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.
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.