How To Fit In, In Australia

2006 WSOP Main Event Table

Image via Wikipedia

My American husband has been playing poker on Tuesday nights almost since we moved to Australia 9 months ago.

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.

or

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!
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8 thoughts on “How To Fit In, In Australia

  1. Gretchen says:

    Karyn,
    I love this !!!! What a wonderful way of life. It should be that way everywhere. I am so happy for you, Leroy and Jackson.
    We miss all of you.

    Like

    • Thanks Gretchen! As always its so nice to hear from you and your positive attitude! Our love to Tiger and Huey! We plan on getting back there in the next year or so and will be sure and drop in and say hi! Kx

      Like

  2. cevon says:

    I didn’t know that.

    Like

    • Emil says:

      Having a tiny bit too much to drink always seems to reaevl startling truths to me. They’re locked up in there until I hit the fourth beer and WAHEY!I had no idea I was:i) that funnyii) a 21st century superhero with special powers and just waiting for the post of Spiderman to become available……(did I just say that out loud?)

      Like

  3. Excellent. We’re moving to Aus. I plan on playing poker every Tuesday night too.

    One of my favorite parts of the article was when you tagged the word “asshole.” Nice touch.

    Like

  4. Tim Rider says:

    I find Aussies to be an odd bunch

    They dont seem to care about anything. The only thing on their minds are beer and footy. It really is a bit silly.

    Plus aussies are generally a pretty ignorant bunch. And VERY racist

    Like

    • Oh Tim, you are a funny old chap, you really do have your knickers in a knot over this post of mine don’t you?

      Here’s a little education for you on the definition of racism:

      rac·ism (rszm)
      n.
      1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
      2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

      Do you see the humor in this?

      You have just committed racism, even as you critisized my country for being racist! You made a sweeping statement about the Australian people and attributed that our race accounts for differences in human character (and I quote here): “Aussies…. don’t seem to care about anything, the only things on their mind are beer and footy….pretty ignorant bunch… and VERY (I like the emphasis here – I see you were VERY serious about it) racist.”

      Thanks for the best laugh I’ve had all morning.

      Thankfully, most of my friends don’t qualify for the category A. Wanker in this post (which is why I like them so much), but thank YOU for displaying a perfect example for my readers. I totally owe you. Thanks so much for reading.

      NB. I have never drunk a beer in my life, and I only watch football if my (American) husband has the TV on.

      I’m not sure then what nationality that makes me, since I can’t possibly qualify as an Australian under your very detailed guidelines. Any help you can offer would be appreciated.

      Like

  5. `scud mum` says:

    Love it love it love it lov…t !

    Like

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