16 November 2009

Road romeos and the colour Orange - a vigorous case study

Something interesting has been happening to me over the last couple of months. Every time I wear an orange outfit or have some form of orange in my dress the men on Road no 12 go mad.

Most women reading this post will identify with Road Romeos (RR) - that brand of dedicated, emotionally stunted immature men, boys even, who like to acknowledge the female form by ogling, hooting, lewd commenting and when occasion presents itself, grabbing. Growing up, you recognize this species by their body language and try to either engage in a war of words, which you are sure to lose or devise a route that would avoid them no matter how convenient or inconvenient it was to change your path. You can sense this species, regardless of the direction it was coming from, trying to strip you of human dignity even as your eyes were saying, "Not even in your dreams you twisted freak..."

My first experience on Road no 12 from an RR: a jolly "Hello Sweetie" followed by a few flying kisses. The content itself was quite routine but what was odd was that this lout was on a bike and had to cross over traffic to make himself available within audible distance to me, also slowing down to make sure his flying kisses didn't get misdirected to the fruit seller by the side of the road. My first reaction of course was to give him the finger; a lousy, impotent gesture of rage and then, I wondered if I shouldn't have instead, kicked him off his bike , thereby getting indicted for manslaughter in the cause of discouraging RRs everywhere. Luckily the pace at which my muscles react is far slower than the pace at which my brain invents physical events so I am unable to execute most of my physical threats.

Now this routine of RRs on bike has repeated itself several times over, at different points of the day and at different points along Road no 12. Some RRs are even kind enough to offer a lift once they have conveyed their appreciation of my star-like good looks. But I started to notice a trend : the number of incidents seemed to increase exponentially when I was wearing the colour orange. For a while I thought it was wearing a kurta and pants, but when it started to happen even when I was dressed in a salwar suit I started to converge on the idea that it was a colour that was setting off this deeply ingrained neurological reaction. Even if I wear an orange duppatta its' enough for a reaction. Now, you are thinking: a) what's your sample size and b) where are the controls?

First let me address the issue of controls. I have used both positive and negative controls. For the positive controls I used an outfit made of knee length skirts and short tops. I tried them in various shades and they all elicited a full range of responses. Although, for ethical reasons, I must disclose that one time I was waiting in a flare skirt that was part of a figure hugging business suit, complete with 4 inch heels and looking quite chic, if I say so myself and I got nothing. I was waiting for a full 15 minutes trying to pick up a share auto and was so out of the ordinary that they weren't even willing to stop for me, so I had to get the office folks to pick me up. The most robust positive control, of course, would be the I would get in an orange skirt but alas, don't have one. For my negative controls I wore kurtas (non orange) with pants, and the same salwar suit but with a blue duppata (if your mind is boggling on how I can use an orange and blue duppata over the same salwar kurta, well, the salwar is black and the kurta is beige so I can wear just about any shade of dupatta with it) or red, pink dupattas and let me tell you, nothing.

Now, sample size. I wear something orange about once a week - I like orange!; so I got to test this theory out for almost 3 months now. Roughly, 12 times now and each time I get noticed about 0 - 3 times. Now, by noticed I mean someone coming over to coo in my ear as opposed to all those louts who simply stare open mouthed. On the rest of the days however I get a total of 0 - 2 incidents. So if you do some fun maths, on an average for the orange days my "notice rate" is about 1.5; where as on non-orange days its like 0.25. So about a 6-fold increase in attention on an orange day.

Ergo, I rest my case. Why, I do not know, but proved, I have, of this mind boggling correlation between me wearing Orange and getting "noticed". Oh, and yes, all this has done wonders for my self esteem. I suppose if the RR action escalated to grabbing I wouldn't be so pleased with the situation but so far, only coos and flying kisses.

Now to expand this study: do you have a colour in which you attract more imbeciles?


  1. Complelling research! When will this study be published? And what journal can I find it in? I look forward to hearing about your further RR research.

  2. it's plain simple - orange radiates your beauty more than ever, and as such receives a lot more!

    And you madame radiate the I-LOVE-orange-its-my-favorite-color-oh-look-at-me look as you walk down the gullies. So then, how can you blame a poor old B.S. communications,failed chap for his poor ways of expressing himself :P

    Accept it;), embrace it, and hey, who knows you might even offer to teach the RRs some communication skills you picked up from the Queen.

  3. Dear VPR - I'm thinking of sending it to the Journal of Cognitive Male Behaviour. Oh wait, that doesn't exist. Oh well, perhaps reader's digest? They are not analytically rigourous but I'm sure to reach a more unbiased audience.

    EM - Doll, I LOVE your positive spin on it. Actually, it is an interesting variable that you have brought up - orange bringing out my beauty, that cannot be accounted for in this study.