I’m a bit of a chameleon. I can adapt to most situations and places pretty quickly. If I don’t know something I read up on it. If I can’t do something, I’ll practice it and get it right.
My Nanna’s proudest moment came when I spent hours trying to crack a whip in the paddock with my cousins and aunties. I didn’t give up until I got a single air-slicing crack out of it. She said to my mother, “That’s John for you, he’ll keep trying until he gets it right”.
I’ve never been a specialist, I’m more jack of all trades. So when it came time a little while ago to date a professor, I had a bit of scrubbing up to do. I mean, depending on a situation, I can be a Jackie, equally I can be a Marilyn.
I spent hours brushing up on my budget news, current affairs, British hung men, I mean, parliaments, Greek tragedies and so on. I dug up events for us to go to, tailor-made dates and Googled interesting stories to go with them.
I even memorised his thesis title and fitted it into conversation.I’m not suggesting I wasn’t being myself — I am, and was. I just spend extra time preparing to be as interesting as those I am about to spend time with who I think are interesting.
The trouble is, when you get caught looking for how to say ‘bon appetit’ in another language for a night out, you can somehow lose yourself momentarily.
I got dressed for the last date and stood memorising my Turkish and stared at the picture of my two sons in a frame on the wall. I recalled Rosanna’s usual parting pre-date words, “Just be yourself”.
I looked at the dimpled-chin boys in the photo and thought they wouldn’t want to see me acting like someone else.
So I swanned into dinner, met his friends, surprised myself at being able to out-talk them on art and the like and, when the time was ready, offered ‘afiyet olsun’ for their dinner.
When the front door closed and I was standing in the lounge room in my jacket, slightly bewildered how the night ended so, I knew and was proud that I wasn’t a Jackie or a Marilyn, or anyone else for that matter. I was my sons’ dad — John (I’m not giving you my middle name) Meyer.