Picture this. It’s just another day at work and you’re minding your own business. Suddenly you feel the heat of a lecherous stare burn a (two?) hole on your bum. And you whip around and you catch the aforesaid stare detaching itself in a hurry and you watch it stumble away from you. It buzzes around like a bee caught in a jar, and settles on the nearest inanimate object (hoping that you'll turn around, so that it can pounce on you again). Meanwhile, the world moves on and so do you. But the stare...oh no, it doesn't move on. The stare stays.
Whether you accept it or not (you’d have to be in serious denial not to) men just have to stare at your ass or your breasts, for that matter. While pinching, grabbing and the ‘accidental’ brushing are privileges of strangers, men you know by name, place and wife, have to be content with “looking” or like they call it "checking it out". Like colleagues for instance. You know them. Like from the watercooler and the next cubicle and the guy who salaams you when you walk in (ever noticed how the salaam follows his eyes down once you've walked past? "Salaam Madam. Salaam Bottom.") No one can deliver that stare quite like a Mallu male colleague can. And after sometime, once you’ve gone through the motions of hurt, anger, betrayal and disgust, you finally settle for a weary sense of "whatever". ("But he's a good friend!! Whatever!", "But we're really good friends!! Whatever!!!", "But he's got a wife!!! Whatever!!!", "He's a eeffing Bastard!! Whatever!!)
I’m not sure how many women can resign themselves to “men are like that” mindset and pretend like everything’s just the way it should be. But it hurts me crazy to catch someone I know or joke with or talk to, fixedly gazing or even glancing a little south of my chin. Or to know that it isn’t beneath him to discuss my proportions with a co-asshole. Still worse is being third party to a man stripping a woman off her clothes and self-respect with his eyes. And if the man in question is married, he ought to live in a sewer and should be crawling on his no-good, wife’s-food-fattened belly. Imagine if your fancy pants CEO ogles at your boobs like a pimply adolescent? Where oh where in your heart can you find admiration and respect for that low-life? It’s like all that education and career-building went down south to the headquarters of ego, and left him a little empty in the heart-to-head corridor. No wonder the good lord created ED.
Along with the humiliation, that sense of being violated comes with a strong sense of being cheated. BETRAYAL!!!! Someone you respected, looked up to or perceived as a good human being, whose work you admired. When someone like that becomes just another lousy, lecherous bastard in your eyes. That letdown leaves you with a bitterness that gnaws right into your faith in humanity, in men, in respect. That acrid taste of disappointment, that comes from knowing that you’re going to be on display, an object, despite the hours, work, sacrifice and accolades you put in. (I don’t even want to start on how hard it is for a woman to be taken seriously as a professional especially in a testos-fascist-terone society like Kerala. And colleagues with eye-control issues is something we don’t need) That the man is son, brother, cousin, father to some woman; forcing you to accept that you’re the other gender to this loathsome creature, makes you want to barf. Do you guys even realise how far below on the ladder you leave your wives? Oh, but I forgot, you don’t give a damn.
Did you say dress code? Way overrated. Ass and boobs are just as pronounced in salwars and sarees, just as much as they are in jeans and trousers. Chiffon and silk give them pretty contours if anything! So all that “dress properly” jazz – does not work. So women who think that their ‘inappropriately attired’ colleagues had it coming, I’d request you to come down from your high horse. Then you’d see that the guys get a better view from below. and they're watching you,honey.
If you are a man and you can’t muster enough respect for a female colleague and you need to keep being lewd, you are an asshole. And right from the office boy to the boss’s boss, an asshole is an asshole is an asshole. If the shoe fits, I sincerely hope it f!@#ing pinches your goddamn feet to ribbons. Ass****.