One of the things that really stood out to him when he first started, was the lack of people asking what he did for a living.
In our experience in the US when you meet someone new, pretty much the first question out of their mouth is; “What do you do?”
It’s so different here in Australia. People just aren’t judged by their job, we have a completely different system for sizing people up and its pretty simple and unique; you fit into category A or category B.
A. Is he a wanker?
A ‘wanker’ is pretty much the equivalent to being an ‘asshole’ in the USA.
B. Is he a ‘good bloke’?
A ‘good bloke’ is generally defined as someone with nothing to prove, who isn’t trying to impress anyone and who ‘bashes’ (trashes) the Kiwi’s (New Zealander‘s) and loves beer.
So hubby starting going to this weekly poker match about 6 months ago and for the first few weeks he didn’t say anything about this. After about 2 months he came home and it was as though he couldn’t contain himself any longer…” Its been months now and no one has ever asked me what I do for a living!” he exclaimed.
He was really quite fascinated by the whole process. Everybody chatting, playing cards, drinking and having a laugh. No station or prestige, just guys being…well, guys. Its been about six months now and he just recently found out that he’s playing every week with a Doctor, a judge, a trash collector and a newspaper reporter, amongst others. What a fantastically eclectic bunch!
I really love this about my country. No matter who you are, what your situation is in life, you’ll be given a ‘fair go’ by strangers just as long as you keep downing those beers and blasting those kiwis!
Ok, I jest a little, being a ‘good bloke’ is much more than this. Being able to laugh at oneself, not being ‘up yourself’ (pretentious) and being affable and willing to lend a hand are all traits that will take you far. Things like telling people you come from a ‘good family’, or announcing some prestigious sounding job, or showing off a fancy car or watch, will take you to category ‘A’ faster than you can say ‘friendless!’
Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not the fact that you might have a prestigious job, wear a fancy watch or drive a luxury car that’s the problem. It’s the need to make people aware of it that turns us off. We are always happy for a ‘mate’ to have success and good fortune. As long as he remains a ‘good bloke’. Confused yet?
The overwhelming message here is that what you do, what your title is or where you come from, is not important. Who you are, what you stand for and how you treat others, is. And to us, it defines you.
It’s a message I am so happy to be instilling into my son as I watch him grow up.* Disclaimer: I know that not everyone is the US judge people by these values, and of course not everyone in Australia doesn’t. This is just an observation from the snapshot of our lives and the experiences we have had overall. My husband is American and we love all of our many and varied American friends!