Venus & Mars: In the End, Will Boys Just Be Reckless (and Stupid) Boys?
Katrin Figge & Tasa Nugraza Barley
A recent incident has reminded me of two things: One, bad things can happen to good people in the blink of an eye; and two, reckless behavior seems to be a male character trait.
I was taking a walk with my dog the other night, accompanied by my father, when a drunk 24-year-old man without a driver’s license crashed into us, later claiming that the breaks of the motorcycle (which he had borrowed from a friend) weren’t functioning.
While I was able to jump aside, he first hit my dog and then my father. The outcome: My dad broke his left ankle and had a wound on his head that needed stitches, not to mention the many bumps and bruises. My dog ran away in blind panic, and even though he returned later and was physically unharmed, he couldn’t stop trembling for the rest of the night.
Sure, accidents happen, but this was one that could have been easily prevented. And I dare say that in 90 percent of such cases, the culprit will be male (the drunk female who ran over and killed nine pedestrians in Jakarta in January being a notable exception).
The man who left my dad lying in the gutter was naturally in shock as well, but even as he started crying, apologizing and saying he’d pay the medical bills, I couldn’t bring myself to feel sorry for him.
I kept wondering: Did I do stupid things when I was younger? I guess we all have done things we’re not proud of, but there is a difference between cheating on a history test or shoplifting a candy bar and endangering someone else’s life through recklessness.
From my observations, girls seem to be much more responsible than boys. They also tend to grow up quicker and show a sense of responsibility much earlier on. On the other hand, instead of maturing, young men seem to regard the world as their playground and have a hard time letting go of that feeling.
Now, I don’t mind if people have an occasional drink. I understand their need to party (God knows I have lived that part myself) and their desire to prove to their buddies that they are the funniest, the coolest and the boldest. They will have to face the real world soon enough and are entitled to fun.
But as soon as being carefree turns into being reckless, I draw the line, because becoming an adult comes with responsibility. Besides, the guy who caused the accident wasn’t a teenager, he was 24-years-old. But I guess it’s never too late to learn a lesson. I sincerely hope he did.
Katrin Figge is deputy features editor at the Jakarta Globe.
We men find it frustrating that women always accuse us of being reckless. I think women can be just as reckless as men.
In my opinion, this perception lacks precision. It might be true that men tend to be reckless in certain aspects of life, but we can be extremely responsible in other matters, and I’m sure women are just the same.
Men, for example, are careless when it comes to arriving to an important meeting on time. Although the traffic can be hell in this city, they still think it’s fine to call a taxi only 30 minutes before the meeting.
Perhaps they know they can always use the same old excuse in case they arrive late: “I’m really sorry, but there was a really bad macet [jam].”
Women, on the other hand, can be more professional when it comes to punctuality, getting themselves ready hours before an important meeting.
They know very well they need at least an hour to do their makeup and choose the right outfit, so unlike men, they wake up really early in the morning to avoid the hassles.
But men are not always reckless.
There’s a phrase women like to use: “Boys will be boys.”
It’s a popular saying that has been stated over and over again by women all over the world, explaining that no matter how old a man is, he will always act like a boy.
In my humble opinion, women simply take life too seriously. They want things to go perfectly.
Consequently, women always demand that men show a certain amount of maturity, telling us to stop playing around and to start paying attention to what they say.
But men see life a bit differently. To us, the world is a big playground, a place where we can always have fun. That’s why, when women start rambling on about responsibility, we ask them: “Why are you taking things so seriously? Enjoy life a little!”
Why do women care so much whether we are reckless or not? Why do they keep complaining about the things we like and don’t like to do? It drives us crazy.
Men are not reckless. We take calculated risks. Men have more courage to try new and different things, while women tend to stick to a conventional (and boring) way of living.
In the end, I think, women are just jealous to see us having so much fun all the time.
Tasa Nugraza Barley is a features reporter at the Jakarta Globe.