Back in the 80s, there was this thing that used to happen in pubs, discos, and restaurants in capital cities all over Australia. And no, I’m not talking about bad dancing and the glassing idiots.
But it was certainly predatory behaviour, and paradoxically, it was also quite wonderful and resulted in much delight. On rare occasions, the delight was such you’d either go home with cherry-flavoured lipstick greasing up the old-fella, or get him greased when you got home.
I speak of those wondrous Flower Girls who, every Friday and Saturday night, squeezed their way into various establishments full of drunks, and sold many of those drunks a rose in a clear plastic tube.
These girls would also find their way into restaurants where they would easily identify the eager young buck out on a first date with some big-haired hottie who had soaked herself in her mum’s Chanel No. 5, and flog him a rose in a tube as well.
It was a rapacious, opportunistic industry that could not help but succeed, despite the two very different imperatives driving its sales.
In the pub-full-of-drunks dynamic, the flower girl would quickly zero-in on the young-to-middle-aged adult pissheads. The ones who were getting the schooners in before going home to the missus.
She would approach the table, smile sweetly – and let’s face it, most of the flower girls were pretty, and a pretty girl who is smiling at you after you’ve necked four schooners is fucking Kyptonite – and ask if you’d like to buy a rose.
From memory, they were about $10, which wasn’t cheap in the 80s. So it was no bargain…but fuck, it was a rose! For sale in a pub! And if you had to go home to your wife after a bunch of schooners with your mates on a Friday night, all sorts of existential crises could be avoided or mitigated if you jammed a rose into her hands before she even started with the “Where the fuck have you been?” shit.
I’ve seen bastards buy an even dozen such roses and wondered what kind of fire-breathing gorgon awaited them at home.
But no man thinks with any clarity after four or five schooners. And very few can resist a pretty girl asking you to buy a flower from her. And once you’ve bought one, then your mates get to thinking they should maybe also buy one.
Except the single bloke who’s with you. He won’t be buying any roses. He’s either drunk enough to congratulate himself on being single, or drunk enough to hate his life because he’s going to go home to his flat, and jerk off to an old Penthouse magazine. Or, and this was more common than you think, the poor, beer-filled clown would actually buy a rose from the pretty flower girl and then give it to her.
She, of course, would smile even more sweetly, thank him profusely, tell him he’d make some girl very happy (but not her), and then go and sell that flower at the next pub.
Flower girls would also appear in restaurants. Indeed, even in some of the very finest ones where the maître d’ was obviously receiving a cut from the flower sales. And it would be he who tipped her off as to who was having a first date and trying to impress his date. Saved her wandering around the place, you see. Once tipped off, the flower girl would make a bee-line for your table, and a sale was assured. Because what type of worthless shit-heel will not buy his date a fucking rose in a plastic tube?
A bloke on his first date in a fancy restaurant is actually paying for maybe-sex. He knows it and she knows it. It’s why her bra and panties match, and why she keeps going to the bathroom and painting lip-gloss on her mouth.
It’s also why he’s gonna order lobster, expensive wine he’s never tried, Bombe fucking Alaska for dessert, and blow his entire pay-packet without a second thought, because he knows if he impresses her enough with his cavalier money-chucking and big-time waiter-tipping routine, she may agree to fuck him.
No guarantees, of course, because only death and taxes are certainties in this life, but it is a formula which had stood the test of time for aeons, and which has only recently been replaced with MDMA and cocaine.
So adding a rose to the evening with what is probably his last ten bucks, is like adding a cherry to top of that sundae. Or an extra sparkler to the Bombe Alaska.
And this is how much of Australia got laid, and how peace, harmony and tolerance reigned in so many households throughout the 80s.
Personally, I bought fuck-tonnes of roses. I even gifted them to the flower girls from time to time before going home to fap off to Miss July. I did it for years. Not one of my girlfriends ever went home rose-free if we were out and a flower girl happened along.
Tragedies occurred from time to time. Roses were lost on the way home because it can be hard to transport the fucking things on a bike when you’ve had a few schooners. You forget to do your jacket up, some bastards starts a fight in the pub at closing time, or you get involved in an altercation at a set of lights…and you arrive home to a cranky girlfriend without a mitigating flower.
“I bought you a rose, baby…but I…um, I lost it…”
No pussy for you, pal.
And then, one day, the flower girls just stopped coming.
I’m not sure why. It cannot be because the business model was not working. It was foolproof in that regard. Guilt-ridden pissheads and horny youths are a flower girl’s ticket to ride.
Maybe the maître d’s got too greedy. Maybe the corporations who bought up all the pubs didn’t want the patrons spending good beer money on stupid flowers.
I don’t know. But I kinda wish it was still a thing.
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Boris is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.