I’ve been misleading my Englishman for the past twelve weeks.
You see he’s under the impression that I’ve bought into the renovation reality show The Block NZ just so I can salivate over fox cushions and to-die-for sofa throws.
He’s wrong. But I just have been able to tell him the truth.
Which is. I’ve been watching those blokes.
Not in a creepy way and not just the blokes really, but the whole thing, the whole relationship between the couples. Sure the renovation tips are handy, though practically useless for those of us who are doomed to rent forever, thanks to Auckland’s house prices. As an aside, what about that hopeless sale price of Quinn and Ben’s house that yielded them a measly profit of only $10k, even though the house sold for over ONE MILLION DOLLARS!
But all long I’ve been watching the relationships between the couples, all of whom are pretty much in the same stage of life – still enjoying the newness of their bond. Even the couples who have been together for years, like Quinn and Ben and Marie and James still relate as if they are in the early throws of lurve. The little hugs and comforting stroked shoulders. The looks. Oh, my, the steamy looks.
If this is a snapshot of the typical Kiwi male and how he relates to Kiwi women these cor how things have changed!
I waded through all the textbooks telling the story of New Zealand man’s battle to show his sensitive side, in my Uni days. In those days they seemed to be painting a realistic picture – the strong silent type who was emotionally defunct and socially inept was almost celebrated in our literature (Man Alone, Foreskins Lament JOck Philips’ A Man’s Country etc) and embodied in our heroes – Colin Meads, Andy Haden etc) and was seen on the sports field and in our kitchens – there to listen not talk you understand.
I grew up with women’s advice ringing in my ears that if I wanted a man to be interested in me I should ask him about himself and let him talk. I have on occasion been told that I am too articulate, too smart, too acerbic for most men. Yes, I’ve been called a ball breaker too and a ‘very ambitious woman’, said with a sneer of course.
But watching the guys on The Block and the way they behave to each other and their partners has been nothing short of inspirational. My God New Zealand, we’ve grown up as a culture!
What hit me most was the guys’ palpable respect and affection for their women. There was no sense of apologetic embarrassment for being sensitive or attuned to their partners’ feelings. Good lord, one or two of the guys might have even shed a tear over the course of the programme. What happened to the die-hard ‘Big boys don’t cry’?
Goneburger. And thank God for that!
I’ve been watching the couples grow closer together as couples and as a tribe of battlers working together under the microscope of the television cameras. Even when The Rock played the ultimate prank on the typically cool calm and collected Jo, the show didn’t miss a step. And then last night there was the big auction finale where everything was proven once and for all.
Early faves Corban and Alex won the money – not only the $200k odd over the reserve price but the $80k award for winning the most money at auction. Whilst Maree and James and Jo and Damo did pocket a decent amount of cash poor old pregnant couple Quinn and Ben seemed doomed to walk away with a paltry $10k.
But then in a stellar moment of TV generosity winning couple Alex and Corban gifted the losing couple Quinn and Ben $30k from their own winnings because ‘your attitudes deserve so much more than that.”
Reader, I cried.
Quinn cried, Ben looked close to tears and all the females and probably a fair few men in the room (in living rooms up and down the country also?) cried. That kind of generosity of spirit speaks volumes about what it means to be a New Zealander. We are a generous people, we take care of our own and we give from our gifts. This is a sign of our culture – both for our men as much as for our women.
I went to sleep all flushed with excitement and it wasn’t because I’d found the perfect cushion for my living room reveal. On ya Kiwis. Whaddarya?
Real, mate. We’re real to the core.
“Men’s close association with the land and nature, a strong theme in New Zealand culture, often harks back to a 19th-century past, as much imagined as real. The predominant character is ‘man alone’, the physically strong man of few words, most at ease on his own, or in the company of other men. This hardy man is defined by his distance from women, town life and emotions – his own and those of others. The character of the ‘southern man’, used to advertise beer, was a late-20th-century version of the man alone.” http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/women-and-men/media