When a man tells me
I’m beautiful
I don’t believe him.
Instead, I relive my days in high school
When no matter how good I was
I was always the girl with a moustache


He doesn’t know what it’s like
to grow up in your maternal family
Where your body is the only one that
Proudly boasts of your father’s X
While your mother’s X sits back and pities
It’s unladylike-ness

He doesn’t know the teenager
Who filled her corners with
Empty consolations of
Being loved for who she was- someday.

He doesn’t know hypocrisy.

He doesn’t know of the world that
tells you to ‘be yourself’
and sells you a fair and lovely shade card
in the same fucking breath

He doesn’t know of the hot wax and the laser
whose only purpose is to
replace your innocent skin
with its own brand of womanhood

He doesn’t know of the veet and the bleach
That uproot your robust hair
in the name of hygiene
Hygiene, which when followed by men
makes them gay and unmanly

He doesn’t know how bushy eyebrows are tamed
and how uni brows die a silent death
All to preserve beauty
And of the torturous miracles that happen
Inside the doors marked
WOMEN ONLY

So when a man calls me beautiful
I throw at him, a smile; a smile that remained
After everything the strip pulled away
And I dare him
To wait
Till my hair grows back.

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