While watching the Ukrainian row meander into Crimea, with Russian nationalists there reenacting Kiev (as I suspected they would somewhere), I remain drawn to the more fundamental dynamics that allowed the revolution to germinate. One element in particular is worth revisting: the determined, courageous, highly motivated, and perhaps highly paid Ukrainian men. Traits made manifest to Viktor Yanukovych, if no one else. So I found it interesting to read articles preceding these events that offered a compelling certainty: everything I had just watched could not have happened. Ukrainian men are checked out.
Why are well-educated and intelligent Ukrainians in the prime of their lives becoming stay-at-home plankton? And who are these people who don’t work, and don’t really want to work – at least under typically bad conditions?
Ukrainians are terrible workers – they are just so f*cking lazy!
As a Ukrainian woman, I’ve had the most exposure to Ukrainian men. The first thing you notice about them is their physical appearance. Most of my foreign girlfriends and I have noticed that most Ukrainian men are not very attractive … physically. This can be generalized to Slavic men. You always hear about how pretty Ukrainian girls are, but you have probably never heard of a Ukrainian male supermodel.
One of the reasons for this is called “Slavic man syndrome.”
This is what happens to a man in his 30s when he doesn’t engage in sports very much, when he drinks and smokes heavily, and when he eats a lot of unhealthy food. It appears that 80 percent of Ukrainian men have this syndrome.
It also gets worse when a man is married. He stops thinking about his looks and health altogether, it seems, and at the crucial age of 40 he turns into a balding, beer-bellied unattractive creature with yellow teeth and bad breath.
Pathetic. Certainly these numbnuts won’t be elevating themselves from a prostrate position longer than it takes to scratch scrotum and slurp swill. So much for nationalism’s hopes there.
Alas, we are similarly advised that the state of American men isn’t appreciably more ambitious.
Let us hope reports of our demise have been similarly exaggerated. Though in contrast to uniformly negative coverage of the supine Ukrainian louts, some of the above was actually sympathetic. Withdrawal is rational. Men are logical to recede into their basements. This is a sentiment I have heard from several observers online–some of whom have opinions worthy of notice.
But if withdrawal from a rotting society is rational…withdrawal to what? Indolence, copulation, and bouncy ball? If so, congratulations: our young men are as rational as the youths. I don’t think many of us will find going r-select to be very aesthetic. And it won’t put a man on Mars–except by stacking from Earth. But could two billion Africans be wrong? We’ll find out in 2040.
Though of course, no one is beholden to this binary decision tree. The opposite of slavery is not sloth. And I would prefer to see young men engaged in activities salubrious to themselves and disciplinary to their enemies. And as the Ukrainian women have shown, tender rewards await the stout heart.
I think I recall one of their old folk songs offering a similar lesson…
You never mount your honey, till he’s shitting under the table. There’ll be time enough for mounting…when the squealing’s done.