I wrote last week about the interesting discussion my students had about what the perfect wife should be like. The girls’ idea of a perfect husband, however, was fascinating and really eye-opening for me. Of course they wanted him to be handsome, stylish, and muscular, but there were several characteristics that threw me off guard a bit. The first is that the girls wanted guys to be sad. Now I can relate to girls wanting a guy to be “soft” and willing to show some emotions, but these girls said they wanted their husbands sad. The second is that they wanted their husbands to be busy. This was initially completely unexpected by me since it seems to me that a busy husband doesn’t make time for his family, but once I considered some of the issues of alcoholism many men suffer with it all began to make sense. The busier you are and the more purpose you have, the less idle you will be and therefore probably not as tempted to fall into those kinds of lifestyles.
The most shocking quality given by the girls though, in my opinion, is that they wanted angry husbands. I still to this day don’t know what they meant by an angry husband (Angry at them? Angry at their children? Angry when something went wrong? Angry when someone did wrong?). One guy said it was good for a man to be angry if his food wasn’t prepared on time. Mostly the guys agreed with the girls, except for the emotional part, so I began to talk about the United States and how in many (if not most) families the husband will either help out with house work or even do it entirely. The girls thought that that was a good thing and even said that they expected their husbands to help out a bit but the guys protested bitterly to helping around the house at all. In fact one said that if his wife didn’t cook he would be fine with that but that he would eat fast food everyday before he’d ever cook himself! The entire hour and a half of class was so interesting and such an educational time for me as I learned about what the cultural expectations are of a husband and wife in Kyrgyzstan and what the reasoning behind each characteristic was.