Last year my old Editor told me she could predict what I would wear the following day, and without telling me she would be close to correct every day. She would tell her PA the day before and for 3 months straight they keep a tally of what she predicted and then what I showed up in the next day. At the end of the 3 months, I was called into the “oval office” and given this spreadsheet on my work attire. She started the conversation by saying “What is it with your Australians? No matter how cold or wet it is outside you always wear thongs”. And fair enough, the facts were on paper… the spreadsheet told me so. For 2 months, 3 weeks and 2 days I wore thongs to work, only opting for converse sneakers on 3 Fridays when I was apparently going out dancing after work.
Before this I had never noticed my shoe wearing or lack of wearing in this case. But thinking back I do have a habit to walk barefoot around the office sometimes…
Now this memory only popped into my head an hour ago when I was walking down a busy Pitt Street on my lunch break towards the bank, when this man stopped me and pulled me aside. The conversation went along these lines…
Man: Are you Australian?
Me: Ahh, yes…
Man: What is it with you Australians? (please re read his parts with a English accent)
Me: Im sorry?
Man: You people always wear thongs, are your feet not cold?
Me: No they are not actually
Man: Is your neck cold?
(I stare blankly at him…)
Man: Well its just your wearing a scarf… its like your feet are in the Tropic’s but your neck is in Russia!
Me: (looking down at my feet) well I never really thought of that this morning
Man: Well do you check the weather reports?
Man: I think you should. He then walks away…
Now I know I don’t have the most awesome taste in clothes or that I am so up there with fashion of the current day… but what is wrong with wearing a scarf and thongs?!? If I wasn’t so shocked and in awe that a stranger stopped me to tell me off in the street I would have taken him on in a debating argument on the matter.
Is it such a conflict of interests to wear a scarf and thongs? Hasn’t the trusty pair of havaiana’s become a staple in all wardrobes of both men and women? And hasn’t this guy been to Bondi on a Sunday afternoon? Shouldn’t he be fitting into the stereotypical mould of the English backpacker and donning his own pair of flip flops, billabong shorts, bonds singlet and red raw sunburn?