The little boy who lived in the next house pouted his pink lips sadly when his mother directed him to play with me.
“But she is a girl.”
I did not quite get it back then. I didn’t understand his mother’s embarrassed giggle, “Yeah, but she is the only one you can play with here. Go on and play with her.”
And I did not understand my brother’s indignant glare, “She is as good as a boy!”
I am blessed because no matter how strangely arranged my family is, no one has ever placed any limitations on me because of my gender. I might have been an engineer, if I had chosen to be one. I chose to be a writer and a kindergarten teacher. I might have been a doctor, or a pilot, or a chemist, any of them if I chose. That is one thing I have always understood.
So when the girl who lives next to our apartment tells me that she loves construction sites, but will not study construction engineering because, because she is a girl, I stare at her with incredulity. Why not because she hates the noise of machines, or because she loves something else more? Why does it have to be ‘because she is a girl’?
The cute guy in the office frowns when I talk about super bikes. I think it is because he knows I cannot afford one. He tells me, when I ask, that I am a girl. I should be admiring curtains and my boyfriend’s SUV which should be able to accommodate a baby seat. I am so outraged I cannot speak for a whole minute.
Of course, I am a girl! Does he really think that I did not notice that part of my anatomy when I woke up this morning? What do curtains have to with any of it? So maybe I do like curtains also. What makes him think that I cannot admire Ducati 996’s too? And who told him my boyfriend drives an SUV? I ride with him in the noisy matatu every morning. But he plans to buy a decent Maruti that can deliver the confectionery he makes to his customers. I’d prefer to buy a sleek black jaguar. Goal. Written down. SMART. (Sniff)
Anyway, I am a girl. And I have a voice. My voice says that there are a whole lot of things that people cannot do. And a whole lot that people can do. Whatever those things are should never be followed by, “She is a girl.”
Ladies, go out and find your strengths and explore them to the full and with some smart sense too. Curtains or Super bikes! Uh- it migh help if you read up on it. But damn! 1000cc. What!