Indecent proposal

Published Nov 19, 2015, 4:42 am IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 1:47 am IST
The simplest thing to do is to gloss over the innuendos
Still from Kyaa Kool Hain Hum
 Still from Kyaa Kool Hain Hum

There are subtle as well as strong ways to deal with leery men making uncalled for advances at women, a problem pervading the world over

I’ve just come back from a delightful visit to Turkey. Istanbul is beautiful, the people so hospitable, and the men — they can leave a lady feeling like she’s Angelina Jolie! They often come on strong and sweet like their famous coffee! But this predilection is not an isolated Turkish thing or Italian or whatever else.  It’s something a lady can encounter anywhere in the world.


Even married women are sometimes confronted with uncalled for advances. We’re a “modern” world, after all — and “modern” can mean ever so many things. So, how does a lady deal with this particular “modern” occurence? How does she convey that advances are not welcome?

My friend Bella is a no-nonsense person. She clearly tells any leery man to behave himself. Such a direct response can sometimes cause great humiliation and bruise a few egos. You don’t necessarily want that, do you? Especially if the situation is a delicate one? If he’s your colleague or your partner’s close friend?


The simplest thing to do is to gloss over the innuendos and pretend that your IQ just does not extend to such intelligent heights! But many times, this leads to greater pursuance and persistence! There comes a point where it becomes necessary to draw the line and convey your lack of interest in a way that avoids a scene.

You can try zooming in on the wife, if there is one, and shower her with friendly attention. It may be a safety valve. Or, bring in your own partner to diffuse the over-friendliness. If it’s not at a gathering of folks and happens instead at your workplace, you’ll need some serious diplomatic skills to tide you through. There are those who go wringing their hands and wondering what they should do or those who fly into self-righteous umbrage and vent out against the “injury to their good name”.


Others go confiding to “close friends” and create a chain of Chinese whispers... It’s apparent that these responses lead to undesirable repercussions. Constructively, one analyses the matter as having two or three aspects to be considered carefully. You know that God has made you presentable and attentions come with the label, so you can side-track the innuendos by determinedly keeping the chatter friendly and light. Otherwise, you can graciously respond to them as compliments. If needed, let drop friendly hints that you are committed and that harmless flirtation is not your scene. If that doesn’t work either, change the subject.


If the onslaught is stronger and if it is essential that your equation with him be maintained, indicate that you value the association or that you both have such a good work arrangement. Tell him, “Let’s not complicate matters by intrusions that are likely to dent a good thing” and so on.

A more direct approach is to mention that you are not interested. And if some other suggestion, like dinner or a trip is mentioned, do persist. Calm, composed and dignified. It is not necessary to be angry or to react sharply. So long as it is polite, take it as a compliment rather than getting huffy and self-righteous. Remember to keep a tone of bonhomie in place. Of course, each one knows her situation best and what measures need to be taken.


I don’t recommend mentioning your relationship status because if a person is single, it does not mean they are automatically available. A person has to be interested in the first place. As I see it, if the matter is truly insulting in its implications, especially if the advances include any groping or touching — go ahead, take advantage of the privacy and render a tight slap with “I think that conveys what I think! And I’m sure you don’t need to speak of it to me or to anyone else!”

The author is a designer and luxury consultant. Mail her at




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