A smug smile adorns

Pink lips,

As I shimmy into

My favourite skater skirt.

A flick of the wrist

Shifts flyaway hairs from my cheek,

Tossing away the

Disapproving look that

Sheila Aunty shoots over

The shoulder of her

Backless choli.

Stiletto heels

Quash the stifling guidelines

I am meant to follow

While choosing an outfit.

I wink at the scandalised

Kitty party,

And wave away the

Multitude of comments

That I know will accost me.

“Beta, I see one millimetre of your bra strap.”

“Beta, wear another shirt inside that blouse.”

“Beta, why don’t you maybe throw on some pants?”

But when the gaze of

An intoxicated man

Hungrily drags across my frame,

Or the cab driver

Can’t seem to look into my eyes

My bravado dissipates

And I shrink away instead,

Gripping another’s forearm

And accepting

A baggy jacket.

My little attempt at

Revenge is thwarted.

Society seems to be

The better player

In this gender game.

Avenging its

Wounded patriarchal ego,

It has painted a

Target on my back.

The one to which

Supposedly every man may

Lay a claim.

My sins are my

Womb and XX chromosomes,

The breasts that I must

Pour into the cups of a bra.

Forced to succumb,

I choose not

To prove a point,

And instead choose to

Wear pants for a late night out,

And carry a jacket,

In the hopes of

not being harassed.