Saturday, February 9, 2008

Grrr... II

Another thing that completely Pisses. Me. Off. is this attitude that I get from most male shopkeepers in and about town. It is this attitude of me being the helpless damsel-in-distress who simply cannot do without their over-helpfulness (read : unsolicited interference). I mean, when I ask for a new copy of Huxley’s Brave New World, I’m asking for a new copy of Huxley’s Brave New World. I’m NOT asking for a ‘guide-book’. I’m NOT asking for Ramji Lall’s weird interpretations. I’m NOT asking for ‘helpful’ notes. Finally, I’m NOT asking the man behind the counter what he thinks is the best and cheapest copy. I understand that he’s trying to be helpful. I understand that this is what most girls (in CU, at least) choose to buy.

But why don’t these same shopkeepers show off this same helpfulness when the boys buy their stuff? That is because they are “men”, and why would “men” need help at all? They obviously know what they need, don’t they? And one must get them what they want. But women... oh, they don’t know what they want. When they want to buy a book, they obviously need a guide book, or a Ramji Lall at least, else how else will they write their exam? And HOW will they pass? No, no, we must help them out. We are their knights in shining armour.

PS—The best thing is to play the damsel in distress, however annoying it may be to some of us. ‘Tis the easiest way to get maximum help out of random strangers. To ask them in the guise of an intelligent, educated woman is to get gruff, minimal replies which are usually of little use. Play damsel in extreme distress, and people may actually go all of the way if you simply ask them on which street your destination is. The more the “distress”, the better it is. Of course, your brain goes “Grrr...” all the way.


When I say “Grrr..” I mean it. The other day, I had gone shopping for stuff in the New Market Area, so Ma called up and asked me to pick up some lingerie for her. OK, said I, I will. And so, the obedient daughter trooped in to one of the only shops in New Market which sells her brand of lingerie, and asked for the stuff. My mum being quite a few kilos heavier than I am, obviously wears a size larger than I do. And when I walk in to a shop and ask for a size which is oh-so-obviously not MINE, I do not expect the leery old man standing at the counter to actually look me up and down, and tell me, in the silkiest of tones, that he does not think that it would fit me.

I was speechless. In fact, I think I stood for some time without saying anything, while the man simply stood and smiled. Yes, smiled. And in a distinctly lecherous manner that left me feeling disgusted. What audacity!! What bloody nerve! After recovering my senses and my power of speech, I icily asked for the stuff again (pretending to ignore the looks, smiles and titters of the rest of the sales-men in the shop) and, having finally got it, left.

This is easily the most disgusting thing that happens to us women. Yes, we do get felt up in all modes of public transport (to be felt up in an auto is the worst of all). But to just stand there, and know for a fact that the middle-aged (or old) man is undressing you in his mind... never mind the fact that you may be dressed “modestly” in your regulation jeans-and-kurta... this absolutely takes the cake.

Required : Female staff at ALL shops selling items for women.