New Zealand

I’m sick of the attitude that so many New Zealanders have. That New Zealand is a small insignificant country at the bottom of the world that no one knows of or cares about.

Actually, it’s not really New Zealand vs the Rest of the World. It’s New Zealand vs America. If someone from Brazil spoke of New Zealand, no one in New Zealand would care. If a Malaysian pop star said she liked New Zealand, it wouldn’t really matter, but for some reason America is different.

This is how an average American (by American I mean from the USA) is supposed to react about New Zealand:

“So, tell me what you know about New Zealand?”
“Noo… Noo what? Noo Zealand? Where’s that? I’ve never heard of Noo Zealand. It’s a country? Are you kidding? Are you sure you’re not making it up? I think I’d know about it if it really was a country. Is it part of Australia…..”

There’s also the problem of complementing the country. It goes like this.

“So what do you think of New Zealand?”
“It’s a very beautiful country with some wonderful scenery and I’ve met so many wonderful people.”
“No it’s not. New Zealand is really ugly and it’s polluted and all the locals are uncultured slobs”
“So what do you think of New Zealand?”
“It’s not very good. There’s too much pollution and all the people I’ve met are real assholes. I wish I’d never come here.”
“No it’s not. New Zealand is really beautiful country with wonderful people”.

It’s like playing the devil’s advocate to whatever opinion of New Zealand is presented. It seems like it’s really hard to take a compliment and equally as difficult to take criticism.

It can not be denied that New Zealand is a relatively small nation, but that does not mean insignificant. But most New Zealanders revel in any mention of the country on American tv or movies. Even if it is something as meaningless as someone mentioning the work “kiwi” (referring to the fruit), it is still enough to get a New Zealander excited. It’s as if instead of the person saying “I am going to eat a kiwi”, they say “I am going to eat a kiwi, which is a fruit that is not a native plant of New Zealand, but it is named after a native bird of New Zealand. New Zealand is a great country”

So, the basic theme is, New Zealand is a small, insignificant country that no one knows about, especially Americans, and it is a wonderful clean, green, unspoiled paradise. But if you are an American and you know anything about New Zealand, even acknowledge its existence, then there is something wrong with you and if you like New Zealand then you are really wrong. But if you don’t like it then why’d you bother coming here. Go home if you don’t like it.

I don’t know what has caused this attitude, or if it will change over time. But I’d like to see a stop to it now. This attitude has been responsible for a whole lot of really bad, poorly made New Zealand-promoting web pages and it must stop.

What a country.

Girlie Mags

One thing that I have learned is that it is important for the modern girl of the ’90s to read women’s magazines with slight scepticism. Or, as Flavor Flav so succinctly put it, “don’t believe the hype”.*

So there I was reading the June 1997 edition of New Zealand Cleo magazine. The editorial was about their recently redesigned layout and about the typical Cleo reader. She is described as “young, intelligent and informed… she certainly doesn’t want to be taken as a fool.”

But there, in dark blue and white, as part of an article called “Shape Up” was this: “I have a friend, a personal trainer, she’s 50kg and doesn’t have a gram of fat on her”.

Excuse me! If that woman didn’t have a gram of fat on her, she’d be nearing death. I don’t know if that sentence was meant to be metaphorical, but it is sending out an extremely screwed up message. Not even those body builders who only eat egg whites have no body fat.

Then there was a page dedicated to helping the reader look like Gwyneth Paltrow. The best bit of that article was the recommended lipstick having “available August” in small print. That’s two whole months I will have to wait before I can perfect my Gwyneth look! This is terrible!

Another amusing article is one with ten “sure-fire seduction strategies”. My favourite is the one where you ring up the guy, talk about Friends then say “By the way I’m naked oh there’s my call waiting gotta go”. I’d like to think that if I tried that on anyone he would laugh his arse off.

And then there’s the fashion spread with the male model with the disturbingly large breasts…

So why do I buy it and read it? Because it’s highly entertaining.

* That sentence simultaneously irritates me and pleases me.


Part One: Masculine Conditioning

I was in the supermarket attempting to buy food, but after trying for over three months and not being particularly successful, I was looking in the aisle with non-edible goods, including shampoo.

I saw the Schwarzkopf range. All the bottles are grey, but have different coloured lids for the different types of shampoo. My attention was caught by a bottle with a black lid. Had Schwarzkopf decided to target the goth haircare market?

Looking at the label revealed that it was not goths, but men that were being targeted. The shampoo appeared to be a two-in-one because it had “masculine conditioning” on the label.

“Masculine conditioning”? Well, there are physical differences between men and woman, but when it comes down to the basics, men and women are practically identical. Like if you were to find a finger bone, you wouldn’t be able to tell if it was male or female.

The same goes for hair, hair is hair. Fine hair on women is the same as fine hair on men. Permed or coloured-treated hair is gender exclusive. So what the hell is “masculine conditioning”.

I am really tempted to to buy a bottle and see what it does to my hair. Would my hair suddenly look like guy’s hair? Would people think I was a guy? I must know!

Part Two: Dandruff

Skin is acidic, most detergents i.e. shampoos are alkalinic. What this means is the alkalinity of shampoo can irritate the skin and cause dandruff.

To stop this you can go to the extremes of using a special anti-dandruff shampoo or simply rinsing your hair with vinegar. But anyway, I noticed that my scalp had started to get irritated, so I did some research.

I found a brand of shampoo called KMS that claimed that all their shampoos were pH balanced. I thought that probably meant they just stuck some citric acid in. I checked the label, I was right. But after using the shampoo a few times my scalp calmed down. I probably could have made some sort of home-made cure, but I don’t want to mess around with stuff when I’m half asleep in the shower.