This is 40…Round 4

How the hell can I!!!!

How the hell can I!!!!

Blah blah, blah blah blah…fourth set… blah blah…things I learned…..blah…list for my kids…blah blah *burp* (excuse me)…blah…turning 40 in 13 days.

16. Don’t be afraid to be unique, to stand out in a crowd, to be the one that everyone is talking about.  Embrace your individuality, even if it’s short and covered in braces, even if it stands out like Las Vegas in the Nevada desert. (I’m wondering if my reference is accurate?)  Embrace it!  For being like everyone else is being boring.  Be yourself, you’ll be happier and content for no one can act like a different person for a prolonged period of time, not even Meryl Streep.  Ok, maybe she’ll nail it, but she’ll be the only one, for she’s unique. (See how it works)  So listen to Britney Spears until you’re forty, even if her latest album is an utter disappointment and mostly consist of garbage.  Jam to Nickelback even if the purists head bang to Metallica. Do drama. Write poetry. Read comics.  Don’t do drugs.  One day the geek and the nerd that people might perceive you to be at fourteen, will be the go-to-guy when all the major blockbusters of twenty years later will turn out to be Superhero movies!  And he still gets the girl.

17. Don’t evaluate beauty on looks alone.  Yes, off course, who wants to date a female ogre, but there is something really awe-inspiring and kinda breath-taking in how your perception will transform, once you take the time to get to know a person.  So take the time, asshole.  Your female ogre might actually turn out to be a princess.  (Which, by the way, would be a great idea for an animated movie!) Inner beauty lasts forever.  Humour never fades and kindness, patience, tenderness and those other endearing qualities only increases with age.  And even though L’Oreal and the whole frigging cosmetic industry are trying to tell you different, you WILL grow old and get wrinkles, irrespective of the gallons of shit you might have to put on your face.  The only super effective beauty treatment for eternal youth is Photoshop.  Even a facelift cannot do anything about neck skin or brown spotted hands.

18.Find something you love and do it.  And this is not meant as a sexual innuendo, it implies a hobby, or sport, or whatever your mind can conjure.  Being able to spend time on your own with something you love is not only good for stress, it also allows your mind to rant and rave in silence, thereby sorting out all the files and pieces of paper that is still not properly organized in the right cabinets.  And you won’t offend anyone, unless off course your thing turns out be talking to yourself.  In public.

19.  If you can’t say something nice about a person then shut the hell up. And don’t do what I do, do what I say.  I’m trying, goddamit.

20.  When someone gives you a compliment, say thank you.  That’s all.  It’s an art for humans to accept a compliment gracefully, for we tend to go to one of two extremes.  Woman normally go into an extensive explanation of how undeserving they actually are towards your compliment, even if you said something trivial like “Wow, your hair smells nice.”  And men, well we just know how spectacular we are, so we normally can’t stop talking when someone else finally see what I’ve known for so many years.  Oh, it is only me?  Well, as I mentioned before, just say thank you.

And as I’m now half way on this traitorous road, here’s hoping I have learned enough lessons to make it to 40!!!

The place where Ken and Barbie met

Let’s go to Bondi!!

The turquoise water glistens in the sun and playfully rolls onto the shore in a heap of white foam.  The sun is looking down with a huge smile, throwing rays of sunshine on this little piece of heaven.  It’s Bondi.  It’s great.  It’s beautiful and it’s renowned.  Go ahead, Google it.  Then follow the link to Wikipedia and you’ll catch a glimpse of a “popular beach in Sydney, New South Wales”.  It’s in Australia; for the few uneducated people who might be wondering why I would end a sentence so abruptly.  The same country that is still learning how to play rugby, or name the game properly.

It’s a small patch of pristine beach with cafe’s buzzing of tourists, regulars and countless families who come here for a piece of the South Pacific.  Surfboards, body boards, roller skates, skate boards, bicycles and dogs scutters energetically up and down the long promenade, lifting my own envy factor for those unfortunate few who own property close by.

When you arrive and you look down, you have to pinch yourself to let it sink in.  It’s like seeing the Eiffel tower or Central Park for the first time.  You run down to the sand and kick your shoes in a big arc, praying suddenly that it won’t crash on a little kid attempting to build a castle.  You fall down amidst to many people to count and pull your shirt of violently, in the hope of catching some tan.  Your toes dig deep into the hot sand.  It’s truly amazing, the stuff of dreams.  And you sigh.  And you sit.  And you sigh.  And you’re suddenly annoyed that smoking is not permitted on the beach, for even though you don’t smoke, these are the moments that the Marlboro man talked about.  So you sit a little longer and it’s done.

You start looking around.  You absorb other things, besides the sound of the waves and the crisp wind blowing.  And then cynicism creeps up on you.  In those fleeting moments you become astutely aware of something extraordinary.  It strikes you like a lighting bolt during a Highveld thunderstorm.  It suddenly  dawns on you that Bondi Beach has to be the place where all the gorgeous people of the world flock together.  It blows your self-esteem right out of the water, so to speak.  The people here, are. fucking. beautiful.

The guys on the promenade are all (1) Extremely buff/fit (2) Probably gay (3) Definitely poor for no-one owns a shirt. They are strutting around, very much aware of who’s looking at them, showing off their intricate, slightly excessive tattoos, barely wearing their bright Billabong bodyshort.  (I say barely, because those pants are so low, it’s only happy thoughts that’s keeping them up!)  And the worst part is that they will spend hours, sweating it up doing pull-ups and bench presses as if by doing that, they will avoid paying taxes.

And you sit in the middle of Bondi as a middle-aged Caucasian male, suddenly aware of your own less than perfect physique and you gain some perspective and feel the need to cover yourself in milliseconds.  For self-awareness is a bitch.  And once you’ve done that, seven people in close proximity take of their sunglasses, thankful to be able to see without the sun’s reflection from your torso.

Then there’s the ladies. OMG and WTF  and any other acronym that you might be able to use in this situation, for I unfortunately know only two.  The beach feels like a refuge camp for America’s Next top model or the venue of a Sports Illustrated swim suit reunion.  Sorry my love, but the woman in this neck of the woods, are all at least a 12. And yes it doesn’t make sense on the scale of 1-10, but the tops are so small, one has to add at least two points for the effort of trying to conceal the twins in the little fabric they have at their disposal.  It’s redefining the importance of string.  And yes I know that if I really tried, these kids could have been my daughters.

Then once you’re used to the beauties and deuches around you, when the initial appreciation wears off and your breathing returns to normal, you look past the bodies, biceps and boobs, and it suddenly dawns on you again, and life smacks you right across the face for the second time.

For these creatures, male and female, are as authentic and real as chicken teeth, fairy dust, or levitation.  These bodies are all fake and vain and proud.  They are not here for the fun, sun and sea, they are here exhibiting their vanity, showing off their profound narcissism.  They’re here to hunt.  To lure innocence into their traps.  To scavenge emotion and to show of their intense egotism.  And that is why it makes Bondi the shallowest beach I’ve ever visited, and I’m not referring to the depth of the water.

Why else would you bother arriving at a world renowned beach with high heels, seven pounds of make-up and a Dolce handbag, the size of a suitcase?  And never set foot on the sand?  Why would you arrive with a surf board, a fake tan and shades the size of two bowling balls and never set foot on the sand?  Is your only goal in life to wiggle your implants or jiggle your pecs, like some wannabe outcast from Jersey shore?  What about wearing some real bathing costumes once in a while?  Will it kill ya?  And the worst is that you’re all sitting there together, in that beach cafe, pissing it up, whilst dishing commentary to normal folk walking by and minding their own business.   Classy Barbie, real classy, Ken.

In the end it’s true that birds of a feather flock together, and the ladies expect what the men dish out.  You get what you give.  But the reality of Bondi left a bad taste in my mouth and on the way back to the hotel, I was trying to make sense of this weird place where Ken and Barbie meet every day.

*****

PS – I love Australia, and I love Sydney and maybe my harsh criticism is due to one bad experience on an unfortunate day.  I will return and give it another shot.  (And probably take three before attempting it.)