A Lust for Life? Sure, why not?
Dictionary.com (welcome to the digital age) has several different definitions for lust. The two definitions that I find are the most apt?
1) a passionate or overmastering desire or craving
2) ardent enthusiasm; zest; relish
Lust doesn’t always apply to sex. You can lust for many things: life, adventure, knowledge. I have an “ardent enthusiasm” for experience which makes me quite lustful. What better way to describe the way my sister and I approached international relations?
Then again, there are many cases where lust is really just lust …
On our second night in Perth, Julia and I were taken to a bar in Fremantle by a group of Australian men. It was my first experience in a bar, never mind that I was underage. It’s amazing the things you can get away with when you have an accent. I lost a lot of money that night by handing the wrong bills to bartenders. (In Canada, $5 bills are blue and $10 bills are pink. It’s the opposite in Australia. Can you understand my drunken confusion?)
As a seventeen year old, self-conscious Canadian, drunk in a bar for the very first time I politely had the time of my life. I suppose I was attractive, especially when one considers the accent (eh?). I certainly have never been as beautiful as my sister, who has the added advantage of being incredibly smart and charismatic.
We all spent the night dancing, drinking, and setting a precedent of debauchery and excess that would carry us through for the rest of the trip. I had my eye on an Australian soccer player (not FIFA style, just a small recreational league, but soccer is still soccer, and soccer players are still hot). His name was Troy and he was 6 feet tall, gorgeous, and self-deprecatingly referred to Aussies as “Brits who have been left in the desert too long”.
I am sorry to disappoint, but you won’t be reading any descriptions of “throbbing members” or “heaving bosoms” I don’t need to give you details, this isn’t a Harlequin novel. Besides, I was absolute rubbish that night … why would I want to relive the scary details?
The entire experience was awkward and exciting, and I had no idea what I was doing (add to that the handicap of being wasted and you’ve got yourself a Grade A failure). When we were finished, Troy awkwardly searched for his keys (left underneath the front wheel of his car, not in his pocket as suspected) and tried to avoid detection from my Aussie Mom as he left.
I saw him more than once after that in the two weeks we stayed in Perth. Our encounters were always awkward and made worse by my chronic SBS (snobby bitch syndrome).
The entire experience put an end to my rose coloured outlook on One Night Stands, though it didn’t deter me …
My second encounter with lust happened at Namoi Hills Cattle Station, an overnight stop in the small town of Dingo. This was also the closest we got to an Outback Experience. Red dirt, big skies, and open bush-land – just how I had always imagined Australia.
Before I get into the details about my “encounter”, I should tell you a bit about Dingo.
Dingo is Namoi Hills Cattle Station. There is nothing there but a few cabins, a large hall, cows and a bar. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, Dingo was my one of my favourite places. This is the only stop where the Southbound and Northbound buses of Oz Experience meet and with that many travelers between the age of 18 and 30 how can you not have a party?
The night started out with both busloads of travelers line dancing to Shania Twain (soon I will tell you who’s bed my boots were under) which was immediately followed by a full contact tug-of-war.
Drinks at the bar were rather expensive but my sister and I managed to befriend a group of English boys who had a few bottles of Bundaberg Rum. The five of us sat behind the cabin, doing shots and exchanging bus stories (they were on the Northbound bus while we were making our way south) before joining the rest of the crowd in the hall for club style dancing. Julia was then joined by our English friends from the southbound bus and had a great time being the token Canadian.
My memory of this night is a little hazy so I am not sure how I went from doing shots with the English lads and Julia to dancing on a table to the Hamster Dance. I do, however, distinctly remembering attempting a dosey-doe and nearly falling off the picnic table I was boogieing on.
So much for shaking what my Momma gave me.
I had lost my balance while trying to do one of the kicky things (that is the technical term, I believe) I had learned while line dancing and was frantically flailing when I was caught around the waist by a gorgeous, 6’3 Swedish man whose name I can only assume was Sven. (What other Swedish names are there?) Sven held me around my waist until he was sure I had regained my footing and then, with a boisterous laugh, he left one hand on my waist, took my hand and started to dance with me.
It was an absolutely brilliant moment.
Sven and I danced for several songs, the proper hand holding turning into grinding and near-inappropriate behaviour. We were interrupted when Julia caught my eye. With a quick kiss, I left Sven on the picnic table and jumped down to talk to my sister who was still with a few of the English boys.
To this day neither of us can agree on what was actually said though we have managed to figure out the gist of it.
There was a young man across from us who I thought should be dancing. Julia thought I meant that he should be dancing with me. (The Swede was, unfortunately, forgotten at this point). My sister went over and told the man to dance with me, before heading back to her English minions.
Josh was simply amazing. He was tall, dark, brooding and Irish (read: dreamy).
The two of us eventually made our way to a picnic table behind the hall and enjoyed ourselves with “ardent enthusiasm”.
I went to bed alone that night leaving Josh alone behind the hall, drunk and crawling into his cabin.
Finally, I had done it right. (Boy, had I done it right, if you know what I mean!)
It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized the truth.
I had been running late and was one of the last people to board the bus. Julia and our English friends were already seated near the middle of the bus, chatting. A cold feeling of dread tickled down my spine as I walked towards them. They had stopped talking in that way that people do when you just know they had been talking about you. Julia was horrified and the boys were laughing.
I held my head high, refusing to be embarrassed … at least until they showed me Josh through the window.
Gone was my 6 foot Irish man, in his place was the Lucky Charms Leprechaun, sans top hat and standing no higher than 5’7″. I would have thought they were joking if I hadn’t recognized his mannerisms. And the worst part? He wasn’t even Irish! Josh was from Rhode Island, he’d only been wearing an Ireland sweater.
Fuck the hearts, stars and horseshoes, clovers and blue moons. There was no pot of gold at the end of that rainbow.
Strike two for one night stands.
My final lusty experience in Australia ended before it even really began.
It was our final stop before reaching Sydney; we were spending the night at Seal Rock (a group of cabins by the ocean). Everyone was gathered on the beach for a final hurrah and by midnight there were only a few of us left (the rest having gone to bed). Alan, my new (real) Irish friend, was cuddling with me on a bench around the fire.
(In my young mind, cuddling is apparently synonymous with keeping your arm around a drunken girl so she doesn’t fall off the bench.)
We were all inebriated at this point. Julia and I had drunk about two boxes of cheap red wine and were having a good time. In the spirit of alliteration you can just refer to us as those Classy Canadians from now on.
Julia and I had befriended Alan and a Dutch man named Bart a few days before and the four of us were just sitting around chatting. Bart had really taken a shine to Julia and Alan and I had bonded when he had asked me if I was American (rather than answering with a no I responded by asking him if he was British. It was a clever moment that you had to be there to really appreciate).
Eventually Julia and Bart left to take a walk on the beach. Alan and I were left alone.
Alan, a native Dubliner who loved Canadian girls and travel. Alan, who wrote poetry and loved Guy Ritchie films. Alan, who looked vaguely like Colin Farrell if you squinted in the dark. Alan, who had spent an entire evening listening to me whine about my past experiences with awful men and told me I was too pretty to waste my time on jerks.
How could I not be smitten?
We sat there on the bench for an hour, just talking. When he was finally sure I could hold myself up he leaned in to kiss me.
I’d been waiting for it for days. I leaned forward to kiss him back …
… and continued leaning forward until I fell off the bench, my face level with his shoes.
“You have nice shoes,” pause a beat, “because they’re brown”.
Alan didn’t kiss me that night. Being a true gentleman, he helped me up and walked me back to my room. Alone.
Sans sexy Irish man.
The silver lining? I managed to not vomit on his nice, brown shoes.
It’s the little things that put life into perspective.