[note that this is part 2 of a three part series I have submitted to Thrive]

D Dilemma

It was a winter night in Perth – and what had become a monthly girls catch up with two of my oldest best friends. Two of us had followed our career paths interstate – like so many young people leaving town and heading east in their twenties then returning, accomplished in their early thirties to enjoy Perth’s fabulous lifestyle. The third had found her love early and created a beautiful family – the life that we all aspire to, even though at the moment I, like many was at work painting the canvas of the world with my dreams.

It could have been a bar in New York City. The Perth night scene had definitely evolved since we had left – a combination of the mining boom, changes to legislation to permit small bars and the influence of young people returning to the city with ideas. As much as I had grown, the city would always be home to me.

And of course even though we may have grown spiritually and professionally through our life travels in the years since our undergraduate days at UWA, our friendship and shameless gossip about dating and boys (mostly men now although some were still boys) had remained the same.

I recently shared with them an article I had written on D Disclosure  – as I grappled to understand a seemingly new world of dating where it was potentially acceptable to send photos of one’s appendage to prospective dates or lovers. Although I had not looked preferring to wait for it to be revealed at a romantic rendezvous scheduled for Italy later that month, the story led to my friend’s own disclosure.

A young man too had been messaging her, with the suggestion that they have a romantic rendezvous of their own.

This time it was me urging her to explore [this unchartered territory] “Go for it – what have you got to lose?” You are leaving for Europe in a month anyway!

Perhaps I would, if I was in Melbourne but in Perth, it may become the talk of the [ethnic] community. [to which she belonged]

And it was here that I realised how one can be free without really feeling it. We are independent and accomplished women yet when it comes to sex and our position with men, had things changed at all?

It made me wonder why I was even meeting with the D in Italy – was it simply a physical attraction? Why did we feel as though it must lead to something [marriage] in order for it to count or be OK.

I thought I had let go of this a long time ago – after falling for a prominent, much older man that I worked with, in a small city like Perth, I learned that people would always judge and that I had nothing to justify or explain – because the people who loved me wouldn’t judge me and in fact, they are still my friends today.

After all, true feelings can only be known to and exist only between two hearts entwined.

Are we still bound by society’s expectations, the fear of being judged for a no strings attached affair? Or was this something that only applied to us because of our cultural backgrounds as Australian women of Italian, Croatian and Macedonian descent sitting in a bar. 


  • Belinda Coniglio

    Creative leader | Consultant | Lawyer

    Ideas and Impact

    Belinda is a consultant who combined her cross disciplinary experience in law, international relations for the Australian government and marketing and communications to work in technology and transformation. In 2019, she launched her book, Six for Santiago, a story about personal transformation.  She is currently engaged in a change project for the Australian government.  Her speaking engagements include transformation and creative  and cross disciplinary leadership in the global economy.