[Yuri Primalov was a Russian-born ex-pat who had moved to Asgard only within the last few years. He had the reputation of a ladies man, the “Original White Russian” so his former marketing went, though he preferred to go by his formal title of “life coach”. Now, he currently works as a consultant for a natural gas company based in Titan’s Landing, though he still coaches new arrivals to Asgard on the side.]
I was born in Smolensk, but moved to Belarus as a child. Father was military. Fought in Syria and Turkey. His orders took us there, to Belarus, to guard the Russian Union. Very traditional family, traditional values. Common for Eastern Europe and Russia at the time.
We were well off enough to get Eurpoean and American satellite channels, so I grew up seeing parties and concerts – all the best things America had. The country looked so rich and fun. As a young man, I dreamed of going to Vegas or New York, or even L.A. When I finished schooling, I finally got the chance and told my parents that I’d be living in the US for a while. They warned me about it. Told me it wasn’t a good place for a young man. I did not care. Millions of young men grew up there, so I figured why not.
I moved to Chicago, though with the portals it could have been any other city in America. I made friends quickly, both with men and women, but especially with women. I talked with every girl I met, not because I wanted to sleep with her, at least not at first, but because I wanted to know more about America. I had a lot of excitement for the country back then. I was very positive. My goal was just to have a good time and that was something women wanted too, with or without the sexual aspect. Me being a foreigner helped too. Made me seem exotic. Gave me stories to tell.
I didn’t try to be popular with American women. It just happened. My male friends would then come to me and ask how I could just talk to someone I had never met before. I didn’t know, not back then. I gave them some advice, simple at first, because I didn’t know why, but when I decided to learn more about all this my advice became more complex.
That was how I got the reputation as a… well let’s call it a Life Coach. I did that for a few years until I got burned out with it.
What does it mean to be a life coach?
You are like a therapist, but informal. One of my competitors called it “Drinking Buddy for Hire”. My best friends in the industry marketed himself as the “Wingman Mercenary”. I looked at it as private social worker.
In any case, my job was to lift people up. You get these men who have been disadvantaged in some way, usually socially, and you try to help them the best way you know how. It was a prime market back then. Today, here on Asgard, not so much.
What made you stop being a life coach?
It is… hard to describe. When I started, I gave advice only to my friends. As word got around, I accepted more clients. I got a license as a life coach and began to see strangers. Over time, though, I stopped being able to tell these men apart. They all had the same story. One would come in, almost crying, telling me about his girlfriend or wife, how she was always unhappy, about to divorce him. If it wasn’t men like them, it was the man close to thirty who still hadn’t had sex yet.
That, all by itself, wasn’t bad. But after a while I began to forget who they were. I couldn’t tell them apart. I would ask them if they had tried this or that, and they would say yes, I had told them so weeks before, but I wouldn’t remember. Then, for others, I would assume they had done things I had suggested, only to realize later that I hadn’t said anything about that topic. It was not the fault of my memory, but because these men were all exactly the same and began to merge together in my mind.
In some way, they all shared the same experience. Different women, different men, but still perfectly alike in almost every way. It didn’t not matter if one was poor or rich, smart or dumb. The way these relationships fell apart, or a guy’s inability to get them in the first place, they all followed a particular pattern. This was not coincidence. Couldn’t have been. I began to think that there had to be something else causing it.
Why do you think that is? Why so many broken men?
Someone or something was telling them wrong. I don’t blame these men, because they did what they thought would work. It is all any man does. When they come into my office, tell me they gave her everything she ever wanted, I know that someone has told these men to do this early in their lives, because they would not have thought of this on their own, not every man, not the exact same conclusion.
If it had been the case that these men were trying different things and couldn’t find the right combination, then that would be one thing, but each tried the same thing and each had the same result. That made me believe that something or someone over them was teaching the wrong thing on purpose. If that was the case, then what could I do? I cannot move the oceans. I am just one man.
Some people told me that I should have kept the secrets to myself, that way there would be more girls for me. I do not believe this, because making men worse does not make women better. Women will sour when they don’t have good men around, and that will hurt me in my relationships with women. To make one better is to make the other better. We are connected that way. That is why knowing that something else was working against me crushed my drive.
What was working against you?
I don’t know exactly. You point at so many places, but never the source. Maybe it was society which told men to be that way. Maybe it was Hollywood. I did see American movies where the fat, goofy men get the girls. I guess guys thought you only had to be goofy or weird and nothing else. One reason might be American schools. I did not go to them, so I can only say what my clients told me. They said teachers encouraged boys to always be in second place to the girls. Let them go first, let them speak in class, make way for them in the hallway. Now, I am for treating women and girls well, but not at the expense of yourself. Men and women both hate it when men demean themselves. It could have been that, plus more. I don’t know. All I do know is something was there. Something was turning the tide against me…
[I expected the interview to end there, since Yuri started looking away, visibly distressed.]
…Would you like to know something that I had known for a long time, but I never taught these men? Have you ever heard of Game Theory? I do not mean flirting. You have? Kind of?
Game Theory is about cooperation and betrayal. Who will betray who, and when, and why? Do I turn you in so I can get a greater benefit? Do you turn me in for that benefit too? Or do we both work together for slightly less benefit? If we both turn each other in then we both lose.
The relationship between men and women is like that too. There are things men want from women, and things women want from men, and they are not the same things. Their desires sometimes work against each other, but, still, men and women need to come together to continue the human race. That leaves us the opportunities to both cooperate and betray the other. Men betray women by abandoning them with child. Women betray men by cheating, or using them for money.
The society around you can encourage whether to cooperate or betray. Long ago, society told men and women to cooperate, today, and especially back in America, society tells men and women to betray, but mostly women. There are no consequences for her betrayal, not in American society. I’ve had men come to me, crying, telling me that he held up his duties to a relationship, and that she still cheated on him, left him. Some people think that men disserve it too. Some people even cheer women for betraying their men, but men are not allowed to betray.
But like I said before, I am just one man. I tried to spread the word. I met with people like me, who taught the same things, that way we could coordinate, network, but no matter how hard we tried to convert men it made no difference because society was working against us.
Eventually, I became tried. I used to like helping people, but it became too much, too difficult, not enough reward. I quit my job in the United States and moved back to Belarus to start a family with girls who were not going to betray, or less likely to. By then, word had gotten around Russian Coalition that Asgard was accepting immigrants. I left because I thought I might be able to set men and women right on Asgard, so it wouldn’t repeat what had happened in America.
What are the major differences between Earth and Asgard, in regards to the relationships between men and women?
To be honest, there is difference in some, no difference in others. For every one woman on Asgard there are about three or four men. It makes men thirsty, just like it did back on Earth, and it can make women think too much of themselves. And there really is no difference between women who won’t cooperate on Earth, and no women to cooperate with on Asgard. As the Americans have said, it is a “sausage fest”. But, I think it is getting better.
The women who come to Asgard are different than most women of Earth. The women who want security, or just want to continue working and buying things like the rest of them, will be content with Earth. The exceptional women who want something more, or the more desperate women from the third world, they will split themselves from the herd and come here. So even though the ratio is still off, the women are a different kind of women.
That is why I’m hopeful that my work will make a difference and finally set things right. We may come to balance between men and women, once more women immigrate. Hopefully, I can make men better here without society working against me. That will make women better, so we can then learn to cooperate again, have babies, and continue to other worlds. What alternative is there?
None, I imagine. Well, Yuri, I do appreciate you setting aside time to talk to me. Before I go, I just want to ask one last question: if you only had once piece of advice to bestow on men, what would it be?
Never give her everything. I told my clients that women are like treasure-hunters. They go looking for whatever it is they want in a man, whether that is looks or money, or companionship. They are on a quest for it, and they will stay on that quest so long as they believe there is something to find. Once the treasure is found, they realize there is no more left. They have all they could possibly get. When they believe the well is dry, they will go looking elsewhere. However, if she still feels that there is more to you, or more in you, then she will stay. Always give the impression that you’ve got more tricks up your sleeve. Never remain stagnant.
[I thanked Yuri for his input and wished him well, for his endeavor may actually change things for the better. There are critical times in history where one man, one idea, or one event, can alter its course forever. The fledgling days of Asgard are those times, when such junctions are not only possible, but inevitable.]
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