One time when my parents came over to visit me in Bangalore, I took a day off and dragged them to the National Park (where I take all our guests, so that they don’t complain I didn’t show them around, and because its 4 kms from my house. Some people dig their heels in firmly and hold on to passing furniture to hint that they’re not interested to go, but my persuasive powers win over in the end. The only exceptions are people who are pregnant, have been to national parks all over the world, or have incontinence problems.)
Anyway, to get back to what I was saying. Since I was on holiday and in a festive mood, I dressed up more than I do usually, and looked quite a sight standing in the dusty line alongside harried parents and their offspring with severe phlegm issues.
So, as I was saying…I was all dressed up with hoop earrings and what not, and my father suddenly observed to me in an undertone “Those women are looking at you more than the men are!” And he sounded surprised. Honestly, after 60 years on this earth it came as a surprise to him that women check out women FAR more than men do. (That is, unless you look like a double-humped camel.)
Earlier the quick up and down sweep ( hair..top…shoes..away.) from women used to unnerve me, and I would rush to the nearest mirror to check if I had phlegm issues of my own. Because the unpleasant thing about ‘the look’ is…it rarely looks appreciative. Though I totally disagree with those women who say “a woman is a woman’s worst enemy” (and proceed to live according to that maxim.), it IS true that when another woman throws you that look of intense scrutiny, her face seems to say “I came, I saw, and I found it distasteful.”
But now that I’ve been a woman for a longish time, I started taking it as a compliment. Women reserve the hair…top…shoes look-over for when they think you’re wearing something interesting. (I hope.) Sometimes they linger over the shoes with a contemplative…'hmmm, I wonder if they have that in black...' stare.
When you’re cringing underneath a dozen ‘looks’ in your best outfit at a swanky restaurant, always remember that these same women wouldn’t have bothered if you were in a tracksuit and doing your shopping with your hair standing up in all directions.
Remember that, and take heart. And throw back a sweeping glance of great dislike in their direction. After all, they dressed up just for you and the other women in the room. (And those poor saps with them don’t even realize it.)