Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Maid for each other

If there is someone who understands the nuances of male behaviour much better than a gender columnist, it has to be the domestic maid.
I find it absolutely amazing to see men in power, men leading companies—basically men calling the shots in their working life being rendered complete putty in the company of this mystical goddess.

A friend of mine used to unburden regularly about his travails with his domestic. He called her Maxi, as that was her preferred garment and for some reason, it pissed him off. It got his goat that she should trivialize the job so much, she didn’t even bother to be suitably attired.

But that was not all. She just disturbed his calm with her Speedy Gonsalves style of working, and every morning, he felt like his flat was hit by a hurricane. And before he even finished his cup of tea, she would be gone.

He soon reached a point where her attire started giving him the hives—much more than her working style, and finally, in disgust, he decided to sack her. The day he mustered the courage to tell her, she announced that she was pregnant. He freaked out and called me immediately. “Can I get sued for sacking a pregnant woman?” “Depends,” I said. He is still stuck with her. And she still wears a maxi.

In contrast, the benevolent beau has a classic slow-motion cadet who descends on him whenever she feels like, smiling in the most benign manner. When she started out, he, in his usual act of deep concern for fellow humans asked her to take Sundays off. “Good, no? Even we get days off!” he said in all earnest.

She, of course decided to interpret it her way, and decided to work only on Sundays. It took him a whole two months to communicate to her that there had been a misunderstanding. Once, when she disappeared for over two weeks, he even tried to get a replacement, but then she re-emerged, with her beatific smile and he succumbed again.

“Is she good at her job?,” I asked.
“I don’t know, but she is quiet,” he said.
That explained it. Not having to engage was good reason to be loyal to your domestic, even if she never showed up.

The couch-potato father gets instructions from the super-organised mother when she is out on one of her jaunts, “Make sure she cleans the counter and the sink. She has this tendency to slink away. Also insist that she return in the afternoon to do the rest of the dishes,” she tells him.
He turns a shade of purple that his chocolate complexion allows him to and winces, “Yaar, just tell her yourself. Leave me out of this…”

We all know that men have a problem with confrontation and closure. But it is actually the Maxis of the world who really know how to use it to their advantage. May be Maxi should be writing this column next.

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