Playing the G card

Published Aug 4, 2017, 2:11 am IST
Updated Aug 4, 2017, 2:11 am IST
Many a girl will coolly and coyly play the ‘But a gentleman wouldn’t do this’ card and get her way.
A still from Failure to Launch
 A still from Failure to Launch

This is an angry article. Angry because I need to vent but can’t as it would be considered unbecoming of me, or of any man in my position, to point out a gross anomaly that exists, nay thrives, all around us. Allow me to explicate.

The other day at the local pool I was busy clocking a hefty 2 km worth of swimming. It’s tough even for me so I don’t dawdle along the way: swimming in geometric straight lanes and stopping only to turn every time I reach the end. Along came a portly lady and decided to stand right where my lane ended. Not only that, she then proceeded to swim in it on collision course. As it happened, we both had to stop as we approached mid lane from either side. I briefly turned, side-swam and continued, grumbling something under my half-beaten breath. Two lengths later she stopped me and said something about how I should be more careful since I was wearing swimming goggles. Actually, let me tell you like it played out.


Lady: You are wearing goggles, you should be careful.

Me: So are you, so you too should be careful.

Lady: Yes, but you are swimming too fast.

Me: Wait, you’re saying my speed is a problem? That’s ridiculous!

Lady: No, I mean, I had to avoid you since you were in my way.

Me: This is my 52nd length and I haven’t deviated from this lane much before you entered, so clearly it’s you who is in my lane. You could have seen me swimming here and started from elsewhere.

At this point, a friend of hers joined and piped in.


Lady 2: But if you’re a gentleman then you will see that a lady is saying something to you and accommodate.

This is where I lost it but I knew I could say no more. So I swallowed my ego and went my way, meekly changing my lane when it was her fault. What else could I do? They had played the G card.

It is this precise double standard that has me riled up. Whatever happens to equal rights and banishing gender bias when logic stands stoic in front of it? Many a girl will coolly and coyly play the ‘But a gentleman wouldn’t do this’ card and get her way. How is that right? Shouldn’t we men be allowed to object to this mockery of equality? 


Later I even apologised for having raised an objection in the first place, accepting the fallacy that it is the man’s prerogative to look out and move aside. I didn’t want to leave the pool with anyone thinking I’m the disrespectful kind. Mom did raise a good one.

I am all for chivalry — opening doors, letting ladies walk ahead — all for it, but ever so often I get told off for it. I get the whole speech and song about all that is wrong with my ‘patronising’ behaviour. Well, ladies, I beseech you to decide just which side of the fence do you wish to immigrate to. I just wish that this message goes out to every woman who hides the G-card up her sleeve but more specifically to anybody of clearly the weaker sex who intends to disrupt my swim routine — if you want equality, stop quibbling when it’s served up.


–The writer is a lover of wine, song and everything fine