshee, long hair all in disarray with stylishly lean arms flailing around madly. I would have been scared to be the one taking her home. Well, no wonder then that there wasn’t a date in sight.
I’ve seen this happen in a few parties earlier. In the cities, as the upper-crust brandishes more and more pocket-money and salary slips, the tastes turn dangerously indulgent as well. Add to that the double-edged sword of chauvinistic hypocrisy that dictates that the girls of the family be achievers and yet well-behaved and the symbols of the ‘pride of the family’. Put such an ’empowered’ female in a setting that gives her the same temptations without the scrutiny of parents, neighbors and other such moral custodians. What happens? She goes all out and gets drunk.
Of course I’m generalizing. None of the women in my group acted that way. Am I being a moral judge? Well…I’m being practical. I think these women are in even more danger than their less restrained counterparts. How can you subject a human being to temptation and expect them to resist it every single time? I’ve seen enough of my male friends in such states of inebriation that they are an embarrassment to everyone else around. And I’ve coped with it, overlooked their foibles and carried on like nothing happened. It happens, after all, doesn’t it? But the same may not be true of a female friend. If I saw a close girlfriend have one too many and start getting clingy with the men around, I’d be alarmed. And do something drastic like throw the bottle away and drag her out willy-nilly from the party. Because if I didn’t, she would be making things really, really difficult for herself.
No one treats a drunk woman the same way they treat a drunk man. With a man, the hangover the next morning is its own punishment. Can we truly say that the same is true for a woman?
And what’s worse, that peculiar breed called the Modern Woman…the one who prides herself on not caring two hoots about what the world thinks…is doing herself a grave disservice in this case. Even if matters naught what strangers think of her inebriatedness, the fact remains that she gives into indulgences more freely now than even her male counterparts might, in a defiant bid to be ‘better’. And intoxication is a dangerous thing when combined with that kind of one-upmanship.
But we shrug our shoulders and try to ignore her tempestous temperament as she lights up another one and downs her now-too-many-eth glass of vodka.
I actually wrote this post on the first day of the year before the Juhu molestation case hit headlines. It’s been in my Drafts section since then, waiting for polishing but I guess what happened says it all. I should probably add that I had a drink too so I’m certainly not saying that women shouldn’t drink. But empowerment may just be an illusion and the Modern Woman may be dreaming…or….worse, too drunk to realise she’s being done in. Do read also what she thinks of this.
Does this blog still have any readers left? This is for them then, if they exist.
I haven’t written anything really meaty in a long time. I know, I know! No, it isn’t writer’s block. I’ve got a few idea-toons swimming about, more than enough male bashing stuff for the Rude n’ Red section and plenty of girltalk.
Time however, has been a constraint. And yes, I’ve been focussing on the new blog for a good while now. A little more patience…my lurrves and I promise I’ll be back with a bagful of XXFactor goodies!
In the meantime,
Great things are afoot..
as Slartibartfast would say. Who? Oh never mind, obscure reference….but I could lurrve the man who designed Norway. :-) So yes, coming back, changes are underway. And in the meantime, I continue my quest to understand who reads this blog and why. Tell me, talk to me, show me your face(s), please, please, pretty please?
Or…or…I’ll vanish this blog to another URL and not tell you!!!!! How’s that for a goonda-girl threat? Huh? Huh? Huh?
*Sighh* Tell me who you are mes cheries, I know you’re out there and listening to my craptalk (how else is my Stats section continuing to build?). So speak up, say something, leave a comment, mail me. I’ve spoken for you long enough, now it is your turn.