The year is 2003. Final year of graduation. Exams were a good one month away. There was a lot of time to study. There always is until the day before the exam. Me and my roommate decide to go for a walk. It is a cool Bangalore evening.
We cross the college gate discussing the fight that had happened a few days ago that lead to the suspension of 4 of our friends. A girl was trying to kick-start her scooter in front of the college. We ignored and continued her walk. A few minutes later I turned around and saw that she was pushing her scooter along the road. She looked pissed and tired.
“I know her”
My friend was silent. He rarely got excited at such things.
“She is my junior - second year.”
No response from him yet.
“Should we help her?”
“Don’t you have better work?” He hissed.
I ignored him and stopped on the side of the road. He took two more steps and stopped rolling his eyes at me.
As she came up the road, I asked her, “Hey! Do you need any help?”
She looked at me as if I had asked her to sleep with me.
She looked at my friend, and then back at me.
It was more like a scream than an answer.
She pushed her scooter ahead. Faster. After a few steps she looked over her shoulder to make sure that we were not following her.
I shrugged. My friend smiled silently – his eyes said – “I told you so!”
This is not a rare event. A lot of my friends have faced similar situations. Most of the time, their response to this is – “I just wanted to help. Who does she think she is?”
What is it that makes them think that every guy out there is interested in her?
Not every guy out there is going to drag you by the hair to the bush nearby. Most of the time, we just want to help. We would do the same for guys too. More than once, when I was pushing my punctured bike, a stranger walking along the road has lent a helping hand.
I see two possible explanations for women reacting like this.
One, you were brought up to believe that all the men out there are psychotic killers or mere perverts. I agree that a woman can never be too careful in a country like India. Hell, they cannot even afford be too careful in developed countries. But learn to judge people. It really is not that tough.
Two, you are so self-centered that you think that every man out there wants a piece of you. To such women all I have to say is – Get a bloody mirror!
Either way, by reacting in a really aggressive way to such simple offers of help from men, you are only taunting them. A man feels offended in front of his friends when you turn us down so rudely. A simple but firm – “No thank you!” or “I’m fine!” and we would not only leave you alone, but actually feel good about it too.
This does not mean in anyway that we are helping you to get your phone number. Most of us have sisters – elder or younger. When we offer a girl honest help, we merely pray that if god-forbid, someday our sisters are in such trouble, somebody will be gentleman enough to help them. But after a few such events, men realize that it is waste to offer help. We ignore and are then labeled as heartless monsters. Either way, we end up on the losing side.
Give us a little more credit than you usually do. We are all not that bad.
Note: I travel a lot. Women ALWAYS let you help them with their baggage while getting off the train. Always. Even if you do not exchange a simple “Hi” with each other during the entire journey, they give all sorts of hints when they are about to get off. They huff and puff by lugging their suitcase around the cabin. Then they smile. Then they look expectantly at you, until you say, “Let me help you with it.” They make sure that you cannot ignore them when they need help. So cunning!!!