I recently took a visit ‘home’ to Australia. Some random, passing observations and opinions:
Prolific Tattoos: I felt a bit left out on the social scene – my pale, unscarred skin simply couldn’t compete with the body-art trend. Everyone is inked to the max. And I’m not just talking about small little butterflies or flowers; bold, limb or torso-covering images and statements in Old English font are leading the way. The apparently forgetful older generation are decked out with childrens’ names/dates-of-births and the younger set have, well…just about anything. For the gents, something prophetic about being your ‘brother’s keeper’ is still keeping the Maroubra legacy alive and bows on the back of thighs seemed popular for the young ladies. I wasn’t really sure what to think when my father once told me that he found it sexy when girls had roses tattooed on their ankles. (Cue awkward silence and a quick glance at my mum’s legs).
I guess I noticed the ink much more on this recent trip south because you rarely see tats on display in Central or North East Asia. Those that are visible are normally showing colours. I was on a train in Tokyo recently and a sudden carriage jolt resulted in me, luggage and all, careering into a fellow passenger, a well built young man with a haircut so sharp you could set your watch to it (thank you Grandpa Simpson). He was none too pleased about this buffoon foreigner invading his personal space and he let me know about it. I was a bit taken aback by this very non-standard Japanese reaction, but just before letting fly with a diplomatic, “Calm the fuck down”, I caught a glimpse of his chest through a few open buttons on his shirt collar.
Totally. Covered. In. Tattoos. The first word that came to mind was ‘Yakuza’. The second and third words were, ‘Uh oh’. Luckily, I know how to say sorry in Japanese (I actually know how to say sorry in a number of languages – handy for someone like me with frequent foot-in-mouth disease). My apology was accepted.
Getting The Girls Out: Younger ladies gather round, here’s my opinion on flashing the flesh: there is a distinct difference between sexy and slutty. Sexy tends to involve style, and generally still leaving something to the imagination. Things can be presented nicely without them being on the brink of falling out of your cheap, visible, K-Mart underwear. I’m not going to deny that you see your fair share of flesh on the average night out in Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong – particularly during ‘Slutty Nurse’ Halloween season (in my book that slutty is an acceptable slutty because it is for artistic ‘costume’ purposes).
But even LKF displays more of an element of class than your average Gold Coast bar. And to my final point – please dress for your size (see below). Just to prove I’m not one-sided, I will direct my opinion to my male counterparts: I know fitted is the trend guys, but sweat marks through skin-tight shirts and visible spare tyres over skinny denim shorts are not attractive. At all.
Who Ate All The Pies? Whoa Australia, step away from the fridge. Enough said.
Fluro: Bring on high-visibility fashion! Australians are appropriately embracing it for outdoor exercise attire whereas expatriates tend to file it under ‘smart casual’. It won’t take you long in any major Asian city to spot an expatriate drinking at a bar (I could actually stop the sentence at that point…) wearing bright orange or yellow chinos. But that’s ok, because they are bound to be Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger or some other known brand which qualify them as exorbitantly priced, and therefore acceptable. Being more of a fashionista than a trendsetter, I normally fit in by copying those around me. So I recently bought a pair of maroon coloured chinos (I didn’t quite feel ready for the fire-engine red ones) and wore them a few times Down Under. What I do like about Australians, and particularly those Australians making up my long-time friends, is they won’t hold any punches when it comes to voicing opinions on new fashion experiments. Lesson learnt – the coloured chinos stay in Asia. But I hear that Gap has a sale on neon green corduroy slim fit pants at the moment so I think I’ll be getting me a pair of them! I’m sure to get some mileage out of them in Asia…or the next time we’re in Dubai