The rubbish we women are forced to hear from near/dear as also the not so dear/near ones is unbelievable. A few months into my marriage while staying over at my place, the L & M and I were having a post lunch nap when some guests, relatives to be precise, arrived. Yup, where I stay people utilize this worst-of-possible-times to call on unsuspecting people.
My mother knocked on our door to wake us up. When I walked into the sitting room after freshening up, the gentleman welcomed me in his characteristic booming voice with the observation that women, unlike men, should not be sleeping in the afternoons. (This is the same person who would in the future mock me for taking to photography in my middle-age while reiterating that if it had been my husband doing so, and walking around with a camera it wouldn’t in the least have been as ridiculous). Everyone gathered laughed, in agreement, while I seethed inwardly.
What I find extremely amazing about certain people is the authority with which they talk nonsense. It is almost like they are telling you, I was there you know, in fact I was the one who took the dictation from the Omniscient Creator while he was laying down the Rules for Afternoon Naps at the beginning of time.
This must be how it went.
Okay, write this down, Shri So and So. Regarding afternoon naps, let me see hmmm… My rule is like this. Men can sleep off their lunch, snore too, while at it. But women, no! Nyet! They shall stay awake even if dead tired and swat flies.
What if there are no flies Sir Creator, sir? The man must surely have asked this, wanting to impress the Creator.
The OC wants to say “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!” but remembers in time that those words are reserved for Marie Antoinette to say in late 1700s. Besides, it has no relevance to afternoon naps. So instead he says with deceptive mildness,
Shri So and So, Are you the stenographer here or aspiring to be adviser to Me, the Omniscient Creator?
Swallowing the Omniscient Snub, Shri So and So starts typing while the OC continues:
They can pretend there are flies and practice swatting, or whatever, but one thing is for certain, write it in bold font, and underline for good measure, highlight it too. They, the women that is, will NOT nap in the afternoons at ANY cost. Have you got that down?
No Sir, Creator sir.
Good, good, good.
And that’s how he happened to be handing out such gems to me that afternoon. Or at least that’s how I imagine it.
At the time I was too naive and also too well-mannered (read a dumb *people-pleaser* product of conditioning in my growing up years) to respond with anything other than a smile. But, I resented the remark greatly and wanted to question him on what he based his
stupid assertion. I wanted to wipe that smirk off his face and make him eat his words. What the heck is wrong if women sleep in the afternoons? People rest when they are tired. How the hell does gender matter? But it was not to be. sigh.
Years have passed, but it still smarts, these foolish lies perpetuated as golden truths by supposedly well-meaning elders from their Made-up Rule Book. Later on I did come across a study that claimed that it is women who need more sleep than men. And I snorted in annoyance, remembering.
©Shail Mohan 2015