Of men and mothers and women and fathers
I have been touring with a fellow comedian this week. One evening during a discussion about men and women, he turned to me and said, “Girls that have difficult relationships with men have often had bad relationships with their fathers”. I said, “and visa versa.” He looked surprised that it could work the other way round. I said, “Men that treat women badly have often had bad relationships with their mothers.”
He said, “Explain?”
I said, “Mothers are the first role model of a woman to any man. It’s a boy’s first relationship with a woman, it’s the first view he forms of a woman, and in the future he may marry a woman just like his mother – if he likes her enough, doesn’t nag that much and wears great shoes.”
I was on tour in India earlier this year. On my few days off I decided to travel by myself from Bangalore to Mysore and spend a couple of days seeing the palace and going to the coffee plantations in Coorg. Travelling on my own, I have never been harassed so much in my whole life.
I came out of the palace one night with millions of other people and men kept shouting, “Miss, you want lift? You want lift?” I ignored them. “Miss are you tourist? We take you anywhere. Come with us we are the police we can give you lift Miss.” I turned around and there was a man with one leg trying to drive a three-wheel rickshaw. I thought either the police have hit hard times, or this man is lying.
Everywhere I went on my own I felt harassed. It was like I was some kind of loose immoral animal for wanting to sight see by myself. One night I had to get on a night bus from Bangalore to Chennai to do a show in Chennai the next day. On the bus I was the only woman, there were seven men. When I got on I sat on a double seat by myself, but the driver moved me to the front of the bus as I obviously couldn’t be trusted to spend seven hours on my own with my Rod Stewart autobiography on two seats so he had to keep an eye on me. It was like going on a school trip to Dudley Zoo.
After seven hours after I was getting off the bus one of the men said to me, “Where are you going now?”
“I said mind your own f*&^%$# business.”
He looked really shocked and shouted, “Stupid British woman!”
I said, “Stupid twat.”
Then I went straight to my hotel in a rickshaw with four wheels.
These Indian men really have a unique way of chatting up a woman. “Get in my rickshaw, I am the police!” That’s a chat up line I’ve never heard before. It might work in Bangalore, but it doesn’t work in Birmingham and Birmingham is very much like South India.
When I heard about the Delhi gang rape, one of the first things I thought was, “Who are these rapist’s mothers?” Where are they? Who are they? What are they like? What woman has sons like that? I’m not blaming the mothers, I’m just wondering what they’re like.
Men like this, obviously hate women. If you hate women you hate your mother.
I am always attracted to men that have a good relationship with their mothers. It is sweet, lovely and how it should be. Being a mother is the most important role in the world. A good strong positive mother could spew lots of James Bonds’ and a weak, negative role model could spew a million Jack the Rippers’.
When in India, a man asked me out for dinner. When I arrived, he told me he was married.
I told him I had to leave.
He said, “What’s wrong? My wife wouldn’t mind. It’s no big deal, it’s quite normal here to go out for dinner with other women when your marriage is boring.”
I said, “Well my life is quite exciting and there are a million single men I could be with tonight, so see you later”.
And I got in my four wheeled rickshaw and left.
I’m not scared to be a strong woman, it doesn’t make me a man hater or a lesbian. It just means I can do better than a man with three wheels.
Shazia’s new stand up comedy tour ‘Cukooland’ starts February 1st. For dates and tickets see: http://www.shazia-mirza.com
The author is an award winning stand-up comedian and writer. She has performed all over the world. A columnist for The Guardian UK, she was named Columnist of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards. Find out more from her website.
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