My first few months abroad, dating wasn’t something I actively pursued, despite all my girlfriends’ excitement about the dozens of hot men with sexy accents I’d surely be beating off with a stick. The main question I got when we’d email or Skype was “Any hot Aussie boyfriends yet?!” They were always disappointed with my non-affirmative answers, even if I wasnt.
When I returned from the US to Sydney after the holidays, I decided it was finally time to start dipping my toes into the Sydney dating waters. So starting that evening, New Years Eve, I resolved to flirt with and talk to (almost) anyone who decided to hit on me. Sure enough, not long after midnight I was wandering back toward my apartment in Bondi because I’d managed to lose my cousin who had come up from Melbourne, when I heard a male voice hollering another woman’s name at me in the most obvious attempt at a pickup ever. Rather than roll my eyes at it, I decided to roll with it, and had a decent conversation with a good-looking guy of dubious sobriety, which ended with him leaving himself a voicemail on his lost phone from mine. The next day he texted me asking me to refresh his memory from the night before, blah blah, flirt flirt, he’ll text me later. Then… Nothing.
I was relating this story to my cousin, when she matched with her own strange story. She and a guy in Melbourne had exchanged numbers. After not hearing from him for a few days, she sent him a text (she’s already ahead of me here, I would have probably said “F it” and deleted his number). He responded with “Hi! I was wondering when I was going to hear from you.” My jaw was on the floor. We wondered if that was protocol in Oz – the woman texts first?
Undaunted, I continued my foray back into the dating world the following Friday night at a bar near my house. We were at the back patio bar drinking and talking when I spied a gorgeous man (I will hand it to the Aussies, they are a damn good-looking bunch). I made the appropriate eyes at him, etc. but he didn’t approach until I clumsily knocked a beer glass out of my friends hand and shattered it at his feet. Not on purpose either, I swear! At which point he deemed it an appropriate time to introduce himself while my face was in a full-blown blush. Anyway, blah blah, flirt flirt, we were talking for a while when my companions decided it would be fun to move to the next bar. I figured it’d be a good opportunity to let him ask for my number. So I mentioned that we were heading out and asked him if he and his friends were interested in heading that way as well. Good, right? Here’s how it went:
Me: “Sooo we’re probably going to head to Bar X now, are you guys thinking about heading that way?”
Hot Aussie: (to friends) “Hey guys, have you been there? It’s actually a really cool bar, what do you think?”
Drunk Friends: “Nawww” *glug glug* angry intoxicated noises
Hot Aussie: “Well, sounds like not.”
Me: *awkward silence, waiting for him to ask for number in case they change their mind* *more awkward silence* “Okay then, have fun guys!”
And bolted for the door.
Even just this afternoon, I was taking my dog for a walk by the each and miiiight have stopped for this:
As I came out of the shop, three men about 20 yrs older than me were ogling my dog as I walked past. He usually gets attention because he’s weird-looking, and one of them said, “Aw, that’s cute.” I did a friendly stranger smile, and after I passed by he cracked, “The dog ain’t bad either!” and he and his mates laughed heartily. Gah! At least the pervy old men in the US have the balls to be pervy to your face! Come ON!
So today I decided to do some field research in prep for another weekend out (though I am starting to feel daunted now), and asked some of my Aussie male and female coworkers what the deal was with getting phone numbers, asking girls out, etc.
Apparently, Aussie men are the least forward men on the planet. As in, take all the rules of dating you learned growing up in America, and throw them out the window or turn them on their head. Apparently, you don’t get asked for your number, you give out your number. He won’t ask unless it’s obvious that you’ll say yes. You don’t wait for them to text, you text first. They don’t text first because they don’t want to look desperate. You have to really, really make it clear you are interested, or they simply won’t go there.
In the US, it’s all about “the chase.” American guys aren’t usually super interested in a girl who is too easy to win over, at least long-term (ask my ex boyfriend, he had to hit on me six times before I finally gave him my number – after he begged). That’s how I’m used to rolling – he risks getting shot down because it’s the manly thing to do. He texts first because he has to win over the woman, not vice-versa. It’s a little frustrating, because I like being chased, especially by someone attractive. It’s fun and exciting. But I’m not playing the game on my home turf anymore, and that means I either need to play by the Aussie rules or get benched. Being just witty and charming doesn’t work when these vivacious Sydney girls are flipping their hair and touching his arm and laughing too loudly at his shitty jokes. I have to learn how to properly flirt, like the poor girls in man-starved New York had to learn if they ever wanted to land that investment banker.
So this weekend I’ll be putting my field research to work – trying to find the line between interested and desperate that I’m comfortable with. Who knows? Maybe some lucky Aussie will end up with my number and actually use it.