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
Try admitting to being a school teacher when at a function attended by university lecturers, professors etc. One moment you will be happily engaged in conversation, the next the men will move off to see a colleague and the women will turn their backs on you – such lowly people school teachers are! I agree with you about the invisible cloak – then there is speaking about us in the diminutive in our presence: I once walked out on an investment advisor who kept referring to me as ‘the wifey’. Grrr. I reminded him that I had been introduced to him with a name 🙂
All of it, Anne. I can so relate. Sometimes when you weigh in with something, and they ‘hear’ you can see the dazed surprise on their faces. ‘Eh, she knows about this stuff?’ 🙄
What does L&M mean? Sorry about your experiences, I understand completely, tho.
L&M stands for Lord and Master, a nickname I coined for the husband when I started blogging 🙂
Ken Powell said:
I can believe this having seen similar reactions in Bangladesh! It is behaviour I really don’t understand…
Here in the US I’ve noticed that either my husband or I are ignored based on the ethnicity of the person talking to us (I’m brown, he’s white). Sometimes it’s nice to be the one who gets talked to. But the funny thing is when we visit India, I become invisible again.
Hugs Shail! It is so annoying! I’ve noticed that it’s mostly Indian men who stare at legs and breasts and don’t talk to us directly. It’s annoying AF.
I’ve learnt to claim my space these past few years and a few years ago, I did tell one Indian man that I was talking and I don’t like being interrupted or talked over. Of course, I am arrogant! eyeroll
Next time the vet does this – just tell him that since you take care of Luci’s diet, he should be talking to you and actually LOOK at you!
Seriously, Indian men need to learn to interact properly with women.
I hope you are not offended but I found this funny. Not that I haven’t had the same situation with any male companion, husband, friend, relative. However, I had one incident while living in France and married to a French citizen, where he asked me to intercede. I don’t recall the exact incident but it was dealing with a hotel clerk. I guess I had more backbone to stand up to the clerk and we got whatever it was we wanted.
Another incident I had while traveling alone in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For the most part I took public transportation. The one time I took a cab, the driver asked me where my husband was. I answered he was back at the hotel. He asked which hotel. I told him I didn’t remember the name. I got out shortly after that. It was probably tabu to be a woman alone. After that I noticed that women where always in twos.
I raised my two daughters to be independent. We still do have a male dominance problem in the USA. It is improving at the speed of slow molasses.
Not at all. I prefer to take a funny look at even the offensive stuff that happens to me. So I can understand how you found it funny 🙂
At the speed of slow molasses! I can so relate to that. Your experience Malaysia reminded me of how someone recently asked me if I knew to get back home by myself (since my husband couldn’t pick me up), a matter of a mere 2-3 kilometers, that in my own hometown !!