Where are all the blokes?

Forget a new car, the Rob Oakeshott highlights DVD – featuring his full ‘decision’ speech – is now on the top of my Christmas wish list.

Forget a new car, the Rob Oakeshott highlights DVD – featuring his full ‘decision’ speech – is now on the top of my Christmas wish list.

But no, I won’t harp on politics this week.

Last Saturday I had one of those ‘be a man’ moments. You know, those bright ideas that generally involve a trip to Bunnings, a screwdriver, a hammer and most certainly no instruction book.

Such sudden bursts of masculinity are rare for a man known to have shrieked at the odd cockroach in his time.

In fact, me versus cockroach is always an interesting battle, generally only rivalled by me versus spider, a contest which generally involves more bug spray than Coles could possibly stock on any given day.

The task for the day on Saturday was building a bookshelf, and a wall to divide a rather large room into an office.

The wall idea was gone after the first beer – too difficult, plus I always did like that open plan feel.

The bookshelf was looking more promising – and bit by bit, it started to resemble what was on the outside of the box.

I stood back to admire my achievement, only to discover I’d screwed one side on the wrong way, meaning the bare wood instead of the finished colour was showing.

Last Tuesday night, it seemed my design flaw was not the only issue – a late night wake-up from the collapsing shelves proved I’d be best to stick to writing and not home improvements.

Scott Cam I am not and the vision of me standing in my undies scratching my head pondering where it went wrong was not pretty.

The end result is that I clearly don’t live up to the male stereotype. Probably a good thing – after all, if I did, musicals would most certainly be off the list.

Why is it that the Aussie bloke has so much difficulty in liking, or admitting to like, musicals or plays?

The stereotype suggests that the typical Aussie bloke has to be a beer drinking, footy and cricket loving, swearing bloke who thinks musicals are a “gay” or “for girls”.

But I don’t actually believe the stereotype exists. If you go to shows, you’ll see plenty of men – of all ages – though I will admit, they usually have a lady on their arm who most likely put forward the original suggestion. Still, that bloke will ensure he doesn’t mention his night out at the theatre to his friends, and if he does, it will be regarded as a “hit he had to take to keep the girl happy”.

Hence the problem we face in making theatre more accepted in mainstream society.

Musicals and plays are not just for those on the North Shore who want to have a (begin posh accent) ‘night at theatre’ (end posh accent). They are for everyone, including the blokiest bloke you can find.

I find that once people have their eyes opened to the magic of theatre, they very rarely close them again.

So, how do we get the blokes to the theatre?

Perhaps the answer lies in the Sydney Fringe Festival, as a small entree to the industry. It features some wonderful, non-stereotypical theatre over the next couple of weeks.

Whatever the answer may be, we need to break down the stereotype and get the blokes into the theatre.

More nudity, anyone?

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