A Guy Thing – 2

I was in Bombay, a while ago. It simply relaxes me to be there and do nothing more than walk around with friends and go to places I used to as a child. They look so much smaller now. The corner shop at Matunga, where mom used to buy turmeric, camphor and baby-onions was quite an expanse then. The burly bearded man who ran the shop had shrivelled along with his shop, but everything was still as sweet as the raisins on his counter.
L, P and I decided to go to the net browsing centre in Santacruz. L was not interested but I had to check my mails. P had nothing specific to do and he liked to go against L’s preferences, so he just came along. We agreed to complete the browsing in 30 minutes. I did a quick check and found that there weren’t any important mails. L was sitting outside solving a crossword puzzle and I went out to sit with him.
“Let’s get P and get out of here”, he said.
“Let’s just sit for some time.”
I was busy looking around and admiring the girls who were pouring out of the colleges nearby. P was busy with his crossword and occasionally looked up at some passing girl while busy counting the letters on his fingers.
“Don’t mouth any words or they’ll mistake you for getting fresh with them.”
He smiled and shook his head before writing something down and stopping when he realised that it would overflow the grid.
“I think that would be “Juvenile” down and hence “Eton” across”
He looked at me through angry slits and was about to say something when I flashed him my best smile. He returned to his page.
I spotted a person dressed in black walking on the other side of the road. Without my specs, I wasn’t able to figure out the sex (well, there was nothing obvious) from this distance. The person was slim enough to be either.
“L, do it casually, but can you check out the black figure there and tell me whether it is a guy or a girl?”
He didn’t look up from his paper but asked me, “Can you see any calf?”
“Shoulder or upper upper arm?”
“A strip of brown around the waist?”
I squinted and strained hard before I said yes.
Without looking up from his paper, he patted me on my shoulder and said, “Congrats, its a girl!”
This was too crude for me to accept and my urban sensibilities kicked in.
“Come on L, that is so biased. It could have been a guy too!”
“Not possible on this road.”
“This is so… so… old fashioned. Not done. Come on, its so conservative!”
He carefully folded the paper and looked me in the eye.
“E, keep your metrosexual bullshit to yourself and see things as they are.”
I was shocked at that and was silent for a minute.
“You won’t find guys dressing up like that. It’s not their role in the mating game to do that. Girls will.”
“Come on. Girls could dress that way simply because they feel comfortable in that.”
“And guys never thought about it? Guys have no sense of comfort? Who are you kidding? You think I am some school kid?”
“But girls could just dress that way, because they want to.”
“Why, is the question you must always ask. Always.”
“Because they want to.”
“Gimme a break. Girls want to be noticed, not bothered, but definitely noticed. They care about the number of eyes that look at them. Makes them feel surer, more confident. You think they would dress in flashy stuff if they were all marooned on an island with only a dozen other women who were all straight?”
“I thought the island theory was mine!” I said sheepishly.
“Think beyond your blog title and apply it to nearly everything in the world to understand the intent behind things.”
“Are you telling me that they always dress for others, and to show themselves off?”
“Most of the times, yes. And other times, it might be pure inertia.”
“That is so silly.”
“You know what, let’s settle this once and for all. Ok? We have another 20 min. before P steps out and few more minutes before he fumbles around in his pocket trying to pay that man in there and join us. In the mean time, you spot one guy who shows off his calf, shoulder blade, skin belt, sternum and I’ll keep my mouth shut about such things. Mind you, I don’t want you coming back to me with a list of girls who didn’t reveal anything from the list. We aren’t talking about them. Ok?”
I had to prove him wrong. I signed up.
I looked up and down the road and inside passing cars. I found guys in obnoxious shirts and jeans. For the first time, I was consciously looking at men and I found it terribly boring. I spotted a south Indian man walking down the road with his “veshti” (dhoti) pulled up and wrapped around his thighs. This could pass.
L looked up at the man and looked at me askance.
“Next what will you pick? The mad man who has torn off all his clothes and is walking around with an apple in his hand?”
I was desparate to find a sample to prove L wrong. The truth is, I might have missed a guys with revealing shoulders while I was busy watching the crowd of girls who came out of the ice-cream parlor. Very cute…
P walked out after paying for the 30 min and stood facing us.
“L, what are you doing with the crossword puzzle?”
L looked at him long and hard before replying: “Trying to remember what my mother had asked me to buy from the grocery store. I think it is 33 across: “Scammers gone straight?” or it should be 39 down: “Egg Manufacturer”. Any clue?”
P scowled at him before turning to me.
“What are you doing?”
“He is looking out for skimpily clad men.”
“Damn it L, why can’t you give me a straight answer when I ask you something?”

2 thoughts on “A Guy Thing – 2

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