Bonding with sisters

Simphiwe Ndungane

Simphiwe Ndungane

What would have been a normal day had I been at a seaside resort with a towel wrapped around my waist turned out to be a very interesting sociological experience.

The incident left me with more questions than answers.

The company had decided that it was time for colleagues to bond, so they booked us into a riverside lodge outside Parys in Free State, to do some mental gymnastics and also a bit of physical exercises.

Of course, the outing would not have lived up to its intended outcome had it not been for the intoxicating substances that were served to relax our inhibitions.

The last physical exercise of the day was rowing.

Not only did the exercise produce some comical and hilarious scenes of people toppling over, it also left many of us with wet bottoms.

So, if you had brought along a single pair of pants, you were left with no option, but to hang around in your underwear.

I was one of those who did not pack an extra pair of pants.

So, I had no choice, but to cover with a towel, which, given many colleagues' intoxicated state of mind, was a source of entertainment.

I found myself dogging every other female colleague as I tried to conjure a solution to this not-so-minor inconvenience.

While doing so, it dawned on me that it was women's month and it was perhaps their way of making people like me feel the drudgery they felt every day.

This was made all the more real by the winter chill of the highveld.

It could also be the women's way of "sharing" with me, I thought, the pain of being forced into awkward situations of doing what was not preordained.

When I attended a function recently, a male associate made the point more succinctly by saying "making tea is not a sign of womanhood, but one of courtesy".

So it should be a matter of convenience rather than course that one ends up with a towel or dress, as the case may be, like many people who live in temperate regions of the world, both male and female.

The long and short of it all is simple. It is time to reopen the gender equality debate with more substantive issues on the agenda.