This piece have been carried by ‘The Coffeelicious’ – a publication at Medium.Com
Close on the heels of International Women’s Day, something strictly for folks with a keen sense of humour!
Perhaps it is in vogue to talk about solo women travellers (SWTs). Perhaps they do face their fair share of issues during their travels. Or perhaps, the women’s lib movement has something to do with it.
Lately, the blogosphere has been echoing with the humdrum cacophony of Solo Women Travellers and their brave (!) exploits.
Since I am not insulated from this ever-building crescendo, I have been sitting in a figurative corner and sulking — feeling ignored, misunderstood and disillusioned — occasionally shaking my head during reveries of my travails and sinking deeper into the quagmire of depressive ponderings.
They say everyone is born equal. I believe in this profundity. But the world around me has left no stone unturned to prove otherwise. It has repeatedly thrown up evidence that some are born more equal than the others! And here, I am pointing to solo women travellers!
Today, I muster courage and embark on an erratic and staccato drumming on my computer keyboard to lay bare the woes of a solo male traveller (SMT).
I am quite clear I’ll certainly not be showered with bouquets, but I do hope to make a convincing enough case — just so I give brickbats a miss!
Let’s take a look at a few scenarios —
As a solo male traveller, I have never been offered a ride. In any country. While solo women travellers have been offered that often enough — right under my nose! Maybe it is just a function of a higher number of male drivers?
Have you ever been to a bar alone? If you are a male, you are normally given a thorough once-over to ascertain if you are a likely troublemaker. When you attempt to occupy a table, you are gently but firmly requested to occupy a barstool. Let me assure you, under such a circumstance, arguing would often prove futile.
So you occupy a barstool that gives you a vantage vis-a-vis ordering a drink. And suddenly, you discover the bartender develops a blind spot for your exact coordinates.
While you are silently lamenting this, you find a solo female stepping in and sitting on the same table that you had attempted to occupy!
Though I normally prefer being behind the camera, once in a while it doesn’t hurt to get yourself clicked at a hackneyed touristy spot, just for the heck of it (and of course, for your Facebook page). As a solo male traveller, it has been difficult for me to get such photographs clicked. As a rule, I would find zero volunteers. Upon mustering courage and approaching people around, I would normally face reluctance and not so normally, even hostility.
While women have been offered help despite language barriers, no such luck for solo male travellers.
Nada, Niet, Nee, Jo, La, Voch, Ez, Nien — these would be the more common monosyllabic responses you would face as a solo male traveller.
And as you watch in disappointment, the same set of strangers will pull out their iPhones or Androids to translate and understand the issue being faced by the solo woman traveller. The same app would be further put to good use to help the SWT.
And the issue just might be that the guy has bad breath!
Let’s now discuss the attire. While some establishments will not allow men (solo or otherwise) to enter unless they don ‘smart casuals’ — typically trousers, shirt and casual or formal shoes (NOT sports shoes), women get away with just about anything, or even close-to-nothing!
Now, let’s come to the point I am really sore about. I had to miss out on enough desirable clubs/nightclubs as the entry was reserved only for ‘couples’. But, solo women travellers were welcome there, literally with open arms!
Under such partial circumstances, it is irksome to find the bravery medals getting pinned on the feminine bosoms, when a casual glance at the statistics show more solo male travellers getting mugged, both below and above the tropics than solo women travellers!
Time has come for the solo male travellers to wake up to this reality and demand their due. Treat this little missive as a clarion call, SMTs, or get left behind forever in the cyberspace, just as you got left behind in the real world!