24 July 2006

The British Million Man March

Not quite, but I needed a catchy title. When the results of the 2001 census were announced, it emerged that a million young British men had 'disappeared'. In the words of the Grauniad these were "miscellaneous men, aged between 25 and 39, of no particular height, breadth or origin, but they have one thing in common: at the time of the 2001 census, they were mysteriously unaccounted for."

I was one of those missing men. I like to think that I have been in Prague for work reasons, but hell I was still missing. Prague is definitely one place where you could have found a few of the million!!!

Even a cursory visit to the discussion boards at www.expats.cz reveals a spectrum of Western manhood extolling the various virtues of Prague and pitying the countrymen they have left behind. Most Brits (or at least readers of FHM) know the stereotyped attractions of the East. "We promise you beer, women and crystal" form the introduction to one of the most popular Czech albums from the turn of the millennium. But, it's gotta be more than that, hasn't it? It is. Imho, another major factor is the chance to be entrepeneurial. Many Western guys (and it was mainly guys) came out here in the 90s to train the locals up in the embryonic professional services or simply teach English. Lots of these chaps liked the place and once they spotted the niche became their own bosses. With improved communications it really is possible to target the Western market at Eastern prices. I know guys in their 20s who have set up IT companies, property magazines, translation teams and marketing companies. And I know that the same opportunities are open to those that have the guts in other Eastern cities. A feature of Prague is that the low cost-of-living allows bootstrappers to survive long enough to thrive.

I'm sure political points can be made about the UK missing a million men at the most productive age, but I'll leave that to you. Were you one of the million? Do you wish you were? What's your story?

9 comments:

Isabella Snow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Praguetory said...

One vote for they left to get laid. Any other takers?

Isabella Snow said...
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BootStraps said...

Isabella, are those your real legs?

BootStraps said...

Seriously...as a Westerner who was also listed as "missing" in my own country's census...I left for adventure...and yes, drinking beer and getting laid are part of adventure...a very important part. As is using ellipses too frequently.

Praguetory said...

Just in case politicos are wandering, I posted a little note about this blog on a Czech expat internet portal so that we get some cross-fertilisation of ideas going on. Bootstraps - I think that Isabel may be playing hard to get.

Isabella Snow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Praguetory said...

Isabella - apologies for shortening your name. Feedback is great. I will consider a thread on the theme of domination - maybe you can assist.

Isabella Snow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.