“Lovely morning, sir!” she exclaimed, beaming. The dulcet voice held loads of promise.
Having served almost 30 years in the stiff-upper-lip, highly starched, bursting with testosterone male bastion that is the Indian Army, interviewing such a comely lass for my secretary/personal assistant’s role was quite the introduction to the Corporate world!
Or rather, it should have been. I can imagine my Infantry course mates salivating at the thought, and I can only shake my head in despair.
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. A couple of days ago, I came across a blog post by Ms Purba Ray, called `Hello, Beautiful, You Sent Me out of Control!’. Couched in a thin, barely perceptible sheen of humour, it was scathing in its indictment of us men, and our penchant for grabbing, groping and leering at the fairer sex.
The post can be accessed at
and is highly recommended reading.
Sadly, most of what she says rings true, even if she’s not always successful in keeping the tongue firmly in the cheek. But surely, there’s a flip side.
Which brings me back to where I started. I had just been appointed CEO of a start up company handling telecom infrastructure, and had been authorised a `personal assistant’, which is the politically correct term for private secretary.
Of the comely and not so comely lasses that turned up, this one was most definitely among the former. Dressed in a spaghetti strap blouse showing a hint (well, more than a hint, actually) of cleavage, everything about her screamed of promising times ahead.
The question I asked myself was, everything else being equal, would I pick her over the other plain Janes? Every male in the office, true to Purba’s description of us hyperventilating Lotharios, was almost begging me to pick her.
In the event, I didn’t. Of course, she was later picked by my boss in the same set up, but that’s a story for another day..
The point I’m trying to make is, here was a female, who was certainly good looking, and was unabashedly flaunting her good looks in order to get ahead in life. Nothing so terribly wrong in that, but had I picked her over anyone else merely because of her lilting `Come hither’ tone or that hint of cleavage, what would the good Ms Ray portray me as??
Of course men are animals, and will salivate at the merest hint of anything that is remotely `available’, and as long as they keep their hyperventilating to behind closed doors or in sweaty office loos, the delicate balance of nature is not disturbed.
But grant it, women are beautiful, endowed with qualities that will alternately melt the stoniest of hearts or skyrocket the heaviest of eyeballs. If our gaze lingers a tad too long, or if prim n propah eye contact becomes a casualty, allow for the possibility that sometimes, just sometimes, it may not be entirely our fault.
Having served in the Corporate world, I know for a fact that there are some lasses that will do anything to climb a rung or two of what is a very rickety ladder.
Vijay Mallaya took great pride in announcing on every Kingfisher flight that he personally hand picked the cabin crew! And looking at the shapely, flaming red airhostesses sashaying down the aisle, I always wondered exactly what his selection process comprised.
So face it. Men will always be idiots. They will always have wives who `do not understand’ them. Some will be emboldened enough to pay you the cheesiest of compliments. Or even pat you on the arm inappropriately. Stand up to them, elbow them rudely, even kick them where it hurts most.
But if you choose to exploit their `weaknesses’ for personal gain or advancement, don’t cry wolf if things don’t work out in your favour. Crying rape if a guy promises marriage, has a consensual relationship with you, and then backs out, is plain silly!
Keep your eyes wide open. Know what you’re getting into, know what you want and how far you’re willing to go, and set the ground rules yourself. You’re not the weaker sex, and don’t let anyone tell you that.
A poll I saw on Twitter on `Why are you on Twitter?’ had among its options, `To chase girls!’ I kid you not, and about 26% of respondents actually ticked this option!
Me, of course like all men, I’m a sucker for delectable looks – cascading hair, smouldering eyes and what not, but above all that give me a strong willed partner any day. One that can stand up to you, and actually kick you in the balls if you as much as think inappropriate..
Fortunately, I’m at the age where a pat on the back is taken more as an avuncular gesture than a wolfish pass, so I guess I’m safe!
But to all you pretty young things out there – attend karate, pack your handbags with pepper spray (or a handgun if you live in Delhi), but let the leeches have it. And don’t be gentle about it. A few cracked skulls, a few broken ribs, why even a few Bobbits may make the world a safer place!