Friday, March 10, 2006

Staring -- Uhm! Bad Manners!

I am prompted to write this blog by Pritesh's thought provoking Women's Day blog.
Hope I am able to keep it in a lighter vein.

One of milder form of sexual harrassment is 'staring.' Well, I have felt harrassed when I got a glare from a teacher, or my father, or somebody like that. I have never experienced the 'sexual' part of it.

I wonder if I have ever subjected anybody to such a harrassment! Hm!

Let me see if I have stared at anybody at all. Well. I think I have. A beautiful girl. Or an attractive figure. Perhaps complimented with a revealing dress. Oh yes! I have looked hard. Have I ogled? I don't know!!

Well, it's exciting to watch an attractive girl. No! no strings attached. I would rather have her never know that anybody's watching. Let her go her way. Let me enjoy the good sight. I mean, when I am watching the moon and its beauty, I really don't want it to get conscious of it and stop going its way! :)

OK! What happens if the girls comes to know of it. I don't know. I don't take the risk of figuring out. There are two reason: One, I don't dare; two, I don't care. There are three possible reactions.

One, positive. Well. I really don't know how to handle that. I really don't know the mannerisms of stealing glances at somebody who's doing the same thing with you from across several tables in the cafeteria. Give her a smile? A wink? Act a bit smarter than you are? Gosh! I can't do all those silly things! It's complicated! And how do you know that it's positive? Suppose you misinterpret...then you are sexually harrassing someone without your knowledge!

Two, neutral. Good! No problems as long as it stays that way. I promise to stare only within decent I said...something like staring at the moon or stars. No strings attached!

Three, negative. Good God! I have never ogled. I have never got back that dirty look either. I don't know if I get back that look. Most probably if I get back that look, it will be by mistake. Hence, I will never realise that someone is trying to give a dirty look to me. I will perhaps think that she's ugly. And stop looking at her.

My type of staring is mostly of the 'no strings attached' type. It does have that sexual element in it. But I hope that's not the taboo here. My behaviour has engrained in it, the regard for the other person's reaction. I wonder if that makes me very timid or what. I don't know. I have first hand experience in girls interpreting a guy's decency and hesitation as 'shit-scaredness'; while the same characteristic in a girl is quite fine and natural. Somehow guys are supposed to be a bit mischievous, if not indecent. A perfectly decent guy is, by definition, not mischievous. Hence, quite uninteresting!

Many of my friends, who boast of a lot of success with females have consistently differed from me on this regard. They have been aggressive with females, risking insult in order to secure chances of something interesting happening. I am sure that they might have involuntarily subjected some females to mild harrassment, just in the name of taking their chances with flirting with them. But they don't care. Some girls have responded favourably. Interesting things have happened thereafter. It's these which have mattered to them. Those other cases of mild harrassment have got lost in forgetfulness.

One very important thing about their exploits is that, the whole things gives a feeling that whether some of your overtures are smart flirting or sexual harrassment almost magically decided by how the girl responds. The cleverness is in deciphering the reactions correctly after the first mild overtures. It looks that you stand nowhere in absence of those first overtures (by the way, I stand nowhere!). And you are a sexual abuser if you persist even after receiving negative vibes. A very thin line of smart sensibility exists between being a duffer like my kind, and being an abuser.

So, the thing is. As far as staring goes, I request my female friends not to term every act of clumsy staring as harrassment. Some of them are maiden attempts by a newbie to be that smart initiator. That too, because, one of his friends -- whom he thinks of as a casanova, but who might very well be a scoundrel -- has told him that guys are supposed to make the first move. A cold, unsympathetic look from you will be enough to discourage them from trying another mischief for the rest of their lives. Poor chaps! Have pity on them. Don't hate them all. Just give back that icecold look if you don't think that attempt by them suits them. :)

And in the rare chance, if you happen to like that idiot, for God's sake, do something by yourselves. Most of them will never know if and when they are being encouraged and are therefore expected to take the next step. No! Don't give back that seductive, alluring look of yours. It's not going to work. Mostly, it will strike them down dead like a thunderbolt. If you wait like a lady for him to act like the man, he will bungle up at every step, making a fool of himself, and making it embarrassing for you. Try out something else. Like just sitting on the same table in the tea board or mess and starting a very casual discussion on a very light topic -- like philosophy, spiritualism, or rocket science. Please stay away from heavy niche topics like weather, dresses, good hangout places, movies etc. :)

Well, I'm no expert in the art of talking through eyes. I was first introduced to it in our tenth standard Hindi textbook, in which there was a poem by Bharatendu Harishchandra. I have forgotten the name and the poem. I got diverted to easier, more mundane areas of studies in my future course. I haven't studied that subject further. It's a good thing that I could at least manage to scrap out a crappy blog on it so many years later, out of sheer lack of experience! ;)

I will say no more!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Sujit,

Really had a great time surfing through your blogs. I have a psychological
apathy to blogs of any kind and coined an expansion of them ones as
"basically loads of garbage stuffed". Reading yours, I felt maybe "BLOGS"
should expand to "Basically Loads Of Great Stuff" in your special case.
At any rate, the truth is your musings filled up quite a good chunk of my
solitary weekend eve, and to appreciate how important that company was,
you need to be in the midst of Scottish snow surrounded by alien people
miserly in any exchange more than a Hi or a Hello.

There's an argumentative insightful aspect to some of your writing that
quite candidly is publishable at the highest level, and inspire
professional debate, and you should never lose sight of qualified writing
as a profession parallel to that which exploits your technical meritocracy
-- that way, you will have handed down your intellectual treasure to
generations to come, in addition to finding good vent to your creative
instincts, which I personally feel cannot be attained by all and sundry on
labour alone -- it's a gift endowed to the rarest of beautiful minds that
can render full justice to the gift. Never let the fire die down.

And there's yet another aspect of your writing that finds an easy
meandering avenue to the heart and immediately leaves an irresistible
impression. This second aspect, to be fully appreciated, needs your
audience to be acquainted with you, more than just peripherally, as a
person. In other words, this typifies a Sujit that seeks an immediate,
spontaneous, restless and un-rehearsed expression of his so-very-unique
identity. Or so I feel.

Knowing you over years, I found equal pleasure and delight in both these
art-forms, and look forward as always to both your "thought-provoking" and
"self-expressive" pieces. Bon Voyage.

Love as always,