By Purba Ray Jul. 24, 2019
What’s a “female beer”, you ask? Well, if a Gurgaon pub is to be believed, it’s some sort of sweet cocktail mixture that promises to awaken your inner tigress with just a few sips. Now all we need is those “lady-friendly” Doritos for chakna.
If the drink you’ve just ordered is coy, caring, compassionate, and has dedicated its life to taking care of you and your every need, congratulations, you just tasted India’s first ever “female beer”. What’s a “female beer”, you ask? Well, if this bar in Gurgaon is to be believed, it’s some sort of sweet cocktail mixture that comes in a glass with an acceptably narrow waist, and promises to bring out your inner tigress with just a few sips.
Finally, someone looking out for us timid women who can’t speak for themselves. For too long we have silently pretended to enjoy that icky bitter taste, every time we glugged pitchers after pitchers of beer. Our sensitive tongues, as you all know, are only accustomed to swallow bitter pills, like when we’re paid less, or dismissed for our unpalatable views.
So far, only the server at every party has understood women and their palette. That’s why he always makes it a point to walk right past you when carrying trays of single malt, but approaches you the moment the tray is full of orange squash. If by chance, you decide to drink the malt, you are an unreasonable bitch out to destroy the basic tenets of patriarchy. As you take a sip, you’ll notice him looking at you the way a telly saas looks at her bahu when she catches her wearing a revealing saree blouse. With disgust. So you spit it out near his feet and scream, “Hai! Where’s my ladylike single-and-sanskari malt?” Hasn’t this happened to all of us?
Then maybe female beer is the answer. A part of me is really happy with this “genderisation” of yet another product. Personally I love that our creams smell nicer, come in pretty little jars, and cost three to four times more than men’s products. I’ve always maintained that women have too much money lying around. Men, meanwhile, like their toiletries to be like the image they portray to the world — gruff, coarse, no-nonsense, and definitely not pink. That’s why when my husband looks at his kali twacha in the mirror, he knows he’d rather be made a fool by a mardon wali cream than the bubble pink one his wife uses to get rid of her insecurities.
If by chance, you decide to drink the malt, you are an unreasonable bitch out to destroy the basic tenets of patriarchy.
If it wasn’t for these marketing gimmicks, who knows what us women be rubbing on ourselves? It pains me to think of all the “men’s only” things we’ve accidentally used and consumed over the years. Just a year ago, we discovered we were eating nachos all wrong when Doritos graced us with “lady friendly”, chips that come without the crunch. Because, as we all know, women would rather walk upside down than be caught making loud crunching noises…
Part of me knows that men and women are engineered differently. That’s why I don’t buy tampons for my husband. This part of me is also relieved that, even for gender neutral products, I don’t have to bother to think for myself. Who wants the stress of walking into a toy store that makes no mention of gender? Life is much less complicated when you can head straight to an aisle marked “girls” and pick up a makeup kit for your friend’s eight-year-old daughter. Sure, she’d much rather play with Lego, but… life sucks kiddo. In a way, I’m doing her a favour and preparing her for the future. So unlike some of us delusional women she won’t wake up suddenly and be surprised when she’s told that all the beer she’s been drinking all along was originally made for men.
Facts such as beer was first brewed by women, 5,000 years ago, and finds a mention in Sumerian and Egyptian history are inconsequential. I should have known better. Yet I’d always assumed that beer wasn’t a man’s drink to start with, because brewing is a kitchen task. And you know what happens to a man who sets foot inside a kitchen, don’t you? They sprout a vagina. But anyway that’s a point for another day. For now, everything good belongs to men, and we’re just going to have to accept that. And drown our sorrows drinking… umm… female beer.
So while I can’t wait to get my hands on some of this magic woman liquid, I can’t help but wonder about the fate of female beer in Gurgaon. Is she allowed happy hours? Can she be consumed once the sun sets? If she’s seen in the arms of a man, will she be labelled a slut? And most importantly what happens to the tigresses that lady beer has managed to unleash? Will she show her middle finger to this scam and order a bada peg of scotch instead? All I know is that if you’re a man who hates the bitter taste of beer, you better suck it up and enjoy your asli mard drink.
Nearly funny, almost liberal, rarely serious, Purba likes to keep a safe distance from perfection. Unfortunately she has an opinion on everything, fact or fiction, beginnings or ends, light or heavy, long and short.