When did Aussie Men get scared?

Australia was once thought of as a land where men were direct, brave and they liked to fuck. I know, because I grew up here and there was a lot of fun to be had. Especially if you worked in advertising where the fun multiplied by 100, as did everything else.

Ok you up there, what's going on?

Ok you up there, what’s going on?

Since I’ve been living in London I’ve returned regularly to visit and, on occasions, have had random hookups with men I’ve met while swimming laps or drying off my wet T shirt in a cafe (Melbourne rains a lot). I am at my best in real life, in random situations which seem to suit my personality. Nonetheless I am not a woman who wishes to impede the march of progress so as readers will know I have tried using Tinder in both London and Paris with fascinating results. Good or bad, they made me smile. But Melbourne, well it’s gone past a joke. Australia is a dry land in more ways than one.

I’m sexually confident. In a quiet under the radar way but men see it.  So I tend to attract men who are also sexually confident and can read me. This has nothing to do with dressing for display: it’s not superficial, its an attitude, part of who I am and when I see it in a man’s eyes I know it’s part of who he is too. When I have sex, that connection has to exist from the beginning. Or it doesn’t work.

This week, little me has scared two men. Not in the old fashioned way: I didn’t want to be their girlfriend, I didn’t ask for babies, I didn’t even want to see them regularly: I was simply attracted to them and they to me and the signals were as green as you can get. Lots of flirting and interest. And suddenly it all went wrong. I’ve been rejected for being ‘open, confident and very sexy.’ That’s what he said after making the running. He texted, he was smart, intelligent, sexually aware and it seemed effortless. Then when we began to talk about meeting, the excuses began. (No he wasn’t married. My antenna is finely-tuned for all permutations)

I see things very simply. If I’m interested in a man he is usually someone I know I want to fuck.  I may or may not do that but that thought has to be there. None of this ‘he’ll grow on me’ stuff.  For 99 percent of my life this has been a Good Thing. It doesn’t make me predatory or forward: Most people in the room would never see it happen and that’s how I like it. The men in question are similar. Not obvious. They don’t look for the obvious. They’re more interested in the inner slut. I have been picked up wearing a loose dress and a coat.

A friend of a friend, a fellow I’ve been flirting for months because he is rather cute turned up in the hallway. He beamed at me. “You’re back,” he said. Big grin.

I gave him a quick kiss on the lips (up till now, a hug and cheek kisses) and he reciprocated with some very fine, deep kissing. I didn’t grab him. Again not my thing. We stood back, lightheaded and smiled. “We could discuss this further,” I said. “I’m around,” he said with shining eyes. A few days later I was at the friend’s place alone and asked said neighbour if he wanted to come over and chat, but no pressure.  I said, I’d like to do that kissing thing again but we can just talk and see what happens. So he said yes. And then he sent me a text saying he couldn’t as he was working late across the other side of town. So I sent him one back saying “Cool. Look I promise not to kiss you again and we can have our coffee three feet apart.” Seriously, if he was uncomfortable I would have just stepped back but I really wasn’t sure it was that.  I retreated though, and have reconciled him to archives. No sense dwelling on it. The moment has passed. You don’t get it back. These things happen and on the wrong day you’ll think “Oh it’s me,” but it’s just life after all.

Online I meet a guy who seems to know what he wants. He states it. He likes fun, he likes storming sex and he likes women who like sex and understand it. They all say it but he had an obvious intelligence as I discovered when we spoke on the phone. So I said, “Well given our approach to life and the fact that you are also articulate which also turns me on, I think we should meet.” He kept flirting by text. He’d disappear for a week or two and then he returned a few weeks ago. I forgot who it was. Anyway I asked him if he was scared of me?”

“No, no,” he said. “You’re honest, open and refreshing. And hot I like that. I’m very turned on by you, in fact I get hard just talking to you but….”

“God, what is it now?” I was faintly exasperated.

“I’m scared I’ll be addicted to you.”

“Bullshit. What is it really?” Addicted to me?

“Well you’re so frank and honest and sexually open, I know I’ll want to cross lines and I don’t want to lose control.”

Reader,  with the humidity of Melbourne oppressing me and worries about work, all I wanted, in fact all I want, is to have some fun. And for me, sex is pure hedonism. I don’t engage frequently in this capacity but when I do, I like to cut loose. Then I’m happy and can get on with the business of other things. But he’d turned fun into something heavily complicated. Something  Very Unfun.  Then he says (because you know, men do like to keep options open) “That doesn’t mean I’ve ruled it out.”

Seriously mate, I thought. You are fucking kidding me. You have to consider this?

I didn’t. The moment had passed. “Well I think it’s gone stale now,” I told him. And then I deleted his number.

I went home and did something very strange. I got teary. Not because I liked him but rather it was the realisation that the reason I ran away from Melbourne when I was younger (aside from the tall, blonde gorgeous man I fell in love with) was that thing of fitting in from the time I was at school. It was never easy, especially being a smart girl at a high school and having views.  I know many Aussie men don’t like challenges, be it in the boardroom or the bedroom. Possibly I am now used to the flirtatious ways of Europeans, their ability to cut to the chase and use the moment, ie: act like adults. But for the past five months, my experiences of Aussie men has been well, gosh, I can’t find the word. Negative is wrong. Bizarre perhaps. Eye-opening.

I emailed Suze in London. “Aussie men, I’m not surprised.” She is usually right. But I’m still bewildered.

11 comments for “When did Aussie Men get scared?

  1. hairyback@oz.org
    January 19, 2016 at 23:18

    I loved the Oz men in the 90s documentary film The Castle. Straight up. Those were the days. When people meet face to face now they clam up and start wanting to click icons and swipe things away. Shame, as David Bowie said.

  2. Richard
    January 20, 2016 at 03:19

    Good article, thanks. My experience with Tinder is virtually ALL the women on there in our age group state “no hookups”, so quite possibly you’re in the minority, which isn’t a bad thing.

  3. woe
    January 20, 2016 at 03:38

    @hairyback. I remember straight up guys. And there are still those here but they are much younger and that’s not my bag generally. If I feel a strong physical connection I go with it.

    @Richard. All things start somewhere. Or they just run their course. I think once you start to define the nature of the liaison you’re missing the point. Eg: No hookups, no one night stands. And you shouldn’t be there. I am however interested in genuine connection so it has to start in the mind and then the physical should be good. Those guys who say, “Come over to my house” when they’ve never met you usually are met with “Well I charge quite a lot for that.” I have my boundaries but I know what turns me on and I just go with it. But in Oz they drag the moment out, constantly text, can’t meet and then I get bored and read a book.

  4. woe
    January 20, 2016 at 03:58

    I should add that I know nothing of the behaviour of other women on dating sites and would be happy to be enlightened, particularly in Australia.

  5. Charlene
    February 7, 2016 at 15:10

    I love your perspective and think you are a great role model. You are right, in general if a woman scares a man it will be thru her desire for security, which I think the majority of midlife women are seeking. This informs their behavior (eventually) leading to the no hookups rule. They probably had a hookup after which the guy may have vanished, leaving them feeling bad about themselves. This would have been my attitude when I was single, I admit. Your point of view seems much healthier. This is why I wish you had a column.

    I’ve never been to OZ but went to Europe solo last summer and yes European men seem much more sexually confident/comfortable than Americans. And I was seen as a regular woman there, not someone “old” as I would be here. Have you been to the US? Any observations?

    Thank you for posting. Hope you are well. Cute photo…

    • woe
      February 7, 2016 at 20:33

      Well guess what. I have been writing a book about all of this but based on my work for eight years. Your insights are very valuable and while I’m here Charlene I wouldn’t mind you giving me your version of where has this dating business become the perfect dating storm where everyone gets blown about to places they don’t want to be.

      • Charlene
        February 9, 2016 at 14:51

        Yes, dating at midlife really brought me down (way down–I was a person who probably seemed to have everything going for her yet didn’t deal well with it at all) and although I somehow found someone and haven’t dated for five years, if something were to happen to this relationship I would never want to go back to that place, mentally and emotionally. I’ve stayed interested in this topic for that reason.

        And yes, I have explanations of why it went so wrong for me and what I would do differently. I’m happy to share it here or on email, you have my email I assume. Let me know.

  6. Mr Majeka
    March 8, 2016 at 23:21

    Blog more often please, Lena. You’re an entertaining read.


  7. iamok
    March 27, 2016 at 06:04

    Hi WOE there are still a few of us good old Aussie guys left who will follow up on attractions, take steps to consolidate and with luck, consummate. Then who knows after that, but it’s not a bad start I think.

    I get the drift of your article, but in our defense I will say that collectively we Aussie blokes have been downtrodden by a combination of statist nannyism, and the hypocritical, fourth-wave feministas who have run riot here for some years. Yes we are running scared.

    So on one level it’s no surprise you have experienced some reticence from the local lads, but should I have the good fortune to meet you I hope I could rattle your perceptions a little.

    • woe
      March 27, 2016 at 06:18

      Well I’m glad to hear it, though I do think it’s a matter of meeting the right person and that’s the difficult bit. I am sure you would do your best to rattle my perceptions.

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