Sunday, November 06, 2011

A good girl

Several moons ago, I was headed for dinner with a colleague and her husband, and her husband decided to have a smoke while we waited in the car park for some another colleagues to join us. He asked if I smoked, and before I could respond, his wife chimed in, "no, no, she's a very good girl."

Two nights ago, I asked a classmate what he thought when he first met me. Among other things, he said he thought I was a "good Indian girl", and that while some of the other impressions have changed since then,  apparently I am a "good Indian girl."

A good girl. Me. Why? Because I don't smoke, don't drink very often, haven't been in a series of relationships, what? I'm trying to understand this phrase. Maybe all of these things are true about me - I do lead a very uneventful, and even what some people might call dull, life. This makes me good?

So any woman who does all these things is therefore not good? I think that's what bothers me. You want to call me a saint for not being fond of certain activities, that's your prerogative. But by definition, we're then judging the women who do make those choices. And I don't like to be reminded that even today, this still ends up happening.


ShaK said...

I have been told this a lot during my many years overseas. But I have never actually read too much into it since the definition of what is 'good' and what isn't changes with what part of the world you are in. In the west I have noticed it has to do more with hygiene than anything else. What I suspect your friend might have meant to say when she said 'no, no, she's a very good girl' is that you have very clean habits. I doubt if it is a reflection on who you are inside or what kind of person you embody. I wouldn't for a moment think it was an attempt to highlight, what you referred to as dull and event-less life. In the future, however, if you are called this with a tongue-in-cheek flavor then you can always respond back with 'I'd rather die of natural causes so yes, I guess I am a good girl after all.'

Of course, if she did mean to put it in a way that was more a commentary on your lifestyle then it shows her in poorer light more than you.



sumantakru said...

Good has to do with bigger, more universal values, which you do have [ despite your constant crossness] and has nothing to do with smoking, drinking or relationships.

So the person was right in saying you were good. You are, you are definitely not bad, merely crotchety sometimes- all the time.

Absolutely Normal Chaos said...

"The good Indian girl" is the most loaded phrase ever. You are good because of who you are, what you do and how you think. Not because of your habit.

Also, I think, by this definition, I am a bad girl. OOPS.

It's just sad that people think this way, and what's sadder is that not many people realize that they think this way.