Last week I decided that I want to be treated like a girl forever.
My car needed a wipe down, but being a girl, I decided that the task of cleaning my own car was beneath me. I felt no guilt or reluctance when I asked my husband to quickly wipe the car down for me before I could take it to work that morning. He didn’t question this and did what was asked of him, thanks to the awesome rules of Pakistani society that lean more towards the comfort of women than men.
Then two days ago, my husband told me he was going out for burgers with the ‘boys.’
” I want a burger too, Mustafa.” I whined. “We’re getting real burgers tonight. You won’t like them… I’ll take you out some other time.” Came his highly sexist reply.
This obviously stirred the feminist in me and I demanded that he take me with him and ditch the boys. I’d show him that girls can enjoy a hearty beef burger just as much as the next macho man. For some reason, he found this funny, but I guess he had some faith in my healthy appetite because he finally agreed!
His agreement somehow turned into a challenge and we started listing down possible eating arenas.
While I was trying to come up with a place with smaller burgers just in case I ended up not finishing the whole thing, my husband was intent on finding a place with the biggest, meanest beef burgers.
He decided on TGIF. I couldn’t argue since a) he was driving and b) I didn’t want to sound weak.
We reached TGIF and I studied their new range of Angus beef burgers. I gulped. My husband grinned. With a barely contained smile he ordered a Tennessee Beef Burger for himself and a Mushroom Beef Burger for me.
Then we waited for the burgers to arrive.
We were served two very large burgers with a 7 ounce patty each. Not being a huge fan of beef, I couldn’t help but feel slightly apprehensive about the size of the burgers, but having accepted the challenge and needing to prove the power of women, I sucked it up and dug in.
I honestly cannot say what got me through the entire burger. I don’t know if it was the taste of the burger, the quality of the meat, the juicy beef patty that was cooked to perfection, or merely the need to prove myself to ‘man’kind, but I finished the entire thing.
And I was proud of myself.
So was Mustafa, I think, when he wasn’t busy frowning over his loss.
So two days ago, I decided that I do not want to be treated like a girl all the time. I want to be treated like an equal when it comes to enjoying food, independence and freedom, but when it’s time to get my hands dirty, I’d rather hide behind the pink veil of femininity. No one can deny the perks of being a woman in Karachi, but it’s when these perks become obstacles that I start questioning the norms of society.
Nevertheless, our society allows me and others like me to enjoy the best of both worlds without coming across as selfish or wrong. So I guess I’ll just leave it at that and when I meet an obstacle along the way, well, I guess I’ll just cross that bridge when I get there.