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We have all heard of one very genuine problem women face, of men talking to their breasts and not to their face. There is another one women face. We become totally invisible at certain times, especially when we are with a man. The man could be your father, brother, husband, friend, it doesn’t really matter. As long as there is one of them standing next to you, it is as if we women have donned Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak. By the way, I am referring to Indian men (I don’t know enough about others from other places) and especially their sub species, the Mallu men.

I admit I am five feet nothing, but it is not as if I can be totally eclipsed by the six feet tall man by my side. But still, there you have it. When he is around, it is as if I become totally invisible to some people as I found out the other day YET AGAIN much to my chagrin.

The vet was in to take a look at Luci who has a skin condition. He fired away questions regarding her diet, the shampoo we are using now, what meds she is on, and so on. Though I was the one answering the questions (since I am the one who takes care of these things in my home), he steadfastly refused to look my way. In case you are wondering, he is not the shy kind. And yet, he insisted on directing the counter questions to the L&M. It was funny if not downright pathetic.

First I thought it amusing (not really!), then it annoyed the hell out of me and by the fifth question, I was royally pissed. Wtf! Just as I was idly contemplating on picking up a handy flowerpot and bunging it on his head (not the best of ideas since I cannot lift the flowerpots and even if I could why waste perfectly good flowerpots?) the L&M had to go inside to attend a phone call. The man then condescended to direct his next observation to me. Luci’s skin is much better, he declared. To me, wonder of wonders. Ahh, so he could see me!

This is not just about one man and his actions. This is standard fare I have had to endure in a long lifetime. I have already written elsewhere about how service personnel insist on directing all the ‘technical stuff’ to the Man Of the House because how can the poor wimmenz understand how a washing machine or dishwasher or cell phone or the computer works? Never mind that it is the same lowly wimmenz using them, and the menz with them are either not interested or are absolutely clueless.

Go to a bank or shop or some place or other, if there is a man next to you, you are overlooked. Every question and answer is directed at the man. Even at the doctor’s, unbelievable as it may seem. Everywhere that is, except when you are buying a brassiere. Then, you mysteriously become visible and the discreet questions are directed solely to you. Small mercies. In other instances, if you insist on butting in with a query in a slightly louder voice, some look at you with surprise, others reluctantly answer. The funny part is, if you go by yourself, these same people attend to you as they should. It is as if without the shadow of a man falling on you they can see you wholly and clearly.

Is this a rant? Perhaps. Come to think of it though, so far I have not really blown my top over this, NOT YET anyway. I wonder who the lucky person is who is going to have a thunderbolt fall on him out of nowhere. I pity him, I really do.

© Shail Mohan 2020