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Man Could Be More Vulnerable Sometimes (Excerpt)


Man Could Be More Vulnerable Sometimes

Woman Magazine Special Report Relieving Men

A man shall be a friend for a woman, a friend who deserves her appreciation and help.

Sha Bihong, scenarist and director of CCTV

When I was a child, my father is the only male in my family. At that time, the entire meaning of men for me was father’s love.

Back then, we were dispatched to a village where many intellectuals gathered. We lived in a cottage. There were several times when father was sent to another village to get re-educated by poor and lower-middle farmers without coming back home at night. In those cases, after my mother closed the window and locked the door, we would sit around my mother listening to her stories which although interesting, still could not dispel our fear for the roaring mountain winds and various sounds of birds and insects. It suddenly dawned on me that how scared women would be if there were no man in the world.

For a little girl, men are like a tall wall, a safety island and a great guardian angel.

Winter in the northeastern China is extremely cold, so every household would have a stove in their house and they have to collect firewood on the mountains. My father, who was born in a family of scholars, usually took my elder sister and me in a sledge up to the mountain to look for firewood every day, signing together with us on the way. It was a dense mountain forest, with white snow gleaming. Silver birches, oaks and linden trees all stood majestically. Sometimes we would meet shrubs which stood on the mirror-like ice, arousing many beautiful imaginations. My sister and I usually play with snow until sunset in the mountain. After our father finished wood collecting, he would take us by the sledge back home.

Despite of the rough road up and down the mountain, I was not afraid at all because I thought we can conquer any difficulty as long as my father was with us. However, another day, my father was injured as he tried to prevent the sledge from turning over in the bumpy road and hurting us. However, looking at my father’s injuries, I still had no fears because I believed men would not be affected by such a difficulty and we would get home safely because my father was with us, although it was late, the sledge had turned over and my father was injured.

Thereafter, my father no longer allowed us to go up the mountains and took a radio which my mother bought for him to collect firewood in the mountain.

Many years later when we had got back to the city, there was one day when we accidentally talked about some interesting things back in the village. I asked my mother, “Why did father take my sister and me to the mountain when my sister was only eight and I was only six?”

My mother said:” It was my idea. Your father dared not go up the mountain alone as he had never done this kind of heavy work before and he was not familiar with the mountain forest. I can’t leave the clinic to accompany him as there may be emergencies, so I sent you two to accompany him in order to reduce his strangeness and fear toward the mountain.”

I was astonished and then laughed to tears but soon had a lump in my throat. It dawned on me that men also have fears but they never say it. They have a lot of responsibilities like supporting the family, establishing a business, facing the world alone and accomplishing missions, big or small, so they have to conceal their weakness and pain which are commonly felt by human beings. Indeed, from then on, I knew men are not god. They have weaknesses. And they also need understanding and comfort. I applauded my mother’s idea which may not be very smart but was the only way to mitigate my mother’s worry about my father.

Now I’m 28 years old. As a deeply-loved wife, I have read many love stories and books about vicissitudes of life and wrote biographies and exclusive interviews for men of various classes, from farmers to generals. But men are still a misery to me and are a permanent topic in women’s world.

Whenever my husband promises to do something pleasantly, instead of pushing him, I would help him secretly; whenever he seems worried leaning on the bed, I would always give him a glass of water or recommend him smoking, and then talk with him to help him get relaxed; and whenever he felt sorry as he saw a suitable garment worth tens of thousands of yuan for me but couldn’t buy it because of the price, I always joke with him pleasantly: “ It’s not a patch on the one I’m wearing.” It doesn’t mean I’m a perfect wife, but I will never blindly think of men as a versatile god as I did in my childhood. We should be their friends and not overly rely on them or impose too many obligations on them, because we are equal.

A man shall be a friend for a woman, a friend who deserves her appreciation and help, because sometimes man can be more vulnerable than women.

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