Or do they? Bambi Smyth, author of Men on the Menu which follows her on 75 blind dates around the world, knows a thing or two about international dating. So what’s her verdict when comes to the smooth-talking Frenchie or the true blue Aussie bloke?
Okay, I admit it. I’ve always had a bit of a thing for European men. They’ve always seemed so interesting, so refined, so worldly, so – well – exotic. And besides, who can resist a French accent? Mon dieu!
And I don’t believe I’m alone in that perception, which, quite frankly, might seriously upset Australian men. I mean, they must feel like they’ve been passed over in favour of some foreign upstarts who don’t even know how to eat a meat pie correctly.
But do European men really have it all over our Aussies, when push come to shove? So to speak.
It’s true that European men – and I’m talking French, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Hungarian, and yes, even German – have no problem at all in making women feel good about themselves. They’re quite happy to flatter you, whisper sweet nothings, pull out the chair, and make you feel like the only woman in the room. Whereas Aussie guys – at least in my experience – seem to regard chivalry as insincere and maybe even a little pathetic. Almost unmanly. That they’d really rather just buy you a beer and hope it keeps you quiet while they talk to their mates.
Well, The European Way may be insincere, and the flirting and trying to impress simply put on for show, but heck, I happen to like all the attention. Although if the ‘shallowness’ of such behavior extends to his entire personality, and he turns out to have the depth of a stainless steel sink strainer, well, then I’m outta there.
Another thing I like about European men is they seem quite sexually confident. I don’t mean in the sleazy, pushy, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am way, but in the way that sex is simply a part of their lives, as is breathing, sleeping, walking, and sitting down to a nice plate of Spaghetti Carbonara. They love women, and they celebrate sex, and it all seems to work rather nicely.
Whereas Australian men – at least the handful I’ve gone out with – are more English in their sensibilities, and seem to regard sex as something a little bit shameful – to either get over with as quickly as possible so they can watch the footy replay, or are a bit uncertain of how to even start. I mean, “Are you awake?” does not great foreplay make.
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And I’m not just talking about sex – heavens, it sounds like I’m a sex maniac, which I’m certainly not – but the most basic forms of meaningful physical interaction: the touch of a cheek, the stroke of a hand, the brush of lips against lips. And heck, let’s go for broke – a great big warm bear hug every now and again.
Another thing – I like the way so many European men dress. The northern Italians in particular are impeccable, and jeans, a crisp white t-shirt and dark sunnies don’t look as good on anyone else on the planet. The French have their button-down cuffs, the Germans their Hugo Boss jackets, and the Swedes their H&M knitted essentials. European fashion is – in the main – stylish, colour coordinated, good quality, and makes the men look like cat-walk models.
Aussie men on the other hand, can be a bit tragic, especially on weekends. Whoever decided that stubbies and blue singlets, or else low-slung jeans revealing most unattractive bum-cracks – which invariably make me wish I’d brought my bike along as I’d have a perfect spot to park it – are our national costume? And even if I’m exaggeratingly slightly – but only slightly – Aussies don’t particularly favour accessorizing, which can make them look like they don’t really care how they present themselves. I mean, a nice cashmere scarf looped around a man’s neck can turn him from daggy to dapper in seconds. And no, gentlemen, wearing a stubbie holder on a string around your neck doesn’t count.
So I’ve covered charm, confidence and clothing, all of which are pretty important contributors to the world of romance. And I’m not saying that Europeans have a monopoly on such attributes, but they make a damned good fist of it.
But is it enough?
Why – if Europeans are so damn sexy – do Aussie women bother dating Aussie men at all, especially if they ‘supposedly’ lack charm, delicious accents, and unbridled passion, as well as being known to drink like fish, swear like troopers, and smell like wombats?
Well, the truth is, Aussie men are really rather nice. They’re unpretentious, down to earth, invariably have quirky senses of humour, are good at barbecuing sausages, generally keep themselves in good shape, and are sweetly vulnerable. True, you still have to get past all the ocker posturing and their almost pathological addiction to football, but at the end of the day I’d probably still rather have a pair of RM Williams boots at the foot of my bed, than a pair of Italian loafers.