Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

Crazy white bitch

Crisis, I was a foul bitch yesterday. I very, very, very almost punched someone on the street.

This is something I have come exceptionally close to before, but yesterday it actually resulted in some physical contact. Ok, so I didn’t actually punch him, but I did elbow him across the chest as he walked past. Hard. Accompanied with a shriek of ‘Stop looking at me like that!’. Most days I can handle the staring. But really all that means is that I don’t look into the faces of the starers to really see the way they are looking at me. And yes, the staring is something I knew I’d have to accept here, and yes, I’m tall, and yes, I’m blonde (ish), so chances of me strolling around unnoticed range from slim to fuck all. But it’s the same type of staring reserved for all foreign females here, tall/short/blonde/brunette or anything in between. And I’m glad I’m taller than the staring little runts out on the street, as at least I never feel physically intimidated by them.

So obviously ‘them’ is Bangladeshi men. And in the mood I was in yesterday, ALL of them. Every single revolting, perverted one of them. Clearly Bangladesh and I were not seeing eye to eye yesterday. But if you’ve really pay attention to it and are cognisant of way men look at you (if you’re female) on the street, it’ll take all the mind control you have to not be affected by it. It can make you feel that you’re walking naked down that street. I think they honestly believe that all foreign women are well up for it, and given half a chance it’ll be their lucky day with you. It feels like you’re out somewhere grotty like Blackpool, at 2am on a Saturday night, where every guy is looking around for his last chance to pull for the evening while doing his best to not fall over. Except this Dhaka, everyone is sober, and it’s like this every day.

Anyway, so one of them eventually got (just a tiny bit) of my accumulated-over-seven-months wrath yesterday. Obviously my outburst meant nothing to no-one, and who knows what the guy thought he did to deserve it. Obviously salaciously staring at a woman wouldn’t be in his mental tally of wrongs he could have committed that day.

I was planning to go to the SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) finals in Dhaka last night. But given my dark, dark mood I decided me in a stadium surrounded by THEM was clearly a recipe for disaster. And violence.

PS Feeling much better today, physically and mentally. No longer the ‘crazy white woman of Dhaka’s streets’ I was yesterday. Half way back to The Hills, sitting in Pizza Hut in Chittagong eating ice cream. It’s the chicken soup for my foreigner-in-Bangladesh soul.

PPS I’ve never actually been to Blackpool. But that’s certainly the mental image I have of it.

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