It’s the debate that’s divided, well, Sydneysiders and Melburnians since Sydney’s first settlers sent letters to Melbourne to brag about the sunshine.
Sydney has beaches. Melbourne has laneways. Sydney has ferries. But Melbourne has trams. Melbourne has Top Shop, but Sydney’s blessed with an airport train and free wi-fi in the domestic terminal.
It’s a tough one.
Wendy Squires knows all too well about the pros and cons of both cities. She’s lived in Sydney all her life, but moved to Melbourne a year ago. She writes about the move – and the city that’s stolen her heart – in this article for The Age.
This is possibly the hardest thing I have ever had to write but after a few years of trying, it’s time. You see, I can’t go on as we were.
You have to know that things between us haven’t been good for a while. Well, maybe you don’t, because let’s face it, we haven’t been communicating lately. I feel that as close as we once were, it’s like we’re strangers. I don’t know you any more and in a way, I feel like you don’t want to know me.
She goes on to write about the good times they shared together. She was smitten by the the Olympics in 2000, but in the decade or so since, things have changed. The spark disappeared. The chemistry just wasn’t there. Sydney, she writes, “you became ageist”.
More from Wendy:
Let’s take our social life for a start. We go out and it’s the pretty young things you seem to be interested in. And they are everywhere. Model types, hip wannabes, hangers-on – where did all our real friends go? I’m so tired of that flash of eye over my shoulder to see if anyone more interesting or, even better, famous, is around.
You love your celebrities, don’t you? But we all can’t be one, you know. And some, like me, have no interest in ever being in the social pages or hugging a flute at some pseudo social event or got to-be-seen-at trendy new restaurant.
I can see you rolling your eyes, but I am serious. Maybe it’s part of being so hip, but you are attracting a lot of shallow types. And with them comes that other thing you know I can’t stand. Yes, I am going to bring this up again because as much as I have complained in the past, it seems to be getting worse.
Wendy, I hear ya. I moved to Sydney a few months ago. When one of my work colleagues today implied that I had broken up with Melbourne to do so, I corrected her. We’re in a long distance relationship.
Don’t get me wrong – I love Sydney. It’s beyond charming. But it’s like dating a musician and then a supermodel. Both have their perks. But they’re different.
Anyway, back to Wendy and her breakup. It’s the drug problem, she says, that’s the ultimate deal breaker.
I know, you are a party type and you think it is just part of the lifestyle. But it’s more than that. It’s an issue and, for me, it’s a deal breaker.
Do you know how long I have had to wait outside packed toilet cubicles when out? Hours. Then out stumbles a ping-eyed mob of poseurs all pinching their noses. Does anyone ever actually use toilets for their proper purpose these days? I can’t see how they can. And I know what people pay for cocaine, all the while complaining it’s low-grade and not as good as the stuff in LA/New York/insert trendy city du jour. But it’s back for more every time.
There was the dinner party that left her lying in bed feeling lonely, disconnected. The tone of the party changed when word spread that the dealer had been called.
The sleazebag didn’t stay long but he certainly made an impact. The guests all separated into bedrooms and bathrooms, returning half an hour later with dilated pupils and chattering mindless gibberish. No one ate my food and, as I was the only straight person in the room, bothered talking to me.
Considering many were middle-aged with kids and mortgages, I marvelled at how time hadn’t moved on. What may have been passed off as fun in our 20s seems quite sad and pathetic at this age. Surely they could have worked out how to enjoy themselves without coke by now? Surely they would be over paying all that money and the inevitable comedown that follows?
“I longed for people I can relate to, adults who have actually grown up,” she writes. She goes on:
I know what you are thinking right now. Damn, you are vain. But OK, since you ask, yes, there is another. It’s early days yet but so far I am happy. I feel included, valued and relevant again. I don’t know if it’s love yet but, well, it just might be heading that way. No, my new romance may not be as attractive as you, but it has depth. And I need that.
I think you would get on with Melbourne, Sydney, but you may be too arrogant to agree. My new city reminds me of you in happier times, before you became blinded by your own beauty.
Narcissus fell into his own reflection and drowned, you know. You are surrounded by water, my old friend. Beware.
You can read Wendy’s the full article here.
Do you have any thoughts on the characteristics of Melbourne or Sydney? What about the town or city you grew up in? How do you feel about it?