Monthly Archives: February 2008
They wonder why I have such a poor opinion of men
And then they go and prove me right.
Thanks, Neanderthal man, feel free to call me the Abusive Woman. You may never have abused a woman in your life but with this post you’ve given the opposite sex a good chance to call you and your kind,
Like every good Mumbaiker, I spend about an hour and half commuting to work each morning. Then I perch on my chair, waiting for my colleague to come in, about 10 minutes later. She switches on her computer, rearranges her desk and gives me a little nod in the direction of the door. And we get up in unison and leave.
I’ve heard about this from several amused (and puzzled) men. We call it ‘Communal Looing’. The question is
Why do women go to the loo in groups?
I suspect the real question is,
What on earth do they do in there???!!!
It is a good question. I’ll keep turning it over through my thoughts and blogs. If I ever figure out the answer I’ll keep mum and uphold the great secret of time. (Muhahaha…)
So what do we do when we ‘go’ in groups? Well….we talk. We giggle. We compare notes on men (boss, colleague, client, boyfriend, husband, friend). The sneaky suspicion men have that women are having a good laugh at their expense in the loo, is correct. The washroom is a great place for female bonding. After all, that really is the only place the men can’t intrude into our lives. (Down with the unisex!!)
Frantic damage control can be administered and strategies discussed.
I got an oil stain on my dress!!!
Here….use some talcum powder on it! It’s great for matting away all kinds of oils – facial or vegetable!
And there’s the…
What if he calls here and wants to talk?
Say “Oops, I hear my boss calling!” and hang up!
How about this…?
I tried some crunches yesterday & got a cramp. I hate these damn tyres!
Hee hee…bet he loves those love-handles though!
Yes well, and we play the fool sometimes too. One time we went out for a drink, the women went to the washroom together (of course!). There we discussed who was drinking what, who was sloshed, who could be lulled into saying something interesting in the present state of drunkeness. We giggled over some of the things the men were saying. Then we looked at the mirror together and appraised ourselves. One of them said
Security guard is a bloody letcher…did you notice?
I put in,
Bully for him, there’s a bevy of beauties passing by after all.
Rightttttt… she retorted,
We look more like Charlie’s angels!!
A minute later a sturdy matron in a grey salwar-kameez walked in on the three ‘beauties’ posing like Charlie’s angels and trying to photograph the mirror (without the camera showing).
Back to my workplace though, this communal looing is really obvious at work. All the guys smoke and there’s tremendous bonding happening over a shared cigarette. Strangers walk by and ask my male colleagues if they could share a light and then chat like they’ve been friends for years. Some of the women smoke but somehow they aren’t included in this camaraderie. However I’ve managed to get to know most women in the office, across floors and departments simply because we share the bathroom mirror in the mornings.
Great friendships are born from that small-but-useful tip over how to get rid of pimples. Intellectual conversations start from a discussion on the best way to hide a hickey (horrors!…giggle giggle). An unexpected ally may be made from that emergency safety-pin passed over the cubicle wall.
Female-bonding is a good way to start and end the day.
This might seem to overlap with this chapter but it doesn’t really. That was about the place they live in, this is the colour that runs in their blood (it’s neither red nor blue!)
Gujjubhai : Now I’m going to run against the tide in this city when I rate this man top of my list of good prospective partners. Indeed it was a Gujju who made it clear when he explained,
For a Gujju man, you are an investment. He invests his time, his money and his emotions in you. He doesn’t make stupid desicions in these matters and he will never let an investment go waste. This man knows what he wants and he will get it.
That last line clinched it. How many other men, degrees, dollars et al can say the same thing? Never mind the implied cold-heartedness, I’m all for unshakeable loyalty over fleeting romance any day. Hand me a thepla….
MalluMan : For some weird reason, all the funny men I keep running into, turn out to have a lineage tracing back to ‘Gaad’s worrrn country’. I’m just being a friendly neighbor but I like these men who can laugh at themselves. And yeah, that curly mop hides a quick ticking brain.
Tamizhan: Okay, you already know my opinion on this breed. Familiarity breeds contempt, perhaps? I usually seem to like the stiffy, stodgy, pedigreed types. And that certainly describes our Tamizhan to the T! Of note, if he doesn’t swear by thair-sadam, he isn’t authentically Tam. Even if he is a software engineer in the U.S. with a pedigree and a state rank thrown in for good measure.
Punjab da puttar: Hehehe, you would think I would lurrrrve the male equivalent of this species. Not, however. I guess I prefer to be the star of any show. On the other hand, these guys make for great, huggy-teddy-bear type buddies for girls like me. For the rest of you with tastes different from mine, look for Prince Charming, complete with slick dressing, drenched in perfume (yes, not cologne unless he’s a Dilliwalla) and flowery language. Are you willing to be pretty Cinderella, though?
Bengali babu: Now I really hate this man. He’s the one with lofty ideals, who can throw patriotic fervour with even more panache than romantic poetry. There’s something quite sweet-as-roshogolla about him. And then again, as my heart breaks over the nice temperamental Bong dude who looks like he’s perfectly content being bossed over by women, I’m reminded of another Bong who smirked,
We just let everyone believe that. Who wants to run the world? The women can do it.
Huh. That takes the joy out of the fight for equality. And there’s something quite vile about a man who does know how to use his words. Stand warned, fellow romantics!
Marathi mulga: This one is astonishingly similar to the Tamizhan, minus the curd rice. Unlike the Bong though, he isn’t impressed simply by the fact that you can speak his mother tongue. Hardly impressed by your smart talking. Not visibly anyway. Not exactly a male chauvinist and yet…there is something faintly old-grandpa-like. Yes, even the cool Savarkars.
Quite stable though, if that’s what you’re looking for. Forget the flash though.
I’m obviously missing quite a few states here. Let’s just say the list above comprises the people I seem to keep running into? Ah, and what of a certain other state that’s big in the news and I undeniably have some experience with? Ah, well, enough written about them, lets just let the babus lie, shall we? 😉
The Kala Ghoda Art Festival this year takes me back to my campus days of festival-hopping. Make the trip for one event, bump into a whole lot of people who on reflection you know just will be there, catch another event completely on impulse and in general have a phlethora of varied experiences that don’t make immediate sense except for the fact that you know you’ll feel their impact for a long time to come.
I attended a..how do you call it…book launch? Not actually since there was more than one book and I think they’ve all been launched. Okay a tete-a-tete with the authors then in the cosy (windy and dewy and brrrrrr..chilly-for-Mumbaikers David Sasson Library). One of the books being talked about was Almost Single by Advaita Kala. I bought it because:
- A friend had gushed over it to me the previous weekend, emphasizing that I would lurrrve the section on getting back at ex-boyfriends. Which makes me hmmm and then hmph. What’s worse than being defined by men? Being defined by ex-boyfriends!!
- I’ve always wanted to own a book autographed by the author
- The title made me wonder if it was about a character (or more) like me whose ‘real’ relationships with men are after breaking up, liberally masala-ed by sarcasm, evil barbs, other people, rebounds, mixed doubles (and triples..oh let’s not go there!) and in general messy links.
- I just liked the author, her replies to the questions and the things she said about the book.
When I took the book up to her to have it signed, I told her what my friend had said about the chapter on revenge on the ex-. She actually giggled and said
Oh god, sometimes I think how juvenile that was!
And I assured her it wasn’t and came away gratified that I had invested in the words of someone who was quite obviously normal and not the I’m-always-cool-I’m-always-in-control-I’m-da-lady type I’ve been coming up against all too often.
Started the book this evening and it is very promising. I’m tickled and heartened by such lines as
Not too many women in India are over twenty-nine and single, with jobs, not careers which means the ‘she’s-really-career-focussed’ stuff doesn’t stick either.
This is what I love about girlfriends. Unlike with guys, when you have to enact a whole screenplay before you broach a topic, with girls you can just read others’ minds.
Ach, I’m also forced to concede that it’s been a long time since a guy has been a friend; it’s been only girlfriends and girlfriends as far as my recent mind’s eye can see. Where was I when they were handing out little envelopes to kids telling them that yes good, that was your biology chapter and here’s where you learn that these differences will influence even your so-called platonic relationships like friendship?! Gah, maybe I’m just so sexy that men can’t help going for me even if I’m their old buddy. At least my ego-armour still works.
Speaking of which I’m almost gladder to be called ‘sexy’ than ‘cute’ or ‘pretty’. Sexy is honest, sexy is direct, sexy says “I just wanna sleep with you” which I believe is what the other complimentary adjectives say as well, when a man is saying them to a woman, only they’re a lot more subtle (I call it underhanded!).
I’m also whining (while at it, may as well get in some more. Bigby did say “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.”) after reading Bitchfest which I picked up last week, breaking my no-books-till-I-finish-the-ones-I-own resolution and causing my mother to arch an eyebrow and inquire,
Aren’t you feminist enough? Without reading books to influence your thinking as well? I just think you are too extreme.
I was in an uncharacteristically good mood (Feminist books seem to do that to me) and I replied,
It is good to go into the depth of something and examine it from all angles to keep your mind open and keep from being bigoted.
Ever heard of ‘apne hi pair pe kulhadi marna‘? The self-help guides tell you not to read beauty magazines since they make you feel inadequate. Someone should have told me the same about powerful books. Now I’m afraid I’m not feminist enough. I have too much angst and not enough anger. I still manage to like men (shuffling feet). Male-bashing tirades aside, I actually do *shudder shudder* smile at men. I’ve been known to *gasp* even talk to them like they’re real human beings. And okay, okay, under duress, I confess, I’ve even done the occasional simpering. Beat me.
Younger men. Now why are there suddenly so many of them? Silly question – because the older ones are either married or I’ve already dated them. Not terribly younger mind you, not enough for the difference to show, well not to anyone but moi I suppose. It’s like wearing a different kind of lingerie than your usual type. Or perhaps to cut down the raunch quotient, it’s like using a different brand of shampoo. Mostly no one even notices and if you even tell anyone, they’re wondering “What’s the big..hey?” But you know…because it feels different, looks different and well…just is different. Oh bother, I’m too old for change. And the more I say that, the more dramatic and volatile life gets.