A modern day geisha

Posted Sunday February 11, 2018 by Hazel Durbridge

Two people wound me up on my holiday – the Intrepid guide and, I shall call her, Geisha woman.

During the holiday I met one of my son’s friends who told me her dad would love to show us around Sydney. I really liked this girl.  She had great emotional intelligence so I assumed her dad did too.  Mistake and not the first time.  I remember dating this friend of another friend of mine.  He has great emotional intelligence and I assumed this guy did too.  Wrong.


I wanted to honour the kindness of this girl I met, but I also wanted to pick the brains of the Dad who had been in the military and made the transition out of it. I wanted to ask him about how he transitioned his values.  When J1 was in the military, until the very end, he fully believed that he was risking his life to protect his loved ones and the free world.  I didn’t believe it, but it was a comfort to me to think that if he got blown up he believed in what he was doing.

Now he has left that and as he has no faith, what are his core values? Making money?  Having fun?  I return to Stephen Covey ‘7 habits of highly effective people’.  You need your values as your starting block.



Dad brought along this lady from Hong Kong that he used to work with who was visiting relatives in Sydney. I assumed maybe he wanted to kill two birds with one stone on the guided tour.

This lady had a son at university so must have been on the cusp of her 40s. She looked in her 20s without a wrinkle, two thick pixie style plaits and dressed in a student stylish ensemble.  The first thing that wound me up, and this is not very Christian, was her ENDLESS selfies.  Dad was more than happy to indulge her in these, but after the first one or two I was stony faced.  Second, was her coquettish mannerisms.  She had a way of holding both little fists to her lips and giving a ditzy laugh while she looked around to check EVERYONE was looking.  She did this when she dropped her ice cream.

Another reason I got hot and bothered was because dad, like J1, walked us round at route march pace. Get the picture?  It was beginning to be not very enjoyable, the boyfriend was carrying my rucksack so I could keep up, this women was asking the standard ‘mums at the school gate questions’ like how many children I had? How old were they?  Her English appeared to be not very good although I can’t be sure of that.  When I asked her what she did she said she was semi-retired.

Dinner was another contentious issue. It was a posh fish restaurant by the sea – obviously dad’s reward to himself, but he didn’t consult with us and we had already had a huge breakfast and more importantly, it was well out of our price bracket.

Did I get an answer to my important question about transitioning values? No.  he hadn’t got a clue what I was talking about.  As far as he was concerned, so long as J1 was earning loads of money, what was the problem?  Ditto Geisha woman.  I gave up and just asked him questions about himself which was moderately interesting.  He was right wing, but I could understand where he was coming from.

We footed the bill for lunch for both of them and it was a lot. Now we always had every intention of paying for him, but her?  No.  If I had been holding our joint account card at the point of payment would I have created a scene by leaving her out or asking her if she would like to contribute?  Possibly not, but I was furious with this smug little starlet.

On the way back to the car she said to me, ‘you think too much’. I thought yes I do think too much, because my whole survival and that of my young children has depended on that.

Much later I thought, you know what? You must have to think A LOT to make sure you are on the permanent receiving end of favours.  Much later still I thought GEISHA!  I remember she was so shocked and in denial about me repeating my son’s comments on the underbelly of Hong Kong culture, but she epitomised it.  Beauty, beautifully presented, mime routines, nothing crude or out there, but still courtesan in approach.

Meanwhile us poor suckers were duped.


P.S.  I did like the food and I liked the resident pelican.

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