IT CANNOT be easy being Tim Mathieson, which really is a surprise, as the First Boyfriend’s current job description does not seem too difficult. Yes, he has mastered the smaller challenges of the job, and our PM is well served by his rectitude. For example, he has not salted away ill-gotten cheques in a sly bank account his squeeze set up on his behalf, as she did for a former beau, nor has he tipped other people’s money into home renovations or wardrobes overflowing with of no-cost, size-26 frocks. But those virtues do not negate another shortcoming, which would appear to be the poor man's dreadful and crushing shyness. The picture below leaves no doubt about that.
The snapshot was taken at one of the sideshows to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, where Just-a-Trim Tim hosted the visiting leaders’ spouses, most wearing colourful ethnic costumes. So what's with the suit and silver tie? Is Tim of the opinion that Australia’s national dress is best represented by the men who drive wedding party limousines? Surely not!
Now it is true that our national costume is a ticklish, prickly and unsettled business. John Howard nominated the drover’s Driza-Bone when George W. Bush and others gathered in Sydney in 2007, but that practical garment is clearly no longer an option. With his girlfriend having done all within her power to wreck the cattle export industry, and Environment Minister Tony Burke constantly likening Victoria’s alpine cattlemen to Japanese whalers, any visual reference to our bush heritage would be inappropriate in the extreme.
But there were other options he might have explored, costumes that capture the essence of the Australian experience as it being shaped by his girlfriend. For example, there is this outfit, quite fetching, which evokes the question on so many lips: “Tim, what the hell does your landlady think she’s doing?”
Or he might have reflected his partner’s political partner’s Green agenda. Bob Brown in particular would appreciate the display of a manly leg, and a costume allowing no forward vision and designed for dashing headlong toward godknowswhat would nail the Carbon Tax rather nicely
Yet none of the above really does our nation proud. The visiting First Ladies had the decency to don the garb of cultural heritage, so really, much as Tim would have made a head-turning sight in Lycra, it is incumbent upon him to look the dinki-di deal. And since the most unlikely Australians are these days reckoned to be Aborigines, as the legal system has now firmly determined, that makes it a no-brainer.
Behold! The perfect get-up for First Boyfriend Tim – indeed, for any Australian dignitary attending U.N. parleys, global warming summits or poverty symposia offering generous travel allowances and 300-count sheets of organic Egyptian cotton on the hotel bed:
As the national economy is sliding deeper into debt -- at the rate of around one billion extra dollars every week, just by the way -- the costume, first worn by a Russian figure skater, boasts the additional advantage of being available secondhand and at minimal cost. The Russian copped quite a bit of grief for getting about in what he conceived to be Aboriginal attire, but Tim will not to have to worry about snickers.
Who these days would titter at an elder of the Litijus-Mordies, other than masochists with a lot of money to waste on lawyers?