This is the second post in a series of interviews with good men around the world. Here, Jacob Burke speaks with an Australian fellow, Adrian McGruther.
What was an early memory you had about masculinity? Maybe something your father or grandfather did or said about “being a man?”
I don’t think Australians make as much of a fuss about masculinity as seems to be the case in the States. I don’t recall any manly conversations while my old man taught me how to shave or pour a beer. I don’t think it means that we’re any less manly or whatever, but I think it does mean that growing up, we tend to work things out for ourselves.
I still think of myself as a kid, so perhaps I still haven’t had my ‘manly moment’ yet. I also think Australians are typically ‘metrosexuals’. We tend to care about fashion and our appearance. Well, more so than the English anyway. I’ve also noticed a lot more guys carrying hair-straighteners with them on their travels. Really? I mean, come on. Have one at home, if you really have to. But don’t take it with you backpacking for fuck’s sake!
Who are the “football players,” the jocks, of Australian high school? Who stereotypically rules the roost and plays the narcissistic antagonist in teen movies?
In Australia, the equivalent would probably be rugby league or rugby union… Rugby generally attracts oafish, brutish types. But it depends on the position. The bigger players are generally forwards, and usually the tough guys. While leaner, supposedly more intelligent players are typically backs. I don’t think there’s any particular player who would fit the narcissistic antagonist, although most backs tend to be a bit more arrogant.
There’s also a social class divide between Rugby League and Rugby Union. League is typically working class and played by public school students, and Union occupies a higher social status, mainly played in private schools; it’s the pretty boy’s football.
If you went to a public school and played soccer, you’re a pussy.
You introduced me to Empire of the Sun; what other Aussie music are we missing in the States?
Some good Aussie artists at the moment are Angus & Julia Stone, The Presets, Sia, The Swiss, Young Heretics, Jonathan Boulet, Karnivool, Guineafowl and The Temper Trap. That’s just a few. I recommend you check out one of Sydney’s community stations, like FBi Radio. Did you know that Ben Folds lives in Adelaide?
Who is the ultimate Australian man? Why?
One person comes to mind, mainly because he does what we all wish we could. Shane Warne. He is probably Australia’s best modern cricket player. But he’s been embroiled in scandal after scandal, almost always involving him cheating on his wife, or having orgies, or going to strip clubs. But as the scandals continue to be revealed, his on-field performance kept improving. So, I guess, whatever makes him a better player, so to speak!
Are you a man?
I think so. Well, I hope so. But if I later find out I’m not, that’s a lot of application forms I’ve lied on.
How do you know?
I think gender is a straight line from left to right and people occupy different positions along that line. People at one extreme of the line are the typical brutish males, while those at the other extreme are the stereotypical, ultra feminine women. Those in the middle are usually sensitive guys who are more in touch with their feminine side, and females with tomboyish qualities.
I think if you could depict with dots on a graph the male population 100 years ago compared with today, you’d find larger clusters of men toward the middle nowadays. Having said that, just because they wear cologne and pink t-shirts, doesn’t mean they’re more in touch with their feminine side; they’re just trying to pull chicks.