Shame! Shame!

I’d decided the world would never come to know of a recent and one of the most embarrassing incidents that happened to me . But then by not sharing I lost the opportunity to rant about men. So first the incident then the ranting.

Few days back the college where I work was a center for candidates appearing in Pre-Medical Entrance Exam. The candidates ranged from general category to the reserved, urban to rural and intelligent enough to understand instructions to the dumbest. We, the lecturers, had been assigned as invigilators. Now, each floor has 4 bathrooms at its corner…for girls, ladies staff, gents staff and boys and has that written boldly in red at top. Before the exam started, I went to freshen myself in the ladies staff one and just as I went inside the already open door, a young boy (must be candidate) was answering nature’s call!!! I rushed out shouting “its ladies bathroom” and went straight to the assigned exam room.. [Yeah laugh at my plight!!] Thank God he had his back towards me!!!

Later in retrospect, I thought why was I feeling embarrassed with no fault of mine and I was disgusted at the non existence of the feeling of shame in most Indian Males (or maybe all males of world). Even if the boy had entered the wrong bathroom and didn’t even know that there are separate facilities in cities/colleges; still he should have locked the door not out of manners or etiquette but out of shame. As I analyzed further, I remembered the common sight of men(any age group) answering nature’s call by roadside or on a wall and mostly not hidden from view. For pictorial depiction you can see here.

One may argue that maybe men have less bladder control than women but anatomically speaking women are supposed to have less bladder control. But do we see women sitting on road side? Maybe the poor and illiterate women are seen but males of any class & any age can be seen. They consider it their birthright. The trouble we girls have to face when we go on a picnic or trip!!! We have to take a friend (girl) along to stand guard against any Peeping Toms. Why us? Men don’t have to worry about such problems.

So is this habit a result of the difference in upbringing of the male child and the female child in Indian society? Do we encourage our sons to become shameless by allowing them to bath openly or roam around without wearing vests? Is covering up essential only for the girls? Is lajja or shame meant exclusively for women? Is decency a feminine virtue?

Why is it wrong for girls to wear low waist jeans and not for men? I don’t like seeing or knowing about the brand of brief they wear!!! Another example.. this attitude “We are men. We don’t need to hide” is so expressed in the design of Men’s bathroom (note: no personal seen in movies and asked guy friends) which is different from the Ladies’ in matters of privacy.

Of course the Govt is to blame for not providing public utilities along the road on an infrastructural basis and for not maintaining those which are provided. One factor is the so called lack of funds for such a trivial thing when we have bigger problems to deal with like price rise and poverty. Another may be that are not most of the politicians male and have the same attitude towards “shame”? Thus they feel no need to provide such a basic amenity even in slum areas. There is an old joke about this Indian habit. You can read the joke and a good rant about this habit and another famous Indian habit of spitting here.

I admit its fine when one goes long distance driving like from one city to city. But in normal circumstances why can’t you just stop at a restaurant/petrol station or hold it till you reach wherever you are going? And for God’s sake look if its for men or women & for Shame’s sake Lock The Door!!!

P.S. Some (like a very dear guy friend of mine) may think “what an absurd topic!” but its My Blog and I can rave and rant about whatever I feel like. So there!

24 thoughts on “Shame! Shame!

  1. You should have confronted that guy later and reported about the incidence. I think its quite disgusting to start answering nature’s call anywhere.
    And yes, we males grow up to be very shameless and can take off our clothes anywhere without second thoughts. 😛 But that is the way men are brought up. Sad but true. I even find it very irritating when men keep open the top three buttons of their shirts. Uughhhh!!!! What the hell are they trying to show??

  2. Actually the bathroom light was not on (else I would have known someone is inside) and its quite dark inside without tubelight so didnt see his face. My female colleagues had also advised me the same. Next time (hope there isnt but if there is) surely I’ll give a piece of my mind.

    Thanks for agreeing!!!

  3. Just to confirm, were the bathrooms had an occupancy of one ?
    because usually they have more, so one can’t lock the main door (no experience whatsoever about how the ladies’ room works)
    coming to the main and very important topic of shame, I second you on each and every point raised here. I believe it HAS to do with the way our society defines ‘shame’ and it is definitely different for men and women. Of course, we can improve upon them and yet we don’t.
    If a man lands up in a society with the one-upmanship being with the women, then I guess men will be taking partners to ‘look-out’.
    My point is that it all lies in the way society perceives it, with the help, or the lack of it from the government.

  4. Welcome to my blog. In ladies bathroom whether it has occupancy of one or many it always has a door in each unlike guys’ bathrooms (seen from movies and asked guy friends :D)..this particular one had occupany of one as it was a staff one.

    Thanks for concurring with my thoughts.

  5. I agree with you Reema. (too much people are agreeing, can I disagree just for a change :D)
    We are always shameless but I don’t see any way to change it. We can’t change mentality of this country.

  6. Of course.. It’s YOUR Blog.. and you do what you want! 🙂 .. Thats the freedom this medium offers its users..

    The experience you described was scary nonetheless… but to give the benefit of the doubt to the poor kid (candidate!), maybe he just missed the sign! 😉

    By the way, Thanks for adding me to your blogroll, I’ve added u too!

    Blog on..

  7. This is not a trivial topic. It is an ikmportant subject. I wrote a long post with title Why my India is so regressive. I wrote about Indian men peeing scratching their crotch in public. Why is this something specific to only Indian men. It is common to sit in an auto and grimace at the spitting auto driver.

    As someone pointed out the irony b/w east and west: Here it is ok to pee in public and kiss in private while west prefer to kiss in public and pee in private.

  8. @Suda .. I m so happy to see so many men agreeing to my view regarding them!! Yup nothing can be done.It has become ingrained in our culture.

    @Amyth Thanks for adding and encouraging me. That is my point. Its ok he entered the wrong one but atleast he could have locked the door. 🙂

    @Poonam..Thanks.I have to read your post now.Another gross thing men do is to touch themselves while we are talking to them and to not look towards our face while talking. Do they think we are blind? The east west comparison was good.

  9. Reema:

    At any public place, it is always women’s bathrooms that have queues outside. My usual alternative to waiting is to go into the men’s bathroom. They are usually free and I almost always see women coming in right after. 🙂

    Bathrooms are resources to be used. I think this whole gender-based separation of bathrooms is wasteful. Bathrooms should be uni-sex especially in public places, so that people pay for them, use them, wash hands and get out rather than preening in front of mirrors.

    I think if more people applied the ‘what if I were at the receiving end’ test to behaviours, it would generally reduce the opportunities to rant 😉

    PS: Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.

  10. well reema… so u hav spammed my blog with your comments 🙂
    thanks for going thru my blog and commenting.
    it feels good to see that someone actually reads your blog…
    and il read ur blog too now~
    thanks again.

  11. ugggggggghhh…like others i agree with what you say..but i dont agree with one of the person here who commented that bathrooms should be common for men n woman. With the eve-teasing mentality of indian men,one would have to assign a police in front of the common bathroom!!!

  12. Hey Swathi where were you? I thought you have gone underground!Yes uni-sex bathroom in India may lead to some other problems.

    @Aditto ..welcome to my blog. Thanks!

  13. hey reema, as it was long weekend here, so was not around for 3 days..i keep looking forward for ur posts :))) !!

  14. Very nice post. I don’t think unisex toilets in India are a good idea. Paid toilets are a good idea. Like PCOs, Cyber Cafes and ATMs, why not have well maintained clean toilets, with attendants to keep the place always dry and clean. Charge enough to pay the attendant and for the maintenance!! Add another facility like some couches, a phone, some mobile re-chargers, an ATM, a coffee vending machine, whatever makes it worthwhile. Let somebody make profit for providing a good service…along the line of Highway Plazas and refreshing rooms.Hopefully then cleanliness will become a habit, a habit that can be indulged in conveniently.

  15. @Indian Homemaker .. Thanks…yes privatization of public utilities may prove useful. Though there are such paid toilets like for example I saw in Chilka Lake, the male tourists used the nearby greenery and roadside rather than pay 1 rupee.

  16. its true that we do have the bad habit of letting ourselves “loose” on any given place!! a practical solution might be to provide FREE public loo’s…many sections of society are averse to paying for peeing!
    that might lessen this phenomenon in public at least..

  17. @Asad Hey long time no see..lots of my posts waiting for ur comment. Yes public utilities need to be provided on an infrastructural basis.

  18. I don’t know how I missed this post of yours. Its great! And yes you are right, women have smaller bladders but they have learnt more control!

  19. “Is lajja or shame meant exclusively for women? Is decency a feminine virtue?”

    Sometimes I think that there exists nothing called lajja. What a girl/woman does in the name of lajja is probably either decency (in some cases) or something else which she does only because a certain behaviour is expected from her.

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