Saturday, June 12, 2010

Did you just say what I think you just said???

In the last 11 months, I have been stared at more than I would have thought possible in an entire lifetime, and I have done a really good job of laughing it off. Until this week. It seems that the comments have taken a decidedly licentious turn as of last weekend, and it has been getting progressively worse since then. I have mentioned before in this blog how much I stand out in a crowd here, standing head and shoulders over most women, and glaringly pale-skinned even after nearly a year in the tropics, but what I haven't mentioned is how hard I am trying to conform to cultural standards of propriety and dress. In 33 degree weather I wear a cardigan or a long sleeve top to work, so as not to morally offend anyone, and also as what I would consider a preventative measure against lecherous staring and lewd commentary. Yet I have been hearing things from grown men, in all probability married men, that are nothing short of filthy, all while I am covered up from my ankles to my wrists and everything in between. And wearing big sunglasses. It took all of my self restraint to not turn around and lash out at these lusting wankers (ahem) men and give them an earful. It has been on my mind enough that I even know what I would say to them in Indonesian, and that definitely takes a bit of mental rehearsing. And then to top it off, two of my students, age 10 and 13 actually wolf whistled at me... in class. Now I feel absolutely no sympathy for the people who I see prancing around with next to no clothes on for getting unwanted attention, but COME ON!!! I don't want to hear any lascivious nonsense from these sexually repressed men, so I dress appropriately and keep my head down. The shouts of "hey bule" are no problem, and the "I love you misterrrrr" from those who don't speak much English is nothing to worry about, but the graphic hand gestures and obscene comments to match are unacceptable. To anyone. Western, or Indonesian or otherwise. Full stop. The next ungentlemanly fellow to shout at me is going to get a talking to, and a stern one at that.

*Disclaimer: Before I make all Indonesian men sound like perverted jerks, please let me make note of the fact that I have been treated with respect by many men of all ages and status in this country and there are many who would fall into the category of gentleman, in every sense of the word. I think my tolerance level hit maximum capacity and writing about it seems to have let off a little steam. I am reaching the point in my stay here where I just want to blend in, even if only for a day. But realistically, that will never happen, so maybe I will continue blogging instead?

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