By Nisha Susan
1. Learning that when a 43-year-old poet tells your 23-year-old self that if you don’t mail him your sexy photo you are parochial, you must laugh and delete his email. And never think of him again unless to quote his emails to your friends in a drinking game.
2. Learning that if you bark at your boss for waving a wooden penis (from the sex-ed programme he runs) in your face, sometimes he will go away with both penises quietly.
3. Learning that however absurd it seems, men who have read the same books you have read sometimes seem to be only interested in letting you know that you are not attractive enough.
4. Learning that sometimes your friends will continue to be friends with men who have suddenly arrived on top of you, in the still of the night during a sleepover.
5. Learning that men will try to pit you against other women.
6. That you are not imagining the smiling (or unsmiling) demand to spruce up your desirability.
7. Learning that now that you know you are not imagining it, you can wave a wooden penis at the demand.
8. Learning to pay attention to gossip. It is (as my friend Poorva says) sometimes the only protection against feeling like you have been singled out by professors who love to text at night.
9. Learning to look down to check if a man has indeed put on a condom and not performed a last-minute sleight of hand.
10. Learning the word concern troll. They exist offline too.
11. Learning to remember how crisis was dealt with before Facebook and Twitter.
12. Or just learning to stop wishing for skills to control my world. And learning to wish that men would learn some skills instead — to stop writing essays and let the word ‘No’ reverberate on their eardrums and into their vanity-fogged brains.
*SUPW: Strange inclusion in many Indian syllabi.
Image credit: Persepolis