Travails of solo male travellers

 

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 —

Scenario #1

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?

Scenario #2

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.

Travails of Solo Male Travellers
Solo Women Travellers seldom are solo!

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!

Scenario #3

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.

Travails of Solo Male Travellers
One of the few pictures I managed to get clicked during my solo travels!

Scenario #4

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!

Scenario #5

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!

Scenario #6

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!

It will be nice if you leave a comment about your take on this issue. Thanks!

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Comments

comments

24 COMMENTS

  1. Ha ha! Great read. We all have our troubles traveling whether we are male or female. I liked your story a lot. It puts a great spin on solo travelling .

  2. Amen, my friend. I have often thought these same things and never put them on paper… actually I did once and was quickly met with “You cannot make statements about somebody else’s struggles or obstacles unless you are in the same exact category.” While it may be true, I echo your sentiments across the board that as a male traveler, we do get the short end of the stick… even though we’re not shifty characters.
    Rob Taylor recently posted…Snoqualmie: the best day trip with kids. Ever.My Profile

  3. Hi Ajay, this post is wonderfully informative to me. I have begun to get annoyed with the enormous number of “solo female travellers’ getting huge praise while the solo male travellers get ignored because “naturally, they have it easier”. It is good to know that this is not the case. I hear horror stories of male travellers getting mugged, attacked, refused and so on.

    Thanks for sharing and all the best on your travails as a solo male traveller.

    Lexie
    Lexie recently posted…Packing for an Everest Base Camp TrekMy Profile

  4. hahaha, good one. Ajay! these points u listed doesn’t confine only to traveling. It can be generalized to each day in life. But whenever I get into these kind of discussions, I just have 1 point to make “Who gives all these privileges to women??? ” They are the men themselves!! So this should be against the entire male fraternity unity.
    The title of the post interested me so much! And I agree to what you are saying. good ppl get targetted because of bad experiences from few

  5. Dear Ajay Sir,
    I always take delight in your writing, except this time I do not agree with any of the points you have made.
    1. Solo travellers seldom travel solo, except those that do! Some women truly travel alone and that takes a lot of courage.
    2. All decent cameras have timers. I often use it to click my pictures. I hope you can too.
    3. Women are offered help, often when we do not ask for it as well. That’s usually because several solo women travellers have to deal with a “she’s available” attitude all the time. Being told a simple “no”, trust me, is a gift that you might be looking in the face of.
    4. The “smart casuals” rule apply to women as ell. I have been refused entry at pubs in New Delhi for wearing a saree. Sorry to also point out that saying a woman wearing “nothing” is allowed entry to a pub/restaurant is not humorous. Also solo women are allowed in most pubs because they are also considered “good for business”, unlike solo males who can be potential trouble makers.

    I understand your angst against the pretentious, present in both genders. But your lop-sided view of the female solo traveller is upsetting. I hope you meet some real solo women travellers and see for yourself that the challenges they face every minute overshadow your rues by miles.
    Susmita recently posted…A museum for serious car lovers!My Profile

    • Thanks Susmita, for taking time out and sharing your candid views. I had specifically classified this post as ‘Travel Humour’ with a view to share a tongue-in-cheek account of how men are ‘jealous’ of the trend of covering ‘solo women travellers’. While the views may be ill-founded, this ‘jealousy’ isn’t. I hope you’d see it in that light. If there is something that you specifically find objectionable, apologies for that. In case many more readers’ views coincide with yours, as a democracy-believer, I’ll have no choice but to either amend those sections of the post, or even take it down. May we wait and watch? Thanks once again!
      Travelure recently posted…Travails of Solo Male TravellersMy Profile

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