I had a friend at school. His father, Uncle Vitya, was a loud and quarrelsome man, who enjoyed drinking and berating everyone around him - the neighbors, our football team, and even Brezhnev, albeit in a low voice. Uncle Vitya made a lot of noise at home, in the street outside the house, and at work. But there was one person in whose presence he went quiet - his wife, Aunt Larisa. No, she was neither a harpy nor a harridan - she was an ordinary Soviet woman and a perfectly nice person. But in her
At the time, in my childhood, I used to be greatly surprised by it: How could a man with such an unbridled temperament go
At the same time, it is not that simple. Russia is a patriarchal country. In politics and business, this patriarchal attitude persists. A woman who aspires to become president provokes ridicule and even contempt. A woman who manages to set up an effective business often arouses suspicions that she has been helped either by her husband or her lover.
But the situation in the family is completely different. It is a performance that millions of Russians act out on a daily basis. Relations are based on a canny formula. Formally, the man is the head of the family and appears to decide everything. The wife appears to pay heed to his every word. But in the overwhelming majority of
I've had the experience of two marriages. In the first, I really tried to play the role of the one in charge. I earned much more than my wife and it was I who decided where to go and what to buy. That often led to arguments because my wife was not prepared to obey all my decisions. And gradually I myself grew tired of my role as leader. Why bother, if there is a wife who can resolve many of the problems herself and will do it much better?
In my second
For a long time I have tried to understand this phenomenon: Why are Russian men ready to be henpecked and why doesn't that in any way clash with their famous Russian temperament, even when a man is used to being the boss at work?
I think the problem here lies in the dysfunctional family model which emerged a long time ago under socialism. Men worked hard for long hours, and they had almost no time for the children. In Soviet
Also, fathers used to drink a lot and so did not arouse excessive sympathy. So it was only natural that when a boy grew up he already accepted that a woman could be in charge at home, and it was a normal thing for him. He was ready to obey his wife. And to obey his mother, of course - hence these eternal conflicts in Russian families between a man's mother and his wife. Two strong women can't live peacefully side by side and share one man.
Something might change in Russian families in the not too distant future since women themselves now work a lot, are ready to give up many of their family responsibilities, and do not want to decide everything themselves. But it seems to me that our men are not keen at all to stop being under their wives' thumbs.
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