On race

PBS in the US did a documentary on race a while ago. I haven't seen it, but I did come across the companion website, Race - The Power of an Illusion, recently. Being a show made by and for Americans, it traces the history of race in the US, but it does give a glimpse of what race meant - or didn't mean - before European settlers arrived in the Americas. It also points out, as the title suggests, that race is not a biological fact but a social construct. The terms we use so casually today - 'white', 'black', 'caucasian' - have an interesting history. It doesn't call for the abolition of racial categories though because they are useful in determining such things as social equality, which suggests that current social inequality is a function of the arbitrary classification of human beings into nonexistent subcategories, and not vice versa. And if you'd like to see evidence of how arbitrary this classification is, take a look at this page, where you are given 16 photographs to classify under four racial categories. Give it a go and see how many you get right.

But what's most interesting and, I think, most relevant to Australia is the section titled What's Race Got To Do With It? The third presentation, called "The Elephant in the Room" seemed the most directly applicable to what I've seen in Australia. I should point out that I don't know all that much about the social and racial history of Australia and what I do know comes from references made in articles and conversations about current issues (such as the Apology to Indigenous Australians made by the Prime Minister earlier this year, the portrayal - or lack thereof - of Indigenous Australians in the media and art, and Australia's rather intersting immigration policies through history). I have however been living here for just over two years now and while I honestly find it a wonderfully welcoming place, I have also found it to be one where racism is incredibly deeply ingrained. Not in the classic American sense of being discriminated against on the basis of your skin color (though it's been known to happen) but in the constant classification of people into categories and sub-categories. People born and bred in Australia are still referred to by their parents' race or, if they are of European ancestry, by their forebears' country of origin. Nobody, it seems, is just Australian. Given the intermittent noise in the media about 'Australian values' and identity, that's just bizarre.

The racism is so casual you almost don't notice it. For instance, upon meeting my husband, several people have remarked that he wasn't what they expected. They were expecting a Pakistani - and therefore presumably Muslim - male but he 'doesn't look like one.' As if that wasn't galling enough, some have remarked on how lovely that is and how lucky I am.

Another example is language. I have lost count of how many times I've received compliments on my command of English or been asked outright where I learnt it because it's really rather good. I don't think any of the people who have complimented me have meant any harm by it and have no idea that they were being insufferably patronizing. I have decided however that, rather than get annoyed, the simplest thing to do is to compliment theirs in return. You know, one native speaker to another.

My personal favorite is people who must assert a cultural difference no matter what. Everyone being spoken of belongs to some neat little category that immediately explains everything about them. What a convenient way to view the world.

Given the history of racism, these are minor irritations. But they indicate nonetheless how deeply ingrained the assumptions based on race actually are, even though most people would be hard put to explain why some people are categorized according to race while others are defined by their ethnicity, nationality, or religion and would be surprised to learn how often they conflate these categories themselves.

Token human

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you hear of something awful/upsetting/annoying/stupid happening in a foreign country or a community that's been in the news a lot. You, in your wonderfully informed and astute way, watched an ABC special or read an article about this culture/community in the Economist, both of which are respected institutions. You might even have worked with this girl who was dating someone from there once - you know because she brought him/her round for drinks once and you had a lovely 15-minute chat. So, armed with your indignation about said event and your vast body of knowledge on said culture, you a) declare your indignation and/or b) proceed to locate the nearest person belonging to that culture and demand an explanation.


Well I'm tired of being that chai-colored person you immediately go to for that explanation. I have yet to meet an Australian who can give me a thorough, nuanced historical explanation of the political and symbolic importance of last week's Apology to the Aboriginal peoples. I have yet to meet an American who can, at the drop of a hat, explain why Americans don't want to vote for a woman or a black man and how the fuck a bible-bashing lunatic who wants to destroy the Constitution is even being considered as a potential presidential candidate or what the fuck Scientology is. But then I wouldn't ask them why their societies are so fucking racist and sexist and homophobic and downright illiterate. Oh and xenophobic too. Gotta love that xenophobia.

Why? Because as it happens, the individuals I know from these countries are not any of those things. Or, if they are, they're open-minded enough to challenge themselves a bit and get the fuck over it. See, I've lived there. Sure there's some bad stuff, but mostly, I've seen good stuff. Decent people, good friends, intelligent conversation, that sort of thing. If I did have a question though, you know what I would do? I'd go look it up. I'd go read. Gosh, I might even watch the news for more than five minutes. And once I'd figured out what impact, if any, it might have on my life, I'd go do something else.

Personally, I don't give a rat's ass what you believe, who you fuck, or what you eat. I would appreciate it, though, if you would extend me the same courtesy. I am not the spokesperson for all things Pakistani, Muslim, Islamic, South Asian, female, queer, Pakistani + female/queer, Muslim + female/queer, Islamic + female/queer or South Asian + female/queer. I don't care how fucking concerned you are about those poor benighted savages whose plight you feel so deeply for that you must make asinine statements about their 'rights' and 'freedoms' while ignoring completely that there are people on the ground from those societies working the asses off to actually make a difference. You have the gall, instead, to feel sorry that you can't do more, because obviously, nothing will ever get fixed until you get your big fat pink ass over there to really turn them into beggars. Fuck. The angst must be unbearable.

And don't for a minute think that this isn't also addressed to the fucking desi morons who make equally stupid assumptions about people cultures that they know nothing about. They pity you folks too, and in much the same nauseating way. Tsk tsk. All these women having babies by themselves, without even a maid to help. Poor old man dying alone after raising five children. You know, they put him in a nursing home! Oh you know them, no families or religion or values or anything. Wonder how they survive, poor things. Oye stay away from them - you know they'll fuck anything that moves. It wouldn't happen if they'd just get married when their parents told them to.

The only difference is whose words get heard more. I have the enviable good fortune of traveling between these two poles of stupidity. In Pakistan, I'm trying to explain the big, bad, warmongering, female-exploiting West, outside it, I'm trying to explain the evil, fundamentalist, female-oppressing Islamist world.

Fuck that.

No I don't think America-the-Asshole is right. No I don't think bloody goat-raping Al-qaida is right. No, Pakistan is not part of the goddamned Middle East. No I don't think there is a Zionist conspiracy. No I don't fucking cover my head and I never will. No I am not oppressed. No I'm not gay. No I'm not straight either you fucking moron. No I wasn't taught any Islamic creation myths. No I wasn't taught that men are better than women. No I do not speak Arabic. No Urdu is not my first language. No I don't defer to my little brother, to my father, to my husband, or to any random idiot male on anything relating to my personal freedom. No I'm not Indian. No I don't fucking want your approval for speaking my first language so well or for being so 'progressive'. No I'm not 'exotic' or 'fascinating' (you're fucking ignorant). No I fucking do not need to apologize for being from wherever it is you think I'm from or whatever it is you think I am.

I do not owe you a fucking explanation.

Benazir Bhutto's book, women, Islam, Pakistan, etc.

The Australian published an excerpt from Benazir Bhutto's book yesterday in which she speaks of starting college in the US in 1969, where she experienced firsthand the rights and freedoms that Americans took for granted. She also arrived at a time when feminism was finally gaining some ground in the US. What struck me though, was this passage:
My parents had taught me that men and women are equal in the eyes of God, that the first convert to Islam was a woman, that the prophet of Islam married a career woman, that the line of the prophet was carried through his beloved daughter Fatima, and that on the day of judgment all souls would be called in the name of the mother.

She goes on to add that,

...despite this emphasis on women's rights and the importance of women in Islam, all around me I could see that women were not treated with much importance in Pakistan, nor did they have many rights.

The rest of the article deals with her realization that any true improvement in Pakistani society would come only with an improvement in the condition of women, starting with education. That's not exactly a revelation, but I don't think it's meant to be - I think this is simply the story of how she came by her beliefs. Which is why I'm not taking it up.

What struck me about the excerpt was the first paragraph that I've quoted above. It shows, I think, the basic class divide that exists in the country, not so much between rich and poor as between educated and illiterate (though the two are obviously related and overlap considerably). That right there is the version of Islam that we were taught as children in school and at home - that at bottom, there is no difference in the worth of men and women - and that formed the basis of our idea of what this religion that we were born into stood for.

Before we read any actual scripture or learned to say our prayers, we were taught that Islam meant progress, equality, tolerance, kindness, honesty, and so on. And even when we did come to reading parts of the Koran in Islamiat classes, they only confirmed all that we had been taught before. As a girl, I was never fed the patronizing "you're as good as any boy" line but rather, "you're a person; you can be as good as you want to be."

So when people ask me now about how "intolerant" Islam is and how difficult it must be to live in an "Islamic" society, it takes me a minute to process the question. First of all, I don't think Pakistan is an "Islamic" society (despite the unfortunate change of name), but a Muslim one, at least for the time being. I say that because the term 'Islamic' now describes strict adherence to the letter of the law, as it were, at the expense of the spirit. To me, the term 'Muslim', in contrast (and probably in reaction) means pretty much what the term 'Christian' means today: someone brought up in a culture that grew out of a religion and that consequently maintains some contact with the spirit and trappings of that religion. (As I write this though, I'm aware that in some parts of the world, most notably the USA, 'Christian' increasingly means evangelical or fundamentalist. Here's hoping secular America and Europe manage to hold out.) To me, Pakistanis are - or at least have been until recently - what Faiz called 'cultural Muslims' - public rituals, such as weddings and funerals, are carried our according to a certain formula, but personal belief (or lack thereof) is, well, personal.

Secondly, the reason the question of the "oppressiveness" of Islam doesn't compute, is because I have never directly experienced it. I know that there are some horrific laws in place in Pakistan, but all my life all I've heard is how 1) there is no place for them in Pakistan and 2) that even if Pakistan were to go ahead with the "Islamic" thing, that these laws contravene the spirit of the religion and that the powers that allowed their institutionalization did so by fooling the uneducated masses into believing they were doing something sanctioned by religion, ie, 'good'. I am aware that there are people who routinely suffer as a result of these laws and also as a result of other laws in place in other countries that also purport to be 'Islamic'. But I am also aware that there are people - Muslims - fighting tooth and nail to change or remove these laws altogether and to protect and advocate for their victims.

My own beliefs notwithstanding, I still cannot equate the word "Muslim" with "fire-breathing, bearded/hijab-ed fundamentalist" despite the best efforts of the international press (generously assisted by the fundamentalists themselves). I had, however, forgotten why, until I read what Bhutto had written. As I've said before, I was no supporter of hers, but I realize that she did represent 'my' kind of Pakistani - she went to school with my mother, for heaven's sake. I don't know that she would have done Pakistan any good as PM this time around (except in terms of appeasing the 'West'), but she was certainly more 'one of us' than any of the people who'll be vying for power next Monday.

Third Culture Kids/Global Nomads

One of the best things about Facebook has been the groups set up by and for Third Culture Kids (TCKs) and people who've attended international schools around the world. Recently, the term 'global nomad' seems to be gaining more currency. It's more appealing because it doesn't force a reference to one's childhood. TCKs grow up too, in our own way, and we're hardly unique in having our childhood experiences resonate through our lives.

Anyway, some of the groups have 'you know you're a TCK when....' lists to which everyone appends their own experiences. I've collected my favorites here. 

You know you're a TCK when:

- "Where are you from?" has more than one reasonable answer.
- You flew before you could walk.
- You speak two languages, but can’t spell in either.
- You feel odd being in the ethnic majority.
- You have three passports.
- You have a passport but no driver's license.
- Your life story uses the phrase "Then we moved to..." three (or four, or five...) times.
- You wince when people mispronounce foreign words.
- You don't know whether to write the date as day/month/year, month/day/year, or some variation thereof.
- The best word for something is the word you learned first, regardless of the language.
- You think VISA is a document that's stamped in your passport, not a plastic card you carry in your wallet.
- You own personal appliances with 3 types of plugs, know the difference between 110 and 220 volts, 50 and 60 cycle current, and realize that a trasnsformer isn't always enough to make your appliances work.
- You fried a number of appliances during the learning process.
- Half of your phone calls are unintelligible to those around you.
- You consider a city 500 miles away "very close."
- You get homesick reading National Geographic.
- Your minor is a foreign language you already speak.
- When asked a question in a certain language, you've absentmindedly respond in a different one.
- You understand all sorts of accents, having a mix of them yourself.
- You've gotten out of school because of monsoons, bomb threats, and/or popular demonstrations.
- You speak with authority on the subject of airline travel.
- You have frequent flyer accounts on multiple airlines.
- You constantly want to use said frequent flyer accounts to travel to new places.
- When you have a favorite seat on the plane
- You know how to pack.
- You have the urge to move to a new country every couple of years.
- The thought of sending your (hypothetical) kids to public school scares you, while the thought of letting them fly alone doesn't at all.
- You think that high school reunions are all but impossible.
- You have friends from 29 different countries.
- You sort your friends by continent.
- You have a time zone map next to your telephone.
- You realize what a small world it is, after all.
- You go into culture shock upon returning to your "home" country. 
- When discussing global issues, you're all sides of an argument by yourself.
-When you practically jump someone when you find out they're also a TCK.
-You switch between words like "jumper" and "sweater" or "airplane" and "aeroplane", depending on location and company.
-You swear in a myriad of languages.
-Sleep is for the weak. Or layovers.
-Itchy feet has nothing to do with the health of your feet.
- When you've memorized the airplane safety precautions by heart
-You've said goodbye forever to more people already than most "normal" people will in their whole lives.
- The idea of retiring in one place freaks you out
- When you understand languages you've never heard before just from the speaker's body language
- When 'going to see a friend' generally means travelling halfway across the world.
-You have no idea where you'll be in the next 5 years. And the thought doesn't scare you at all. Rather, the thought of actually having long term plans scares you.
-You don't know whether to greet people with a nod, handshake, one-arm hug, proper hug, one kiss, two kisses, or three kisses and usually end up looking grouchy or invasive.
-The smell of international terminals and airplanes makes you feel homesick.
-When you have your diplomatic or official passport replaced with a civilian one at 21.
-You had to take TOEFL even though English is your first language.
-You're not sure what your 'native' language is because your mom speaks X, your dad speaks Y, and you've lived in a whole other country where you've learned Z.
-When the most mindboggling thing about college is that you will spend four years in the same school.
- You pretty much know that if a friend doesn't have a cell phone/ screen name you'll probably never talk to them again.
- Your first kiss spoke a language you no longer remember.
-Your best friend lives a thousand miles away, but it's not *that* far.
- You think in different languages
-You use countries to identify defining moments in your life.
-You've never been to the country you were born in.
- You automatically know what time it is across the world
- You have an inbuilt calculator when it comes to exchange rates
- You know the strength of the dollar/pound/euro as well as those of the respective countries you and your spread out family are residing in at all times
- You don't really own any furniture because you don't know when you'll move next.
- Every single person you've had a relationship with was from a different country.
- You can recognize all sorts of languages even if you can't speak a damn word of any of them.
- On any particular day, you could list where each piece of your attire came from (the ring is from chile, these leggins from spain, that shirt from the usa, and the sweater from costa rica, etc.).
-"Settling down" is a phrase that has no place in your vocabulary.
- You can't remember the first time you flew.
- People look at you weird because your skin color/hair color/dress doesn't fit the stereotype they have of wherever you happen to be from.
- You don't realize how much of a snob you are about everything because you've had better
- You speak multiple languages at home
- You can speak confidently on world politics
- You keep up with news about every country you've lived in
- You own a passport, or you own more than one passport, or you own a foreign passport.
- You know what TCK means.
- You know what expat means.
- Your yearbook had more than one language in it!
- You keep having to explain to everyone why you speak English, even though you grew up elsewhere.
- You are tired of people asking - "Where IS that?"
- You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel.
- You get homesick for a place that isn't 'home'.
- You have no idea where home is anyway.
- You feel like a local in 3 or more places, you can give directions to foreigners in 3 or more big cities, and you know what the hottest clubs are in Paris, Stocklholm, and Mombasa.
- Finding high school friends on facebook almost makes you cry!
- You can recognize at least four countries by their country code (81 = japan etc.
- You're not American, but people conclude you are because of the transatlantic accent
- The more you drink, the more American your accent sounds
- You've been forced to stay with some random family for a cultural exchange 2000 km from home
- More than half your network on Facebook is on the other side of the world and you'll most probably never see them for years, yet these are some of the friends closest to your heart
- You live in a parallel world to the locals around you
- You're so used to misunderstanding people that you automatically pretend to understand when you really don't understand
- You never feel like a tourist, but you also never feel particularly "at home", whatever that means, or where ever that is
- Most of your relationships have ended because of international relocation and distance
- One of your pets has an international bloodline, often coming directly from a country you have never visited
- Not only do you have friends from all over the world, but when you do talk about your international friends, you ALWAYS say "so my friend <NAME>" followed by "you know, the one from <COUNTRY>".

How pathetic can you get?

I have an ex I'm very fond of. We got together back in high school in Kathmandu and broke up some time after it, but more because the relationship just died a natural death and there really wasn't any point continuing it. No dramas, no scenes; just a see you later, take care of yourself and hey, keep in touch. I was about 19 back then. Over the years, we've seen each other through various relationships, mistakes, breakups, fallings out, disasters and ultimately each of our 'holy shit I think this is it' moments.

I have and have had similar relationships with what I now realize is a fairly large number of men. To be clear, I never dated any of them, but I absolutely adore them because they're all some combination of intelligent, creative, funny, sweet, talented, silly, downright weird (on occasion), gorgeous (in the 'I have my shit together' sort of way), great to talk to, supportive, generous, well-read, able to listen, interested in things I find interesting (animals, cars, motorbikes, books, music, politics, history, physics, whatever), well-travelled, kind, honest, inventive, original and so on. In short, they're people. Real, functioning, thinking human beings around whom I feel challenged, switched on, comfortable, safe and happy.

I'm all for the whole imprinting on one's parents thing because my relationship with them is basically a repeat and expansion of my relationship with my father (and arguably all of that formed a blueprint for my relationship with Ameel). It's always a bit silly to say 'if not for X, such and such wouldn't have happened' becuause X was there and whatever it is did happen and you have no real way of knowing whether your statement is true. But, coming from a relatively 'conservative' nation (for lack of a better word - I wasn't born in Pakistan and spent more time outside the country than in it, so I feel that, if anything my passport makes me from Pakistan-the-idea rather than Pakistan-the-place), I lucked out. I'd always thought so, because bad fathers are an unfortunately world-wide phenomenon, but I realized just how much when I went back to Lahore for college and discovered the utter monsters that are allowed to raise children there. Some had attitudes similar to those of my father (after all, he's from there too), but what the apparent majority of men(with the collusion of their wives and families) put their children - particularly their daughters - through was appalling.

With some notable exceptions, the men my own age that I met there were just as appalling. (So, too, again with some exceptions, were the women, so ultimately I guess they pretty much deserved each other.)  I made an effort. I really did. But seriously, if a man's fool enough to pull the macho crap and try to tell me what to do...

But that's just it. They really, honestly don't seem to know any better. The few that tried it with me probably still don't know where they went wrong (or what hit them), and I doubt that they really have any need to seeing as how they're probably now with women who do the whole subservient little woman thing anyway. And everyone involved is probably quite happy with things too, which I suppose is fine. Just because it's not my thing doesn't make it automatically' bad'.

But what does make it bad is when this crap spills over into my life. The web makes it possible for me to reconnect with all the wonderful people I've had to leave behind because our lives went in different directions. I've found people I haven't seen or been in touch with for ten years or more through things like Facebook and Orkut and have, thanks to them, actually managed to stay in touch with people. They're good applications, specially for us wanderers, because they bring all our different worlds into one easy to manage space. It's more of a home than any real place I can think of because everyone from evereywhere is there. Virtually.

Along with all of that, unfortunately, comes the aforementioned crap. Because my network or nationality or name or friends or some combination of these usually place me within reach of the 'desi' presence on the web, I am occasionally pestered by men seeking to be 'friends'. Now in desi-speak, 'friends' (or 'frraands' as it is generally pronounced) does not mean friends who chat once in a while, perhaps even over coffee or drinks, or friends who know each other a bit better and are interested in each other's lives, generally helpful and kind, and mostly truthful except perhaps when concerning an unfortunate haircut, etc. A 'friend' request from a desi man to a woman he does not know means simply that he thinks she's hot and that he has a chance of getting into her pants (virtually or otherwise) for some reason, be it that he thinks she's 'western(ized)' and therefore a 'slut' (read: a woman who has clapped eyes on a man not of her family oh, maybe once?), stupid enough to fall for his 'friend' routine, or so starved for attention that she will immediately fall to her knees in gratitude. Need I mention that these men are quite often also delusional?

Unfortunately, they obviously have some measure of success because they just don't go away.

When faced with a 'no thanks', they first begin to pepper you with messages asking you why not. When you don't respond, they beg for reasons why their oh so manly manliness hasn't had it's 'normal' effect (excuse me while I snort). When they still get nothing ( I don't believe in feeding the animals at a zoo either) they go and steal pictures they find of you on the web, put them in their own photo albums on said networking site, usually with some kind of inane caption, and then leave you a link to it. Now, this generally does get a lot of (desi) girls to contact them, if only to ask them to remove the picture because they're usually compromising (sometimes the mere fact that a perfectly innocent picture is in the possession of a 'stranger' is enough to get them into a world of trouble). This generally gives the harasser a 'way in': he's achieved his objective of getting a reaction and can now blackmail the girls into further contact, whether on the 'net or, more dangerously, in real life.

The problem that these shits run into with me is that I'm not too fond of being harassed or blackmailed and I'm not one to run from a fight if provoked. I'm also not liable to stop till I've ground them into a pulp. This is why I generally stay away from physical fights. I don't need the lawsuits or the possible jailtime, thank you. But in the virtual world, you can kick someone's ass from here to next Tuesday quite nicely, and all without getting your hands too dirty.

So when this particular idiot took a picture of me off this site and did the usual (on Orkut, this was), he didn't get the expected hysterical messages. Instead, Ameel and I

  1. put all the messages I had from him up on my Orkut page,

  2. messaged my friends about his harassment, pointing out the stupidity of 'stealing' a picture that is already in the public domain (under a creative commons copyright),

  3. asked them to check out his nauseatingly pedestrian profile, his visible harassment of other women on Orkut (scrapbooks are publicly viewable), his messages to me, and then

  4. invited them to come express their opinion of him on my page.

It was hilarious to see him scampering to delete his trail and remove most of the pictures from his album, all the while leaving idiotic messages in his defense. The last was the usual 'I just wanted what was best for you and promise me you'll be happy always and I would have been a true and devoted friend'. When that got nothing but jeers (Thanks, mate, but I already have all the dogs I want.), we were all told that this person had had a terrible accident and was in intensive care and that we should all be ashamed of ourselves for being such meanies. When that didn't get a reaction, we received another message saying that he had died and asking if we were happy now. From his account. A 'friend' of his logged in for him you see, because obviously the first thing you do when a friend is dying in hospital is log into his Orkut account and inform all the people there who have expressed overt dislike for him that someone they don't give two shits about has had a completely random accident, most likely caused by the stupidity he so blatantly exhibited online. Naturally.

If any such thing happened at all. Since I've had similar crap pulled on me before (I know. But I didn't fall for it then either.) I knew not to take it seriously. Sure enough, a while later a person with the same name starts commenting on this blog. Nothing untoward was said, so I didn't react. Then someone, again using the same name, sends me a friend request on Facebook. Now, I like Facebook because you can ignore requests and keep these people out of your circle and therefore unable to harass you (other than by private message, and that's a bit of a bother to do. You have to, like, articulate and stuff.)

All was well until lo, one day I get a friend request from a Nadia Niaz whose profile has a picture of me (again from my website, and this time from Ameel's photo page) on it. Another friend had also received a request and was wondering if it was some kook. So I reported it. Obviously. And so did a number of other people. Facebook removed the account. Bye bye, troll.

Or so we thought. Now there's a Nadia Niaz on Orkut whose profile picture is the same picture this loser first took off my site (and which I was using on Facebook for a while). Oh and get this, this Nadia is also 28, is single, and is only interested in women because she has had 'bad experiences' with men in the past. I nearly fell off my chair laughing. I think I'm meant to be offended or something. I mean, my goodness, a lesbian. How very original. Hands up the women who've been called dykes by men they weren't interested in? I think it's even funnier because, really, I have no issues being called a lesbian. I think women are lovely. The person I ended up committing to happens to have been born male, but it really wouldn't have made much of a difference to me personally either way. So umm, no, sexuality's not really an issue kiddo.

What I would find fascinating, if I could be bothered to investigate this phenomenon more, is why these people don't give up. It's not just on the 'net that this happens. While in Pakistan, pretty much the moment I got a cell phone was when I started getting random phone calls from people who wanted to 'get to know' me. How do these people have the time? Are they really all at that loose an end? No wonder the country's going to shit. And really, how pathetic and frustrated do you have to be to do this ad nauseam? Eventually, I wouldn't bother hanging up. I'd put the moron on hold and let him talk. (They always want to talk - one of the made up this very entertaining story about why I wouldn't speak. He probably wouldn't have figured out he was on speakerphone addressing not just me but my husband and a few friends as well if someone in the background hadn't burst out laughing.)

It comes across as cruel at times, I realize. But I've tried being nice, and I've tried reason, neither of which I think they're entitled to. I've also tried ignoring them. And yet he/they seem to think their lives are some shitty bollywood movie where the hero (them, of course) must pursue the heroine (whatever woman they're fixated on) even though she claims to not be interested in him because, of course, she either is secretly mad for him and is simply too dishonest to admit it, or is just too stupid to realize how great a catch he is and so must be repeatedly dazzled with his...er....well...nothing much really...but...it's just....well...he's male dammit and he wants her so how dare the impudent female say no? That's not what happens in the movies! And movies, specially big bollywood productions, are absolutely realistic. Oh yes they are!


Anyway, I've reported the creep again. Let's see how we go. Orkut is apparently less stringent about such things, but then most of my friends have migrated to Facebook already, because it affords one more, obviously much needed, privacy from such fuckwits.