'Men are not stupid, it's just that they are aggressive. We have to teach them'

October 29, 2021 | 09:00 pm PT
Jesse Peterson Teacher
Recently I joined an online group called "Men are confused about their market value."

If you want to understand what this group is about I’ve prepared a song for you.

"Hello! Hello, wow you’re really beautiful, really sexy, let’s go out together!

Hi, sorry I have a boyfriend.

What? How dare you!? Why didn’t you say that before I complimented you?"

A month ago Saigon ended the lockdown and I was able to perform comedy again. I danced and sang that song on stage. When doing comedy, it is necessary to try quite a few jokes just to see if it is funny or I shouldn't use it a second time. People look at me like I'm crazy quite often because not every joke is a gem.

Indeed, many times I am very confused about the value of men.

Most Vietnamese men when they meet me for the first time ask: "Are you a teacher?" "No, I write for the newspaper." "...Is that so? Can you speak Vietnamese?" "Not too bad." (while I’m speaking Vietnamese to them.) "Is that so, but you probably don't know the slang word for gossip?" "I know that word." "So you probably don't know the slang word for drinking, right?" "That's right... I don't know that word."

Actually, I'm not unfamiliar with that word, ‘nhậu’ but I feign ignorance to end the game ‘what does he not know’. It’s often like that with men, a lot of times they just seem to enjoy competing, even fighting.

Fighting... today we men don't use fists and feet anymore, no more bows, swords, guns and grenades, but we still fight all the time.

On my way to the tennis court last week I came across a red truck that was extremely large for the small man inside. The man driving the car was occupying a space on the road that is also extremely large, many times larger than his body. He used his horn aggressively to force my bicycle to stop for his truck to pass.

Of course, not only in Vietnam but also in my hometown Canada men also often compete. We were forced to learn French in school, but most of us resented having to learn it, because it was hard to get interested in it. We have a "I know more French than you" competition when someone knows 10 words and the other knows five.

Women always seem to have a smarter solution.

The group "Men are confused about their market value" reminded me of my time in the army in Afghanistan. I heard about Ms. Sakena Yacoobi, a developmental educator. Once, when she was driving in the desert, a group of men with AK47 guns stopped her and said, "Give me your money!".

Sakena said: "This is not a sustainable way to make a living. Young men, come with me, I will give you a better job." Many of the men became her staff, worked as teachers, and were very loyal.

Sakena said: "Men are not stupid, it's just that they are aggressive. We have to teach them."

It seems to me that she is right. Who made the AK47? Man. Who created the arms race, the wars? Man. I'm often feel tired of them.

Social distancing slowly ended as I got my second dose of the vaccine and felt more free. But I don't want to go back to the world we left two years ago full of traffic jams, competition and pollution. I also hope the rising tide will spare my house so that I don't have to clean constantly due to the water entering uninvited through the backdoor every week.

When the editor asked me if I wanted to write an article about the changing relationship between women and men today I thought about a new normal interaction.

Men, warriors and hunters for thousands of years, have been considered masters of many things, including women. But today, many women are starting to see the value of the expensive diamond ring decrease and the value of the ability to have a pleasant conversation, do yoga, be independent, increase. This is starting to change the balance of power between the sexes as more and more women favor independence. They make good money, it's easier to leave, and it's harder for men to attract women and find ways to convince women to stay with them.

Now, women have a higher sense of status and can do more, can buy whatever they want, and go anywhere instead of relying on men's money to raise the children. They can sometimes make men seem less important; dragging men into a less certain future where football and beer and action movies are far less exciting.

During the time at home caused by Covid, many men told me that they feel it is extremely important to get married and have a family, and single people feel that they need women to end their days of uncertainty. Especially with the arrangement of women all studying, working and eating at home. But, because more and more women love independence, greater freedom, and less dependence on men, men who want to attract women have to work harder than before.

Covid has shown us what is important; not money but a community and a good partner to build a happy future. In order to increase the market value in society, to re-attract women, men need to be more "manly". That doesn't mean always having to brace themselves to fight a wild bear in the woods, but accepting things that change with the changing gender roles.

Sometimes when I go to professional companies I see that most of the good, dynamic staff are women. I think, first of all, young men have to upgrade their professional and social skills so as not to lose to women, spend more time with their families, help the community more, and reduce their drinking time.

Higher values also mean being considerate and honest with people, not honking on the road with cyclists like me. People cannot develop their society, promote the economy, improve the quality of life if they are too busy with conflict. And women, no matter how independent, need a suitable man.

Civilization is when both genders in society find respect for each other.

*Jesse Peterson is a teacher. The opinions expressed are his own.

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