This post was inspired by an article I read recently about the various things New Yorkers do differently. It lead me to think of the many ridiculous things Australians do differently to our fellow human beings from distant corners of the globe. Please refrain from judging us based purely on the facts I list below – we’re a pretty decent bunch!
1. Dress for Cold Weather
Aussies (myself included), have absolutely no idea how to dress for cold weather. Items such as scarves, gloves and coats are completely foreign to us, as they are very rarely required. When it’s freezing outside (anything less than 15°C, or 60°F), we go into complete shock-mode. The only way we know to stay warm is by wearing every single item of clothing we own at once (which isn’t exactly effective considering we only own t-shirts). During winter in Australia, you will see people wearing socks with thongs (flip-flops) – a horrific sight I guarantee will not be seen anywhere else.
I’m not exactly proud of this one, but there is no doubt that Australians swear more than any other race on our planet. Swear words lie between every second and third spoken word, no matter what the topic of conversation. Parents swear, kids swear, girls swear, boys swear – if an Aussie’s not swearing out of happiness or anger (or every emotion between), something is very wrong. This leads me to point three:
3. Show Affection Towards Friends
There is only one true way to let your friends know that they’re important to you, and that’s by referring to them as the most sinful of all swear words (four letters, starts with ‘c’). If someone refers to you as a ‘C-U-Next-Tuesday’, it will likely be followed by a suffocating bear hug and a sloppy kiss on the cheek. As far as I know, Australia is the only country where being called a c**t is both desired and 100% acceptable.
Apparently we sound quite different to all other native English-speakers when we talk. To me, Aussies sound perfectly normal, but I guess my opinion is somewhat biased. I recall one occasion in New York many years ago when I ordered a coffee and a sandwich from a waitress at a cafe, who looked at me in blankness as though I had spoken in Russian and shrugged to suggest there was nothing she could do. When Aussies talk to each other, our words slur into one and are quite often shortened into single-syllables. Football becomes footy, umbrella becomes brolly, television becomes tele, and telephone becomes dog and bone (work that one out).
Every Australian has a nickname, often eight or more. It may be out of laziness, but we’re physically incapable of pronouncing full names. More often than not, names are altered to end with either -azza or -o. For example, Charlotte will be know as Shazza, Sarah as Sezza, Thomas as Tomo and Jack as Jacko. We would only ever refer to someone by their full name if the person being spoken to happened to be the Queen (but even then it would feel almost rude).
6. Wear Sunscreen
You might not have heard, but there is a fairly sizeable hole in the Ozone Layer just above Australia. As a result, our sun is about fifty times stronger than anywhere else. Each Australian remembers a childhood sunburn so bad that their skin blistered and sleep became a fire-pitted nightmare. To avoid revisiting such childhood horrors, Aussies coat every inch of their exposed skin (which is all of it) with sunscreen before stepping into our great outdoors. We know not to forget our ears, hands and especially not the tops of our bare feet. A thick line of white zinc over the nose is absolutely vital at the beach and on the cricket pitch. No Aussie wants a singlet tan for fear of being mistaken for a holidaying Pom.
7. Cook A Barbie (That Being A Barbecue Not A Plastic Doll)
Aussies cook the meanest of barbies. However, you may be surprised to hear that never in our history has a shrimp been put on a barbie in Australia. First of all, shrimps do not exist in our language (they’re prawns). Secondly, we won’t cook it if it isn’t red and bad for our cardiovascular health. For the best results, home barbies are never cleaned – the grease of all previous barbies does wondrous things for flavour intensity. Meat is always overcooked and served with artificially white sliced bread and tomato sauce (not ketchup).
I’m sure there are many more things Aussies do quite differently, but these are the seven that first come to mind. I hope I haven’t turned you off my people!