Now that winter is done, everyone in Brisbane is venturing back onto their verandahs of an evening; sitting, reading, eating, drinking, talking with friends. It's lovely. Where I live the blocks of land are big, but they're longer than wide so the houses are close together. It means you hear a lot of conversations, music, tv and other goings on that aren't happening in your house. Mostly, we all pretend not to notice each other, so even when we are all sitting outside and can see each other only metres away, we just mind our own business. Or at least appear to.
Last night I was sitting on our verandah, drinking a beer and working. Next door a couple of women were having a cup of tea, some ciggies and a catch up, gossiping away unselfconsciously about work, parties, friends, guys and hook-ups. Although I wasn't really listening, the conversation drifted across my table and this snippet of conversation caught my attention:
I don't know what I was thinking. He was so gross! I mean, he was a surfer, so there was that. (Cackling laughter from both women) But he was filthy and he stank and his house was disgusting. I would sit on the couch while he played playstation, and it was sticky! And his mates were so irritating and rude. I'd go out with them and they'd just sit and watch the football and completely ignore me. Like, hello! I could be home drinking wine, you know!
Haha! I love that she went out with someone just because 'he was a surfer, you know'. But I also love that, in the end, it wasn't enough. It shouldn't be enough! Sometimes I forget how other people see guys who surf - as mysterious or exciting or hot, or something. Bless. I just see them as guys who surf - not too much mysterious about that to me. I grew up in a town where surfing is central, so I had no illusions about the surfers I went to school with. Not that they were horrible, but they were, well, they were surfers. But for a lot of girls from inland and women from the city, there is something about surfers that really ignites their imagination.
I've noticed this works the other way too. When people I don't know very well find out that I surf, they're interested. They ask questions about it. Unfortunately, I'm about the least mysterious person you could ever meet, so who I am in reality conflicts with their fantasies. That I surf also makes the students I teach think I'm cool... for about 5 minutes! It's amusing how much the idea of me surfing surprises people. I suppose I fail surfing's stereotypical and exciting image;
Rebecca Olive: dork who surfs.
Not that that bothers me in the slightest. To be honest, I'd rather people didn't meet me and assume I surf. I like that it can be my secret.