Skip to comments.Australian Outback Men Seek Love
Posted on 09/21/2002 6:57:28 AM PDT by Tancred
CONDOBOLIN, Australia (AP) - Looking like a cross between James Bond and Crocodile Dundee in his tux, cowboy boots and felt hat, Brad Barnett lounges against the dusty doorway of a country hall and casts an eye over his romantic prospects.
The 23-year-old rancher drove hundreds of miles in a pickup truck to a parched Outback fairground looking for love at the Condobolin Bachelor and Spinster's Ball.
But despite the traditional role such dances known as a B&S have played as rural Australia's cupid, Barnett and his friend, 21-year-old welder Warwick Ranclaud, doubt this affair will offer the women of their dreams.
The reason? There just are not enough women to go around.
"It's very hard now to meet women in the country," said Barnett, who works on his parent's 8,000-acre property in northeast New South Wales state.
"When I first started going to B&S's, there were lots of single women. Now a lot of country girls go away to uni (university), and because there's not the jobs in the country ... they'll stay in the bigger cities."
Barnett's lament can be heard from ranchers across this vast nation as rural Romeos find it increasingly difficult to meet young women prepared to settle down in the country.
A national women's magazine earlier this year launched a "Find a Wife For a Farmer" campaign, profiling some of the hundreds of lonely country men.
Sarah Dent, coordinator of the Young Farmer's Forum and a campaign organizer, said the lack of love in Outback Australia stems from declines in population and in small-town services like banks and schools.
"And because there are fewer people in the towns, there aren't the social opportunities to meet people," Dent said. "Once there used to be the cricket team, rodeos and local shows (fairs), but some of them are closing down."
Before World War II, Australia's agricultural sector was one of the nation's largest employers, and wool and grain among its highest export earners.
But a postwar boom in manufacturing and the launch of several major engineering projects drew people off the land.
Today, Australia is one of the most urbanized countries in the world, with 84 percent of its 19 million people living in the most densely populated 1 percent of the continent along the east coast.
By contrast, half the continent is home to just 0.3 percent of the population.
The nation's farmers also suffer from financial and environmental pressures. Most of Australia's east coast is experiencing a drought that has ruined crops and forced farmers to sell off livestock.
Ranclaud and Barnett said these troubles turn off some women, who they say want more material possessions than a farmer may be able to provide.
"As soon as the girls go to the city they change and they're not as genuine as they once were. They know they've got it too good," Barnett said.
The B&S at Condobolin, 280 miles west of Sydney, is one of dozens held in country towns each year to give farmers and rural workers a chance to forget their woes and perhaps meet someone special.
This ball has attracted more than 1,600 people, many of whom traveled more than 310 miles along dusty country roads in souped-up pickup trucks, known as "utes."
The utes, an integral part of B&S culture, have large bull bars attached to the front and are covered in bumper stickers with such slogans as, "My ute, my country, no distance too far, just follow my dust to the next B&S bar."
Most partygoers sleep in the back of their utes or roll out a "swag" a canvas-covered sleeping bag under the stars to sleep off the night's excesses.
Some women at "Condo," as Condobolin is locally known, admit that the vehicle often is what attracts them to a man.
"It doesn't matter what he looks like, it's the ute that counts," said Alyse Hawks, who came to the ball with six girlfriends.
Men dress for the dance in tuxedos, boots and hats. Women squeeze into homemade taffeta skirts but leave their boots and jeans on underneath.
A band covers songs in the country hall, while men wait outside at a long bar to fill the plastic cups issued when they pay the $47 entry fee, which includes all the beer you can drink and a couple of steak sandwiches.
By midnight, drunken young men scuffle in the red dust as others urge them on. Their suits are sodden with beer and rum, and some have ripped shirts.
This behavior is what some women believe keeps the Outback bachelors from finding lifelong partners.
Michelle Best, 18, a hairdresser attending her first ball, said the men were not doing themselves any favors.
"I'd never pick up one of these guys they're feral," Best said. "I'm not really impressed."
As they shuffled into their ute the morning after the ball, Ranclaud had a woman's phone number while Barnett left only with a resolve to try again at the next B&S.
"There's not much else to do," he sighed.
Jeez, these guys MUST be DESPARATE! :-)
Well sugar-britches, it's your role to civilize him so that one day you'll be the mistress of an 8,000 acre estate.
About rural depopulation - very severe in many parts of Australia. The women leave first (this is also seen in France, I have read.) Yes, immigrant women are sometimes a solution, but migrants in general move to the major cities, and are afraid of racism and rejection in rural areas.
The Australian government is not at all helpful. Some men in the Northern Territory wished to marry East Timorese refugee women, who are Christian, and - after living under Indonesian occupation - used to making the best of things. But the govt was so mean and didn't want to give them visas. The story was that they had to return to East Timor (they were on temporary protection visas) and reapply from there. Ditto for Bosnian women who were in Albury in Victoria. Meanwhile, people running immigration rackets and false marriages just forge ahead. Don't ask me - very strange policies our govt has.
Not impressed? Whatsamattah with you?
Well, that 8000 acres does sound tempting even if it is arid. I wonder if these feral guys can be cut down to a beer or two and taught to wash the dust off... might be worth checking out Australia. If they come up with a second ammendment down there at least we women could defend ourselves until we've managed to train these men.
Actually, I was referring to the authorette of this piece, one Emma Tinkler. But I really met a guy in the Army whose last name was pronounced "Moor-roan" and spelled "Moron"! He didn't see any need to change it.......
As a man, I'm surprised that women are turned on by these vehicles, and I'm obviously not the best authority. But it seems that shave and shower facilities and several changes of clean clothes might improve a man's prospects. Maybe they could figure out some way to take enough water for a shower in the backs of their utes.
It would seem that, even if a man established good rapport with a woman in the evening, the next morning, after a few late night scuffles in the red dust, his suit sodden with beer and rum and slept in overnight in the truck, his shirt ripped, a shave and shower badly needed, when he presented himself to her at breakfast, a bit hung over--she might loose interest.
But then, as I say, I'm a man and no authority on female interest heightening stimuli. These could be the very things that really get a woman excited!
On the other hand, there are enclaves in the United States in which men are few and the pickin's are slim. Some of these men might invest in an airline ticket. Savannah would be a good place to start.
After running this post past my wife, for a woman's perspective, she did indicate that my advice could be sound.
She also added that Australian men have a tendency to behave toward women in a very unattractive manner, and this may be the real problem.
The charm school idea seems to be a good one. Having female instructors, who can skillfully guide a man's thinking to what women do and do not like and how women do and do not like to be treated by a man, could be the key to solving these men's problems.
I would suspect that there are many women who would love to live in the outback with a man who knows how to make them happy.
My wife added however:
"I don't know. In the outback with an Australian man? I don't think so."I asked.
"What if it were Clark Gable,"
"An Australian man!?!!"she replied.
MESSAGE TO AUSTRALIAN MEN: Charm school with female instructors is essential!!!
I hope this helps!
The Savage Beast
We want PICTURES!
(Well, that's what the guys always say on the Ann Coulter threads.)
Lads, you've got it backwards. You pick up polish from the city, and get the lady there. Eventually the rat race is a bit much to handle, THEN you say, "Darling, let's settle out in a place of our own."
But then again, considering the number of Australian blokes in THIS city, presumably, a lot of you know this already.
Thinking of buying a vineyard in Australia
Another reason to visit Australia!
Hmmmmmm a few thousand acres with a Russell Crowe or Hugh Jackman of my own sounds like paradise! As gruff as they might be (although Hugh Jackman is one of the most gentlemanly and polished of all Hollywood actors, along with Guy Pearce) I appreciate the straightforward attitude of Australian men.
But who am I to criticize? I can't explain what attracts me to Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Mary Elizabeth Parker, and many who are not world famous.
But if I were one of these Aussies I would really blow it. I'd avoid alcohol, say goodnight before midnight, get some rest in a comfortable sleeping bag, get up early feeling fresh, shower, shave, put on some clean clothes, and be waiting for the women when they come down to breakfast.
They would walk right past me to the hungover blokes struggling for coffee at the back table (where they can avoid the sunlight).
Just goes to show. I'm no one to give advice.
MESSAGE TO AUSSIES: Forget that charm school idea.
Now, now, SB...don't get your drawers in a knot.
Women DO like clean, gentlemanly men. It's just that there's a large difference between a guy being slovenly and just having some honest dirt on him... just like there's a difference between having a few drinks and being a drunkard.
Way too many women turn their noses up at a guy who has callused hands or who happens to be sweaty and dirty from working all day.
I'll take a hard-working man over a pansy-handed guy in a suit ANY day!
You're right, of course. Some honest dirt, callused hands, and sweat from honest work are badges of honor and make anyone admirable, respectable, and attractive.
Your good remarks are encouraging to all of us hardworking men.
MESSAGE TO AUSSIES: Ignore everything I have said but not this: E-mail MamaTexan if you want good advice.
But, in general, Aussie men treat their women a LOT worse than your average American man does. I got into a situation, where a RAAF woman thought I was courting her, because I paid for drinks at the bar (apparentely, it's either Dutch or the girl pays, as the norm. This was in Darwin, in the Northern Territories, no clue how things go in Sydney, Brisbane, or more urban Aussie areas. . .), kept up correspondence, and sent a few Squadron t-shirts down (she and her friends remarked that they liked our Squadron shirt, I was one of the guys screen-printing them, so sent down a few after the latest print run). The next time I deployed down there, several months later, she wanted me to meet her parents. I was rather shocked when her father asked about "my intentions". . . I hadn't done more than dance with her, and a kiss goodnight !!
Um....how do you know that he only moved to Australia to get an easy start with his acting career? Back up for that?
In fact, they probably lived next door to each other and traded notes on how to take over Hollywood.
Nicole Kidman arranged to be born here to further her acting career.
Same for Guy Pearce, who is sighted now and then in St. Kilda and South Yarra. (Mr. Pearce, Melbourne loves you!)
Now Sam Neil... he was born in England (I think), then found himself in New Zealand, and then moved to Australia to further his acting career.
Paul Hogen should leave Australia to further his acting career.
The "alligator guy" tries to catch giant reptiles to further his acting career.
Naomi Watts decided that being in Mulholland Drive would further her acting career.
Hugo Weaving will reappear in The Matrix Reloaded, I hope, in order to further his acting career. He is also in "Proof" and "The Interview".