Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bogan Bingo

Jeff Foxworthy and his brand of blue collar comedy are often called 'crude, irreverent,' even 'hilarious,' and especially 'American.' A redneck is often an uneducated person who resides in the southeastern part of the US. Or so I thought. Sure, you might be a redneck if you drink Miller Genuine Draft while parking a trailer in your front yard, but replace Miller with an equally poor brand of malt liquor and then replace 'redneck' with another derogatory title for a country bumpkin and you could be anywhere. Jay Leno and Michael Moore hand-pick and then film a number of ignorant Americans to prove a point or get a laugh, but don't be fooled into believing that America's cornered the market on inarticulate hillbillies.

Every country has hicks; they just go by different names and binge drink different kinds of alcohol. Here in Australia, these people are called bogans, and I've been fascinated by them ever since my coworkers clued me in to their existence.

Bogans are few and far between in chic Sydney, but I've gathered the following about their appearance:

  • 'wife-beater' undershirt
  • shorts
  • flip flops
  • 5 + visible tattoos
  • either 20 lbs. underweight or 20 lbs. + overweight
  • thong underwear peeking out of athletic pants or jeans
  • 2 + visible tatoos
For me, spotting a bogan is a thrill not unlike catching a glimpse of a rare, graceful bird. "Guys, I think I saw a bogan," I'll report back to my coworkers. "Where?" they ask doubtfully. When I tell them I saw the potential bogan in Paddington, a hip neighborhood bordering my own, they shake their heads. "You did not see a bogan in Paddington." They hadn't even seen the potential bogan, but they know the types of places they do and do not frequent.

Once we were at lunch when I spotted a bogan only a couple of feet away at the next table. "Guys, is he a bogan?" I whispered not softly enough. "He heard you," they warned. "And if he beats us up, the answer is yes." Oops. I guess this was a close call, but I haven't had a run in with a bogan yet. It's a good thing too because I understand they can be dangerous when drunk.

That's why it's best to observe bogans from the safety and comfort of one's own car. Be the first in your vehicle to spot the following and you'll win bogan bingo:
  • a male sporting a 'wife-beater' undershirt and multiple tatoos while drinking a beer and (oh God) driving
  • a female with exposed thong underwear who's drinking a beer while smoking a cigarette and holding her baby
Of course, you are awarded extra points if the male is driving a modified/pimped out truck (raised or lowered) or if the female has more than one child and looks younger than 22. I didn't think it was possible to hold a baby, a beer and a cigarette at the same time, but apparently multitasking is a skill required of the bogan lifestyle. Noticing when a fellow pub patron has looked at one's girl and reacting irrationally with violence is another.

I have not yet played bogan bingo, but I'm eager for one of my coworkers (one whose car has power locks) to drive me out to the appropriate suburbs and give it a go. If you find yourself outside Sydney, but not yet in kangaroo-sighting range, give bogan bingo a try. It's certainly more enjoyable than playing the punch buggy game with your sharp-eyed, sharp-fisted brother (ouch). Happy hunting!


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