When we met at college, little did we know that between the two of us, we would spend the next few years living in five different countries (U.S., France, China, Australia and England) on four different continents . Naturally, when we made our initial moves, our heads were full of images of exotic foreign men and exciting adventures. But, as with many things about living abroad, dating abroad turned out to hold some surprises in store for us. During that time, we dated some weird people, made some questionable choices, and occasionally fell flat on our faces while trying to flirt in a second language.
Now that we’re both living in London, we’ve come to view these dates fondly (though it took longer for some than others) and started cataloging the good, the bad, and the extremely strange men that we dated. These are the strangest eight things that happened to us while dating abroad: Keep reading »
I haven’t been following the Australian swimming community’s sexual abuse scandal. I only feel like I have been. That’s because these sorts of heartbreaking stories are so goddamned familiar: a coach is accused of sexually abusing the young charges under his tutelage and with whom he has shared lots of private time, often far from home.
In Australia’s case, several coaches were accused of sexual abuse of both male and female swimmers between the ages of 11 and 16. One coach is Scott Volkers, who is accused of child sexual abuse by three now-adult women. Volkers is accused, among other things, of rubbing the genitalia of a 13-year-old girl and groping the girls’ breasts; he has long claimed his innocence. Charges were dropped against Volkers in 2002 because accusations could not be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Two years later, in 2004, prosecutor Margaret Cunneen advised against recharging him.
Currently, Australia is holding an investigation (called a “royal commission”) focusing on the country’s institutional response, including whether Cunneen’s advice not to recharge him was appropriate. At the time, Cunneen showed skepticism that the abuse could be prosecuted. Which, as a lawyer, is her job to prove. However, what Cunneen said about it all was pretty offensive to these victims. Cunneen said it could all be seen as “trivial … almost fanciful” and it would be difficult to prosecute Volkers for molestation because his victim may not have developed breasts yet. “It is legitimate to consider whether 12-year-old swimmers even had breasts,” she said. Keep reading »
The semi-creepy travel dating website MissTravel took a survey of its members to find where the sexiest people in the world come from. The site asked both men and women to rate which nationalities they find sexiest in a partner. Obviously, sexiness is pretty subjective, but it’s all in good fun anyway! The oh-so-scientific results found that the hottest men hail from Australia while the hottest ladies come from Brazil. Keep reading »
As soon as I started dating an Australian, I began fantasizing about all the adorable animals Down Under who would someday become my friends. Koalas! Roos! Wombats! Sadly, this American was quickly informed that all of those wild animals are indeed wild animals and seldom seen, let alone snuggled. (Kangaroos, I am told, are very common, but are huge and dangerous to humans.) So it gives me hope whenever I watch a video such as this: baby wombats enjoying belly rubs! Also, scurrying around like toddlers on Red Bull! (These little guys live in some kind of a zoo or shelter, which I am obviously Googling immediately.) Thank you, Internet, for further proof that every species loves a good belly scratch. [YouTube via Laughing Squid]
I’m going to make some sweeping generalizations about Australians. They have very cute, but oft-difficult-to-discern accents. They all come from places with silly names like Dingawoomba. Some of them drink a lot. They are sick of fielding questions about kangaroos. And most importantly, they love their snacks. Brits have their Marmite. The Quebecois have their poutine. Australians have a proud tradition of tastsy snackery that I had no idea about until I married one. And it’s not just snacks! Our friends Down Under have some pretty great skincare, beauty products, clothes, and pop culture. Oh yes, Australians are more than just cute koalas and Crocodile Dundee jokes. Keep reading »
The only thing more facepalm-y than holding an “African-themed” birthday party — whatever that even means, it’s an entire continent, people! — is how she took to Tumblr to defend the photographs of her friends in blackface, “tribal paint,” and a KKK costume.
Now the whole world knows an Australian woman identified by Huffington Post as Olivia Mahon is an racist idiot. Keep reading »