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The Aziz Ansari episode reminds me of all the Indian boys who can’t say please, or thank you

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As a feminist stand-up comedian who supports #MeToo, Radhika Vaz doesn’t want to list the number of ways ‘Grace’ could have changed the outcome. 

Before I get to Aziz Ansari, I just want to say that Indian parents need to start doing their job. Your children, by and large, are raised entirely without manners. Most Indian kids don’t say “please” or “thank you” until they are about 27, and none of them know how to greet people. Add to this utter and complete lack of sophistication of the fact that dating is not an Indian concept, and what do you get? A situation like the one Aziz has found himself in (allegedly!).

Now, I can’t speak for “Grace”, but I can speak about my own experiences with Indian men.  See our boys have been told that there are two ways to treat a woman—someTHING to have sex with or someONE you take straight home to Mummyji. In both cases, the woman is objectified, but in one she is slut-shamed as well. Indian men are not told that one can have a sexual relationship with a consenting adult female that may not lead to marriage.

The reason they haven’t been told this is because this type of relationship is complex. It requires maturity and kindness, and it requires the man to assume that not all women want to marry him despite what his mom thinks. This is the type of relationship—unlike a fling or marriage—that actually requires you to get to know a woman. How her mind, heart and body works. It’s a relationship that requires proverbial balls.

A young friend of mine found himself in a relationship with a girl who was pretty and smart as hell. He couldn’t believe she was wasting her time with his miserable, pot-smoking ass. Neither could I. Everything was going swimmingly. Then he decided to start talking. He told her he wasn’t serious, and that he didn’t believe in marriage. He is 19. Look 19-year-olds, no one cares, especially not the girl nice enough to accommodate you.

So, guess what? Yep, she dumped him. For another guy who clearly knew how to keep his mouth shut. Men, sometimes saying nothing can be very romantic and inspiring.

Now, let’s talk about us women. While many of us are all for relationships that are nothing more than a pipe cleaning exercise, there are an equal number who want to have a conversation, want to be treated like we have a mind, an opinion, and maybe even a witticism or two. We do not want to be taken home to your mother, but we do not want to be treated like a blow-up doll, and that too by a man whose foreplay game is clumsy at best and painful at worst.

A friend of mine once decided she wanted to have sex. Because she was single at the time, she called a male acquaintance she was fairly friendly with. She told him what she needed, and asked if he was up for it. He was. They decided to make it a date. They went out for a romantic dinner, and laughed at how incongruous it was. He opened the door for her and they laughed some more. And with all this good laughter and good manners, they ended up having a great night of good sex. Why don’t we have more stories like this? Oh yes—because if we do this we will be shamed for being too ‘forward’!

It is hard to say what really went down between Aziz and “Grace”. As a woman who is pro- #MeToo, believes every woman must be heard, is pissed off with Catherine Deneuve even though she is French, and I don’t want to minimise this woman’s experience. I don’t want to pick apart her story, and I don’t want to list the number of ways she could have changed the outcome.

What I do want to point out, however, is that 9 out of 10 times men and women come to the table expecting very different things.  And the only way we can ensure that there is no ill will, inept groping, or worse, is by being mature and kind to one another.

Men, I get that you didn’t ever need to say please or thank you as children, but start learning to say it now. It takes the grey area out of what should be pretty black and white.  And to the women: let’s start saying what we want. Out loud and not just to our girlfriends.

Let’s start talking about it with our male friends, colleagues, and parents. Lets practice doing this over and over again, so that when we find ourselves drifting in a direction we don’t like we can hopefully bring a stop to it in a manner that is mature and kind as well.

Radhika Vaz is a stand-up comedian and author of the book “Unladylike: A Memoir”. Her Twitter handle is @radvaz

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  1. Another mindless rant, a clear case of “He is guilty because a woman acussed him” and also stereotyping all men as perverts/potential rapists/sexists….. I agree that the mentality of many people needs to change, but that doesn’t mean that categorizing all men as the same won’t solve shit

  2. Another mindless rant, typical case of “he is a pervert/guilty” before the truth has been bloody spoken…. maybe the author, just like a lot of other people who believe that ranting will get them attention,need to be taught that not all men/women are the same,but then, we Indians have this habit of reaching conclusions before thinking hard about any topic

  3. This article sounds like an angry and misandrist rant about the author’s own biases, with no relation to the Aziz case whatsoever. He’s one of my favorite comedians and I hope his career is not impacted by this silly nonsense. Greetings from Spain.

  4. The above comment is much more insightful than the article, which uses Ansari as a vehicle for the author’s contempt for Indian men. Perhaps she is right about them, but this has nothing to do with Ansari. He just happens to have a superficial link to a group that has evidently caused Miss Vaz some frustration.

  5. The F. The author has taken this to be about Indian males. Ridiculous. Has she watched his show , his talks and does he come across the men she knows and makes Ansari to be the same? Telling his parents that they raised him with the idea of women as the author puts forth, is there evidence for this from her side to substantiate her theories? Comparing him, one who has rarely ever set foot in India,whose parents migrated to US even before he was born , to one born and raised in India, the hell , the author is ranting and adding to the noise surrounding the news.

    This episode with Grace certainly shows Ansari as a douche but where does him being Indian come in here, his being an Indian as Indian boys in India. God, what utter crap this article is. Writers puking out their own biases with no understanding of the subject at hand, typical to expect from Indian journalism.

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