Monday, September 15, 2008

Girl Power

Reading this article on college girls wolf-whistling at construction workers had me thinking about my college days. Back in the day, girls represented less than ten percent of the class in my engineering school so we had very little strength in numbers. With that kind of skewed ratio, we inevitably received a lot of undesired male attention.

It took us some growing used to the crude commentary on our anatomies and the constant bust level staring of the self-styled Lotharios who lorded over the campus. A lot of these guys had come from the remote backwaters of India and were around women in an urban setting for the first time. To them, seeing girls in form fitting tee-shirts and jeans was like being in a strip club for the very first time and they behaved accordingly.


Yet every once in a while, us girls had our comeuppance. We would be on our way back from college to the ladies hostel and there would be this one guy walking down the street. The agent provocateur in our group, I will call her A, had this rather suggestive way of calling out single digit numbers when the victim was within earshot that had the singular effect of turning him red in the face specially when her sidekick, K would do this oh-so-subtle once over and provide her assessment in the form of another single digit number sometimes even a second smaller one.

Everyone knew what was going on, but there was nothing substantially offensive. The rest of us who lacked the nerve to do what A and K did, thought their method was super-slick. It got the job done without resorting to the depths of vulgarity that the guys descended to. As is often the case, these random victims of A and K were almost never the ones who had offended any of us. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and they represented their sex.

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