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30 November, 2004

The Interview - Take Two

This multi-speaker narrative follows up on Geetanjali's The Interview. Am I being a presumptuous insect?

The Male Gaze

The next candidate comes in. It's a woman.

But what a woman! Great figure - Thin waist, busty. Long hair. Sharp features. Incredible - she could have stepped straight out of a Japanese manga comic.

Her hair brushes against her shoulder, with a hint of caress.

Carmine red, body-hugging waistcoat. A bit of cleavage, a sparkle of button-diamond earrings. Absolutely stunning.

"Please have a seat..."

"Thank you sir." Even the tone has a husky, dreamy quality. Finely cultured, like the rest of her.

As she sways forward to sit, her skirt shifts - it's a rich purple silk - and the hem lifts just above the knee.

Does she notice me looking at her legs - is that a tensing up I saw, or is it just my imagination?

"My Curriculum Vitae, Sir. As you can see I completed my Masters from..."

I am looking up from the nip of her waist to the bulge in the waistcoat to the proud tilt of her chin. There is a smouldering intensity in her gaze. Men have drowned in them, and she knows it. I feel a knot gathering in my stomach.

I lean back in my chair and smile. I am thinking - "How nice to have met you darling, except it's across this desk! Quite competent too perhaps. But could she be too hot for this office?"

"... my project on Oraon phonology under Prof. Ulhas Rao." She stops and looks at me.

I had better pay attention.

The Female Gaze

Its a big desk, miles long.

He looks up from the papers as I come in. I wonder if he can feel the tension brooding in me. PR trainee -- is this the job I really want. . .

"Please take a seat," he says. I feel his eyes looking at me. After all these years, why can't I get used to it?

This coat is four years old. Wonder if its getting a bit tight? I wriggle a bit, loosening the fit. I feel the waft of my hair.

"Thank you, Sir." I sit down. He has a slightly faraway look. I sit up straight.

I can hear the creak of the fan. There is an intensity to every moment.

I give him the paper in my hand.

"My Curriculum Vitae, Sir. As you can see I completed my Masters from..."

Even as I am speaking, I can see his gaze running over me. What a nuisance men are. This guy may turn out to be a lout. Or maybe it is all men. God! Should I even be looking for a job?

Hey! Girl! You better focus on your work.

"... my project on Oraon phonology under Prof. Ulhas Rao."

Finally, he is paying some attention.

4 Comments:

Blogger Geetanjali said...

Thanks Khuto - I think you truly got the essence of what I was trying to say...and came up with the exact reactions I was trying to provoke...
My only problem with your version is with :- "Should I even be looking for a job?" - I object - loudly, vociferously!

30 November, 2004 16:39  
Blogger arvind said...

It is ever so easy to dress in such a way that the loutest of louts will focus only on your CV and your fitness for the job. Why this aa bael mujhe maar? Which is more important, to reinforce that men are louts, or to get the job?

30 November, 2004 20:17  
Blogger Sreekesh Menon said...

The female gaze , The male gaze - The interview.

I disagree with this seeming generalization of gazes. The basic assumptions that might have lead to these interpretations as stated here ,being unknowns, its hard for anyone to just adopt the authors views as being typical gazes.

Just my uneducated 2cents.

30 November, 2004 22:24  
Blogger khuto said...

Geetanjali:

"Should I even be looking for a job" is a response to the overt maleness of the world. Most women take the male gaze as a part of life and live with it. My character still has traces of innocence and feels she doesn't HAVE to subject herself to this indignity. That is the sense in which this comment is placed, but I agree, in the end, it does limit her horizons, but it is spoken more out of anger than in earnestness. . .

BTW I also wrote a piece from a male POV where the interviewer was female. He enters, and finds an attractive lady on the seat. But I thought 3 POVs was getting too complex and losing narrative steam.

I like your "loud vociferousness". In this age of the nuanced complaint, it is good to have some
loud, vociferous objections!

Arvind, While dress matters, a lot of men will look
at a woman regardless. And Sreekesh - no narrative is general - these are specific characters, who are reacting in individual ways - but perhaps there is
some of the stereotype in each of them.

One difference with Gitanjali's 34-24-36 image which
I wanted to clarify was that my character may be
good looking, but she is not a dumb blonde stereotype...

01 December, 2004 14:28  

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