Friday, November 30, 2007
Bite the hand
I was in Singapore on Tuesday night to give a presentation to around 120 senior clients, or potential clients, who were, as usual, 95% male. Now, I always get hit on at these events – not, of course, because I’m any kind of goddess, but because certain sorts of men in Asia seem to think that western women are up for anything. My enthusiasm for my business and the promotion thereof has often been mistaken for interest of another kind. One old gimmer, who had once been someone very important in Australia, emailed me after one event to say he was going to throw caution to the wind and come to Hong Kong just to take me to dinner… Anyway, two Indian men came up to me after the talk with great enthusiasm. They both heartily shook my hand and said how good it was to meet me and how we can work together in India, etc etc. One of them shook my hand again, but this time he curled his middle finger on to his palm – an unmistakable signal of some sort which would still have looked to any observer like a legitimate handshake. When I told L (the general manager of our Singapore office) about it, she said it was a sexual overture. If this is true, and I can’t think of anything else he might have been trying to signal to me, that is really quite extraordinarily revolting.