Congratulations! You’ve done the impossible — you’re now dating an Aussie guy. The odds were slim: Australia is a country with little dating culture and one of the worst work-life balances in the world. But somehow you wormed your way into his tender, ochre heart, where you’ve nestled yourself alongside his favorite brand of craft beer and a Steve Waugh-signed Gunn and Moore cricket bat. And it was well worth it. Aussie guys are a diverse bunch but generally united in their humility and unfussy, everyday courage.
Here are 11 commandments for dating a guy from Australia.
1. Thou shalt recognize the one religion — sport.
He loves it. He spends a third of his time watching it. He bets on it. He bonds over it. He opines on it. Sometimes he might even play it.
Sport is truth and truth is sport. Prepare yourself for a life spent worshipping at its altar.
Friday night through Sunday is for going to sacred sporting sights like the G, the Gabba, Etihad, and Adelaide Oval. It’s for smearing zinc on noses and downing frothies while watching a concatenation of men fight for a ball. And it’s for applying all one’s intellect to important questions like, was Barassi or Matthews the better coach? Would Essendon circa 2000 beat the Hawthorn dream team of the late 80s? What’s going on with Mitchell Johnson’s hair and face?
If you want to occupy the deepest, most intimate recesses of his heart and mind, spend some time getting your head around our sporting codes.
2. Thou shalt respect his sporting calendar.
Each season brings with it unique sporting events. In the summer there is cricket and in winter, Australian Rules Football and rugby, all accompanied with meat pies and pot bashing. January is for tennis, March brings the Formula One, September a horse race “that stops a nation,” and December a yacht race.
Every other day of the year is for lounging on the couch watching cage fighting, baseball, American football, hockey, snooker, toad-racing, curling, or literally anything pay-per-view trawls up.
3. Thou shalt do his footy betting for him.
There is a myth that the partners of Australian men fare much better in “footy betting” competitions than the men, particularly if they know less about the game.
This is clearly base superstition akin to mirror-breaking, but just indulge him. His love for footy is not always guided by reason.
4. Thou shalt enjoy a different kind of romance.
While Aussie blokes do value intimacy and the quiet pleasure of being in a relationship, they’re not really into mood lighting. Puffed-up seduction is about as appealing to them as one of those exaggerated football dives — there’s just something so false and corny about it.
So don’t expect the Taj Mahal or rose-scented sonnets from your Aussie boyfriend. But do take note when he surprises you with “something he bought on sale and thought you might like” or casually suggests you go out for dinner. In truth, he has been carefully planning these gestures for weeks.
5. Thou shalt quietly admire his casual bravery and grit, but ensure he looks after himself.
Australian men won’t shriek in the face of danger. They know how to handle an ocean rip (as in life, go with the flow). They view introspection as neuroticism. They don’t believe in complaining, even in the direst of situations.
Take, for example, rugby legend Trevor Gillmeister. During the 1995 Origin series, Gillmeister came down with a nasty case of blood-poisoning right before the deciding match. In hospital being pumped with antibiotics, he was told by his doctor, if you play, you may die. That didn’t stop “the Axe” from removing his intravenous drip, rising from his hospital bed, and making his way down to the rugby field, where he captained his team to victory.
So admire his grit but do encourage him to take care of himself.
6. Thou shalt open his heart for him.
Australian men can be a laconic bunch. Famously stoic, they may adopt silence in the face of personal suffering so as not to bother those around them. But bottling things up can increase the risk of depression. The rate of male suicide in Australia is high — three times greater than that for females — and it’s reported many put it down to their inability to ask for help. Grab him a soy Flat White, sit him down on the couch, and check in.
7. Thou shalt respect the sanctity of mateship.
He probably has a pack of ‘mates’ he goes to the footy with. They probably brew beer together, aspire to brew whiskey, and regularly brainstorm business plans for said activities. They may obsessively quote The Mighty Boosh (yes, still) and BoJack Horseman. They certainly share lame inside-jokes about “Damo shitting his pants at Spice Market” and Johno “having a tiny face.”
But they are his people, his brothers, his kin, and you must accept them into your life.
8. Thou shalt have a sly sense of humor.
Mere gags just won’t cut it. The Australian male has a fairly evolved sense of humor, as dry as a Sauv Blanc on a summer’s afternoon in Oodnadatta. Many put this down to the epic cosmic joke of living on a continent so antithetical to human life. For many men, humor is their chief joy and the lubricant for all social interactions. So start working your wit now and don’t be alarmed if he seems to make incongruous comments with a poker-face (this is potentially sarcasm).
9. Thou shalt feel free to be yourself with him.
The Aussie male is not faint-hearted and he knows little of tradition or formality. Feel free to swear and talk about your bodily functions in front of him with flair and gusto. Strut proudly in tracksuit pants and torn tees. Don’t worry if you forget to greet him with a salutary kiss and a “how was your day, dear?” Stress less about meeting his family — they’re all wearing board shorts anyway.
10. Thou shalt speak the language of football.
Learn the language and win his heart. But be warned — you’ll need time, exposure, a dictionary, a tutor, maybe even a degree.
Some rules for the use of the word “football”:
- There are three different sports that can be called football: rugby union, rugby league, and Australian Rules football.
- Call Australian Rules Football “Football” or “footy” if you are in any state but NSW and QLD.
- If you’re in NSW or QLD you may refer to AFL as Aussie Rules, Gay FL, or aerial ping pong.
- Never call Rugby League “Rugby” unless you’re in Victoria.
- If you’re outside of Victoria, don’t even think about it. Refer to it as “League” or “Football”.
- Rugby Union, however, may be called “Rugby” in most situations.
- The only thing that can’t be called football is football (it’s soccer.)
11. Thou shalt add liberal salt to these commandments.
The Australian man is rapidly mutating and to generalize is not doing the population a service. He could be gender-fluid, skirt-wearing, sensual, child-caring, bejeweled, or Bengali-speaking. He may wear nail polish and prefer selling all his worldly possessions, moving to QLD, and “Stop[ing] Adani” than going to the pub with his mates or committing to a monogamous relationship with you.
Best to “take it easy” and go with the flow.