Guy passed out on the street, Cotta Road
The housekeeper’s father sold her for a bottle of booze when she was eight. Many lower income men are the same. They don’t work and what money they do get is spent on booze. I know countless families where women are the main breadwinner, whether they’re working here or forming the majority of workers abroad. What’s surprising, however, is that many upper income men are the same. Not on the same scale of cruelty, but they also don’ work.
By many, of course, I mean some. Most Sri Lankan men are decent and somehow make a living. It’s also not necessary that households be male-headed. What I find striking is that male joblessness is just as common among my friends as among the servants’ husbands. Myself for example.
For about two years I’ve done just enough freelance work to travel and have a decent time. At the same time that I left regularly employment I moved back in with my parents, thus paying no room or board when I was in town. I could have done this indefinitely with no social opprobrium.
Many other intelligent men I know get either bored or humiliated with the job market and just quit. We do freelance work on the edges of advertising agencies and NGOs, but nothing steady.
Women, on the other hand, will take whatever job (or two) to pay the bills. And they will also run the household. Many men simply don’t want to lower themselves to the level of working for survival. If they come from a ‘good’ family they’ll be given access to a house and a car and food and generally let be. If they’re not from a ‘good’ family they’ll wander off and drink and also let be.
Recently I got a steady job because I felt bad and now I feel better. But I understand the lure of inertia on the other side. It’s just that behind every lax and carefree man, there’s an overworked and stressed out woman.