Don't Go There, Girlfriend
CHAPTER 3: WELCOME TO ‘STRALIA, MATE
If you’re a thirty-something female and have decided you want to settle down, you’re going to have a tough time – in any country – trying to find “The One.” If you are a thirty-something who has decided to settle down in Australia, you’re fucked.
I have had six men in my life profess their desire to marry me; I was what they described as their “dream girl.” I did not take any of these men up on their offer, as none of them was my “dream boy.” All these men lived in the Northern Hemisphere, where I am seen as perfect wife material. Based on the way I was treated by Australian men, I was certainly not viewed as perfect wife material Down Under. I still haven’t quite gotten over this, even though I know the reasons why. I partly blame myself for not realizing early on that Australian men are “special” – and I don’t mean special in the nice way.
Six days after my feet hit Australian soil, I decided to spend the weekend sightseeing in Sydney, as you do when you are new to a city and have no friends. I started with a tour of “The Rocks,” the oldest, most historic part of the city. I learned a lot about Sydney’s beginnings as a convict colony, and was having a fabulous day being a tourist in my new city. During part of the tour, our guide discussed sexual relations in the early days of the colony, when men had valued women only for sex. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I soon, found that this view towards women hadn’t changed, but still prevailed in modern-day Australia.
After the tour was over, I decided I was hungry and went hunting for a nice restaurant to have lunch. I found a lovely Italian place right on the edge of the Harbor, and ordered one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had in Sydney, plus a fabulous bottle of New Zealand Pinot. I love pizza and I love red wine, and while it was kind of lonely eating lunch on my own, I knew I had chosen this path and that life would improve someday. After all, I had only been there six days. I focused on enjoying myself and ended up having a lovely romantic lunch with the person I love the most: myself.
After I finished lunch and a whole bottle of red, I was feeling a bit social, and what better place to feel social than The Rocks in Sydney? There were pubs everywhere, and I thought going to one of the pubs would be a great place for an attractive blonde, single female to test her luck with Australian men. So full of red wine, confidence, and the desire to speak to someone other than myself, I consulted my Sydney tourist guide to find the most famous pub in The Rocks. It turned out to be an Irish pub called The Fiddle, and it was only a short walk from where I had just had lunch. By then, the weather had begun to deteriorate, and it had started to rain. It couldn’t have been a better day to spend in a pub getting to know the locals, and it was a much better option than going back to my lonely North Sydney hotel room.
I found the pub easily enough and took a seat at the bar. A cute Irish bartender named Patrick served me my first beer. After I’d had a few more beers, Patrick became very chatty and flirty, and I felt relieved to be getting as much attention as an attractive, single female in a bar in Sydney as I did in America (I used to go to bars frequently on my own when traveling for business). In less than fifteen minutes, Patrick was chatting me up nonstop, and it felt great to finally socialize with another human being.
After many more beers, I realized I was probably more pissed than I should be, given that it was Sunday afternoon, and I had to ferry back to North Sydney to get to my hotel. I had to go to work on Monday morning. It would be my fourth day of work since arriving in the country, and I figured it was probably better not to turn up looking like I had been binge drinking the previous day, even though that was exactly what I was doing. With a good night’s sleep, no one at work would have any idea I spent all of Sunday afternoon drinking wine, then consuming beer with a 21-year-old Irish bartender. Being new to the office, I definitely wanted to keep my party lifestyle on the down low.
This wise thinking resulted in my slurring to Patrick that I should probably get going, as I had to make my way back to North Sydney. Patrick was disappointed, but like any young 21-year-old, he didn’t let me go without my number. It is every young man’s duty to look after the new lonely girl in town, and the Irish, in particular, respond well to such valiant duties. After getting my number, Patrick and I said our temporary goodbyes.
Committed to the task at hand, I stumbled out of the pub, zigzagging down George Street toward the ferry terminal, but was soon lured off my path by loud music blaring from a pub just a block up the road from where I was standing. Making my way up the block, I looked inside the pub to sus (Australian term for seeing what’s up) out the action.
The pub was going off. I mean literally going off. There was a live band and people, including a man in a pink suit, were dancing, looking like they were having an amazing time. The magnetic pull was too strong for me to resist, and I found myself drawn through the front door. If this scene was a typical Sunday afternoon in Australian culture, I figured I might as well acclimate myself. I had never seen an American pub near as lively on a Sunday afternoon, and I was intrigued, fascinated, and downright impressed. These Aussies sure knew how to enjoy their weekend.
Once in the pub, I ordered a drink and maintained a low profile, or so I thought. Already quite drunk, I sipped on my drink and just enjoyed the action. The crowd had made room for a dance floor in front of the band, and one crazy man was grabbing girls out of the crowd to dance with him. He would spin and twirl these unsuspecting victims all over the dance floor for one entire song, then start looking for the next victim.
It was great fun being completely anonymous. I could stand on the sidelines and watch my new culture getting crazy on a Sunday afternoon. No one was paying any attention to me and I was glad, because I was too drunk to be social. I also didn’t want to highlight the fact that I was alone, as it was much more of a social bar than the Irish pub I’d just left. Everyone seemed to be with a large group of friends.
As I stood there, passively watching the action and appreciating my bold move of moving to another country without knowing a soul, the crazy dancing man caught my eye and summoned me to the dance floor. His eyes were locked on mine as he approached, motioning with his index finger to join him. I shook my head, but the international gesture of rejection was ignored. In spite of my protests of not being able to dance due to having a drink in my hand and a handbag on my shoulder, the crowd was not on my side. The girls standing next to me handled my objections by grabbing my drink and handbag, leaving me completely defenseless against crazy dancing man. With all my excuses robbed from me, he dragged me onto the dance floor. At that point, I knew I was unwillingly going to be the center of attention for at least the duration of the song. So much for being anonymous.
The next thing I knew, I was being swung about all over the dance floor in a most chaotic fashion. I was dizzy from all the drinks, and regretting not resisting the urge to join the raging party while on my responsible way home. Suddenly, he started twirling me around the room 1950s style and I had to wrap my legs around the guy to keep from falling. His grand finale was to dip me hard and fast toward the floor. The only thing keeping me attached to him while he performed this maneuver were my legs wrapped around his waist. His dip was way too deep, resulting in my head smacking the floor so hard, the entire pub could hear my skull make contact.
Everyone stood watching after my head hit the floor, too shocked to speak. Did he kill her? That was probably the thought on everyone’s mind. Dazed and in minor pain (the 100 previous drinks helped stiffen the blow), I got up, and everyone sighed in relief. They had not witnessed the end of an American’s life during their Sunday afternoon party, which was fantastic, as that would have ruined everything for a good 45 minutes or so until an ambulance arrived and carted my ass off in a stretcher.
As I sat up, I reached for the clip that had been in my hair. I picked it up to put it back, only to realize it had split in two. At least it was the clip that was split in two and not my head. My dancing partner and others in the pub did express concern over the accident, and I told them that while the experience was unpleasant, I was fine except for the bump on the back of my head that I knew would appear by the next day. They seemed satisfied that I was fine, and I was quickly no longer the center of attention.
After I got up, my dancing partner led me by the arm to the side of the pub and then chastised me for hitting my head and making him look like a dickhead to everyone in the pub. I was shocked. This guy unexpectedly dipped me so hard and so fast that my head smacked the floor, and he had the gall to blame me for my head hitting the floor and making him look like a dickhead? I, of course, defended myself, and told him he had no right to blame me for my head hitting the floor when that outcome was the direct result of his actions. He never admitted he was at fault, but he and his mates shouted me beers for the rest of the afternoon (as if I needed any more, but ough, my head did start to hurt) as compensation for my injury. Beer seems to be the Australian male answer to any drama.
While I was not particularly impressed by the incident – more because I was blamed, rather than the incident itself – I wasn’t going to dislike the entire Australian male population over one drunk guy accidentally smacking my head on the floor. They did shout me beers, after all, to make up for the drama. Had I known then what I know now about Australian men, I think I would have marched straight to the airport and boarded the first flight back to New York. Over my four-and-a-half years in Australia, I learned that getting dropped on your head by an Aussie bloke and getting blamed for it is the Aussie male way.
First-time author, MacKenzie Connell, is a sales professional in Los Angeles, California. Her love of travel and adventure prompted her to move to Australia to live and work for four and a half years. MacKenzie was so shocked by the way Australian males behave toward women, that she decided to slightly fictionalize her own stories and the stories of her friends and tell them through the eyes of her character, Lily, to warn women globally to steer clear of Australian men.
The result, AUSTRALIAN MEN: Don't Go There, Girlfriend.
MacKenzie lives with her fiancé and beloved Russian Blue cat in the Hollywood Hills of sunny Southern California. Learn more at http://mackenzieconnell.com/