Not long ago I had a heart-to-heart talk with my niece, a girl of marriageable age.

     “What kind of girls do you like, Uncle Marat?” she asked. “I just want to understand the men’s psychology.”

     “Well, I’m probably not a typical male representative.”

     “But still. I’m interested in your opinion.”

     “OK. Listen. Whatever men say about the women’s spiritual world, after all, the first impression they have of the girl is made by her appearance. Therefore, women’s beauty comes first. Not the main thing, but it comes first. You may not go far enough to see the rich spiritual world of the girl. If she is ugly, untidy, not slim, then she will not even have a chance to cause a deeper interest of a man.

     “So, I’m not putting on my make-up for nothing.”

     “By the way, lots of cosmetics, on the contrary, provokes rejection in me. Ideally, I should not even guess that the girl is wearing make-up.”

     “And what does ‘tidy’ mean?”

     “This means the appearance and clothes of the girl should be clean and neat. As they say, it’s better not to have your lipstick on, but have your neck clean.”

     “What do you mean by slim? Men do not like ample girls?”

     “Some do. I don’t. I believe that the girl should have a thin waist. The stomach and sides should not hang like bags.”

     “Your requirements are hard to satisfy.”

     “Mind you, I did not say a word about the girl’s natural features. I would never blame her for imperfectly slim legs, for being too short or tall, for ugly facial features. It’s all given by nature. But what I’m talking about is in the hands of the girl herself. She just needs willpower. After all, the waist is given only with regular exercise, the beauty of the face and body appears only with daily painstaking care.”

     “And what do you think about girls who smoke?”

     “Oh no! If a girl smokes or drinks vodka, then for me it’s not a girl, it’s a man in a skirt.”

     “OK. Let’s say a girl does not drink, does not smoke, is tidy, slim and beautiful. That’s it? Any man will be at her feet?”

     “She certainly gets the first interest of a man. He already wants to meet her. And then the rich inner world of the girl steps in. Depending on this, a man will want to spend one evening or a whole life with her.”

     “Oh! That’s interesting! I want a man to dream of spending his life with me, but mostly there are those who think only of one or a couple of nights.”

     “The main mistake of most girls is that, after seeing this primitive sexual interest, they get disappointed in men, turn away from them and look for others. And there they meet the same lust. In fact, there is nothing wrong and offensive in this. It’s a natural instinct. Fighting it is in futile. It should be used. That is, as I said before, use beauty to evoke sexual attraction, and then awaken intellectual and spiritual interest.”

      “What is intellectual interest?”

      “You see, a man can spend one evening with a woman and finish it with taking her to bed. He can spend with her a month, two, a year tops. But you cannot hold him with passion only. Intellectual intimacy is needed. A man and a woman must be interested in each other. They must have common interests, common conversation topics. If you want to become a woman of an intelligent, successful man, then you must conform to him and be just as well-read and educated as him. That’s why I always tell you: read more books, not glossy magazines, watch serious films, not soap operas. A normal man does not read magazines and does not know what Lady Gaga is wearing, he does not look “Suleiman the Magnificent”, and he will not discuss with you the intrigues of his wives. He is not interested in this. At least a man like me. But philosophy, politics, religion – these are eternal themes.”

     “Come on! It’s hard to imagine a man with a woman talking about philosophy on a date.”

     “No, it is clear that at first he will give you flowers and sweets and tell you tons of compliments. But what then? One day the romantic period ends. And we’re talking about lasting relationships.”

     “And what does spiritual interest mean?”

     “A woman can be beautiful and intelligent, but evil, prudent, cunning and greedy. I would never have bound my life with such a woman.”

     “And what should a woman be like? A simpleton that a man uses?”

     “No. Why? It is necessary to respect yourself, but you shouldn’t earn respect with hysterics and cries. It’s not for nothing that they say, “Women, do not argue with a man, start crying.” Personally, for me, there cannot be a woman worse than the one who can firmly stand her ground. Who even suggested to women the image of a bold self-confident bitch, as a standard of female behavior? Maybe bitches like each other. But men don’t. At least, I don’t. If a wife meets her husband with a rolling pin, starts scandals, says caustic, unpleasant things, with hands on her hips, for me she doesn’t exist. I will more willingly agree with the quiet whisper of a defenseless girl, than with the cry of a frenzied woman. My masculine instincts as a protector, patron, support are switched on when I see a fragile creature in front of me who needs custody, and not a formidable opponent for power. That is why I like a humble, educated, wise wife, who outwardly recognizes the supremacy of the man in the family, but gently gets what she wants. I’ll tell you honestly as a “henpecked” man with big experience, I’ve long ago learned to understand where my wife unobtrusively drives. I know that she understands that I understand everything. We both play our roles. I am the head of the family who makes decisions, and she is a quiet adviser. It is clear that in most cases my decisions for some reason coincide with the advice of my wife, but both of us are satisfied with it. If my wife just gave me her instructions, and I would have performed them, then who would I be in the eyes of others and in my own eyes?

     “It seems to me that in Kazakhstan most men, on the contrary, will prefer just to rule and instruct their wife.”

     “Yes, there are many of them. But personally I do not like dictatorship in anything, neither in politics, nor in family relations. And then, believe me, a wise wife who does not head for trouble, but gives intelligent advice to her husband, one way or another, will take her worthy place in the family. Even in a patriarchal one.”

     “We are talking too pragmatically about love, aren’t we? Just giving arguments. Love flashes like a spark, at first glance, doesn’t it? Once and for all!”

     “It does. But I will tell you, as a seasoned materialist, a spark can appear between positively and negatively charged elements. And the gods have nothing to do with it. Similarly, in relations between people there is nothing fabulous. Everything is understandable. A spark at first sight will not arise between a normal man and an ugly, untidy, ill-bred woman. But if a girl looks beautiful, and talks and behaves the right way, then the man will be sure that he fell in love at first sight. And yet, distinguish between having a crush and falling in love. Having a crush is passion, fire, madness. Like Bengal lights. And love is depth, awareness, all-consuming. Like a fire in the fireplace. Of course, it’s good when the fire in the fireplace is lit up with Bengal lights, but it’s important that later it turns into a stable strong flame that will warm you all your life.”

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