Dear Cocky Young Thing,
What you see in pornographic ‘blue’ films is not reality. The Earth is not a playground for young men to behave as they please. I know you have learned a lot of lessons about how to get what you want out of society from those ‘blue’ films. I feel obliged to inform you, however, that you cannot accost women verbally or physically wherever you wish; you cannot degrade them at your whim; and you cannot behave as though the streets, and everyone in them, are beholden to your desires.
Not that my words are going to stop you trying. I see you every day strutting around the village, either passing lewd comments on female passers-by or cackling in response to such a comment made by one of your friends. I see you undressing women in your head as though it were a God-given right. I see you marching along with your mobile glued to your ear and a toothy grin glued to your face, half your mind on the ‘flowers’ in the street and the other half on describing them to an equally thrilled mate at the other end of the line.
You might say that women are there to serve you and please you, or that you were given a penis so that you might use it. I say that’s pure fantasy, beginning with porn movies and supported by the objectifying banter you engage in with your peers. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t look at beautiful women in public; everyone does that, and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s when your gaze is motivated by pornographic thoughts that it becomes a problem.
I must express some relief that I am no longer living in India as part of a couple. My days were constantly troubled by unwanted attention towards my companion, whose light skin alone seemed to imply her willingness to jump into bed with anyone man enough to make it happen. Though I remain relieved that I no longer have that daily worry about her safety, I have to trade that relief for the sad knowledge that you will only have moved on to someone else.
That’s because for you, it’s purely a numbers game. You don’t get women by forging a strong connection with one to whom you feel a particular attraction. You just blast through the streets, the railway carriage, the corridors at school – wherever – touching bottoms, passing filthy notes or cornering single ladies until one of them agrees to give up what you want.
I imagine the satisfaction you feel when you get what you want is powerful, that you’ve played the numbers game to its logical conclusion and won what you expected to through sheer perseverance. I’ll tell you what’s much more satisfying, though: a loving relationship with a base of mutual respect. That temporary, quantitative release of lust is nothing compared to an ongoing, qualitative connection through which you can share, explore, understand so many things you might never have dreamed of. (It need not even include sex.)
To those of you who for some reason end up reading this, I am well aware that you will likely ignore it with the same blank, distancing grin with which you dismiss anyone in public who happens not to be the object of your gaze. But here, as in those cases, I know that you are in fact paying attention. I know that you fool yourself into believing that the vicious stare from someone’s father or the harsh words from the shopkeeper have no effect on you. But they do. The safety pin remains the essential tool that all women travelling on buses must carry, and every time it stabs you when you touch something you shouldn’t, you know it hurts. Even if it’s just for a split second, before the thrill of what you’ve done takes over.
Like the pin, those judgmental looks and comments sting you. They bite into your moral consciousness. Your conditioned response to laugh and/or boast to a friend is impressively swift, but I know it’s accompanied with deep feelings of guilt and shame, so buried beneath layers of self-deception that you might not even be able to articulate them if you wanted to.
I say to you, let that guilt rise. Guilt is not an unhealthy thing, to be squashed and concealed from your attention. It’s a natural, internal indicator that what you’re doing is wrong. In this case, it’s the inverse of the anger you feel when someone passes an inappropriate comment about your mother, or your sister, or your cousin. Just as you give that anger a voice, so too should you give your guilt a voice, or at least a space in your thoughts from which it can bear influence on your actions.
Life will not always be so carefree, young man. Your youthful exuberance and wide, toothy grin, currently such valuable aspects of your lady-wooing arsenal, will fade in time. Fantasies always crumble in the end. The sooner you line your thoughts up with reality, the longer you’ll get to experience the fullness of life as it really is. You don’t have to tell anyone, or admit anything. Just make that change. We'll all be so much happier.
Photo credit: Kadoo at Deviantart