The word Sirens in the title of this blog is not a reference to the horn that you find on top of an ambulance, or a police mobile. It is referring to the Sirens from Greek mythology. Yeah, I know you knew that. It’s for the guy next to you.
Sirens were water nymphs, part women, part fish (part bird). They sat near the water’s edge and lured in sailors from the high seas with their bewitching songs. The music they made would prove irresistible for the men, who would try to make it to shore without caring for their safety, often with disastrous results.
In other words, these Sirens would turn them into those guys you see, standing outside of girl’s colleges, disregarding the stick of the chowkidar that will eventually hurt them. No, not in that way! Oh, come on!.
I had to go into all this detail so that I could justify adding Shabana Maniar to this blog.
At first glance, Shabana is a thirty-something housewife with frayed nerves (read: multiple kids), worn hands and neglected nails. At one time she was a fair colored maiden, hounded by men. But in a few years, she will bear an uncanny resemblance to Grandpa Munster. Despite all that, she fits the bill of a Siren, the temptress.
Shabana is the host of the new show “Bila-Takalluf” on Metro-One. On this evening she had on Mrs. Hameed, a veteran of a marriage bureau who looked entirely drained (Grandpa is up to his old tricks). Now lets get down to business. Two things; one her dress and the other, is what happened to it.
She’s wearing a multi-layered outfit that is all the rage these days. These dresses usually have an expansive outer, diaphanous shell that is worn over a more risqué’ number inside.
This particular dress has a sleeveless fuchsia colored shameez inside, with a scoop-neckline that is a foot deep. Any lower and you would have struck water. The outer shell is a sheer, in pink leopard print. The object of this design, as far as I can make it, is to draw and focus your attention on her cleavage. The sheer material is there to tease and tantalize. The low neck camisole inside, is the Siren’s Call.
This dress does for boobs, what fishnet stockings do for legs.
Then something happened that would up-the-ante. It was a wardrobe malfunction… or so I guess. Her neckline was caught on some lacy bit on her bra cup and stayed stuck there for the duration of the show. So in addition to all of that cleavage, half of her bra was also on display, behind a sheet of sheer leopard.
If she knew about it, she certainly didn’t seem to care. In fact, as you can see in the video, whenever her dupatta fell down from around her neck, she would immediately gather it and push it back up, making sure nothing got between us and her funky stylings.
This sort of sly, tongue-in-cheek exhibitionism is now rampant in our society. It transcends all social and economic strata. On the street women from all walks of life are wearing sheer, barely-there lawns with deep scoop necklines, front and back, which leave little to the imagination. Sometimes you may even feel like walking-up to one and telling them that they really must retire their faded, frayed bra with the missing snap-hook in the back.
This liberal trend of “saaf chuptay bhee nahi, saamnay aatey bhee nahin” dresses, also represents a clear shift in public attitudes. The stylish dress behind the diaphanous veil and the flashy lingerie worn inside sheer shirts, are all living aspirations biding their time, waiting to be realized. Women want (and some say, need) to feel attractive, sexy and desirable. However hard we have made it for them, to express their feminity and sexuality, they seem to have figured-out ways around it.
Like the sheer stuff, but showing-off lingerie is a bit tacky. But we’ll take it.
Here is the accompanying video.