Story of a lost journalist

October 12, 2008

Why dont girls do things alone?

Filed under: My Musing Moments — Cris @ 19:47
Tags: ,

Another day planned for museum-book-reading and watching on-the-street-folk-songs, not quite successful. Museum turned out to be too hot and full of mosquitoes and folk song singers sang their last line for the day when I reached them. Hmph. Atleast I had my music player on and a long promising walk. During my walk I noticed something. Not many girls did stuff by themselves. What was it with girls and doing things alone? Alright you didn’t have to walk alone for miles, but be it anything – including taking a trip to see a colleague 2 cubicles away – they need company!

Movies, or restaurants or anywhere – girls didn’t want to go alone. Even shopping, that which they are reputed to be in love with – well there I might have to correct my words. Cause once left inside a shop, I don’t think many women actually bother not having a companion to turn to when clothes or cosmetics fell in numbers. No I am not generalizing here. I am one of these shopping women. But thing is, I don’t understand the whole in-group-we-do, alone-we-don’t pattern.

Lets keep the security factor aside. Lets consider a hypothetical world where it was safe for anyone to go out. Would then things change? Was it only the fear factor that made them look for company? I frankly don’t think so. Cause like I say, inside an office, inside buildings where you knew everyone and everything why would you need someone to cross a room or climb a staircase with? You cant say you will be too bored by yourself! Cause you weren’t there for a leisure trip! You were there for business!

And this pattern was more common among younger women. If you look at middle aged women, they didn’t mind going out to buy vegetables or whatever they wanted going out for, alone. Of course some venues are exceptions like Cinemas. Again I don’t think it’s only the safety concern that kept women from going alone. When I was in Infosys Mysore, the campus was without doubt the safest place to be in and girls and boys sat on pavements at 3 in the night, without fear. But if you looked at the canteens, the food courts like they are called, not 1 woman would be by herself. Even I, when I went to eat alone, found myself entirely conscious, checking if anyone should notice anything wrong. Why should anything be wrong just because I dined alone? Men, on the other hand sat by themselves in many tables, happily enjoying their food. I followed that from next time around.

I am thinking it’s the whole getting conscious-stuff. Women were for someone reason more conscious about how they carried themselves than men, including being by themselves. I am not sure if there is a psychological reason here but that is somehow the way it works. And if you ask me, I think it is sick! I really think its high time everyone was able to walk or go wherever they wanted to, as long as they felt it was safe – what I mean is other than the factors they didn’t have any control on (like safety) they should keep aside all silly mind prejudices and deal with things straight.

As a side story, on my way back today, a man who was driving a car slowed down and said “excuse me 1 minute?” I looked quizzically and he came out of the car, and asked pleasantly “We don’t know each other but do you mind if we get to know each other?”

I was taken aback but I managed to smile and say “Yes I do. Sorry” and turned to walk. He smiled apologetically, said “ok” and went to his car.

I considered the whole episode with nonchalance. So someone thought he wanted to talk to me and I was not in the habit of making acquaintances out of street strangers so gave it a pass. But when my I told my Mom about this, she was all upset. She thought it quite bad and dangerous. I am not sure if it was the way the two of us looked at things, or that like always she was right and I a dumb fool but I somehow still don’t get it. What was the harm in that as long as I knew what to do and what not to? And why should that man, just because he talked to me be cast off as a villain – I don’t put it off that he might not have had the best intentions, but how can we judge anyone so fast? I guess that’s cause of the numerous abuses on women happening in every nook and corner of Kerala – no one was to be trusted anymore. Hmm! And I keep saying, lets forget the safety factor temporarily – no that was not to be forgotten. Not now, not ever.

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17 Comments »

  1. I think there is no clear cut explantion for this not withstanding the safety factor..
    coz men actually sometimes like to do things alone..or maybe we dont care much…
    For eg..if i have a lot of work to do..like clearing bills..buying stuff..i might prefer to do it alone and quick..maybe thats more efficient..and to bother a friend for little chores is “unmanly” sort off….But woman actually like to work as a team..like all woman in a colony will go together to get things done ..it has its pros and cons..But yes for petty errands I think there must be something to do with individual wiring..

    I havent noticed this trend until i read this post….but yes…

    Comment by mathew — October 13, 2008 @ 00:22 | Reply

  2. The safety is coming over, we are in just transitition phase. I know places where women can walk around safely without expecting unwanted solicitation. I liked you mentioning abt Infy mysore.. it just a little model of world as a perfect place 🙂

    Comment by Mr.Misunderstood — October 13, 2008 @ 00:49 | Reply

  3. Wally,

    Like I already told you, your last few paragraphs answer your question. A guy actually stopped his car in day-time traffic and tried to start up an unsolicited conversation with you. No wonder women don’t venture out alone all that much.

    Comment by Nish — October 13, 2008 @ 18:48 | Reply

  4. @mathew, exactly its those little chores I am talking about. Not stuff calling team-work. Everything from going to take a coffe from a coffee machine, why would it all need group work. And if you ask me, I dont think its love for fellow beings, its just a matter of someone to tag along so you wont be seen alone!

    @Mr Misunderstood, I am afraid there is a long way to go as far as the safety factor is concerned. But yes, Infy Mysore was nice.

    @Nish, hmm I didnt think much of it when it happened. But maybe you are right, women in Trivandrum simply have a tough time doing things alone! But my point here was not about risking late nights and spooky places alone, I meant the dependance on another for every trivial matter and its not always about safety – which makes it pathetic.

    Comment by Cris — October 14, 2008 @ 02:01 | Reply

  5. Hmm this wouldnt be a problem in places where more women took to doing things alone. Like outside India, where a woman walking or sitting alone sipping coffee was not an unusual scenario.

    Comment by Girl — October 14, 2008 @ 02:26 | Reply

  6. Commented yesterday. Somehow did not work!
    Pick a copy of Mukul Kesavan’s book on the Ugly Indian Male. It may answer some of your questions. Me haven’t read, have read excerpts.


    What? That guy stopped his guy to make fraanshipps with you? Sounds like orkut in real life!

    -Nikhil

    Comment by Nikhil Narayanan — October 14, 2008 @ 10:20 | Reply

  7. Hmmm.. Mebbe in the case of movies/shopping.. it mite be to avoid boredom?

    Comment by Rosh — October 14, 2008 @ 11:17 | Reply

  8. I think the situation is changing.. I now see more girls sipping coffee and reading books alone in coffee shops. And come to museum /shanghumugham in early morning.. Girls jog around alone..(If alone means they didnt bring anyone with them 🙂 and people already there doing same thing doesnt count as ‘company’ ).

    Comment by Srijith — October 14, 2008 @ 11:33 | Reply

  9. People hitting on girls going alone is not a rare thing anywhere! But everywhere else , more girls go out alone and so the chances of hitting are low! You being the only one who was alone in that particular area, the poor hitter had no choice! 😀

    If more girls goes out alone like you, the hit rate will come down as the number of hitters are always same 😉 .

    Comment by Srijith — October 14, 2008 @ 11:36 | Reply

  10. @Girl, yeap same thing my brother says – if you want to go out alone get out of India. And Mom says if you want to make a change, get more people to do this, no point in being the only one out there.

    @Nikhil, something was wrong with my comments section yesterday. Think it is working now. Guy stopped car to talk with me – err how does orkut come here?

    @Rosh, could be, but I dont think it is just that. Cause if there is a movie you really want to see and noone else does, you probably wont go cause there is no one to go with you – maybe there, it is more the safety concern. I felt happy yesterday when a girl told me she went all by herself for a 6 pm movie in Trivandrum. At-a-girl.

    @Srijith, yes bro, more girls have got to come out. Tell everyone you know would you? To stop asking others to tag along and just start doing things alone – at least the small stuff like paying your bills like Mathew said.

    Comment by Cris — October 14, 2008 @ 15:56 | Reply

  11. Oh! Sounded like the I wanna make fraanship with you scraps!

    Comment by Nikhil Narayanan — October 14, 2008 @ 16:09 | Reply

  12. so very true…it all drains down to being self conscious or not…and in that respect i must tell you that men can behave likewise too…but men usually tend to fidget around and fiddle with whatever they have with them,mobile phones for instant,to take it down and act cool..

    Comment by alan alexander — October 14, 2008 @ 19:48 | Reply

  13. Is that really so, Cris? Do girls look for company even when moving around in office?
    I remember changing my lunch/tea breaks to avoid going with my boss, who used to criticize everyhting others eat. I wanted to eat peacefully, alone 🙂
    I think it depends on each person – to do things alone or not.

    Comment by Bindhu — October 14, 2008 @ 20:58 | Reply

  14. @Nikhil, Ohhh I got it now. Hehe yeah it did, only the scrapping part was happening right here in the streets of Trivandrum.

    @alan, thanks for dropping by :-). Really? Thats news to me that men are more or less the same way. I thought they always escaped such feelings as being self conscious.

    @Bindhu, you are an exception and I admire you for that. Sadly the same is not true for all women. You must have noticed very few others following your example of eating alone?

    Comment by Cris — October 16, 2008 @ 02:45 | Reply

  15. I was never used to doing things alone but in b’lore after most of the friends moved out, I am managing alone although I am not sure whether I’m enjoying that.I prefer the company of someone while shopping or eating or doing something. It’s definitely not fear factor but a kind of reassurance or company sake. While shopping I would like someone coz I’m either too indecisive or tend to fall in a pattern. So a second opinion is always welcome.
    And for restaurants also I prefer company of my friends coz I can utilize that time for chit-chatting 🙂 But that doesn’t mean I never go alone. I do my grocery shopping alone or sometimes even eat out alone if there is a need.
    And I have faced similar situations where absolute strangers in cars or bikes offered me lift. I thought it is a specialty in b’lore. Didn’t know even places in kerala are catching up !! I would say you can never be sure what their intentions is. I agree that you shouldn’t be judging them just like that. But how many of them would offer lifts to guys walking alone? Atleast I don’t know any instances where any guy is offered a lift, but know many where girls were offered. Once a friend of mine was dragged to the car when she refused the lift first time. Luckily she was saved by some passers by. So your mom’s concerns are valid. As long as we are safe, we think we can handle things ourselves. But that may not be the case always and so it’s better to be careful.. What you think?

    Comment by Dhanya — October 17, 2008 @ 20:51 | Reply

  16. women are used to being protected from birth-remembr what the great lawmakwr manu had to say?
    generations of conditioning – – –

    Comment by kochuthresiamma p j — October 20, 2008 @ 02:21 | Reply

  17. @Dhanya, yes even I like company most of the times. But I think we shouldnt stop from doing something or delay it because we didnt have company. Or in matters like paying your bills, just do it yourself. Yes, Trivandrum is shockingly catching up! And it was not even a lift; it was a direct hitting at: “Can we get to know each other?”. Just like that in the middle of a street. After hearing so many reflections, yes I do think you are right. Its more than something to brush off as silly. Always better to be careful 🙂

    @kochuthresiamma, hmm I never was in agreement with Mr Manu. I never understood him either!

    Comment by Cris — October 20, 2008 @ 15:12 | Reply


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