A sunny morning greets me today. I’m consuming my morning meal as usual in the cafeteria. The same faces populate the tables sparingly all as far away from each other as possible. There are hushed tones and whispers that’s all that reaches my ears. As I entered someone triggered the fire alarm. Walkie-talkies blared with distorted sounds the bald man who is always sharply dressed was peering out the window directing activity. There was no need to evacuate.
Last nights conversation with my flatmate is still on my mind. It’s the only interesting thing that happened. We discussed enjoying life and man’s role in society. He is from Nigeria and is married with kids. He was telling me to have as much fun as I can before I settle down. To have fun means to find as many women to copulate with as possible.
He told me how in his country and in Africa in general this is a common practice. A man has his wife and kids but when you go out to the clubs it’s all married men with their girlfriends enjoying the atmosphere. He said that there is a big difference between men and women. Men want to go out and explore their drives compel them to do so. It is in their or our nature. He said that men can behave like this because they don’t go out with their hearts they don’t fall in love they just copulate. Women according to him can’t behave like this they go out with their hearts and end up leaving their husbands.
The way that laws are structured over there means that if a woman were to divorce her husband she looses everything including the children. Women from such traditions tend to be house wives and they loose their adventurous spirit. In his case that is what I think has happened. He was lamenting the fact that his wife didn’t want to go anywhere and that if he suggests going on vacation she dismisses it. If he goes on his own she suspects that he is cheating.
I told him that in western society the whole equality movement rests upon the notion that men and women should be treated equally in law. What it means is that women and men are free to explore the world and engage in activities that they fancy. It’s true that the old traditional roles are still there. A man can’t have a baby on his own. What it means however is that it makes life a bit more complicated. Women are not just wombs but they contribute imensely to well being. They can be adventurous and the sharing of duties and the blurring of traditional roles is the reason western society is the way it is. There are some that still cling to the old roles but that is not a recipie for a happy life.
He said that once you have kids and property things change. If a divorce happens and things become split she will take everything and you’ll be left with nothing. That doesn’t always happen I told him but I did mention that divorce seems to be harder on men than women. A lot of it depends on circumstances.
We chatted a bit about this. I felt like I had to explain why our western culture is the way it is while understanding the reasons his culture is the way it is. There is a lot of history there and not just there but in the majority of the world. Women are seen as just being there while men are vaulted into a higher echelon. This fight for equality and the cultural adjustment needed by those immigrating to western parts of the world have this fundamental adjustment to make. There is a schism that needs to be sorted within the individual between the old traditions and the new culture that is emerging. It’s not only the recent immigrants however, old school thinking within society has to change as well. Traditionalists maintain their position against progress as if abandoning it will cause some kind of calamity.
The world won’t collapse and in some ways couples will find their balance depending on what they desires are. Our change in culture is a result of historical wrongs made against women and their rebellion against subjugation. They wanted to have the freedom to leave lawfully and be protected by law. People are people though and some will act uncomfortably toward another regardless of their gender.