You’ve Got Male

A FEW years back, concerned that Australians no longer seemed to be sending letters in this most technical of ages, one of my travel writer friends decided to do something about it. They established a Facebook group (the irony was not lost on us), labelled it Friday Postcards, and invited those of us in love with the written word, and partial to the odd postcard or two, to join. The motive was simple: send a postcard on a Friday to someone. Spread the love. Keep the written word (and Australia Post) alive.

Travel writer Bev Malzard sent this sensational street art pic (my Instragram leans heavily towards graffiti art) replete with matching stamp.

I love being a part of this group: collecting cool cards when I travel, the tingle I feel when I send off a handful of post cards, and the rush when one lands in my letterbox. Over the years I’ve noticed a trend emerging among those I’ve been receiving. Yes, I’ve been receiving male, plenty of male…I present to you some of my favourites, which have made me laugh like a lunatic while standing at my white picket fence in Brisbane.
The Construct My Own Lumberjack
Fresh from her travels in the Yukon, Julie Miller posted me my own lumberjack. As the card says: “As it has become increasingly difficult to clear airport security with a rowdy lumberjack.” Thanks Julie, he was very handy with the, err, wood…

From Julie Miller

My Own Maori Warrior
Fellow Brisbane travel writer Lee Mylne, who hails from the Land of the Long White Cloud, kindly sent me “a little bit of Kiwi culture” in the form of a Maori male. Two months earlier, while travelling in our home state of Queensland, Lee sent the post card, which leads this blog, from Agnes Water. Yes, I caught her excitement and am off to get my own net for a spot of fishing…

From Lee Mylne

Colorado Has Awesome Scenery
Kris Madden sent these thoughtful greetings from the USA. We all enjoyed the scenery immensely…

From Kris Madden

A Terrific Toy Boy
While travelling back to her home country of New Zealand, Briar Jensen went to the trouble of finding me this toy boy. “Have fun with him!” she wrote. Oh, I did…

From Briar Jensen

A Myanmar Man
A few years back, Deborah Dickson-Smith and I were travelling through the River Kwai and staying in a floating Mon Village on the Thai/Burmese border. We loved the idea of finding me a Mon man. Deb was up in Myanmar looking for Mon for me…

From Deborah Dickson-Smith

A Hairy Man
Travelling around the Baltic Sea in Northern Germany, Philip Game pondered whether I like my blokes with a few whiskers. Nothing at all fishy about this card…

From Philip Game

Playing Possum
Melanie Ball found this “cutie” at the National Folk Festival over Easter and while recognising he wasn’t a man of the human variety, she thought he was an interesting crittter all the same…

From Melanie Ball

Polar Opposites
Sending me a bit of tundra Tinder, Kerry van der Jagt wrote that “polar bears are the pin-ups” in Norway’s Svalbard. Yes, and about as endangered as a decent bloke in Brisbane. I get where she was going with this…

From Kerry van der Jagt

Never underestimate the power of the post to brighten someone’s day. Write to someone you haven’t seen in a while. Pen a love letter. Believe in the written word. Dust off those handwriting skills and then write your heart out.
With love from Brisbane, The Global Goddess

From Deborah Dickson-Smith

A Vision Splendid

“And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him,
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars,” Banjo Paterson (Clancy of the Overflow)

WHEN we were little girls, my Irish Catholic grandfather would sit my three older sisters and me down, and randomly start reciting poetry from the Australian greats. He’d light up his pungent cigar, perch at the end of the long timber table in his old Ipswich Queenslander, and quote, verbatim, stanza after stanza the words of Paterson, Lawson and Mackellar. And it was pure magic. It evoked something deep inside of me, and a passion for the English language was born. Pop died 25 years ago, but I’ll always remember his blue, twinkling eyes and how he introduced me to Banjo Paterson through his story-telling.
Queenslanders particularly have a soft spot for Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson, for it was in our Outback, at the Combo Waterhole near Kynuna, where he found his inspiration for Waltzing Matilda. And it was in the North Gregory Hotel at Winton that Paterson first performed the song which went on to become Australia’s unofficial anthem and the favourite song of Aussie troops fighting in Gallipoli. So revered was Paterson, that a highlight of a trip to the Outback has always been a visit to the Waltzing Matilda Centre at Winton. But almost two weeks ago, the centre burned down, and irreplaceable items were lost. But not the Outback spirit.
The timing couldn’t have been worse. Not only did the fire happen at the start of peak tourist season in the Outback, but this week is also the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival in Winton. While the town was initially devastated by the fire, they were down but not out. That’s not how it works out in these parts for people who, in the words of that other great Aussie poet Dorothea Mackellar, have seen droughts and flooding rains in their sunburnt country. Within hours they had a plan, and as I write this, the show is going on.
I have been incredibly fortunate to spend a lot of time in Queensland’s Outback, writing stories and meeting characters from the south-west corner of Charleville, out to the remote Birdsville pub, to the central west of Longreach and Winton, and the north-east of Cloncurry and Mount Isa. I’ve bet on frilly necks at the Eulo lizard races, sat under the stars at Nardoo Station in a hot artesian bath, dug for dinosaur bones outside Winton, watched the camels race at Boulia, and swam with the fresh water crocs at Adel’s Grove. And I’ve loved every minute. There’s no room for ego out here where the people are huge of heart and have no tolerance for bullshit. So if you’re looking for a vision splendid this winter, look no further than Winton, as there’s still plenty to see and do. Go on a dinosaur dig and unearth bones which are 100 million years old; head out to Lark Quarry and see the fossilised remains of a dinosaur stampede; have a cold beer at the North Gregory Hotel; and see a movie in the open-air theatre.
Speaking of visions splendid, and before I sign off from this week’s blog, I wanted to mention the outpouring of support on Facebook over the weekend when the US Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage become legal in all 50 states. On a day when we awoke to the news that terrorists had killed a number of people in three separate countries, we chose instead to focus on love. Some of us, including myself, changed our profile pictures into rainbows. What stunned me was the comments of one of my (now former) Facebook friends, a white, heterosexual, Australian male, who criticised this move “in the fair dinkum department” to use his words. I should mention that this man is getting married to his female partner this year, no questions asked, but gay people in Australia are still not allowed that basic right. Yes, talk about fair dinkum. Another white, heterosexual, married Australian male, surprisingly described our rainbows as “cheap tokenism”.
For me, the signs of a civilised society are one in which those with privileges, fight for the rights of those who do not. As a white, heterosexual woman, I am one of those privileged people. So, on that note, I sign off with the words of another great poet. He may not be Australian, but I think Kermit the Frog nailed it when he sang: “Some day we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me.”
To find out what to do in the Outback go to; and for more on the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival go to (Photos courtesy of Tourism Queensland)

Is Chivalry dead?

JUST as hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, it appears Facebook wreaks its wrath when a woman suggests a man should pay for the first date. Well, this is what I experienced last week, anyway. Yes, you could have been forgiven I had suggested we bomb all the boat people, such was the passion with which friends responded to a first-date which, in my opinion, had gone a little wrong.
Now, I am the queen of the first dates, and I have pretty much seen about everything. And yet still, the surprises keep on coming. Last week’s first date was with a lawyer, and for the record, Ladies and Gentleman of the Jury, I’d like to put forward my case of what occurred. Something that is rather difficult to convey in a Facebook post. So, with the permission of the kangaroo court, here’s my account of what happened.
The lawyer found me on my dating site and, after several email conversations which occurred while I was overseas dodging grenades in Bangkok, asked me out for a drink. Let me repeat: he did the asking. He suggested a place and I met him there after work. While it became rapidly apparent that we weren’t a good match (at least to me), never let it be said that I don’t give things a go. He then proceeded to out-drink me (I was driving) three drinks to my every one. But when he also suggested we dine, I agreed. We ate, we talked and then, just as the bill arrived, he excused himself to go to the bathroom. Where he was for a very long time.

Photo courtesy of Mike Larder

Photo courtesy of Mike Larder

When he eventually returned, there was a long, awkward pause, during which I offered to pay for half. To which he rapidly replied: “Oh, very good”. There was no mention, Your Honour, from either party, of his copious drinks. In the spirit of being a decent person (remember the days when we were all just basic decent people?), I offered to give him a lift home, as it had already become apparent that we lived in neighbouring suburbs. However, when I went to pay for the rather large parking bill, the machine kept spitting out my $50 note. The lawyer stood with his hands in his pockets, and watched as I then fumbled in my wallet for my credit card.
I drove him home, he gave me a sloppy kiss on the cheek and by the time I had arrived home, he had texted me, saying he would like to see me again. Unfortunately, I did not feel the same. But when I went on Facebook that evening to tell my latest dating tale, something interesting occurred. At first, the crowd was sympathetic, lambasting the lawyer for his tight-fisted approach. But then, the mood changed. One friend accused my behaviour of not being “Goddess-like” (What part of The Global Goddess ever pretends to have it together, I wondered?). Another friend took it further, saying the situation “smacked of desperation”….mine. Ouch. In their defence, and having spoken to them each privately, their comments were out of concern. But to say their words didn’t sting would be lying. The Facebook mood changed again and then the crowd turned on each other.
Such passion prompted me to conduct a survey, of Facebook friends and their friends, to examine this issue in more detail. And here’s what I discovered so far, from 102 respondents:

Almost 60 per cent of people believe a man should pay for the first date, 10 per cent believe he shouldn’t, and a further 30 per cent are divided. Of the 30 per cent who were divided on who should pay, most believed it should be the person who did the inviting or that both parties should split the bill.

The “Should a man pay for the first date” survey, of whom one third of respondents were male and two thirds were female, found the concept of chivalry is far from dead with a whopping 82 percent of respondents believing a man should hold the door open for a woman.
But, in a sign the times are changing, more than 70 per cent of respondents also believed a woman should pay for something else – such parking, cab fare or an after-dinner drink – if the man did pay for the first date – the survey found.

Comments on the survey were colourful and controversial.
“I think it depends on who initiated the date but I would definitely say that it is polite and chivalrous for the man to pay. Call me old fashioned…”
“Not when you are meeting for the first time with someone through a dating site. I think it should be a 50:50 split no matter who initiated contacted (provided one person doesn’t drink like a fish and the other doesn’t drink at all!”)
“The woman should offer, but surely not expected to (pay).”

However, old-fashioned manners are not dead with 50 per cent of respondents believing a phone call was the appropriate follow-up to the first date from a man; 28 per cent believing a text was appropriate; 11 per cent said flowers; and only 1 per cent supported an email as the acceptable post-date response. (Nothing and “other” made up the remaining 10 per cent).

Respondents also believed women should respond quickly to the follow-up and avoid “game playing”. Interestingly, more than 40 per cent believed the man should also pay for the second date, 10 per cent believed it should be the woman, and almost 50 per cent thought it should be both parties. (Nothing and “other” made up the remaining 10 per cent).

Overall, modern dating remained a vexed issue.

“A man should be a gentleman, be open, polite, clean, and interested. No excuses for rudeness or meanness. A first date should be fun and engaging even if you never see the person again you can still be polite and show respect.”
“Broadly speaking, I believe this speculation around ‘1st date etiquette’ is a bit sad. That we need to speculate at all presents an interesting ‘comment’ on the human/dating dilemma. However, given that ‘it is what it is’, I hope for an outcome which indicates respect and generosity of heart – assuming same, make the 15-30 group aware…
“Date as much as possible. Aussie girls don’t go in dates enough. Don’t settle too quickly on a person, think of the dating scene like a box all assorted chocolates?”
“Basic manners are not old- fashioned. There are circumstances such as each party’s financial status to be considered eg: a billionaire male lawyer wooing a lowly paid journalist or a squillionaire female surgeon wooing a uni student but it is generally accepted that whoever initiates the date should pay for it.”

Proving they may know a thing or two about dating, the majority of respondents were either married at 38 per cent; or in a domestic partnership or civil union (18 per cent). Single, but never married respondents (17 per cent); divorcees (14 per cent); separated (7 per cent); and single but cohabitating with a significant other (6 per cent).

The majority of survey respondents were aged 30-45 (38 per cent); followed closely by those aged 45-60 (36 per cent); 18-30 (21 per cent); and just 5 per cent aged 60 and over.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, in closing I simply say this. I am quite happy to pay for my share of the bill, but I would be lying if I said it wouldn’t be “nice” for the man to pay for the first date. I can only speak for myself, but I am looking for a kind and generous man. At the very least, don’t out-drink me, agree to a lift home and don’t even split the parking. It’s mean-spirited and there’s no room in the modern dating world for this.

I rest my case.
To participate in this survey, please go to


My First Fast

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IN a bid to challenge my consumption on both an environmental and health level, yesterday I partook in my first food fast. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. She’s clawing her way one step closer to becoming a miu miu wearing hippy. While this may be my ultimate goal in life, I really did want to see how my body and mind would react to limiting my food intake to that of a child. 

I was inspired to do this by a story in The Weekend Australian which talks about a new program known as intermittent fasting (IF). Under this plan, on two alternate days a week you essentially limit your daily intake to 2720 kilojoules for women (a little more for men), allowing your body to restore and recover.

While it’s still in its infancy, the “diet” is receiving rave reviews for its ability to reduce the chances of things like cancer, as it works on the premise that while we are always burning food fuel, our bodies don’t have time to actually repair. Followers also report losing at least 1kg a week.

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So, was it all just a bit kooky like the time my sister and I invested our entire summer spending money in a bottle of Ebony tanning lotion, under the premise we would turn into Whitney Houston? Or did I actually realise some results? Let me also add, I am not someone who normally take photos of her food. Unless you are a food writer or chef, I find it intriguing when a bunch of white, wealthy people in the western world document  everything they eat. (During this fast, you will notice how much everyone talks about food on Facebook. Stay off Facebook. One friend even posted a photo of a keyring that looked like a macaron).

I start the morning with the recommended breakfast: one boiled egg and a cup of black coffee. For someone who heaps two teaspoons of sugar and some milk into her daily Cup of Joe, this was a challenge. I tried to concentrate on the sensation of the coffee. Silky and black and a vessel to wake me up in the morning. A bit like my ideal man. Although I also like my ideal man to be sweet. I take my time and savour the egg, which is delicious, although I just wish there was more of it. Why, God, why, did I choose a normal chook egg and not that of an emu? Meanwhile, I reminisce about the missing piece of toast like a long-lost lover.

FoodFast 003 By mid-morning I am not only feeling light-headed, but I am also having evil, hateful thoughts towards my parents. My low blood sugar is causing me to recall every horrible thing they’ve ever done (or not done) and is playing out like a horror movie in my head. Thankfully, I’ve been to meditation class the night before, and am practising to just “observe” the Freddy Kruger in my head.

Lunch. At last. I’ve spent the past 4.5 hours since my egg glancing at the clock, counting down like a child would to Christmas. Lunch is a bowl of vegetable soup. Who knew carrots, corn and chickpeas could be a whole world of fun?

The thing that concerns me is my afternoon swim. How on earth am I going to swim 1km on a stomach devoid of carbs? Secondly, if anyone else attempts to share my lane, I’m in such a scratchy mood, I think I might drown them, myself, or both of us. I panic a little. There’s nothing in the story about exercise. Am I meant to do it at all?

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By mid-afternoon, I think I could eat one of the small children I spied at the pool but I’m lucid enough to realise this could result in me losing my Blue Card. I feel like Victoria Beckham – hungry and cranky. I decide to make a cup of Peppermint tea.

Dinner is a veritable feast of 10 cherry tomatoes, half a sliced eggplant (I cheat and buy the biggest I can find), 1 zucchini, 1 red capsicum and half a red onion scattered with basil, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon of olive oil and roasted. I think I might burst with glee when I read the recipe also allows for 1 tablespoon of parmesan. I pretend the eggplant is a steak and my sparkling mineral water is a G&T. FoodFast 006

I go to bed slightly earlier, and hungrier than normal. I realise all I’ve thought about all day is food (which is a nice change from men). Funny about what you obsess, when you can no longer have it. But I’ve done it! While I wouldn’t rush to do it again, I have learned something new about food and my attitude towards it. In a world where so many are starving, it’s nice to be reminded of our abundance.

The Global Goddess’ verdict: Unlike total fasts, which I believe are not practical and possibly send your body into “starvation mode” when next you eat, the restricted calorie intake fast has merit. I could see it working after a big holiday or festive season in which you’ve over-indulged. Possibly, and this is the hard bit, if we restricted our calories a little every day, we wouldn’t have to resort to two days of fasting. What really appealed to me was that it made me value every morsel and think about the food I consumed.  To donate to Foodbank Australia – whose mantra is “an Australia without hunger” – go to

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