India: The Inevitable Feel Up

Well, here we go. 6 weeks into my India adventure, and that moment I knew would come, but that Goa had been coaxing me into believing might just yet be avoided, has finally happened. I’ve been the target of a walk by feel up.

I knew I was getting too comfortable. The ease of being in a beautiful, liberal, sea-side Indian town was just too good to be true.

If I had been in a crowded bus slammed between commuters, or even in a market in more northern conservative city, the incident might not have caught me so off guard. However, this happened mid-day, in plain sunlight, as I was venturing down an only somewhat busy market street making my way to the ice cream shop. I was in the heart of south Goa, on a touristy beach full of women in bikinis, men in Speedos, yoga studios, tattoo parlors, and discos. What then, you might ask, could I have possibly been doing to provoke this sudden male advance — Was it the way I had dressed? Did I make extended eye contact and imply that I was open to such an encounter? Hardly. Surrounded by strapless tops and thong bikini bottoms, I was clad in a tunic and long pants. And if you can imagine the focus I had on my sugary treat, you would know that there was no time for wandering eyes. Apparently, today my encounter was sheer luck.

Of course this experience did not go over so well. I proceeded to berate this man with questions of how he could act in such a way. What would he have done if another man had done that same thing to his wife, sister, or mother? Finally seeing that my words were falling on drunken and deaf ears, I relented and went my own way. An Indian friend told me later that evening that I would have been in the right to hit him with my dusty, cow-poop covered shoe.

Lesson learned – when in India, always keep your dirtiest shoe easily accessible (either on your foot or in a purse if dressed to head out on the town), just in case of a walk by feel up. You never know when one might happen.

Flip Flops - the perfect protection.

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