But did he smoke grass and watch sexy movies? Did he want to chuck it all in and travel the world like the other Dutchmen? No, not he. He wanted to stay at home and renovate the house. In a leafy suburb. A domestic Dutchman - The Men Part 1
I'm like my mother, I stereotype. It's faster. - Ryan Bingham played by George Clooney in "Up in the Air"Some months ago I wrote about "the-finding-atypical-men-syndrome" in The Men Part 1 I'd been thinking about how the men in my life were all atypical of their national stereotypes.
I did the Brit, the Aussie and the Dutchman and promised to write later on the other two - the American and the German.
Now later has come around, and as I am a woman who is true to her word, here goes.
The American. Although he has become a blur I can still remember that part of him that was atypically American. His teeth. Americans are obsessed with even white teeth. When I go to my dentist in New York, he is always aghast at the state of my teeth. Actually I'm simplifying - I have three professionals who I classify generically as dentists - my dentist, my periodontist and my endodontist. Yep it is taking three highly paid, highly educated professionals to try to make passable my Australian teeth - teeth that suffered from the happy-go-lucky-let's-fill-every-crevice Victorian state school dentists 100 years ago.
We didn't have much in common, my American and I - except for our teeth. Our crooked, over-filled far-from-white teeth.
How can it be? How can a middle-class waspy American have bad teeth? Once I even asked him. He claimed that unlike his siblings, his parents didn't send him to the dentist. "They didn't like me," he explained. "How could this be?" I thought. How could ANYONE not like him? But with time comes wisdom. I know now ...
Then the American, like the Brit, the Australian and the Dutchman before him, journeyed into THE PAST. And along came ... a German. Actually the German is now legally Australian, but he spent his formative and early adult years in Germany, and has German parents. As the Jesuits have been known to say, "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man."
I met my German in Australia and I remember that after we'd become a unit, calling my friends to tell them the news. Relieved the American was out of the way they were keen to find out about the new man.
"He's German," I told my friend Katrina. "Well there's one good thing," she replied, "at least he'll be tidy." How wrong she was.
I am now married to the world's most untidy German. At times I think I'm married to the world's most untidy human being.
He's even more untidy than my good friend B. I'll always remember finding out that B was vacationing in Anglesea (Australia) - seaside town not far from where I was then living. Anglesea is a small town - around 2,000 people, although in the summer tourists boost the population to perhaps double that.
I wanted to drop in on B, but all I knew was the name of the street - and it was a LONG street.
Still, I was confident I'd find her. I put the kids in the car. I'd recently changed the oil and the spark plugs, (I was then married to the atypical Aussie) so it was running well.
Once in Anglesea I found the street and starting at one end drove slowly along, looking right and left into the front yards of the houses.
"Ah, there's her house," I told the children, and stopped the car. Kids's clothes and toys, towels and sleeping bags were strewn about. Their jagged trail started at the driveway where her car would have been parked, and ended at the front door which had been left ajar.
I found a $10 note on the ground amongst fish and chip wrappings and empty Coke bottles. We went inside to wait for B and her kids to return.
"How did you know where we were?" B asked when she returned.
"I just looked for the messiest house in Anglesea," I confessed.
At that time I thought that B was the most untidy person I would ever know. But I was wrong.
The German had yet to arrive.
I can't understand it. How can it be? Do I seek these people out? Am I fascinated with their idiosyncrasies?
I don't think that's it, because in the case of the German, I didn't know he was untidy for some time. And the American - I met him on the internet so had no idea about his teeth.
I intend to do some serious thinking. I am thinking of getting a new aim in life. I think I'll package my thoughts into a pop psychology book.
I can see it all coming together. The interviews. The photo sessions. The book signings.
Next you'll be seeing me on "The View".