Relationships: why men should drive

Princess knows Mario likes to take the wheel

Princess Peach knows Mario likes to take the wheel

I’m Indonesian, born in Indonesia, raised in Indonesia. However, I was not raised to be submissive to men. Neither was I raised to think that women are the same as men. No, I was raised in an environment where women are women and men are men, with their strengths and weaknesses. I was raised to believe that men and women are born to complete one another, not to dominate over one another, nor to equal one another.

When I talk to some people, I get different views in relationships. One side believes that women should serve their men, that women are meant to be protected and men are their knight in shining armor.

Another side see men as their competitor in a relationship, someone to challenge mentally, rationally or even sexually. Some even go as far as thinking men are beings that should be controlled, reined and put on a leash.

For me, a relationship is like driving in a rally. One person is the driver and the other is the navigator. To me, men should be the drivers and women the navigators. This in not based on dominance or importance. The driver can’t drive without the navigator, and the navigator can’t go anywhere without the driver. They are a team, not equal in their task, but compliment one another. The basic nature of men is that they are more about thoughts than emotions. And the basic nature of women is that they are more in touch with their emotions. Men can make rational decisions and women can support them by feeding them emotional consideration on things. There’s even the saying “behind every great men, there’s a great women.”

I, of course do not agree that women are second to men. But then again I also don’t really think that women = men. Emancipation for me is not for women to start wearing pants, but more that there’s a recognition both by men and women that women are creature uniques with their own traits. Women are no longer just things. Women are beings with abilities and competence. They may not have the same ability as men, for example men are physically stronger, but are just as important.

This, in my opinion, should also be implied in relationships. Instead of taking the role of the men, women should enhance their own roles. Instead of being the driver, why not be the best navigator around?

There is of course instances where women and men switch roles. There’s nothing wrong with that. The most important thing is that not both try to be drivers and not both try to be navigators. It’s the harmony that makes a relationship work. To adapt and to work together.

Om’bak guest writer Vicabar is a 23 year old Jakartan with a penchant for puppies, films and travel.

So who do you think should drive?


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8 Responses to “Relationships: why men should drive”

  1. sansicarus Says:

    You make some good points, Vicabar, but you seem to think that it’s impossible to drive and navigate at the same time. It’s deifinitely possible. You can have the map open on your lap and check it at traffic lights, or sitting on the passenger-seat. Usually, when I’m going somewhere, I take a long and careful look at the map and where I’m going at the start of the journey, so I have a fair idea of where I have to go.

    To take your idea out of the metaphor (it’s a very nice metaphor by the way) what happens if you have a guy or girl who is adept at making both rational and emotional decisions? Is this person doomed to loneliness, or would they have to find another driver/navigator?

    Another issue with your metaphor is that a driver without a navigator is still a driver, they still get somewhere (though maybe they get lost along the way). But a navigator without a driver doesn’t go anywhere – it’s just someone who likes looking at maps. Would the term ‘co-pilot’ be more appropriate?

    Everyone should know how to drive, in my opinion – otherwise someone might always be dependent on other people to get anywhere.

  2. lovelli Says:

    Funny you should bring up the subject of being a navigator. I’m also an Indonesian, and I totally relate to what you’re saying, Vicabar.

    In fact, since I was very little, I’ve witnessed how Mum navigated Dad on our trips to the country side. Even now, some 20 years later, Dad would ask Mum for directions. “Left or right?” “Next to what building?” And if she doesn’t know, he’d comment “What kind of a navigator doesn’t know the way?”.

    So Mum never drived. She has a driving license but is often too nervous to stay inside the car and not sweat all over the seat.

    I also don’t think that women = men. Although some men are more feminine than others and some women are more masculine than others, they are two different beings with their own traits, issues and experiences.

    Are women better drivers than men? They could be. Can men be better navigators than women? Why not?

    You’d be surprised, though, to know that those women–the ones behind these successful men–have different and sometimes even extreme opinions on their male counterparts.

    Here are some I’ve compiled for you as examples:

    All men are dogs–housewife of a successful businessman in Jakarta.

    That’s how men are; they’re egoists. They do whatever they want, and then they change their mind–housewife of a successful man, head of an oil and gas company. She lives in Bandung.

    Men are just children. They don’t know how to say no to ‘sweets’–housewife of a diplomat, expressing her point of view on flirting at the office.

    No man can be vegetarians. They all love ‘meat’ too much–a wife of a neighbor who is relatively successful, at least to my eyes.

    Summing up all of these, I personally think that when it comes to relationship, no one should be behind anyone.

    Men and women should stand together and equally have the opportunity to be–this perhaps sounds cliche–the best that they can be. Despite the simplicity of the idea, it hasn’t been easy.

  3. Vicabar Says:

    Need to change the title…I don’t think that men are better drivers at all…A friend posted this for me…hehe…Totally agree that everyone should know how to drive…:)

    The metaphor is for when you are in a rally race, one of those cross-country one. If you’ve watched one of those, you’ll see how the drivers make split second turns based on the navigators directions. To finish the race, they need to coordinate and trust one another. If the navigator isn’t giving the right directions or if the driver doesn’t trust the navigator and goes his/her own way, they might get lost in the wild.

    To get to the finish line, both men and women has to be -as lovelli puts it- “the best that they can be”.

  4. Delilah Says:

    I don’t really like the common thought that woman and men are born to complete each other, I think we as an individual should feel complete with ourselves without any dependence of significant others’ presence. But I do agree, that in the end all that matters is the harmony of the relationship itself (i think that’s the key of any kind of relationship). However, the harmony itself can be tricky, because it really depends on how both of them perceive themselves in a relationship. There’s shouldn’t be someone behinds another. I believe all should be equal, of course I don’t talk about any physical or biological differences here. I am a female and my bf cooks for me more than I do to him. Does that mean I dominate him? I guess not… 🙂

  5. Sta Says:

    What about the LGBT crowd? Or people who are asexual? I agree that humanity is a generally social species, but I don’t think we require pair-bonds to function or succeed.

  6. Nai Says:

    Hm… I agree with Delilah that a person should feel complete as they are by themselves. And I definitely agree with Sta.

    I think that by having an idea that women should be women and men should be men – it really restricts people from expressing themselves as who they are. What about people who consider themselves a third-sex? What about those who don’t have a specific gender/sexual identity?

  7. nyscha Says:

    I totally agree with you, Vicabar. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I think you were focusing more on the ‘harmonious balance’ between the roles of a man and a woman (or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, or a man and a woman who used to be a man, or a woman and a woman and a man, etc…) in a relationship rather than the sexual identities and gender stereotyping of the people in said relationship? (A woman does not always equal cooking, cleaning and changing diapers, just as a man does not always equal working, driving and general ruling.)

    It’s absolutely true, in my opinion, that an individual should be able to complete themself without dependence on an external factor, and yes, a person can drive and navigate at the same time, but being a social species, it’s sometimes easier (and funner) when there is someone significant that can help steer the wheel with you (yes, I like to hold the metaphorical wheel, even though I cannot drive in real life).

    Again, I totally agree with your opinion of balance and trust in a relationship. Very good point.

  8. Bobby Says:

    I agree with you about men being drivers and women being navigators. We were getting from place to place with no trouble but then we ran into a relationship roadblock. I kicked her out of the car and bought myself a GPS system.

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