I don’t really want to go out. That’s where all the people are. I’d much rather stay in my house, with my laptop and my books and my stuff. I’d rather wear my comfy “house clothes” that I can’t wear out because of the food stains and holes. I just want to do my work, watch my films, read my books, and be left alone. I don’t really love it when there are people in my house, either, but that can’t be helped sometimes. I hate small talk.
“LEAVE ME ALONE” is what I would scream at my parents when I had a tantrum. I dreaded the weekly dinner parties my parents and their friends had because I would have to wear proper clothes and talk to people and socialise with kids my own age. The best times were when someone’s lazy but genius parent would just put on a VHS movie for us. This meant I could just stare at that gorgeously glowing screen and not have to deal with anyone, including that kid who ate toothpaste. Adults would pretend to steal my nose (fuck off), and the unfunny ones would try so hard to be funny because they wanted the kids to think they were cool. I politely humoured them, of course.
I was a polite kid. I was SO POLITE, you guys. I would silently, smilingly steam while some uncle stole my glasses off my face. I would sit, quiet as a (possibly dead) mouse, in the living room when my parents entertained. I was The Quiet Child. I wasn’t shy, I just didn’t give a fuck about what anyone was talking about.
This was really cute when I was little, because grown-ups expected little girls to be quiet and well-mannered. But, boy did things change when I grew up. In the community that I come from – Urdu-speaking Bangalore Sunni Muslims – chit-chatting/gabbing/tittering is a bona fide activity for women. I’m supposed to want to wear awfully itchy clothing and attend weddings and talk to other girls my age about their itchy outfits and where they got their bangles from. I’d much rather be chewing on a glass bangle sandwich. It isn’t that these other people aren’t totally lovely, pleasant folk – which they are. It’s the fact that my gender and age mean that I am expected to participate in exhausting social rituals.
See, I don’t care much for expectations. Great expectations, low expectations, exceeded expectations. Expectations can piss off. It isn’t my job to fulfil whatever made-up fantasy of what I’m supposed to be like that lives in your head. Because I can’t read minds, and also, I don’t care.
If I was a 60 year old man, nobody would care what I did. Is it any wonder that Grumpy, of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves fame, was drawn as a beardy old coot and not a 5’2” Indian girl? My bastardliness would be cute, even. A charming little quirk I’d acquired at the ripe old age of 60. Except, of course, men are allowed to be horrible, unsocial bastards at any age. So this grumpy veteran didn’t just “ripen” with age – he was always a piece of shit. And all I really want in life is to be a horrible piece of shit and order people to get off my lawn and mind their own goddamn business.
Women are always expected to be nice to everyone and accommodating. Has anyone ever realised how creepy the word “accommodating” is? I’m not a hotel room. I do not want to accommodate your gross ass! My mother, every once in a while, complains about having to cook for guests that are coming over for lunch. Just order out, I’d tell her. No. It has to be home cooked food. It’s exhausting.
What do you think that 60 year old man would do? He’d tell you to fuck off home because The Searchers is on TV tonight and he’d rather watch that than deal with your annoying ass. He’d do exactly what he wanted to.
And I think that’s really fucked up, that women can’t just do what they want. Because doing what you want is rude. Letting people trample all over you is being nice. Letting other people dictate how you use your time is being accommodating. I read a massive (VERY LONG) article about the emotional labour women perform, which should’ve just been a neon sign saying “WOMEN, STOP GIVING A SHIT”.
So, to wrap things up, the whole point of this piece is do whatever the hell you want. I don’t care. Thanks for reading, I guess. Bye.