By Sagar Malik

Of all of the many accusations levelled against this city: about its roads, its heat, its cops, and proclivity for the obnoxious, the ones against its men rankle the most. As you can guess, this is mostly because I am not a road, a cop, or responsible for the heat – unless you’ve seen me in a suit, in which case you can argue that I’m a little bit responsible for the heat.

So… Delhi men.

We’re at a place in time where those two words incite the collective consciousness enough that you could be forgiven for already scrolling down to furiously comment in upper case and / or link blogs and rants and open letters about how all Delhi men are the same {expensive} brand of disgusting, with wandering eyes, unnecessarily tight t-shirts and an eagerness for ‘explaining you’ things.

But first, I want to clarify that this isn’t a crusade to restore honour to the good name of the unfairly maligned Delhi man. If anything, this is a crusade against any future crusades classifying all Delhi men as sexist, lecherous and culturally unaware goons when one of the {over four million} men in the city does something ranging from idiotic to evil. Which, statistically*, is about 8 seconds away.

The problem with generalisations is that they’re all stupid. {See what I did there?}

Of the spitter, the scratcher, the oily-haired lecher, the guy that calls you ‘madam’ disproportionately loudly, the whistler, the giggler, the music-blaring-window-rolling-eyebrow-raising-driver, the stalker, the ‘by-mistake’ toucher, the ‘myself-‘ introducer, the potbellied uncle, the friendship maker – most are just your generic brand of reprobate, likely to be found in hundreds of places in the country, leaning on things outside shops or at parties, determined to enjoy their one sided staring competitions. That behaviour is a socio-economic phenomenon instead of a geographical one. ‘Delhi men’ have, however, transcended those lines to earn their own place in popular culture and notoriety, a specialised creep of a certain demographic: {technically} educated urban men under forty, with disposable incomes and personalities.

In his book ‘City of Djicks,’ noted Social Scientist Dr. Madeup McMann says about the Delhi Male:

‘Moobs Overcompensator {biological name} is a species unique to Delhi. The moobs are one of three types: the Name-dropper, a subfamily localised to affluent neighbourhoods and identified by its shiny coat of fur; the Globetrotter, the most migrant of the Moobs, often known for picking up traits and accents of places thousands of miles away from the ones they visited; and the Clinger, who insists you’re the one. Recent sensitization efforts and constant rejection are forcing the Moobs to evolve into a species that is taming its most defining instincts in order to survive.’

In all seriousness, though: I have a theory. The city’s grown up quickly these last couple of decades. We’ve been able to become professionals in fields beyond Medicine and Engineering, we’ve been able to shop at places other than South Extension and Karol Bagh, and we’ve eaten things other than something-tikka, Butter-something, and Shahi-something-else when we’ve gone out. We’ve learned as much from an evolving education paradigm {though probably not evolving enough}, as from wisdom on the internet and the TV shows we’ve grown up on. Many made progress, interacted with art and culture from around the world, and broadened their intellectual and literary horizons. At the same time, there were those who feared change, or those who weren’t witness to it until a burgeoning economy handed them ridiculous sums of money. Many of them held on to the archaic and patriarchal, who resigned themselves to barely a bystander’s role as the world changed around them: people who blamed ‘the West’ for any evil that transpired {except for the time the blame was put on a certain spicy oriental food}. Some of these people – as people often do –  bred, and their offspring did that thing that children do when they learn from what they see. This is probably why only some of us believe in {and fight for} equality, while at the same time the city is cursed with an often abjectly regressive government, muscular men who expect their sisters back from college for lunch at home every day, but went to Bangkok for their bachelor party, and cops who see no wrong in questioning the morality or the choice of clothing of victims of sexual assault.

I know of little {else} that makes our men uniquely hate-worthy. The city bequeaths us no traits, the temperature doesn’t meddle with our brains, and the schools don’t propagate rampant idiocy. That the city isn’t limited to its caricatures goes without saying. There are people in the city who’re doing ridiculously cool things with their lives, and external auditing has revealed that approximately half of those people are men. Other interesting statistics revealed include the fact that of all the people who’re enriching the lives of others, again half happen to be men. Now we’ve nearly learned how to pronounce ‘colony’ properly, and we live in the enduring hope that one day people will show up to places on time. Maybe the first light of dawn isn’t about to break yet, but I live in the enduring hope that it isn’t long now. And then there’s solace in the fact that all the ills that plague the stereotype aren’t airborne pathogens, and that this is a city of more than one type of man.

Still, it’s a long road, from here to a place where ‘such a Delhi boy’ isn’t a figurative slap; a road littered with empathy and kindness and curiosity and all-round decent human behaviour. It’ll take time.

*As per the calculations of Dr. Madeup McMann: 17 light years, babez.

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