Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Best Bit (or love in the age of Orton)

I think out of all the Olympians, I now fancy basketballer Emma Randall the most - sure, I'm not ashamed to say that the hypnotically bouncing bosom of Suzy Batkovic has it's own charms - but I've tended to find a certain mutual perving has crept into the ennui of Channel 7s Olympic coverage and 300 replays of Stephanie Rice. Unfairly, I saw some graffiti today that suggest Jessica Schipper should be moving to Mt Isa (let's not go into it) but I've noticed a lot of women are now, male style (or lady to ladette style) picking who they want to win entirely based on looks, just like my Dad, who for years picked his favourite female tennis players entirely on looks. As for me - I'm just happy to accept that Ms Randall is one of those people who looks hotter in real life than in her photos, and I never want to see that anti abortion ad that keeps appearing on a daily basis on the Tasmanian Olympic coverage. Some girl is in a shop, her mate (some mate) looks and says "What a cute baby", the first girl runs out the shop crying, and then some sad music plays. I think this is an anti abortion ad, although it plays a little bit like the girl (who so can't act) just hates kids and has to run outside before she whacks the kid with a mallet. Anyway, I've talked a lot about some cute girls on this place, and to be honest, I read once that 95% of relationships are between people who live within 10kms of each other when they meet - I know, 75% of all statistics are meaningless, but I thought this was interesting. It means I'm 90% more likely to marry the really grumpy Sudanese woman who shoves her pram into my knees if I stray too long in the rice aisle of the local supermarket than I am Emma Randall. This, as you can imagine, is not the best news I've had all day...I mean, free the refugees, but I quite like my knees, and I'm nowhere near as keen on rice as she is...white, brown or Stephanie...

Of course, being this is a blog about local communities, you can imagine that I am not totally against marrying a local - in fact, the girls at the swing park are more than friendly and would make excellent brides...well...as long as they didn't like Jason Mraz. When I was growing up in Penguin, everyone seemed to have married their local sweetheart, and stayed married to them for a hundred years. I always this was really sweet - until we climbed The Nut. If you don't know, the Nut is a sort of hill/mountain/big thing with steep bits that tourists are dragged to. It's not quite the Big Penguin (of which more to come) but it's a nice tourist attraction, for the more active tourist. It was in climbing the Nut with my eccentric old auntie (who later disowned us, bless) that I first saw it - the couple in matching tracksuits. Nothing in this world scares me more than walking along a road, hair like Tony Barber, with my wife identically dressed in a sharp lime green tracksuit. I was about 6 when we climbed The Nut, but I still remember being completely dumbstruck by this pair - when we spoke to them, because, hey, it's The Nut, you can't hide, they said they had met as twelve year olds, and had been married 50 years, and had never had a cross word, and that they had met, you guessed it, up The Nut...I thought this was both quite sweet and quite creepy, and I always remember his parting words..."Don't let the Nut get overrun with chinks, sign our peti...", no, wait, his second last sentence, "Love is local, it's right around the corner" - which was weird, because right around our corner was a local shop that for 15 years had a Kiss make up set in the window that no one ever bought. Did this mean I had to love locally, or learn to love Kiss? Should I be wearing a tracksuit? Should I get more active in walking? Didn't girls have cooties anyway? But I always remembered love is local...

Dating locally of course has it's problems - it's really difficult in a small town to sneak around and be discreet (unless you date a netballer, live in her attic and never leave) and it would have been impossible in Burnie to date, say, the reverends daughter without it appearing in the local gazette. To give you an example of this - when I lived in Burnie and I was 16 (somewhere between a boy and man - thanks Kid Rock), I had the most terrible, horrible, stomach churning crush on my hairdresser. It's sad to think of my awkward, terrible attempts at conversation with her. Brilliantly, she wasn't a hairdresser, but a hair artist (it said so on her card) who must have felt like she was wasting her talents shaving a step into the back of my bonce. She was really attractive, and had a website - I mean, amazing. Of course, she had a boyfriend, and plans to conquer Australia in a transit van. This reminds me of a girl I knew who moved to QLD with her boyfriend, only to find herself living in a tent. Anyway, boyfriend and several levels of hotness between us wasn't going to stop me...drowning like a man with anchors tied his to feet thrown into the deep end of Burnie pool off the "10". She didn't believe in doors, I remember that, so that was a couple of chats - how fascinated she was in mesh and beads. My conversation usually involved (wait for it) what was going on at school and how I was being held down by the man. Why she didn't just get naked at such scintillating chit chat and let me touch boob, I have no idea. This one day, I was talking about how we were held down by the man, and how we didn't get religious holidays like the Jewish kids (make that four anchors) and I was massively bagging out this one teacher, because he had a funny name and it made her giggle. I was laying it on thick, just doing impressions of him, all this stuff, anything to see her smile. I actually convinced myself that I was suave and flirting... at which point my Mum put her head through the bead curtain and said "Aye, yer glad it's yer old maw and no that teacher int ye" - when I left to get into our little silver car with the violently electric schock giving doors, I felt like I'd had a part of my body hacked off that wasn't my hair...

A year later, and suitably far more mature, I began to feel more confident with girls, although my level of conversation wasn't a lot better. I think I was always pointing out the benefits of e-mail (they've got some crazy stuff on that Internet). For some reason, I fell completely in love with a girl who was one of my best friends. I say some reason - I know exactly why. This was entirely because, for my birthday, she gave me a rare Beth Orton (remember her? Birds that sing for territory can learn to sing euphorically? No one could rhyme like Orton) CD for my birthday and gave me an awkwardly gropy hug on a bus- obviously, this meant we were meant to be together forever surely? Well, so I thought, we could probably sit around for the rest of our lives listening to Beth Orton (she'll be famous forever) . She was quite an intellectual girl, but she was (spot pattern run) going out with someone already, and he was one of my friends, and in hindsight, a complete tool. It's hardly likely that with her intellectual capabilities and fierce work ethic, she was going to be impressed with me and the nightly game of statues we played around North Hobart (not to mention our downhill run in slippers) - but I desperately tried. After all, we had been close friends in Burnie, and 95% of...no, it was never going to happen, I was in North Hobart, she was in Harvard (mentally) and living in her books. We'd changed, maybe if it had been a year earlier. Oh, and there was that small matter that the last time she came to visit, I had several stoned giggling friends on the floor, the unintellectual Lano and Woodley on the TV, and we were playing donkey with a rock hard Spiderman ball...and my best friend hit her on the head with the ball, and took it like a personal attack...there was no amount of Beth Orton in the world that could get her to forgive me...at which point, I realised, if I was dating local, I had to leave all my North West Coast thoughts and feelings behind, not to mention friends, and become...a Southerner. It was the only way I'd ever meet girls...

And that meant I had to leave behind the North West Coast attitude to dating - particularly that anyone who didn't like me back was a lesbian...and to be honest, out of moving to Hobart, this may have been the best bit...

2 comments:

Tazzie's 'mom' said...

I came across your blog on BlogExplosion, and I actually like to check out the blogs I'm surfing. ...

I noticed a post mentioning Beth Orton (love, love, love Central Reservation CD), and another mentioning Rangers. Rangers means nothing to me, but to my Glaswegian husband, they're the enemy, evil and to be hated, in other words, his team is Celtic.

Anyway, just wanted to say hello. All the best!

Miles McClagan said...

Thankyou, I really appreciate the well wishes! I support St Mirren, but I'm from a Celtic family, and my uncle absolutely hates Rangers more than anything in life. And whatever happened to Beth Orton? The Best Bit EP is amazing...

I miss her!